A familiar face belies many improvements, large and small. A tweaked design, a sturdier build, faster memory and storage, and a more efficient battery are all things to look forward to. We need to get the custom Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip and 200MP main camera to keep up with them Find out if the Galaxy S23 Ultra lives up to its impressive predecessor.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: A two-minute preview
The Galaxy S23 Ultra offers a familiar face that looks identical to its predecessor at first glance. The changes are there, though they’re not as dramatic as what you’ll see on the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus. (You can read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 review and our hands-on Samsung S23 Plus review for more on both phones).
That same square design hosts a tweaked display that offers a larger surface area, allowing more room for the S Pen to work. Front and back now feature the latest and most resilient Gorilla Glass Victus 2 and all mods of its predecessor – including IP68 dust resistance As well as water resistance and 45W wired charging — it’s all here.
Samsung is also working to incorporate more recycled materials into the phone’s design, such as using recycled fishing nets in the construction of the S Pen’s inner cover and speaker module.
Some elements — like the 6.8-inch 1Hz to 120Hz adaptive Dynamic AMOLED 2X display and 5000mAh battery — have seen seemingly minor tweaks (increasing color accuracy and 20 percent efficiency, respectively, in the aforementioned example).
Inside, however, there are some bigger changes, such as the new “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy” co-developed by Samsung and Qualcomm, which is specifically designed to deliver performance that beats the competition (51% faster NPU performance, GPU 41% performance improvement, 33% CPU performance ratio previously according to Samsung). The Ultra, along with the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, are also among the first phones to have faster, more efficient LPDDR5X RAM and UFS 4.0 storage.
The familiar-looking quad-camera rear array hides a new 200MP front-facing sensor that offers 16-to-1 pixel binning and is designed to boost the S23 Ultra’s “Night Scene” capabilities for everything from general snapshots to portrait photography to All content of the video uses the new Astro’s night sky Time-lapse photography mode.
Those wanting more control over their shots can now also benefit from enhanced editing control, as they are able to work with photos shot in Expert RAW mode up to 50MP.
You still get a 12MP ultrawide and dual telephoto lenses with 3x and 10x (periscope) zoom respectively, giving the S23 Ultra the same promise of top-notch camera versatility as previous Ultra generations.
Samsung also reiterated its commitment to provide up to four years of operating system updates and five years of security updates for the entire Galaxy S23 series. All three ship with One UI 5.1 on Android 13, which works better together in Samsung Notes and has an enhanced Privacy Dashboard Other things.
While the starting price (at least in the US) stays in line with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung has doubled the base storage to 256GB, while the top model can be had with 12GB of RAM (up from 8GB in the base variant) and up to 1TB of storage .
For a more in-depth look, read on – stay tuned for our full review.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review: Price and availability
- From $1199.99 / £1249 / AU$1949
- Same US starting price despite doubling storage year-over-year
- Top-tier 1TB models command higher year-over-year prices in key markets
|RAM / Storage||US price||UK price||AU price|
The Galaxy S23 Ultra launches on February 1 alongside its expected siblings — the standard Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus — and pre-orders will start the same day and run until February 16 (check out the best Samsung Galaxy S23 pre-orders Offers in our dedicated article). The Galaxy S23 Ultra will go on sale starting Friday, February 17.
A nice base upgrade over the Galaxy S22 Ultra is doubling the base storage to 256GB (or rather, the absence of the 128GB S23 Ultra), which is particularly beneficial to US customers since they’re required to pay It won’t cost more than they paid for last year’s base 128GB S22 Ultra, $1199.99.
The 512GB model is $20 less than its predecessor’s $1,379.99, while the top-of-the-line Samsung.com-exclusive 1TB storage model is $20 more at an eye-popping $1,619.99.
UK customers are generally faring worse off compared to the S22 Ultra’s pricing, with the baseline S23 Ultra priced at the same £1249 as last year’s 256GB model, while the 512GB and 1TB versions are £70 and £100 more expensive at £1399 and £100 respectively. £1599 respectively.
Australian customers are paying AU$100 more for the base model than the S22 Ultra (though it’s still technically AU$50 less than last year’s 256GB version), which costs AU$1949. The 512GB version is also AU$100 more this year, while the top-of-the-line 1TB S23 Ultra is AU$200 more than its price 2022 predecessor.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is available in three storage configurations, with 8GB of RAM (LPDDR5X) in the base model and 12GB in two higher storage models.
