7 min

Today Samsung announced two new product lines. Not only does the Galaxy line of smartphones get an update, there will also be a new line of the Galaxy Book. We were already able to take a closer look at the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy Book3. In this article, we discuss the Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra.

That Samsung introduces a new line of Galaxy S flagships at the beginning of a year is no surprise. It has been doing so for quite a while. For a while the announcement coincided with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but in recent years Samsung has been grabbing a moment before that big trade show. So today, the curtains come off the Galaxy S23. Like last year, there are three models. The Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+ and the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

TIP: In a separate article, we also discuss our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy Book3, Galaxy Book3 Pro, Galaxy Book3 360, Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 and Galaxy Book3 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+, S23 Ultra

We generally don’t notice too much about the appearance of smartphones, except when they are foldable like the Galaxy Flip and Fold. Other than that, smartphones actually all look broadly the same. With the Galaxy S23, however, we do notice something. Samsung clearly wants to keep the memory of the Galaxy Note line alive. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra not only has the characteristic pen inside the body, it also looks completely different from the S23 and S23+. It has overwhelmingly retained the looks of the Galaxy Note line.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ look like two peas in a pod, except for the form factor. For fans of the slightly smaller phone, the S23 is an excellent option. We don’t have huge hands, but the S23 holds very comfortably. The S23+ is already a bit more for lovers of the larger sizes. Finally, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is still a hefty punch bigger. Below you can see them side by side. For fans of diagonals, the S23 has a screen of 6.1 inches, the S23+ of 6.6 inches and the S23 Ultra of 6.8 inches.

By the way, a Samsung spokesperson also made a striking statement about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra during the session. He expects it to do best in terms of sales initially. According to him, that is always the case. In the first period after its launch, the largest variant accounts for about 50 percent of sales. The other 50 percent is divided between the other two formats. He also notes that the smallest size does significantly better than the middle size. So people want big or small, not something in between.

With the Galaxy S23, the above prediction or expectation may not come true. Indeed, these days it also came out that, based on Samsung’s own figures, the smartphone market does not look very good at all. Customers are keeping a tight rein on their purses. It remains to be seen whether these customers are willing they take their hands off their purses, and if they do will they go for the most expensive model, or buy something more modest.

Notable features of the Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+, S23 Ultra

We are not going to go through all the specs of the devices one by one in this article. If you want to read all of them, you can go to the lists of specs we have inserted below. We pick out a few that we think are interesting.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is still clearly inspired by the Galaxy Note devices of the past.

Wi-Fi 6E is the standard

First of all, it is good to see that Wifi 6E has actually become the standard, at least for models in this segment of the market. All models in the Galaxy S23 line support this most recent standard. Last year, by the way, they also did. We will see with the new Galaxy Book3 series that Wifi 6E is there in almost every model.

We also signaled this trend in our extensive article on Wifi 6E. The adoption of Wifi 6e (and of Wifi 6) is much faster than of Wifi 5, which is a good thing as far as we are concerned. Especially the presence of the 6GHz band in Wifi 6E is very nice. That’s a part of the spectrum with little to no interference. It’s just a shame that for now the full 6GHz spectrum is not available in Europe. We have to make do with about half here.

Batteries are bigger (on the Galaxy S23 and S23+)

Another notable fact is that the battery capacity of the Galaxy 23 and S23+ has been increased. Whereas the Galaxy S22 and S22+ still had to make do with 3700 mAh and 4500 mAh, respectively, it is now 3900 mAh and 4700 mAh. Like its counterpart from the S22 line, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a battery capacity of 5000 mAh.

Combined with the new processor (you can read more about below), the larger batteries in the S23 and S23+ should provide significantly better battery life. This was also necessary, as last year’s S22 and S22+ were not standouts in this area. Actually, most high-end Samsungs of the past few years have not been best in terms of battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the new 200MP wide-angle camera

Cameras have been what many smartphone manufacturers have been all about for several years. Samsung’s new Galaxy S23 line also has another novelty in this regard. On the S23 Ultra the company has incorporated the very recently announced in-house developed 200MP sensor. This is one of five sensors on it, has a wide angle of 85 degrees and a high light sensitivity of F1.7.

By the way, this 200MP sensor is not just for Samsung’s own smartphones. The company is reportedly going to sell them to other OEMs as well. So there is a chance that we will come across this sensor on more smartphones.

Finally a Qualcomm Snapdragon

As far as we are concerned, the biggest change in the Galaxy S23 line from the series that came before it is the SoC that Samsung has put in the S23s. This is no longer an Exynos chip from its own factories. In all three models you will find a Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 2.

As far as we are concerned, the importance of this switch is not so much in better performance in terms of benchmarks. The new SoC should make the devices work more efficiently than was possible with the Exynos chips, which were reported to be quite hungry when it came to power consumption. Therefore, combined with the larger batteries, we expect a marked difference from previous generations in terms of battery life. Let’s hope that the “for Galaxy” suffix to this iteration of the Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 2 chip does not mean that it runs on unnecessarily high clock speeds. If so, all potential gains might well be lost.

256GB becomes the standard

A final notable specification of the Samsung Galaxy S23 line is the standard storage space. By its own admission, photos and (8K) movies are taking up more and more space. Hence, Samsung has decided to stop offering the 128GB variant for the S23+ and S23 Ultra. The S23 still has this option, for whatever reason.

We don’t quite understand why the S23 still has a 128GB option. At the end of the day, it’s mostly a natural progression of technology that allows for more and more transistors on the same surface area. That’s the main reason why the storage capacity of smartphones and other devices is going up. You put in the larger capacity because it is available. Why this was apparently not done for the S23, which has the same camera setup as the S23+ and thus potentially needs just as much storage, eludes us. Perhaps it was done to tap a specific magic price point for the entry-level model of the entire series.

Just for completeness, here are the storage options (and RAM options) for the Galaxy S23 models, where the first number of each set represents RAM, the second represents internal storage:

  • S23: 8 + 128 GB; 8 + 256 GB; 8 + 512 GB
  • S23+: 8 + 256 GB; 8 + 512 GB
  • S23 Ultra: 8 + 256 GB; 12 + 256 GB; 12 + 512 GB; 12 GB + 1 TB

Pricing and availability

Finally, there are pricing and availability.

The new Galaxy S23 devices are available immediately from carriers, retailers and via Samsung.com. The Galaxy 23 is available from €949, the Galaxy S23+ from €1199 and the Galaxy S23 Ultra from €1399. What you end up paying depends on the configuration you choose. To indicate the bandwidth, the Galaxy Ultra with 12 GB of RAM and a storage capacity of 1 TB should cost €1819.

Here are the specs sheets of the three models for completeness, starting with the Galaxy S23 and S23+ (click up for readable version):

And here the specifications of the Galaxy S23 Ultra (again, click up for readability):