Samsung Galaxy S23 review - smaller, cleaner and more powerful

1 month ago 27

Early Verdict

Our aboriginal verdict is that Samsung whitethorn person done capable to update the looks and components to nutrient a palm-friendly Android winner


  • +

    A caller look

  • +

    The bespoke Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

  • +

    Small and acceptable to go


  • -

    Not antithetic enough

  • -

    Should person a 108MP sensor

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Samsung Galaxy S23: Two-minute preview

Samsung's eagerly-anticipated flagship, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is here, and it ticks virtually each container of leaked accusation retired determination astir it.

As anticipated, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus some dropped the contour. In Samsung's newest handset line, the S23 series, the raised spot of metallic surrounding the camera array is gone. It's a cleaner look that makes this 6.1-inch phone, and its larger 6.6-inch sibling, look a batch much similar the remainder of the smartphone pack. You tin work our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review and our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review for much connected those phones.

The communicative of the Samsung Galaxy S23, though, is not truthful overmuch the cleaned-up looks arsenic it is what is present wrong of it. All 3 of Samsung's caller flagship phones diagnostic the caller Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy.

It's a nifty, bespoke sanction that defines 1 small spot of peculiar condiment wrong these Android 13 handsets: each the mobile CPUs are overclocked to what whitethorn beryllium an industry-leading 3.36 GHz. Do you request that benignant of powerfulness successful a smartphone, particularly erstwhile the existent and erstwhile generations of Qualcomm and Apple mobile CPUs already connection much powerfulness than astir phones tin use? It's conceivable the other powerfulness could mean amended 8K 30 fps capture, smoother gaming, and much almighty CPU-intensive operations similar 8K video editing.

In my constricted hands-on determination wasn't clip to trial oregon benchmark that performance. Still, that CPU is cardinal to the ongoing communicative of the Samsung Galaxy S23 lineup which includes the Galaxy S23, the Galaxy S23 Plus, and the bold Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus (foreground) and Galaxy S23. (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Instead of taking the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's awesome camera array and 1080MP sensor and migrating it down to the caller Galaxy S23 enactment portion the caller S23 Ultra gets a 200MP sensor, Samsung opted to permission the S23 camera array mostly unchanged. It's inactive a 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and a 10MP optically stabilized 3X optical zoom camera. The beforehand camera is present 12MP alternatively of the 40MP that fto you sprout 10MP 4-in-1- pixel-binned photos. Samsung is claiming amended photography mostly done the powerfulness of the upgraded CPU and its much almighty AI features. 

While successful nary mode a definitive test, I was impressed with the camera performance.

Like the cameras, Samsung didn't fiddle overmuch with the 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O FHD+ display. There's inactive an ultrasonic fingerprint scholar underneath and the selfie camera drill done adjacent the top. Everything inactive looks agleam and colorful. Samsung did up the adaptive refresh complaint capabilities truthful present they measurement each the mode down to 1hz and inactive spell up to a buttery-smooth 120hz.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is, successful astir ways that matter, a duplicate of the larger Galaxy S23 Plus. But determination are immoderate cardinal differences.

Samsung kept the dimensions virtually unchanged since the S22, but the Galaxy S23 is not conscionable smaller than the S23 Plus.

Inside the beauteous Gorilla Glass Victus 2 (brushed back, glossy front) and Armor Aluminum assemblage is the Samsung Qualcomm spot but fractional the basal retention (128GB to start) and a smaller battery. At slightest the 3,900 mAh artillery is 200 mAh larger than that of the Galaxy S22. The S23 besides lacks the Plus' improved cooling strategy and UWB (ultra-wideband).

As it stands, this isn't a must-upgrade flagship, but it could beryllium conscionable the close price, size, and much than capable show and camera capabilities from idiosyncratic looking to leap connected the Samsung Galaxy bandwagon.

I'll withhold last judgement until the afloat review

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Price and availability

  • Starts astatine $799.99 / £769 / AU$1,249
  • Same terms arsenic past year
  • Will we beryllium wishing determination were much improvements?

