Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung Galaxy S23 series

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Although the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Galaxy Z Fold 4 make for some of the best Android phones you can buy, plenty of users still prefer to stick with a classic smartphone design. For anyone who would rather stay away from the cutting edge, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is likely the phone for you. This year’s Samsung Galaxy S22 series blew us away with an excellent refined design, solid performance, and the rebirth of the Note series.

We expect to see a similar pattern for the Galaxy S23 next year: some slight design changes, improved performance, and maybe a couple of surprises. Even though Samsung’s next Galaxy Unpacked event is likely a few months away, the leaks are already pouring in for its upcoming smartphone. Here’s everything we know about the Galaxy S23 so far.


Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+: Design

If there’s one space where we expect the S23 series to diverge between models, it’s the designs. Just like last year, we expect to see very few changes between generations, though the two smaller models — a term we’re using loosely — will likely take some inspiration from their big brother.

For the Galaxy S23 and S23+, Samsung is taking some design cues from last year’s S22 Ultra. The camera bump that has become the signature style for the S-series over the last couple of years is gone, replaced by a replica of the protruding lenses from the S22 Ultra. It’s a bummer to see that design disappear, as it was one of Samsung’s best in years. Although, it makes sense to unite all three phones around a similar look.

It sounds like the S23 will come in the usual colors you’d expect, with one notable exception. In addition to black, green, and light pink, Samsung is planning on a beige model replacing the classic white hue. It’s an odd selection for a smartphone, but we’ll withhold final judgment until we see actual renders. Regardless of colors, it’s clear that anyone hoping for a total redesign in 2023 is out of luck.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Design

Despite being the most powerful of the three phones, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s design is also the most similar to its predecessor. Early renders show the S23 Ultra looks nearly unchanged, right down to its unique camera lineup on the back.

Granted, it’s not like Samsung is only making this a spec bump; the differences are there if you look closely enough. The phone is slightly less curvy compared to last year’s model, along with some modifications to how far the lenses stick out.

These are subtle differences, though, and while it might satisfy any Note 9 or Note 10 holdouts, if you were hoping to jump from the S22 Ultra to a new model, the main changes won’t be visible to the naked eye.


Samsung Galaxy S23 series: Specs

Unlike with the design of these phones, Samsung keeps its internal specs pretty consistent throughout all models. There’s been a surprising amount of noise around the chipset, something that, in theory at least, shouldn’t be too complicated. Usually, Samsung relies on Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor throughout much of the world, with an ever-shrinking group of regions getting an in-house Exynos chip. Although reports suggest Samsung wants to start relying on its own silicon again, it doesn’t sound like that’s the case this year. Early S23 rumors indicated the company would stick with Qualcomm — in this case, likely the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — potentially for all markets, a theory that gained credence when the two brands extended their partnership this past summer.

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Still, Exynos might not be done just yet. In September, we heard that Samsung’s bosses, while disappointed with the performance of the company’s latest in-house SoC, were pushing to continue using the lineup in select markets. That means some Galaxy S23 units might run on an Exynos 2300 rather than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

When it comes to battery life, you might see a noticeable improvement. In addition to a power-friendly chip in the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a 200mAh increase to the S23’s battery could make a big difference in day-to-day use. While it’s unclear what the Ultra will get, the S23+ is also expected to get a bigger battery, with a boost up to 4,700mAh.

We’ve also learned about the S23’s fast-charging capabilities. Samsung is reportedly sticking with its previous 25W rates on the smaller S23, a much lower figure compared to some of the brand’s rivals. We still don’t know what the larger S23+ and S23 Ultra will charge at (45W seems likely) but it’s clear Samsung has fallen behind the times here.

Samsung Galaxy S23 series: Cameras

The big news for the Samsung Galaxy S23, specifically the Ultra variant, concerns its rumored 200MP camera. Although we don’t expect the sensor to be much larger than other phones on the market (coming in at 1/1.3 inches), it’s an impressive number regardless. This camera might use an as-yet-unreleased ISOCELL HP2 sensor as well, not the ISOCELL HP1 seen in Motorola’s recent Edge 30 Ultra. Expect to see improved nighttime performance in both photo and video capture, if recent reports are anything to go by.

Meanwhile, it sounds like the S23 and S23+ will keep the 10MP telephoto lens from last year’s model. Considering the camera modules on both phones look identical, we aren’t too surprised to see some consistency between generations. With machine learning and software optimizations nearly as important to photo performance these days as actual hardware, expect plenty of improvements regardless of how familiar the physical sensors are.

Samsung Galaxy S23 series: Availability and release date

Samsung usually drops its latest S-series in the first quarter of the year, and it’s looking like that’ll happen again for the S23. If you’re feeling impatient, or if your phone is on its last legs and you’re counting the days for an upgrade, there’s some good news. The latest rumors on the S23’s launch cycle indicate that it’ll arrive a little earlier than last year. Allegedly, we could see Samsung’s next flagship phones as soon as the middle of January, not long after CES wraps up in Las Vegas.

That’s great news for potential buyers, but we’ll still have to wait for any follow-up details, especially regarding pricing. The Samsung Galaxy S22 series wasn’t cheap, and phone prices are continuing to increase due to inflation and supply chain issues.


 


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