Samsung’s newest phone has arrived and it’s already one of the best phones of the year. Along with a 200MP main camera, 100X zoom, and a giant 6.8-inch screen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra also has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy which has a higher CPU clock speed (3.36GHz vs 3.2GHz) and GPU clock speed (719MHz vs 680MHz) than the standard chip, along with 12GB of RAM. That means it should be the fastest Android phone ever.
But that doesn’t mean it’s the fastest phone ever. Apple’s chips have historically handled the latest Snapdragon chips with ease, but with a relatively small speed bump from the A15 to the A16, it seemed possible, even likely, that Qualcomm would finally catch up to Apple’s newest iPhone chips.
Not so. In benchmarks recorded by our colleagues at TechAdvisor, the Galaxy S23 Ultra gets soundly beaten by the A16 in the iPhone 14 Pro and the A15 in the iPhone 13 Pro, and can’t even keep up with the iPhone 12’s A14 chip in Geekbench’s single-core test. The S23 fares better in the multi-core tests, but it also has more cores and RAM and still barely beats last year’s chip.
For specifics, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 has an 8-core CPU while the A16 has a 6-core design. On the graphics side, Apple uses a 5-core GPU and the Snapdragon has an Adreno 740 GPU. As you can see in the Wild Life benchmark above, the S23 Ultra truly shines when it comes to graphics, actually besting the A16 in 3D Mark’s Wild Life Extreme Unlimited test, which will be great for gamers.
It also shows how Qualcomm has prioritized graphics improvements with the Gen 2 chip. In the same test with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, the Wild Life Extreme Unlimited benchmark recorded 2577, making the new chip more than 40 percent faster. Meanwhile, the A16 was a somewhat minor upgrade, with gains of roughly 10 percent over the A15. While Apple has made major gains with the GPUs in its Max and Ultra Mac chips, iPhone graphics have been somewhat stagnant.
But when it comes to everyday performance, the S23 still lags behind the iPhone—and the gap is likely to grow this year. While leaked Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 benchmarks show scores of 1930 (single-core) and 6236 (multi-core), both of which beat the A16, Apple is likely to deliver a huge leap in performance with its 3nm A17 chip when it launches the iPhone 15 handsets. But at least S24 Ultra buyers will have a phone that beats the iPhone 13.