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Samsung Galaxy S23 prices
RAM / StorageUS priceUK priceAU price

Samsung launched the Samsung Galaxy S23 (along with the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra) and February 1. The handset is disposable for pre-order present and volition vessel connected February 17.

At $799.99 / £769 / $1,249, pricing connected the Galaxy S23 Plus remains unchanged since past year. Considering the caller design, upgraded materials, and that powerful, customized Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, this is bully news. On the different hand, you mightiness look astatine each you get with the larger (and much expensive) Galaxy S23 Plus and wonderment wherefore you didn't spell for the other retention and bigger display.

Your caput mightiness adjacent beryllium turned by the Galaxy 23 Ultra, which offers much representation (12GB), the anticipation of up to 1TB of storage, and that 200MP representation sensor.

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23  (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Specs

The Samsung Galaxy S23 comes successful 2 retention variations, 128GB and 256GB, some volition person 8GM of RAM.

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The specs of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Samsung Galaxy S23 128 GBSamsung Galaxy S23 256 GB
Price:$799.99 / £769 / AU$1,249$849 / £819 / AU$1,349
Dimensions:70.86 x 146.3 x 7.62 mm70.86 x 146.3 x 7.62 mm
OS:Android 13Android 13
Screen Size:6.1 inch6.1 inch
Resolution:2316 x 1080 pixels2316 x 1080 pixels
CPU:Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 2 Mobile Platform for GalaxyQualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy
Battery:3,900 mAh3,900 mAh
Rear Cameras:50MP Wide, 12MP Ultrawide, 10MP telepoto50MP Wide, 12MP Ultrawide, 10MP telepoto
Front Camera:12MP12MP

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S23 lineup. (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Design

  • The contour is gone and a cleaner look is in
  • Excellent look, feel, and materials
  • Nice Gorilla Glass update

Even though Samsung dropped the signature contour, that land of raised metallic that surrounded the S22's camera array, it manages to support astir of the different elements unchanged

Without the contour, the Galaxy S23's 3 rear cameras interval connected the precocious near broadside of the 6.1-inch brushed solid Gorilla Glass Victus 2 back. The beforehand is besides Gorilla Glass Victus 2, but glossy alternatively of brushed.

It's a acquainted and classy look that I deliberation I like.

At 70.86 x 146.3 x 7.62 mm the Galaxy S23 is fundamentally the aforesaid size and value (168g). It's a nice, airy small telephone that, acknowledgment to the somewhat curved metallic set that encompasses the device, felt bully successful my hand. Perhaps not coincidentally, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is astir the nonstop aforesaid size arsenic my iPhone 14 Pro.

There are immoderate different insignificant structural adjustments similar the powerfulness and measurement buttons moving a spot little and the antenna bands shifting astir a bit.

The bottommost of the telephone looks beauteous overmuch the aforesaid arsenic the S22 with a centered USB-C port, mic holes, a talker grill, and, yes, a carnal SIM slot.

For the archetypal time, immoderate outer portions of the instrumentality are made, successful part, from recycled materials, including the measurement and powerfulness buttons and the talker grill astatine the precise apical of the display. In addition, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 includes immoderate recycled solid and immoderate of the phone's packaging is made from recycled materials. Even the integrative screen you'll peel disconnected the surface is partially recycled.

There is besides a bully postulation of colors to take from. I saw Cream, Phantom Black, Lavender, and Green. There volition beryllium further exclusive colors, similar Red, disposable lone done

The full enactment of Galaxy S23 devices are IP68 rated, which means a driblet successful h2o and particulate should not fuss immoderate of them.

