Forget iPhone 16 Pro — Samsung Galaxy S25 could fight back with an overclocked chip

Galaxy s25 Ultra concept design by Technizo Concept on YouTube
(Image credit: Technizo Concept)

The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 4, expected to power the Samsung Galaxy S25 and other upcoming Android flagship phones, could be getting a power upgrade before it's even official, in order to respond to Apple and its latest silicon.

A tip from jasonwill on X (via Wccftech) says that Qualcomm has elected to increase the clock speed of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 chip from the originally planned 4GHz to 4.26GHz by June. jasonwill admits there is some uncertainty with this information however, so be prepared for potential counter-claims or a retraction once he or other leakers learn more.

This last-minute overclock is allegedly to help the new chip fight against the iPhone 16 series later this year, which is thought to be running an Apple A18 chip. Qualcomm perhaps thought it stood a good chance against Apple's 2024 phone offering, but the iPad Pro 2024 and its M4 chip may have shown the need to up its game.

The freshly announced iPad Pro appears to be the highest-performing tablet ever, according to leaked benchmarks. While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 is not a direct competitor to the M4 chip, which Apple presumably designed to be used in its Macs as well as the iPad Pro, the Snapdragon will likely be found in comparable devices like future Samsung Galaxy Tab S models and other tablets. Plus you can basically guarantee Apple will apply its learnings from developing the M4 chip to the A18 chip expected to run the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro.

A big step up for Android flagship phones

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 is claimed to be Qualcomm's first 3-nanometer process chipset — the smallest transistors, which enable improvements to performance and power efficiency. Apple already adopted this tech with the A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro, and again with the M4 chip powering the latest iPad Pro. It'll be used again for the iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro's A18 chipset, so naturally Qualcomm wants to keep up with Apple where it can.

It's also said that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 is based on the laptop-grade Snapdragon X Elite chipset, which is a different approach from previous chips. This would likely mean the 8 Gen 4 puts an even greater focus on AI capabilities and multi-core performance. 

However, since the X Elite uses a different instruction set (the basic code that controls a device's CPU) to other mobile chips, this could lead to any number of unexpected side effects when running apps designed for previous Snapdragon chips. Plus, as is often the case when increasing the computing power of a mobile device, the chip may also see increased battery drain and a higher operating temperature that requires additional cooling.

Putting aside these fears for now, hopefully Qualcomm can successfully up the performance of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 — giving phones like the Galaxy S25 or OnePlus 13 a fighting chance against Apple's iPhone 16 lineage. Normally we see new Snapdragon 8 series chips in the fall, followed by the first phones using it by the end of the year and the start of the next. 

Keep an eye on our Snapdragon 8 Gen 4 for the latest news and rumors on this next-gen Android chipset, as well as our iPhone 16 and iPhone 16 Pro hubs for details on what's been rumored for Apple's rival A18 silicon.

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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.