Samsung is reportedly planning to bring back its own Exynos chipsets for select models of its upcoming Galaxy S24 flagship smartphone series, despite moving to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors for its recent devices. This unexpected strategy reversal could have big implications for the performance and marketability of Samsung’s next generation of premium phones.
Exynos Rumored for Galaxy S24 Launch
According to sources close to Samsung, the company is rumored to be considering using its latest Exynos 2400 chip in the Galaxy S24 series, which is expected to launch in 2024. The Exynos silicon would likely power the European variants of the S24, S24 Plus, and Galaxy S24 Ultra, while American versions would stick with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3.
This approach of splitting chipsets by region has been used by Samsung in the past, but was not implemented for the recently released Galaxy S23 series. All models of the S23 line utilized the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 globally, marking the first time Samsung flagship phones did not offer regional Exynos variants.
Concerns Over Exynos Performance
The reported return to Exynos has sparked concerns among industry watchers and consumers. Previous Exynos versions have consistently benchmarked and performed worse than their Snapdragon counterparts.
Reviews of the Exynos-powered Galaxy S22 models cited overheating issues and lagging performance compared to the Snapdragon variants. This led to strong demand for the Snapdragon models and even grey market importing of the better-performing versions by some buyers.
Based on early leaked benchmarks, the Exynos 2400 trails the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in both single and multi-core performance. Its prime core runs at 3.2GHz, slightly behind the Snapdragon’s 3.3GHz prime core speed.
Optimizations Coming for Exynos 2400
In response to the performance criticisms, Samsung has reportedly increased the Exynos 2400’s prime core clock speed to 3.3GHz, putting it on par with the Snapdragon variant. More significant architectural optimizations to the chipset are also said to be in the works.
The Exynos 2400 is manufactured on a 4nm process and uses an AMD RDNA2-based GPU. The addition of AMD’s graphics technology resulted in major performance gains over previous Exynos generations.
Further refinements to the chip layout and software-level tweaks could help close the remaining performance gap with Snapdragon. But with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 already surpassing the Exynos 2400 in early testing, Samsung clearly faces challenges if it wants to bring performance parity to its own silicon.
Strategic Motivations Behind Exynos
Assuming the leaked information is accurate, Samsung’s motivation for reintroducing Exynos processors in its flagship phones after a one generation hiatus remains unclear.
Industry analysts theorize Samsung wants to keep its Exynos design teams and IP active, while also maintaining leverage over Qualcomm in negotiations. Alternating between Snapdragon and Exynos could prevent over-reliance on Qualcomm.
The company may also be hoping to improve cost margins by utilizing its own chipsets in high volume models destined for Europe and other markets. Qualcomm’s industry-leading performance commands ultra premium pricing for its latest Snapdragon mobile platforms.
Exynos 2400 Debut in Galaxy S23 FE First
Before any appearance in the Galaxy S24 family, Samsung’s next Exynos will first be featured in the Galaxy S23 FE (Fan Edition) phone expected later this year.
The S23 FE would give Samsung a low-risk opportunity to showcase improvements made to the Exynos 2400 chipset. As a lower-cost Fan Edition model, it does not face the same intense scrutiny regarding performance as the flagship Galaxy S series.
Strong reception of the Exynos 2400 in the S23 FE could rebuild confidence in Samsung using its own silicon in future premium devices. If performance or efficiency issues arise, there would still be time to revert exclusively back to Snapdragon for the S24 generation.
What This Means for Consumers
For buyers interested in the Galaxy S24 models, the prospect of Exynos returning will be concerning. Regional variances introduce uncertainty around which chipset a particular model may end up with.
Unless Samsung can truly optimize its Exynos 2400 to match the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, consumers in Europe and other markets could be stuck with versions of the S24, S24 Plus, and S24 Ultra that offer disappointing real-world speeds and battery life compared to other regions.
With these latest product decisions, Samsung faces pressure to execute flawlessly and deliver an Exynos experience in its upcoming devices that finally lives up to the standards set by Qualcomm. If not, the company risks alienating customers and dealing reputational damage as a premium phone brand.