Samsung’s latest and greatest flagship Android smartphones for 2023 have finally been unveiled after months of leaks and speculation. The Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra are officially launching this month, here’s everything you need to know about these upcoming additions to Samsung’s ever-expanding Galaxy smartphone series.
Samsung Galaxy S23 at a glance
- S23, 6.1-inch / S23+, 6.6-inch / S23 Ultra, 6.8-inch
- Upgrades to processor, battery and cameras
- Minimal design change to S23, no change to S23 Ultra
- 200MP main sensor on S23 Ultra
- More expensive
Samsung Galaxy S23: release date
Samsung has confirmed today at its Galaxy Unpacked event that the Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra will go on sale on 17th February. We'd advise you to wait for our full review before committing, but if you’re especially eager to get your hands on one of the new Samsung Galaxy phones, you can pre-order now on Samsung’s official website (opens in new tab).
Samsung Galaxy S23 price
Unfortunately, Samsung has raised its prices for the S23 range, and not by a little bit. Here are the full details:
And here’s how those prices compare to last year’s Galaxy S22 range:
- S23: £849 (128GB) / £899 (256GB)
- S23+: £1049 (256GB) / £1149 (512GB)
- S23 Ultra:£1249 (256GB) / £1399 (512GB) / £1599 (1TB)
And here’s how those prices compare to those of last year’s Galaxy S22 range:
- S22: £769 / $799 / AU$1249 (128GB) and £819 / $849 / AU$1349 (256GB)
- S22+: £949 / $999 / AU$1549 (128GB) or £999 / AU$1649 (256GB)
- S22 Ultra: £1149 / $1199 / AU$1849 (128GB), £1249 / AU$1999 (256GB), £1329 / AU$2149 (512GB) or AU$2449 (1TB)
Samsung Galaxy S23: design
As predicted, this year’s trio of Galaxy phones share an uncanny resemblance to last year’s models. The S23 Ultra looks nearly identical to its predecessor, with a 6.8-inch AMOLED display and matte back glass with separated camera lenses, each in a colour-matched aluminium ring. Samsung says the glass on the front of the display, now Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for added durability, curves over the edges slightly more, but that’s very much splitting hairs. As with the S22, the S23 comes with an S-Pen stylus, which tucks neatly away into the device and can be popped out of the bottom of the frame when needed.
The S23 and S23+, on the other hand, do feature a redesigned camera module that looks like the Ultra’s, so there’s now a consistent design language across all three models. Other than that, it's the 6.1-inch standard model and 6.6-inch plus variant that we’re used to, with the slightly flatter metal rails introduced on last year’s phones, and matte glass rear panels. These new phones do feature a few new colours, however, with all three devices coming in four shades: Phantom Black, Cream, Lavender and Green.
Samsung Galaxy S23: display
We’re having some serious deja vu with the S23 series, especially when it comes to the display. Samsung has outfitted the S23 range with nearly identical screens to those of last year’s models. So that’s a 6.1-inch 1080x2340 (442ppi) display on the S23, a 6.6-inch 1080x2340 (390ppi) display on the S23+, and a 6.8-inch 1440x3080 (500ppi) screen on the top-of-the-range S23 Ultra.
In keeping with last year’s models, the S23 and S23 Plus will once again be stuck with variable refresh rates of 48-120Hz – only the S23 Ultra benefits from an LPTO display capable of scaling from 1-120Hz.
While it's nothing new from Samsung, the S23 range sharing displays with the S22 models bodes well in some ways, as the S22 Ultra received high praise from us thanks to its stunning high-spec screen. Samsung is known for punchy, sharp and vivid displays, and our recent hands-on suggests there’s been no significant deviation from this broadly winning formula.
Samsung Galaxy S23: camera
Much like Apple’s iPhone 14, this year is all about camera upgrades while practically everything else stays the same. The big news here is that the S23 Ultra comes with a frankly mindblowing 200MP main camera. The camera of last year’s S22 Ultra could boast ‘only’ 108MP. Samsung says the new sensor takes smartphone photography to a whole new level, with sharp and detail-rich images, and it's even capable of capturing 8K video at 30 frames per second. It uses Samsung’s Super Quad Pixel technology to combine four adjacent pixels and detect differences across the image for faster and more accurate focus.
Otherwise, the S23 Ultra is retaining the other 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto and 10MP periscope cameras of before, so it's only the rear camera’s main sensor that’s receiving a major upgrade.
The front-facing selfie cameras get a boost though, with a new 12MP camera on all three models. Samsung says that this new camera produces crisp and clear selfies, with Super HDR tech boosting colours. The S23 and S23+ appear to retain their 50MP sensors from last year’s models, with software upgrades doing most of the work when it comes to this year’s changes.
That includes being able to shoot in Expert RAW for shooting uncompressed images, as well as a host of new Nightography low-light options, including an Astrophoto mode for capturing authentic and high-quality images of the night sky – fitting for the Galaxy moniker.
- The one to beat: here's our iPhone 14 Pro Max review
Samsung Galaxy S23: performance
Samsung’s latest Android flagships feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy processor, which is a custom version of the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This “for Galaxy” variant apparently features a slightly higher clock speed, so the S23 should be one of the most responsive Android smartphones.
Samsung highlights the S23 series’ gaming chops, with this new processor allowing for faster graphics rendering than last year’s S22. You may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned the dreaded Exynos European variant here, and that’s because Samsung has axed it in favour of standardised Snapdragon processing across all regions – a major win for Samsung phone buyers outside America.
Battery performance is also getting a boost on the S23 and S23+, with an additional 200mAh added to both. The S23 has a 3900mAh battery, while the S23+ gets a 4700mAh cell. The S23 Ultra, though, is sticking with the 5000mAh battery from last year. This should mean that the S23 will make it comfortably through a day of use without having to resort to serious battery saving measures, although the massive, high resolution and refresh rate screen on the Ultra may demand more juice to keep it running - however its adaptive refresh rate technology makes it more efficient than it may seem.
Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra: the early verdict
The S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra continue the trend of minimal changes, spec bumps and higher price tags that we’re slowly coming to expect from major smartphone releases of late. While it doesn’t appear to be getting anything wrong, and in fact has a host of frankly top-notch specs, it's also not really doing anything new or exciting.
However, with the promise of a sharp, fast and bold AMOLED screen on any model that you buy, and zippy performance from a top-of-the-line new processor, we’re still looking forward to seeing what the S23 can really do. Expect a full review of these devices coming soon. In the meantime, check out our early impressions in our Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra hands-on.
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