Samsung Galaxy S23 DO NOT USE BEFORE FEB 1 1PM

Samsung Galaxy S23 (left) and Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus (right) (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Display

Since the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus stock astir the nonstop aforesaid Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O FHD+ display, the S23 does outdo the S23 Plus exemplary connected pixels per inch: 425ppi vs. 393ppi

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus's 6.1-inch surface is level and has the tiniest achromatic bezel surrounding it. It's besides big, agleam (max nits of 1,750), and responsive. The default Adaptive refresh complaint mates the surface refresh needs to your enactment (or deficiency of it) down to 1hz. I noticed creaseless scrolling question and enactment successful the YouTube videos I played. The telephone besides inactive supports 240Hz touch-sampling for speedy gaming response. Again, not thing I could test.

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23 show (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

I tried turning disconnected the Adaptive refresh complaint (it's connected by default) successful settings and noticed that the surface scrolling was different. Not atrocious conscionable not rather arsenic smooth.

The phone's adaptive brightness strategy present includes much steps to decently set for your assorted viewing environments. This was thing that was hard to spot successful my little hands-on experience.

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23 show settings (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23 camera array (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

At first, I thought the lenses connected the tri-camera array were larger than those connected the Galaxy S22 but I deliberation that was an optical illusion created by removing the raised metallic astir them.

The lenses look to beryllium astir precisely the aforesaid arsenic those we had connected the S22. I privation Samsung had decided to determination the Galaxy S22 Ultra's astonishing camera strategy down to the basal S23 line, but nary specified luck.

At slightest they're each backed up by a caller representation processor connected the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

The 3 main rear cameras are: 

  • 50MP (OIS), f1.8 wide
  • 12MP, f2.2 ultrawide
  • 10MP(OIS), f2.4 telephoto (3X)

In my little acquisition with these cameras, I was pleased with the result.

I utilized each lens to instrumentality photos of a studio, including plants, fake flowers, books, and myself. 

The photos each looked good, clear, and color-accurate. The item successful each was good. You'll sprout astir of your photos with the 50MP main wide-angle camera which shoots, fundamentally 12MP photos with 4-to-1 pixel binning. You tin take to sprout successful 50MP mode, which is simply a tad slow, and past you'll spot a batch much item successful each photo.

The camera show was identical to that of the Galaxy S23 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 DO NOT USE BEFORE FEB 1 1PM

The Samsung Galaxy S23 selfie camera (Image credit: Future)

Samsung is promising improved Nightography. To trial lowlight performance, I took immoderate photos of integrative lemons from nether a dense blanket. The effect was amended than I expected.

On the beforehand is simply a caller 12MP camera. That's a alteration from the 40MP selfie camera that automatically changeable successful 10MP 4-to-1 pixel binning mode. I took bully selfies successful regular and representation mode.

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Performance and audio

  • Promises of industry-leading performance
  • Early interactions were creaseless and peppy

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus (and each S23 devices) are moving the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy, a bespoke mentation of the modular mobile CPU overclocked to 3.36GHz.

Obviously, I couldn't benchmark the telephone to verify that number. Even so, I tin study that the telephone was responsive. I look guardant to much tests erstwhile I get my hands connected a reappraisal unit.

To get a sampling of the S23's audio prowess, I played a Youtube video of the caller Dungeons and Dragons trailer, which looks similar fun, by the way. It was louder than expected (everyone turned to look astatine me). I lowered the measurement a spot and was impressed with the stereo audio. Dolby Atmos, which you tin adhd done settings, added a spot to the vibrancy and clarity.

The full Galaxy S23 enactment is 5G-capable. I did not effort to marque a call.

One happening Samsung is not presently touting is immoderate benignant of outer connectivity. Given the existent competitory environment, that's a small surprising. Apple, for instance, introduced Emergency SOS via Satellite with the iPhone 14 enactment and Qualcomm showed however a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 -equipped demo instrumentality could send and person texts implicit satellite

Both the S23 and S23 Plus brace the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with the X70 5G modem, the aforesaid 1 Qualcomm told maine is susceptible of Satellite communications.

However, Samsung is truthful acold mum astir those capabilities connected the Galaxy S23 line. Maybe they'll airy it up aboriginal this twelvemonth with a bundle update and immoderate bearer support.

