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Samsung Galaxy S22 might not be the first Snapdragon 898 phone

a Galaxy s22 concept graphic based on new rumors about the phone's design
(Image credit: Super Roader/YouTube)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is tipped for a February unveiling, and is set to be one of the first handsets to take advantage of Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 898 chipset in most regions. 

But it won’t be the first Snapdragon 898 phone, according to the leaker Digital Chat Station, who claims that both Motorola and Xiaomi could beat Samsung to the punch with handsets “at the end of the year.”

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Smartphone enthusiasts shouldn’t be surprised that Xiaomi is in the mix. The Chinese manufacturer is now firmly in the top three biggest phone manufacturers in the world, and part of the company’s success is its history of adopting new hardware early for flashy flagships, as well as cornering off the budget market. Indeed, the Xiaomi Mi 11 was the first phone to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, when it arrived in December 2020.

Motorola, however, is a surprise. In recent years the manufacturer has been better known for its cheap and cheerful budget devices. And while it does have more premium models, these flagships aren’t known for being first out of the door in the same way Xiaomi’s handsets are.

The Snapdragon 898 advantage 

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 898 — or whatever it ends up being called — is the anticipated follow up to the Snapdragon 888 and 888 Plus chips which feature in nearly every flagship Android device released in 2021. Everything from the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 to the OnePlus 9 has one, even if the Pixel 6 has gone its own way with the new Tensor chip.

So how much of an improvement will the Snapdragon 898 be? Well, the leaker Ice Universe claims to have the first benchmarks and it’s a little underwhelming, offering only a 15% speed boost on the current generation of Qualcomm chips.

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Indeed, as one responder to the tweet points out, that’s struggling to keep pace with the Apple A14 chip used in last year’s iPhone 12

That’s somewhat unfair, of course: not only is the Snapdragon 898 benchmark — if legitimate — from an unreleased and unoptimized chip, but Apple is able to get significant performance gains by designing both the hardware and software in tandem.

But if the chip isn’t an enormous step forward, then should gamers turn to Apple this generation? Maybe, but it’s also worth seeing what Samsung manages with its Exynos chip this year. Thanks to the company’s partnership with AMD, we could see a chip that offers phenomenal gaming performance and may even support ray tracing.

The problem is that this chip is said to be a low yield, so whether you get one or not may be something of a lottery. We’ll know more when Samsung’s plans solidify as we head into 2022.

Alan Martin

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.