Yesterday, Samsung announced its Galaxy S22 line and while there aren’t so many changes in terms of the design of the device, there were in fact some updates here and there.
Samsung also repurposed the new set of smartphones to be better at taking photos and recording videos thanks to their new camera upgrades from their predecessors.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra which is the main interest retains its previous design aesthetics (looking like the discontinued Galaxy Note series with support for S-Pen) even though there were a few changes made to the device’s frame to keep it a bit squared while the camera rings are slightly bigger.
Also, the camera module sports a new look on the base Galaxy S22 and the mid-S22+ giving them the same look as the one on the much more expensive S22 Ultra.
Apart from that, the devices also sport the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “Galaxy edition”.
Speaking of the chipset upgrade, there were reports that the new chipset is customized for the Galaxy S22 series so Samsung is doing away with its Exynos chipset this year (but could still implement it on its mid-range Galaxy A series).
How different the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy will be from the conventional chipset that will be powering other future releases this year such as the OnePlus 11 series is still under debate.
All three devices also come in newer colorways and slightly bigger batteries except for the Galaxy S22 Ultra which maintains its 5000mAh Li-Ion battery that came with the previous S22 Ultra model last year.
One of the many aspects where the Galaxy S23 series excels is in the hardware department. Samsung has taken the “if it doesn’t break, don’t fix” route with the design of the Galaxy S series since it first switch the design back in 2021 and it has maintained the same design aesthetics ever since then.
Speaking of maintaining the same design aesthetics across the S23 models, all devices are made with an Armor Aluminum frame with a Gorilla Glass Victus 2 sandwich.
The Gorilla Glass Victus 2 is reportedly stronger and can withstand higher drops and even deeper scratches compared to the previous model. However, this is still a glass and not a sapphire.
Still, on protection, the devices all have IP68 water and dust resistance rating. So accidental splashes shouldn’t pose any threat to either of the three devices.
The aforementioned color options across the Galaxy S23 models include Cream, Lavender, Phantom Black, and Green.
Ordering from Samsung’s official website will get you access to exclusive color options such as Graphite, Lime, Sky Blue, and Red. I personally like the Red color option.
As for the display technology of the devices, they feature a similar display technology as the previous mode – an AMOLED 2X display with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate for power optimization.
The major difference between the base and the mid-model is their sizes. The base Galaxy S23 sports a 6.1-inch FHD+ display with features such as the aforementioned technology and refresh rate, and then 425ppi.
Then the Galaxy S23+ sports a bigger 6.6-inch FHD+ display at 393ppi while the high-end S23 Ultra sports a bigger 6.8-inch QHD+ display at 500ppi.
The design differences between the Galaxy S23 and S23+ against the Galaxy S23 Ultra are quite obvious as the latter maintains its curved edges while the formers have a flatter display.
The overall performance of these devices is buttery smooth and speedy in every way.
While it’s highly advisable to make use of a protective case on your smartphone, the matte finish on the back glass of the device is one of the cool things I find amusing about the device. While this isn’t a new thing, the fact that Samsung gas normalized this makes a lot of sense.
Holding any of the Galaxy S23 models doesn’t attract fingerprints no matter how oily your hand may be.
It’s also worth mentioning that the slight redesign of the S23 Ultra’s boxy shape gives it a better grip when held either in one or two hands.
I think the differences in the size of all three devices meant that they can serve different users regardless of the size of their hands. Except you intentionally want the bigger S23 Ultra because of all its quirks and features.
Speaking of sizes, the base Galaxy S23 has a dimension of 5.76 x 2.79 x 0.3 inches while weighing about 5.93 ounces.
Then the mid-Galaxy S23+ measures about 6.21 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches while weighing slightly heavier at 6.91 ounces.
Then the Galaxy S23 Ultra measures about 6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches while weighing about 8.25 ounces. Even without a case, the device is quite heavy and feels very sturdy.
Things you’ll notice around the devices include the power and volume buttons which are both located on the right side of the devices while the left side is plain. At the bottom, you’ll find its USB-C port, SIM tray, and speaker grille and that’s it. The top of the devices is bare.
Both the base Galaxy S23 and the S23+ have a triple rear camera system while the S23 Ultra has a quad camera system. All the camera sensors are singled out in their own rings across the three models just like the previous Galaxy S22 Ultra.
All three models sport the under-display fingerprint sensor which is much faster than the previous model in some ways. However, there is also the default Android-based facial recognition option all for biometric security.
