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Major Galaxy S22 FE leak says Samsung could ditch Qualcomm

Samsung Galaxy S22 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy S21 FE had a famously protracted development period, apparently thanks to the ongoing global chip shortage that meant Samsung prioritized distribution of its finite number of Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chips to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3.

That difficulty meant that the S21 FE eventually rolled out some four months later than anticipated, and might go some way to explaining the first rumor we’ve heard about the Samsung Galaxy S22 FE. Samsung’s next Fan Edition handset could apparently forego Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips in favor of the MediaTek Dimensity 9000 processor.

That’s according to the leaker It’s Fat Water on Chinese social network Weibo (opens in new tab), who says that Samsung would be using the chip in an upcoming handset — though he does hedge his bets a little here, saying that while it may be for the Galaxy S22 FE, it could also be for the Galaxy A53 Pro. 

Neither handset officially exists, of course, though the latter would be a souped up version of the recently unveiled A53 which uses Samsung’s own Exynos 1280 chipset. Either way, the leaker claims the phone will use a 4,500mAh battery, which is the same capacity as the previous S21 FE and S20 FE. Galaxy A handsets, meanwhile, tend to offer greater battery capacity over raw processing power, so the S22 FE feels the more likely destination.

Last year, the leaker Ice Universe also claimed that Samsung would be amongst the first manufacturers to use MediaTek’s Dimensity 9000 chipset, so this is a rumor that could well have something in it.

Qualcomm vs MediaTek: What's the right decision? 

I’ve been reviewing smartphones long enough to remember a time when a MediaTek chipset was something of a performance red flag, but the company’s silicon has evolved in leaps and bounds over the years. 

MediaTek has been embraced by the likes of OnePlus, and the Dimensity 9000 chip is built on the 4-nanometer process with support of up to 320MP photography and up to three simultaneous 4K HDR video recordings. It should be no slouch, in other words.

And if it means Samsung can get the phone out the door without worrying about impacting its 2022 foldables, then switching providers certainly makes sense.

However, it’s not a move without risk. One of the FE line’s main selling points is its chipset parity with the phone it’s based on. The Galaxy S20 FE, like the S20, used the Snapdragon 865, while the S21 and S21 FE both used the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. If the S22 FE deviates from the trend by skipping the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, then some may wonder if the similarities between the two are only skin deep, potentially making it a tougher sell.

We shall have to wait and see. The S21 FE is still relatively new thanks to the repeated delays that meant it arrived this January, rather than last October as reportedly planned. We would imagine Samsung would like to get back on track, so a fall unveiling seems more likely to us.

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.