Samsung Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Ultra First Impressions: Mild upgrades for big gains?
The Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Ultra don’t tinker with the previous formula, except for the absolute necessary ones.
Samsung has just shown off the Galaxy S23 series and straight up, it is evident that Samsung has done exactly what Apple did with the iPhone 14 last year; except that Samsung is using the latest chip on all models. The Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 Ultra use the much hyped enhanced Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip as part of the Snapdragon for Galaxy initiative. Other than that, a few tweaks here and some mild updates there make the Galaxy S23 series fresh enough to let Samsung call it a day. Is this good or a missed opportunity?
That's a question that will make me work hard for the next few weeks to answer. But until we have the devices with us, I spent some time with these three phones ahead of the Galaxy Unpacked event and Samsung has coloured me impressed! The Galaxy S23 series seems to get it all right this time.
Galaxy S23 series: Does it look new?
mobile to buy?
These phones are new in the same way the iPhone 14 Pro is new. The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus ditch the camera hump and get the new “camera island” design that caught everyone's fancy on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. With this minor design change and the light pastel colour shades, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus look fresh. The phones are built nicely as ever but Samsung's use of a glossy sideframe enhances the “premium feel”. These two are the new bling machines to flaunt in the town!
Then there's the Galaxy S23 Ultra that looks just like the older model. Look closely though and the enhanced camera lenses as well as the flatter sides are evident for S22 Ultra regulars. The S Pen sits in the same spot as before and Samsung continues to use the “Note-esque” rectangular shape for this phone.
Both phones use the new Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for better drop protection, and the Armor Aluminum returns as the choice of the metal on the sides. Nothing changes for the water and dust protection here.
Galaxy S23 series: Not all is same, right?
That's right. The new 2023 models have enough new bits to justify an upgrade, some of which could be tempting for existing customers.
- The Galaxy S23 series uses the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip with a boosted CPU core. This is part of the Snapdragon for Galaxy initiative, offering enhanced Qualcomm chips for the Samsung flagships this year. Samsung promises larger gains here for gamers and overall power efficiency.
- Performance is the focus this year. Samsung is using AI based performance optimisation to ensure the best performance stability while gaming and the improved vapor chamber for cooling helps with keeping it all under control. Games can now also utilise the support for native ray tracing support.
- The Galaxy S23 Ultra has the same 6.8-inch QHD+ AMOLED display with variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz. However, there's a new Adaptive Vision Booster this year that keeps the picture contrast consistent automatically across three brightness levels.
- While the Galaxy S23 Ultra has the same 5000mAh battery, the Galaxy S23 gets a bigger 3900mAh capacity battery and the Galaxy S23 Plus gets a 4700mAh capacity battery. Samsung promises up to 22 percent improvement in battery life. This is a big upgrade over the Galaxy S22 series.
- The Galaxy S23 Ultra gets the new ISOCELL HP2 200MP sensor and Samsung promises better image clarity and low light videography this time. A quick shooting spree in the demo area shows much improved colour science for still photos and videos in indoor lighting. More on this in our full review.
- Samsung is also bringing a new Astrophotography mode as well as a new Pro mode allowing for 16-bit RAW photos and 50MP full resolution photos. All the modes that we will test thoroughly over the course of time.
- All Galaxy S23 series models have the same four colours – Black, Cream, Lavender and Green. No special colours of the Galaxy S23 Ultra yet.
Galaxy S23 series India pricing
Samsung is yet to announce this officially but we expect Samsung to boost the prices marginally this year owing to the increasing component costs.
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