Otherwise, the specs remain the same across all three variants.
|256GB model||512GB model||1TB model|
|Price:||$1,199.99 / £1,249||$1,379.99 / £1,399||$1,619.99 / £1,599|
|Dimensions:||78.1 X 163.4 X 8.9mm||78.1 X 163.4 X 8.9mm||78.1 X 163.4 X 8.9mm|
|OS:||Android 13||Android 13||Android 13|
|Screen Size:||6.8 inch||6.8 inch||6.8 inch|
|Resolution:||3088 x 1440 pixels||3088 x 1440 pixels||3088 x 1440 pixels|
|CPU:||Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy||Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy||Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy|
|Rear Cameras:||200MP Wide Angle 12MP Ultra Wide Angle 10MP Telephoto (3x) 10MP Telephoto (10x)||200MP Wide Angle 12MP Ultra Wide Angle 10MP Telephoto (3x) 10MP Telephoto (10x)||200MP Wide Angle 12MP Ultra Wide Angle 10MP Telephoto (3x) 10MP Telephoto (10x)|
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review: Design
- Almost the same design as its predecessor
- Premium looks and materials
- Environmental Improvement Certificate
The S22 Ultra is Samsung’s first phone to truly blend the sensibilities of the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note, and in doing so, it sheds the contour-cut camera-dominated aesthetic of its predecessor and its launched siblings. Instead, it prefers a cleaner, more square form; partly as a means Further distinguishing it from the standard S22 and S22 Plus is also to physically accommodate the integrated S Pen stylus.
For the S23 lineup, the Standard and Plus models played catch-up in the design department, while the S23 Ultra offered only subtle improvements that would be nearly impossible to spot with the naked eye for those familiar with the S22 Ultra.
It has a similar pill-shaped top-to-bottom profile, with both front and rear glass entering the metal frame, although one change S22 Ultra owners may notice when they pick up the S23 Ultra is that Samsung has reduced the radius of the curved edges of the display. give you a bigger plane Use the area where the S Pen is integrated; functionally, it’s a subtle but welcome tweak.
With the S23 colors coming this year consistent across the range, you can choose the Ultra in one of four finishes: Phantom Black Cream Green and Lavender in most places. However, as in previous years, Samsung.com also has some exclusive colors, including red sky blue graphite and lime.
While the cap of the S Pen matches the body color of your choice, the rest of the stylus is black regardless of the finish you choose.
The company’s stellar effort in durability also comes in the form of IP68-certified protection against dust and water, a resilient Armor aluminum frame, and, for the first time, the use of Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on any phone.
For all the advanced tech Samsung has managed to pack into the S23 series, it’s also trying to up the ante on eco-friendly materials, and the Ultra is the true champion of that move. 80% of the decorative films used for the back structure of mobile phones are 22 percent of the glass and 20 percent of the S Pen’s inner lid are recyclable — reportedly partly made of marine polyimide.
Samsung claims that other recycled materials hammered into the shape of the S23 Ultra include discarded fishing nets, buckets, PET bottles, and pre-consumer recycled aluminum, which helped build the trays for components like the volume keys and SIM (12 in total) Speaker arrays 5G antenna arrays and more.
While Samsung isn’t the only company working to improve its green credentials for its phones (iPhone comes to mind), this is certainly the most vocal we’ve seen from the company about a specific phone, and it represents a push that promises to catch on Competing mobile phone makers.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review: The display
- Familiar display experience compared to predecessor
- Promises more accurate colors and better viewing with eye comfort
- Responsive S Pen stylus experience
Apart from reduced curvature along its edges and better protection thanks to the new Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the S23 Ultra’s display offers a similar viewing experience to its predecessor.
You’ll again get a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a resolution of 1440 x 3088 and a dynamic refresh rate that scales between 1Hz and 120Hz as it automatically shifts as needed to prioritize power efficiency or visual smoothness.
At the hands-on event, the color and brightness made for a pleasing viewing experience, even under the venue’s harsh spotlights and light coming in through the floor-to-ceiling windows, and Samsung has clearly tweaked this experience to work more broadly Provides more accurate colors. This time with ambient lighting scenes (three to be exact) using what it calls Advanced Vision Booster; adjust the tone and color as needed.
Maximum brightness still can’t match the iPhone 14 Pro’s impressive peaks on paper (the S23 series both top out at 1,750 nits), but in the real world, the experience is still great for enjoying media. Meanwhile, Samsung didn’t make any new announcements This time around there’s less S Pen lag or additional Air Gesture features, but it’s already impressively responsive, and the user experience has been enhanced with other productivity boosters.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review: Camera
- The first Samsung phone with a 200MP sensor
- Improved Night Photography experience for still portraits and video
- Integrated Expert RAW capture now supports up to 50MP
Cameras are one area where the Ultra always stands out when looking at the best Samsung phones, and the multi-sensor setup that Samsung has been using over the past few generations has always ensured these phones end up at or near the top of our list. best camera phone Year after year summary.
While the 12MP ultrawide and dual 3x and 10x 10MP telephoto sensors on the back of the S23 Ultra feel very familiar, the phone sheds the series’ previous primary 108MP resolution sensor and replaces it — a first on a Samsung phone. times – with Up to 200MP main camera; believed to be the ISOCELL HP2 that our camera editor Tim Coleman delved into a few days before the S23 series launch.
