Samsung's Exynos division has had a rough few years. The company's in-house mobile chipsets have fallen short of expectations while chips from other manufacturers have gotten stronger and stronger, which led Samsung to outright skip using an Exynos chip on its 2023 Galaxy S flagship lineup so it could take advantage of the extra time to make the next Exynos as good as possible.
However, there's currently no confirmation that Samsung will bring Exynos back next year, with a rumor even claiming that the Galaxy S24 Ultra could use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 in all markets. But it is more or less certain that Samsung is bringing 2022's flagship Exynos chip (the Exynos 2200) back later this year with the Galaxy S23 FE, as confirmed by benchmark listings.
Those benchmark listings also reveal that the Galaxy S23 FE could be faster than the Galaxy S22 series despite using the same chip with the same clock speeds and other parameters, and not by a small margin. But if Samsung hasn't changed the chip's specs in any way, why is the Galaxy S23 FE obliterating the Galaxy S22 lineup in benchmark scores?
One possibility is that the Galaxy S23 FE has better cooling, which would allow the chip to run at maximum clock speeds for longer durations. Samsung could also have used UFS 4.0 storage on the S23 FE (the S22 lineup had UFS 3.1 storage). But if we were to speculate, the reason might be completely different and also a rather simple one: it's possible the Galaxy S23 FE performs better with the Exynos 2200 because the phone will be released nearly two years after the last Fan Edition model (the S21 FE).
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Samsung has launched two Galaxy S FE phones till now, and both performed better than their non-FE counterparts with the same Exynos chips, likely because Samsung managed to optimize those chips in the months between the launch of the S20 FE/S21 FE and the non-FE Galaxy S20/Galaxy S21.
The Galaxy S21 FE was a bit delayed and ended up launching around 15 months after the Galaxy S20 FE, and the Galaxy S23 FE will arrive nearly two years after the Galaxy S21 FE. As you might have guessed, that means Samsung has had more time to improve the Exynos 2200 after its debut compared to the time it had to improve the Exynos 990 and Exynos 2100 that powered the S20 FE and S21 FE respectively.
And for consumers, that's a blessing in disguide, at least if those benchmark scores for the Galaxy S23 FE are indicative of the phone's real-world performance. The Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy S21 FE did run better than the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21 with the same Exynos processor, but the difference wasn't all that big in real life or in benchmarks.
That's not the case where the Galaxy S23 FE is concerned, though. Its lead in benchmark scores over the base Galaxy S22 model is interesting, to say the least. It is also a good indication of how Samsung didn't let the additional time it brought itself go to waste and has actually worked on optimizing things to get the most out of the Exynos 2200.
And frankly, even if the Galaxy S23 FE's performance is the same as the Galaxy S22's, it will still be an excellent deal if Samsung manages to keep the $699 price tag of its predecessors. Now if only Samsung could release the phone at the right time, or at least avoid launching it too close to next year's Galaxy S24 lineup.