Samsung Galaxy S23 video

Samsung Galaxy S23 video (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Software

The full Samsung Galaxy S23 enactment volition vessel with Android 13 and the OneUI 5.1 overly. Samsung is promising 4 generations of OS upgrades and 5 years of information upgrades.

Overall, the bundle acquisition is precise acquainted and virtually unchanged from the S22 line. That said, Samsung has introduced a fig of caller bundle features that I did not person the accidental to test, including amended Samsung Notes (co-create features), co-watching successful Google Meet, and enhanced information features. The second adds the quality to acceptable your S23 successful Maintenance Mode truthful each your information is protected portion idiosyncratic works connected the Galaxy S23 phone.

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23 (left) and Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus (right) (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Battery life

With the Samsung Galaxy S23, you get a decent 3,900 mAH artillery that's 200 mAh larger than that of the Galaxy S22. What that translates to successful real-world use, I can't say, though it's just to presume all-day artillery beingness with regular use,. I volition beryllium funny to spot however the other mAH and a much businesslike 4-nanometer Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 enactment unneurotic to perchance widen artillery life.

The telephone supports Super Fast wired charging accelerated wireless charging and wireless PowerShare if you privation to complaint your Galaxy Buds Pros oregon different Galaxy  S22 oregon S23 disconnected the backmost of the caller device. I couldn't trial immoderate of these features.

Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23 with the remainder of the lineup down it. (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is simply a coagulated and charismatic upgrade with the caller mobile CPU being a imaginable highlight, offering amended show and improved photography.

It's not shaping up to beryllium a must-upgrade device, but I inactive deliberation it has a accidental to articulation our champion smartphones of the twelvemonth list. I'll cognize much erstwhile I tally a afloat artillery of tests connected a reappraisal unit.

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on: Also consider

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Samsung GalaxyS22 PlusApple iPhone 14 ProApple iPhone 14 PlusOnePlus 10 ProGoogle Pixel 7 Pro
Price:$999 / £949 / $1,549$999 / £1,099 / AU$1,749$899 / £949 / AU$1,579$899 / £799 (roughly AU$1,400) $899 / £849 / AU$1,299
Dimensions:157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm71.5 x 147.5 x 7.85mm160.8mm x 78.1mm x 7.8mm163 x 73.9 x 8.6mm162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9 mm
OS:OneUI / Android 13iOS 16iOS 16Android 12Android 13
Screen Size:6.6 in.6.1 in.6.7 in.6.7 in.6.7 in.
Resolution:1080 x 23402556 x 1179 2278 x 12843216 x 14403120 x 1440
CPU:Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1A16 BionicA16 BionicQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Tensor G2
RAM:8GB6GB (est)6GB (est)8GB12GB
Storage:128GB128GB128GB128GB128 GB
Battery:4,500mAh3,200mAh4323 mAh5,000mAh5,000mAh
Rear Cameras: 50MP f/1.8 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10MP f/2.4 telephoto for 3x optical zoom48MP wide (24mm f/2.8), 12MP ultra-wide (13mm f/2.2). 12MP telephoto (77mm f/2.8)12MP 26mm, f/1.5 lens, 12MP 13mm, f/2.4 ultrawide 48MP main, 50MP ultra-wide and 13MP telephoto50MP main, 48MP 5x zoom, 12MP ultra-wide macro
Front camera:10MP f/2.212MP 12MP f/1.932MP f/2.210MP

A 35-year manufacture seasoned and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered exertion since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a erstwhile Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, earlier that, Editor successful Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He besides wrote a popular, play tech file for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff (opens successful caller tab) makes predominant appearances connected national, international, and section quality programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, Fox News, Fox Business, the Today Show (opens successful caller tab), Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC. 

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Hands connected reviews' are a journalist's archetypal impressions of a portion of kit based connected spending immoderate clip with it. It whitethorn beryllium conscionable a fewer moments, oregon a fewer hours. The important happening is we person been capable to play with it ourselves and tin springiness you immoderate consciousness of what it's similar to use, adjacent if it's lone an embryonic view. For much information, spot TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.

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