For years, Apple’s A-series chips have been the most powerful found in smartphones, beating the best slices of silicon from Qualcomm and others with relative ease. But that could be about to change.
That’s because claimed initial benchmarks of Samsung's Exynos 2200 chip, expected to debut in the Galaxy S22 next year, have yielded results that pummel Apple’s A14 Bionic system-on-a-chip (SoC) found in the iPhone 12. The results look so good that Apple may not be able to close the gap with its upcoming iPhone 13.
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First, lets look at the alleged benchmarks, seemingly revealed by leaker @FrontTron on Twitter, who has a reasonably solid reputation for legitimate information. In the Manhattan 3.1 benchmark with GFXBench, Tron noted that the Exynos 2200 “June sample” delivers a screaming 170.7 frames per second, whereas the A14 Bionic manages a respectable 120 fps. In both the Aztec normal and high benchmarks, the Samsung chip manages 121.4 fps and 51.5 fps respectively, while the A14 Bionic hits 79.7 fps and 30 fps.
In short, the Exynos 2200 seem to blow Apple's chip away. Flagship Exynos chips have never been slow in the past, but they’ve also not been able to consistently keep pace with A-series or Qualcomm Snapdragon 8-series SoCs. Now it looks like that’s changing, at least on the graphics front.
I find this rather exciting. While smartphones don’t lack graphics power, I still don’t feel they deliver a console-grade gaming experience (we’re talking Xbox One and PS4 era games here, not those from the new generation), unless you’re streaming via Xbox Cloud Gaming. But with a GPU derived from proper PC and console gaming tech, the Galaxy S22 and Exynos 2200 could change that.
As I’ve said before in more detail, the extra power and some clever software engineering could see the next flagship Samsung phones have the scope to run say some of the best Xbox One games natively rather than through streaming. Add in things like save syncing and you could effectively have a portable Xbox or an Xbox Phone. Maybe this is wishful thinking on my part, but Samsung has worked closely with Microsoft on various devices, so the Galaxy S22 could see the companies join forces on the Xbox and gaming side of things.
Having said all that, the iPhone 13 range is tipped to get a next-generation A-series chip, likely the A15 Bionic. And we’d expect that to be a powerhouse too, providing various leaks and these benchmark results are legitimate. But at the very least Apple should have its work cut out for it going up against the Exynos 2200.
Either way, it’s looking like the next six months or so could be rather interesting for smartphone graphics. While my Samsung Galaxy S21 review left me impressed with the South Korean company’s flagship, I’m definitely getting little bursts of excitement for the Galaxy S22.
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Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.