I’m in crossroads. Just a few weeks ago, I reviewed the Samsung Galaxy A14 5G calling it a phenomenal phone that only costs $200, proving that you really don’t need to pay a ton of money to get a great smartphone. Now I’m looking at the top $1,200 Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and $800 Galaxy S23 – and hell, it’s nice to splurge sometimes, you know?
The Samsung Galaxy S23 line (which also includes the S23+, a model I haven’t tested yet) isn’t a game changer in the least, and most people don’t need all those high-end cameras and tons of power. But I have to remind myself that sometimes you can pay for the best of the best. It’s nice not to squint at a dim screen on a sunny day and be able to play a demanding game with maximum accuracy.
Whether you’re upgrading from a Galaxy S22 or S21, or any other flagship device released within the last two years, these new Samsung phones don’t really give you a reason to upgrade. But if you have something older or a more wallet-friendly device in your pocket that you think offers compromised capabilities, you should definitely take a look.
I won’t bore you with the details of these phones. Instead, you can read my explanation on how the Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra differ and how they are similar. (Hell, you can read last year’s review of the S22 series to get an idea of most of these new devices.) What you can’t figure out when reading the specs is how these phones feel – the 6.1-inch S23 is mine. choice. a personal favorite because it fits my hands and most of the screen remains fairly accessible when I want to use it with one hand. The S23 Ultra’s 6.8-inch display isn’t very bulky, but when using it, I find my thumbs stretch further and further until I have to join my other hand – and I have big hands.
The best change is the S23 Ultra’s edges, which are much flatter than last year’s curved S22 Ultra. The edges aren’t as flat as the iPhone 14’s, but the Ultra is still nicer to hold than its predecessor, and my grip almost never interrupts the screen. Outside of this color me stunned with what the Galaxy S23 line looks like. I still think the Samsung S21 series offers a clearer design language with the Contour Cut camera module in an accent color. These new phones, with their understated and unaccented set of cameras, look like textbook definition of “smartphone” – they’re stylish, no doubt, but they don’t have much character.
The three phones have a lot in common, for example, each of the 120Hz AMOLED screens can reach a peak brightness of 1750 nits. This feature is often overlooked; high brightness makes it easier to read the screen when you are outside on a sunny day. All too often, my fiancée has to squint at her Pixel phone, and that’s not an issue here. (It also gets pretty damn dim for those who appreciate low brightness before bed.)
They all run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “for Galaxy” chipset, which is slightly faster than the base-level Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 you’ll find on other flagship Android phones like the OnePlus 11. My testing confirmed this. , but it’s not a massive jump. This chip is special in two respects. Year after year it’s really hard to notice a significant performance boost these days, but I’ve noticed that phones with this processor run faster and faster than ever before.