Samsung Galaxy S23 — overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 could fight iPhone 14 [Update]

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

Samsung could take the Galaxy S23's performance to another level with the help of an overclocked chipset, according to leaker Ice Universe. And this could be exactly what the company needs to narrow the performance gap with the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro

This rumor revolves around the newly announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the chip expected to power the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra. At its announcement, the chipset's model number was given as SM8550-AB, which normally isn't a particularly noteworthy fact. But now Ice Universe has pointed out that there has also been evidence of an SM8550-AC version of the Gen 2 chip that got no mention in Qualcomm's presentation.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, produced by Qualcomm, is likely going to appear in all the best Android phones released next year, including the Galaxy S23. It's all but guaranteed for the U.S. models, as Samsung has been using Qualcomm chips in for several years already. It may also be available in the global version too, but these may get a new Samsung Exynos chipset instead.

IU doesn't give any detail of the AC version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 beyond its potential existence, leaving it unclear how this version could differ. It's possible there's no real difference between the AC and AB chips. But one theory is that the AC chip is a higher-performance model with a higher clock speed. 

Previous rumors said there was a 3.5GHz variant (via leaker Digital Chat Station on Weibo and WCCFTech) of the Gen 2 being tested, but the chip Qualcomm just unveiled operates at a lower 3.2GHz frequency. If Samsung had managed to reserve a more powerful version of the Gen 2 for its own phones that would be quite the blow against rivals like the new Google Pixel 7, rumored OnePlus 11 Pro and others.

It may well be this higher-speed Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that we saw in recent benchmarks; ones that show the phone beating the iPhone 14 in one part of the test. Unfortunately, for Samsung though, the newer A16 Bionic chip in the iPhone 14 Pro still reigns supreme over these alleged scores.

There's more to the Galaxy S23 than just a new chip, according to the rumor mill. We should also be seeing a 200MP main camera on the S23 Ultra model, a new design for the S23 and S23 Plus and 12MP selfie cameras for all models.

We'd expect the Galaxy S23 to arrive in early 2023, possibly as soon as mid-January. That means it won't be too long a wait until we can confirm or refute these rumors, and then see if the S23 models are worthy successors to the excellent Galaxy S22 series. Whenever it launches, it's worth checking our Samsung promo codes to save a few dollars on the launch price.

Update (11/21): Ice Universe has released another leak concerning the special Snapdragon chip the Galaxy S23 will allegedly receive. It will apparently use a slightly higher CPU clock speed of 3.36 GHz (up from 3.2GHz) and a higher GPU speed of 719MHz (from 680Hz). Both of these should mean this chip performs better than the regular Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Next: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — 5 killer camera features coming to your next Android phone.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.