In just a few short months, Samsung has returned to kick off 2023 with the latest entry in its mainstream flagship series. This comes on the heels of the company’s announcement of two new foldable. The Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra aren’t the most thrilling phones we’ve ever seen, but if you’ve been delaying an upgrade from your aged Galaxy Note 9, these smartphones look to be as excellent of a trio as Samsung has ever made available. After all, the Galaxy S22 series from the previous year completely blew us away, and this year Samsung has given the best of its design to each of the three models in the series.
Since Samsung took the stage in San Francisco, we have spent a considerable amount of time with each of the three smartphones that are included in the Galaxy S23 lineup. Don’t discount the Galaxy S23+ just because the Galaxy S23 Ultra completely blew us away; in fact, this should come as no surprise at all. It is almost as great of a smartphone as the one that costs $200 less. Not to be outdone, the Galaxy S23 left us quite thrilled; it is the best compact phone the firm has manufactured since the S10e was released almost half a decade ago. It is important to look closely at the hardware, software, and other aspects of each of these Android phones before making a purchase in 2023. Although all three of these phones are among the best available, some are better than others.
The design and display of the Samsung Galaxy S23 series
The design language utilized by Samsung is more consistent than it has ever been, going so far as to eclipse the days of the S21 lineup with its distinctive camera bumps. The business found its inspiration for the Galaxy S23 series in the Galaxy S22 Ultra from the previous year. But, for the Galaxy S23 series, the Tetris-like camera block was replaced with something much more simple. The end result is an improvement that is rather unremarkable from one year to the next for owners of the S22 Ultra, but it is an innovative take on Samsung’s signature design aesthetic for all three models.
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The appearance of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is extremely similar to that of its predecessor. It has the same squared sides that serve as an echo to the Note series, the same frosted glass back, and ever-so-slightly refined curving edges along the display. Of course, there are some new color choices available. It also has the same frosted glass back, but with some new color possibilities. This is not to imply that the S23 Ultra is an unattractive phone or even that it lacks originality. Rather, it is more of the same, an approach to design that follows the maxim “don’t change what ain’t broke,” which is certain to prevent the majority of S22 Ultra owners from experiencing any buyer’s regret.
The Galaxy S23 and S23+ are certainly the most intriguing gadgets in terms of their designs; nevertheless, Samsung is not breaking any new ground in this regard either. Instead, these two devices, which are smaller and more cheap options for customers, adopt the same camera trends defined by the previous two Ultra models. These trends were set by the Ultra models that came before them. Both of the company’s models received a one-of-a-kind appearance thanks to the company’s innovative integration of its module into the device’s frame the year before, which drew on the success of the S21 series. This year, everything is about protruding lenses; despite the fact that both phones lack the same number of cutouts as their Ultra-sized sibling, it is obvious that these three smartphones are related to one another and belong to the same family.
Exciting? Not particularly, not at all. But, Samsung’s design capabilities are so far ahead of those of its competitors that it is difficult to dispute the company’s decision to hold off on introducing a revolutionary look for another year. Regular people — those who upgrade their devices every three, four, or even five years — are sure to find it to be as fresh and exciting as shoppers found Samsung’s previous-generation models to be one year ago. Early adopters and enthusiasts may feel let down by the decision to recycle this style for another year; however, regular people are sure to find it to be just as exciting.
Specifications of the Samsung Galaxy S23 series
Those well-known casings do not, in fact, conceal some wonderful new piece of technology. The technical specifications of all three phones are on par with what you would anticipate from a flagship model of the year 2023; nevertheless, there is a significant adjustment made for consumers in other countries. While Samsung has often powered its Galaxy experience in North America and other places with a top-tier chipset manufactured by Qualcomm, the majority of the world has relied on Samsung’s very own Exynos chips to power their Galaxy experiences. Unhappily, these chips have not been able to compete with the central processing units (CPUs) branded with the Snapdragon brand, a fact that is becoming increasingly clear with each passing year.
