The latest Samsung Galaxy has finally dropped, and it offers an exciting upgrade. The overall lineup of the Samsung Galaxy S23 is similar to what we’ve seen in the past. It received a few impressive improvements, like a bigger battery and a faster processor. The camera on the S23 Ultra also got a big update, especially for nighttime photographers.
Let’s take a look at everything the 2023 Galaxy phone has to offer and how you can grab one.
The Samsung S23 Lineup
The lineup for this next Galaxy phone is mostly the same as the S22 collection. You’ll find a standard model, a “plus” model and an Ultra. In typical fashion, the S23+ has a larger screen than the standard model but with similar features. The S23 Ultra is a beefed-up version of the standard models. It has a high-powered camera, Samsung’s S Pen stylus and other hardware upgrades.
We’ll dive into the details later, but here’s a quick overview of the S23 lineup:
- Samsung S23: The standard model has a moderate 6.1-inch screen. It comes in 128-gigabyte (GB) and 256GB varieties. As the base model, it doesn’t have all the fanciest features. It still offers the exceptional flagship experience we expect from Samsung.
- Samsung S23+: The S23+ is good for anyone who likes the larger view but doesn’t need all the bells and whistles of an Ultra. It comes with a 6.6-inch screen. Samsung has bumped up the base storage to offer 256GB and 512GB options.
- Samsung S23 Ultra: Samsung’s Ultra models offer better cameras and display tech. They also have some other perks. If you like the sound of a stylus, the S23 Ultra is compatible with Samsung’s S Pens. This next Galaxy looks pretty similar to the S22 versions with a 6.8-inch screen. Storage options include 256GB, 512GB and 1 terabyte (TB). The S23 Ultra also comes in an option with 12GB of memory for some extra oomph in demanding situations.
No matter which option you go with, expect an all-day battery and a speedy new processor. You’ll also get great water resistance and a slew of software features like Samsung Pay and stellar photo processing.
Color options include Lavender, Green, Phantom Black and Cream. Samsung’s gone with a gentler, subdued palette this year. Lavender is a light purple, while Cream is more of a warm beige. Even Green is a more desaturated tone. These muted colors pair well with the matte finish of the phones. There are also limited quantities of Graphite and Lime editions for all models and an additional limited Red and Sky Blue edition for the S23.
Samsung S23 Release Date and Price
As it does most years, Samsung announced the S23 in February. It held an announcement event on Feb. 1 and revealed the new Galaxy S23. The new Samsung phones hit shelves a few weeks later, with most colors available as early as Feb. 17. The Samsung S23 Ultra release date is about the same.
Here’s how Samsung priced the S23’s debut lineup:
- Samsung S23: The 128GB model debuted at $799 to $859.
- Samsung S23+: The larger version of the Galaxy starts at $999 to $1,119, with a base storage option of 256GB.
- Samsung S23 Ultra: The high-powered Ultra model starts at $1,199 to $1,379. It offers twice the storage as the S22 Ultra, starting at 256GB.
These prices are in line with other flagship smartphones and about the same as last year’s. There are no big surprises here.
Samsung S23 Features
While the lineup looks pretty similar to the S22, let’s take a look under the hood. Overall, the S23 seems to opt for a lot of little upgrades rather than anything drastic. Well, besides the huge 200-megapixel (MP) camera in the Ultra.
The S23 looks pretty similar to the S22, with the same sizes. The biggest physical difference is the removal of the camera island. The island is the small bump that raises the camera lenses off the body of the phone. Instead, the individual lenses are raised up from an otherwise smooth camera body. The S22 Ultra already uses this design, and the S23 extended it to the standard models. It makes the phones look pretty sleek. All models use an armor aluminum frame. They’re also IP68 water resistant. They can take a quick dunk in up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.
Otherwise, the S23 phones follow dimensions similar to the S22 lineup. Here’s how they stack up:
- S23: The standard model has a 6.1-inch screen and weighs in at 168 grams.
- S23+: With a 6.6-inch screen, the hefty S23+ weighs 195 for the sub-6 model and 196 grams for the mmWave.
- S23 Ultra: The biggest of the bunch has a 6.8-inch screen and weighs 233 grams for the 6-sub and 234 grams for the mmWave.
These measurements are almost exactly the same as those of the S22 models. If you’re used to one of them, it shouldn’t feel like a drastically different phone.
Samsung also uses some recycled materials in the S23 lineup. Both the standard and Ultra models use recycled parts in the screen, backing and other areas.
The display of the S23 got a nice boost with extra brightness, but that’s the biggest change. The S23 models have the same AMOLED 2X display as the S22 phones. The standard and plus models stuck to the Full HD+ display. The Ultra got a higher-resolution Quad HD+ display. The Ultra model still has an Edge Screen that curves slightly along the sides.
Perhaps the flashiest update to the S23 display is more brightness. We measure brightness in nits. The S22 maxed out at about 982 nits, and the S22+ and S22 Ultra got over 1,200. All models of the S23 can go up to 1,750 nits, which is ideal for seeing your screen in bright light.
Gamers will also appreciate the updates made to the Samsung S23 Ultra specs. The screen is now optimized for immersive gaming with bright colors and smooth refresh rates.
Some rumors suggested we might see a lower minimum refresh rate. Putting lower rates on the standard models might improve battery life. Those predictions didn’t happen, as the S23 and S23+ still run on 48-120Hz adaptive refresh rates.
