I’m at a crossroads. Just just a few weeks in the past, I reviewed Samsung’s Galaxy A14 5G, calling it an exceptional cellphone that prices a mere $200, proving that you just actually don’t must pay heaving wads of dough to get a great smartphone. Now I’m reviewing Samsung’s top-tier $1,200 Galaxy S23 Ultra and $800 Galaxy S23—and dang it, typically it’s good to splurge, ?
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 lineup (which additionally consists of the S23+, a mannequin I haven’t examined but) will not be game-changing gadgets within the least—and most individuals don’t want all these high-end cameras and great horsepower. But I’ve to remind myself that typically it’s OK to pay up for the best of the best. It’s good not having to squint at a dim display screen on a sunny day, and to have the flexibility to play a demanding sport at its highest constancy.
If you’re coming from a Galaxy S22 or S21 or some other flagship system launched throughout the final two years, these new Samsung handsets do not actually offer you a purpose to improve. But you probably have one thing older in your pocket, or a extra wallet-friendly system that you just really feel affords a compromised expertise, then it is best to positively have a look.
I gained’t bore you with the nitty-gritty specs on these telephones. Instead, you possibly can read my explainer on how the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra are all completely different and how they’re related. (Heck, you possibly can learn final yr’s S22 series review to get the gist on what most of those new gadgets are about.) What you possibly can’t fairly discover out by studying specs are how these telephones really feel—the 6.1-inch S23 is my private favourite as a result of it matches my palms and a lot of the display screen stays pretty accessible after I need to use it one-handed. The S23 Ultra’s 6.8-inch show is not terribly unwieldy, however whereas utilizing it, I discover my thumbs stretching farther and farther till my different hand has to affix in—and I’ve massive palms.
The greatest change is the S23 Ultra’s edges, that are far flatter than final yr’s curvy S22 Ultra. The edges will not be as flat as the perimeters on an iPhone 14, however the Ultra nonetheless feels nicer to carry than its predecessor, and my grip virtually by no means interrupts the display screen. Outside this, coloration me whelmed with how the Galaxy S23 lineup appears. I nonetheless suppose Samsung’s S21 series supplied a sharper design language with the Contour Cut digicam module in an accent coloration. These new telephones with their understated and accent-free digicam array appear to be the textbook definition of a “smartphone”—they’re little doubt elegant, however there’s not a lot character.
The three handsets share most of the similar traits, like how the 120-Hz AMOLED screens can every now hit 1,750 nits of peak brightness. This is a characteristic that is usually neglected; a excessive brightness makes it a lot simpler to learn the display screen whenever you’re exterior on a sunny day. Too usually my fiancée has to squint at her Pixel phone, and that is by no means an issue right here. (It additionally will get fairly darn dim for anybody who appreciates low brightness at bedtime.)
They’re all powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “for Galaxy” chipset, which is barely sooner than the base-level Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 you will discover on different flagship Android telephones just like the OnePlus 11. My benchmark checks bore that out, nevertheless it’s not a large leap. This chip is particular in two methods. Year over yr, it is actually onerous to note significant good points in efficiency as of late, however I’ve observed that telephones with this processor really feel extra responsive and snappier than ever earlier than.