The transition to this new adaptive pixel sensor looks promising, as this change in hardware has sometimes resulted in a loss of quality for some manufacturers; their photography teams still need to get a handle on how to handle the new components. live side by side with google The Pixel 7 Pro shows that the S23 Ultra gives users more of what Samsung’s phone cameras are known for: consistently high-quality snaps with higher contrast and a more stylized color treatment than the relatively natural ones captured by the Pixel and iPhone. photo.
By default, the S23 Ultra’s main camera pixels bin images on a 16-to-1 ratio, up to 12.5MP stills, which use all the extra pixel data to remove image shake while also capturing more accurately color and absorb more light. It seems like a big area of focus when it comes to low-light photography For this year’s camera experience; promises comprehensive enhancements to night shooting, including portrait and astrophotography super-lapse video modes.
Compared to last year’s S22 Ultra (3 degrees on the S23 Ultra), the OIS (Optical Image Stabilization) system now enables double the angle of motion, along with improved VDIS and faster autofocus for improved stills and Video Stabilization’ Super Foursome Samsung-branded Pixel’ sensor.
For users who want a more nuanced Ultra photography experience, the Expert RAW mode (integrated into the camera UI) now supports up to 50MP output instead of the previous 12MP. The Ultra also lets you shoot 200MP stills if you want to play the full game Available details for the sensor.
In its quest to switch sensors, all three of the S23 lineup get this new generation of 12MP front-facing snappers (Samsung hasn’t been bold enough to import under-display cameras in the Z Fold lineup), and it promises and delivers Experience with the S23, no matter the model.
Hard to say for sure without testing side by side, but it feels like a faster sensor while delivering a nice overall image and impressive dynamic range as the selfie snapper becomes its “Super HDR Selfie Camera” s brand.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review: Performance and battery
- A Commitment to Industry-Leading Performance
- Early interactions are fluid and dynamic
- Same capacity battery, but 20% more efficient
It’s no secret that Samsung built Wear OS 3 with Google and co-developed the last few generations of its own flagship chips with Qualcomm, but the partnership is ripe for something extraordinary in 2023.
Where users in different markets might have expected Galaxy S devices powered by Samsung Exynos or Qualcomm Snapdragon chips, the Galaxy S23 series gets Qualcomm’s latest and greatest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip worldwide.
This removes the performance differences that previously left users of Exynos-powered Galaxy S phones feeling left behind, and also helps with things like camera processing (due to using the same ISP across regions) and battery life consistency.
Not only has the 8th Gen 2 already shown off its capabilities in reports of previous devices that have already relied on it, but Samsung has also managed to get an exclusive tweaked variant of the SoC dubbed the “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Galaxy Mobile Platform”. In short, prime numbers The Cortex-X3 cores within the chipset have been overclocked to 3.36GHz (instead of the standard 3.2GHz); without compromising efficiency or battery life.
As Samsung’s Nick Porter pointed out in a one-on-one interview with 24-News ahead of launch, the vapor chamber across the entire S23 series this year is on average 2.7x larger, helping to improve thermal efficiency while using faster, more efficient LPDDR5X memory and UFS 4.0 storage (a First in the mobile market) also contributes to improved performance and quality of life.
The battery specs are the same as the S22 Ultra, and the S23 Ultra has a built-in 5000mAh battery that supports 45W wired charging (as well as wireless and reverse wireless charging), but Samsung claims the collective effect of new hardware efficiencies and tighter integration between hardware and The software brings about a 20 percent boost, which Porter claims is the longest battery life ever seen on a Galaxy S smartphone; will definitely put that claim to the test before our full review.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review: Software
Samsung leads the way in making the best Android phones with update support, promising four years of OS updates and five years of security updates for the Galaxy S23 series, with all three devices running on the latest Android 13, powered by the company’s own Out of One UI 5.1 Box.
It’s a familiar mouse icon experience, standard flat graphic style with some new additions that seem to focus on ease and security of collaboration.
Samsung Notes now allows simultaneous creators to work together in a single document, routines and modes can be set to suit different scenarios, adjust settings accordingly, and an upgraded privacy dashboard should remove ambiguity about device security.
Air Command and Air Gestures remain as part of the S Pen experience, allowing instant control of the camera, translating text and cutting and pasting screen content with simple stylus-driven actions.
Hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review: Still to consider
|Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra||Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max||Google Pixel 7 Pro|
|Price (from):||$1,199.99 / £1,249 / AU$2,649||$1,099 / £1,199 / AU$1,899||$899 / £849 / AU$1,299|
|Dimensions:||78.74 x 162.56 x 8.89 mm||160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85mm||162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9 mm|
|OS (at launch):||Android 13||iOS 16||Android 13|
|CPU:||Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy||A16 Bionic||Tensor G2|
|Rear Cameras:||200MP Wide Angle 12MP Ultra Wide Angle 10MP Telephoto (3x) 10MP Telephoto (10x)||48MP widescreen (24mm f/2.8) 12MP ultrawide (13mm f/2.2). 12MP telephoto (77mm f/2.8)||50MP main camera 48MP 5x zoom 12MP super wide-angle macro|