Another small rumor that didn’t pan out was a possible under-display camera. A few smartphones have tried this tech before, but it hasn’t been wildly successful. For now, Samsung’s sticking with the same punch-hole camera as the S22 models. This design isn’t very obtrusive, so it doesn’t seem too important to move away from it just yet.
One of the biggest upgrades in the new Galaxy lineup is the camera in the Ultra. Samsung recently announced a new ISOCELL HP2 sensor, which it put to use in the S23 Ultra. This sensor offers a whopping 200 megapixels. It uses improved technology to get crisp photos in different lighting scenarios. It manages to offer these capabilities without adding more height to the camera system.
Two exciting features we see with the HP2 sensor are Super QPD and improvements to 8K video recording. Super QPD enables faster, more accurate autofocusing, particularly in low-light environments. Samsung also adapted its technology to improve the field of view when filming 8K video. It should help you capture more in every shot. These upgrades can help you get crisp, clear cinematic videos.
Overall, the HP2 sensor adds a slew of high-end camera capabilities, including nighttime photography features, but they’re only in the S23 Ultra. The cameras on the S23 and S23+ have stayed mostly the same.
On the standard models, we have the same triple-lens system. Like the S22, you’ll get a 50MP wide-angle camera and a 12MP ultra-wide camera. The selfie camera got a nice little bump from 10MP to 12MP. The S23 and S23+ also have 10MP telephoto lenses.
The S22 Ultra upgrades the 50MP main camera to 108MP. The S23 Ultra ramps things up with the 200MP sensor instead. Like its predecessor, it has an additional 10MP telephoto lens to power the 100x digital zoom. This larger sensor can zoom in on faraway subjects without losing quality. Interestingly enough, the S23 Ultra downgraded the front camera from 40MP to 12MP. Still, Samsung’s software and sensors should make up for the difference.
Overall, the name of the game for Galaxy photography is “nighttime.” Samsung has beefed up its performance in a few important low-light areas, offering:
- Nightography: Improved artificial intelligence (AI) helps you get detailed, bright and vibrant photos. You can now get them even in the dark.
- Steady nighttime video: The new sensor in the Ultra makes it easy to get sharp, steady footage when recording at night.
- Night selfies: Samsung improved the front camera with Dual Pixel technology. It can now focus faster in low light for better evening selfies. It works on video, too.
- Night portrait: The Ultra can blur backgrounds and keep your subject in sharp focus. It offers a more artistic shot, regardless of the lighting.
- Powerful wide-angle cameras: The 50MP camera in the S23 and S23+ can help you get super high-quality photos. You can zoom in and find all-new photos hidden in the details. Hefty cropping still looks nice and sharp.
- Expert RAW: Know your way around photo editing? The RAW format is great for professional editing. It’s also good for taking pictures of the night sky. You can even use it to create artistic shots with multiple exposures.
- Photo remastering: With the Photo Remaster feature, you can improve dark, blurry or low-resolution photos.
- Astrophotography: The high-powered camera in the Ultra is perfect for astrophotography. You can take simple shots of the stars or take hyperlapses. A hyperlapse records the movement of the stars over time. The result is an artistic shot of streaky stars moving over the landscape.
If you’re a night owl, the Galaxy S23 cameras could help you level up your photo game.
The big news on internal components is the new custom processor built just for the Galaxy lineup. It offers some big performance upgrades and helps separate Galaxy phones from other Androids. Samsung says the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy should offer faster graphics and computing performance. It’s also optimized to improve battery life.
Other spec upgrades in the S23 lineup include:
- More storage: Samsung added a few new storage options. The S23+ starts at 256GB, offering double the storage for the same price. You can also choose a phone with 512GB of space.
- Cooling tech: Galaxy S22 models can get hot. They often heat up under stress from demanding tasks like gaming. The new graphics system in the processor should help the S23 phones stay cool during this kind of use. This change is especially helpful for power users.
Many Samsung users hoped for a satellite-based emergency tool. Apple unveiled such a feature in the iPhone 14. Some rumors even suggested that Samsung would expand on satellite connections. They suggested using it for texting and other messages rather than just emergencies. Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the case in the S23.
If you want a phone that uses the S Pen, you’ll need to spring for the Ultra. The S Pen slides into a holder at the bottom of the phone. It even has a remote shutter button for taking pictures.
Overall, it looks like efficiency was a significant focus for Samsung this time around. Small changes all over the phone should help increase battery life and speed.
We got a small but pleasant boost to battery sizes across the S23 collection. The standard models got a modest bump of 200 milliamp-hours (mAh). The S23 and S23+ have 3,900 mAh and 4,700 mAh batteries, respectively. The Ultra models have the same sized batteries as they did in the S22 lineup.
According to Samsung, you can get up to 22, 27 and 26 hours of video playback on the S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra, respectively.
The battery size doesn’t get much of a boost, but the real-world life span should improve. These benefits mostly come from the efficiency-focused processor. The display is also more efficient to help increase the life of the new Galaxy phones.
Charging looks fairly similar to that of the S22. You can use a 25-watt (W) charger with the S23 and a 45W charger with the S23+ and S23 Ultra. These wattages are enough to power Samsung’s Super Fast Charging. Wireless charging and PowerShare have stuck around.
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