Samsung officially unveiled the next generation of Galaxy—the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra—during its Unpacked 2023 event on Feb. 1. As you might have gleaned from social media, however, the company wasn’t exactly the first to reveal these phones. Leakers spoiled the fun already, and embargoed previews went live shortly before Unpacked.
Still, the phones are now here, so let’s see what’s new.
How the S23 devices compare
The S23 and S23+ are essentially the same phone, minus a few details. The S23 has a 6.1-inch 1080p OLED display and a 3,900 mAh battery, while the S23+ has a 6.6-inch 1080p OLED display with a 4,700 mAh battery. The S23+ also has a 45W peak when fast charging, while the S23 has a 25W peak, so the S23+ can charge more quickly. Both displays have a peak brightness of 1,750 nits (1,200 nits for HDR), and an adaptive refresh rate of 48 to 120Hz. Both phones come with 8GB of RAM at all storage tiers, which include 128GB (S23 only), 256GB, and 512GB.
The S23 Ultra, on the other hand, has a larger 6.8-inch 1440 OLED display. While its brightness stats are the same, it has an adaptive refresh rate of one to 120Hz. It sports a 5,000 mAh battery, but that doesn’t mean it has the longest battery life. Samsung gives that crown to the S23+: The company rates the S23+ as 27 hours of video playback, while the S23 Ultra has 26 hours (the S23 has 22). It sports 12GB RAM at 1TB of storage, 12GB RAM at 512GB storage, and 8GB RAM at 256GB. It also supports up to 45W of fast charging.
It’s all about the cameras
All three phones now use a 12MP front-facing camera (which can especially help capture better night selfies and selfie videos), a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and 10MP telephoto camera, but only the S23 Ultra has digital zoom up to 10x (the others only have digital zoom up to 3x). The S23 and S23+ have a 50MP wide-angle camera, but the big news is on the S23 Ultra, which now has a 200MP wide angle sensor, the largest ever offered from Samsung.
No matter which phone you pick, you can shoot in 4K Super HDR at 60 fps on both the rear and front cameras. The rear cameras can shoot 8K at 30 fps, if you happen to have an 8K TV or monitor to view those videos on.
Samsung took time to highlight the new camera technology and software features. For example, when lighting is low, 16 pixels can combine into either four or one larger pixel to capture more detail. There’s also Clean View, which removes UI when recording video. Photo Remaster can save a low-quality shot, while GIF Remaster spruces up low quality GIFs, which will make you a favorite in the group chat. The company is especially proud of Astro Hyperlapse, which helps you capture better night shots of the sky using Expert RAW.
The camera is also smart enough to separate different objects from one another. For example, when taking a portrait shot, the phone should tell the difference between your face and your glasses, in an effort to get the details right in the final product.
Other S23 details
All Galaxy S23 devices use the same new chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. All three devices come in the same four standard colors: Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, and Cream. If you buy online, you can get an S23, S23+, or S23 Ultra in Lime and Graphite, as well as Red and Sky Blue on S23 Ultra.
Samsung is promising four years of OS updates with these devices, and five years of security updates. To anyone who buys one this year, you can expect to receive software updates through 2027, and security patches through 2028.
The phones are available for purchase starting Feb. 17. The S23 starts at $799.99, the S23+ starts at $999, and the Ultra starts at $1,199.99.
The bottom line on the Galaxy S23
The S23 line is mostly an iterative update. The S22 line was impressive, and the S23 simply builds on top of those accolades. The 200MP camera in the S23 Ultra is certainly impressive, and will likely take some great shots, but it might not be enough to justify an upgrade from last year’s phones (although, year-over-year updates are usually not necessary).
If you’ve been meaning to upgrade your older Android or iPhone to a new Galaxy, it seems like any of the S23s will be a good choice. We’ll have to wait for full reviews to know for sure, but based on the stats, Samsung is likely offering another set of solid smartphones.
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