Hence, Samsung implemented a significant change for the Galaxy S23 series. Not only did it switch from using Exynos to using Qualcomm, but it did so in a very fashionable manner. Each of the three versions is driven by a customized version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset created particularly for Samsung and used in all of its products. It maintains everything that made the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 so outstanding when it was introduced the year before, but the clock speed for the primary Cortex-X3 core is increased to 3.36 GHz.
There is no denying the significance of Samsung’s decision to include Snapdragon chips in more of its Galaxy S-series smartphones. But other than this one alteration, the S23 family’s specifications are about as unexpected as its appearance. Each AMOLED panel is running at 120Hz and is capable of attaining 1,750 nits of brightness outside. The panels on the S23 and S23+ are both 1080p, but the display on the S23 Ultra is a 1440p QHD display. Once again, we’re looking at three different screen sizes: 6.1″, 6.6″, and 6.8″ respectively.
The Galaxy S23 starts with just 128GB of slower UFS 3.1 storage, and it can only charge at 25W. In addition, at 3,900mAh, its battery is the smallest of the bunch, compared to the 4,700mAh and 5,000mAh batteries in the larger phones. This is unfortunate for people who prefer smaller phones because the two larger phones include 45W charging and 256GB of UFS 4.0 storage in their base configuration.
All three phones support modern connectivity standards such as Wi-Fi 6E and mmWave, including ultrasonic fingerprint sensors and face recognition for biometric authentication, and are protected by Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2. Of course, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the S Pen, which continues to keep the Note’s legacy alive and well and is included with the S23 Ultra.
The Software for the Samsung Galaxy S23 series
It’s based on Android 13, but as you might expect for a mid-generation bump, it only contains some slight changes, such as a new battery widget for all of your connected devices, AR filters, and changes to Samsung Notes simultaneously. For the most part, the S23’s software experience is as consistent as we’ve seen in previous launches. One UI 5.1 shipped on Samsung’s latest series first before rolling out to older models such as last year’s Z-series and all the various
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: Cameras
This year, Samsung’s largest phone is rocking its largest sensor yet. At 200MP, the S23 Ultra should be capable of capturing immense detail throughout a scene, though you’ll need to adjust your settings first. The Galaxy S23 Ultra might look the same as last year’s model, but don’t be fooled — it has some major changes that help upgrade those photography skills.
Our tests showed that pixel binning significantly helped to enhance low-light photography in even the darkest of environments. Sadly, motion can still create some issues with Samsung’s photo output, so you’ll need to be patient if you’re attempting to catch moving things.
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There are a lot of other enhancements that are coming from this next-gen hardware as well, such as the ability to shoot 8K video at 30FPS, which is an improvement from the previous year’s phones, which only recorded at 24FPS, and improved object-based AI detection.
As for the smaller S23 and S23+, Samsung has kept the same lens lineup as last year’s phones: a 50MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide lens capable of 120-degree shots, and a 10MP telephoto lens capable of 3x optical zoom and up to 30x digital zoom. The selfie cam, however, has been upgraded, moving from a 10MP lens to the same 12MP lens on the Ultra with support for Super HDR for higher-quality pictures.
Finally, professional photographers should take note that all three models come with Expert RAW settings incorporated directly into the software once the app is downloaded. This is a feature that you have been lobbying Samsung to have for years now.
When will the Samsung Galaxy S23 series be released, and at what cost?
Even though you’ve missed out on preorder deals, buying any of Samsung’s latest phones is easy — especially if you know where to look. We recommend our guide on where to buy the Galaxy S23 so you can find the right deal for you. Samsung launched all three of its Galaxy S23 smartphones on February 17th, just a couple of weeks after making the announcement on February 1st.
It’s great to see some stability in these prices, but regardless, Samsung’s lineup continues to be pretty pricey. The cheapest variant of the Galaxy S23 is priced at $800, the Galaxy S23+ is priced at $1,000, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra is priced at $1,200. These prices are all for the basic storage variants of each model, so expect to be spending more if you want higher specs on your phone.
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