As mentioned earlier, all three Galaxy S23 models are powered by the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset. The only difference in this regard is the RAM and storage options across the individual models.
The collaboration between Samsung and Qualcomm gave birth to the well-customized chipset that is more targeted at the Galaxy S23 series.
The clock speed of the CPU and GPU has been increased which allows for faster performance while handling tasks from simple to complex.
The chip has an accelerated main Kryo CPU reaching about 3.36GHz at its peak. Qualcomm, however, didn’t emphasize the clock speed of the GPU but all we know is that the tweak surely ensured the buttery-smooth performance of the devices, hence, the “Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy” chipset.
Things the chipset is capable of include real-time ray tracing while gaming. This feature helps in improving the ways by which lighting looks.
What is yet unknown is whether Samsung will ship the “ordinary” Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset along with its Galaxy S23 models to the global market considering the fact that the company often ships Snapdragon-powered Galaxy smartphones in certain regions while global markets get the Exynos-powered variants.
Away from the chipset, the base Galaxy S23 sports 8GB of LPDDR5x RAM while onboard storage ranges between 128GB and 256GB. The S23+ has the same RAM option but its base storage option starts from 256GB and peaks at 512GB while the high-end Galaxy S23 Ultra has either 8GB or 12GB of RAM while storage ranges between 256GB and 1TB.
It’s also worth pointing out that none of the three models supports storage expansion via microSD card. So you’ll have to rely on cloud storage options.
Samsung also generously added about 200mAh increase on the batteries of their devices. So the base S23 sports a 3900mAh battery and the S23+ has 4700mAh. Unlike the S23 Ultra which features the same 5000mAh battery capacity as the previous model.
One thing for sure is the fact that all of these devices promise long-time usage and power management software to help balance your usage.
As for recharging the batteries, both the Galaxy S23 and S23+ can be charged via a 25W wired charger while the S23 Ultra variant has support for 45W wired charging.
There is no power brick out of the box. So you may have to purchase one separately from Samsung if you don’t already have one.
All three models can be wirelessly recharged at 15W and there is also support for reverse wireless charging.
New camera capabilities
The camera and a few hardware tweaks are some of Samsung’s targets regarding the new Galaxy S23 Ultra. The device sports a new 200MP which is a big bump in pixel numbers over the last 108MP used in previous models starting from 2020.
Apart from the camera hardware bump, there has been some increment in terms of post-processing in order to produce a high-quality image.
There are also other three sensors that are paired with the primary sensor in order to have the ability to shoot in different modes.
But the main sensor can shoot in three primary modes and thanks to the big 200MP, you can drop image resolutions down to either 50MP which is binning by a factor of four, or 12.5MP which is binning by a factor of 16.
The big sensor can also record 8K videos at 30FPS or 4K at 60FPS in HDR. That is a good specification for a miniature smartphone camera which one can argue continues to challenge many DSLRs.
Did I also mention that the camera has optic image stabilization (OIS) to keep things from jittering when shooting in hand-held mode.
It also has laser autofocus and an aperture of f/1.7 in low-light situations. The smartphone is crammed with lots of cameras (4 in total) and one of them is a Periscope lens with an f/4.9 aperture and the ability to do 100x optical Space Zoom.
The rest of the camera suite is the same across the three Galaxy S23 series which includes a 12MP ultra-wide shooter at f/2.2, a basic 10MP telephoto lens with OIS at f/2.4, and a 12MP selfie camera with phase-detect autofocus at f/2.2.
You can shoot a 4x slow motion in FHD at 120fps or 32x super slow motion at 960fps on either of the three Galaxy S23 series which is a really impressive feature.
While the front-facing selfie camera can capture 4k videos at 60FPS. For maximum output, the camera software includes Super HDR, Nightography, Adaptive Pixel, Video Optical Image Stabilization (VOIS), Auto Framing, Selfie Night Portrait, and Director’s View.
There’s also a Multi-Exposure mode which basically guides you through the process of merging two separate exposures into one image.
According to the South Korean tech giant, the usage of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (for Galaxy) chipset will also improve the on-device photo editing capacity and efficiency of the device.
There are new AI implementations to help fix flaws when you capture an image. So things such as noise grains, poor lighting, and even unwanted objects can now be erased at your command.
The need for speed
One of the things that the Galaxy S23 Ultra excel in is power management as well as a speedy internet connection.
Powering the device’s connectivity s a Snapdragon X70 5G modem and RF system which gives it the capacity to work with the aforementioned Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in order to hasten things such as 5G uploaded and download as well as network coverage management and response times while keeping up with power efficiency at the same time.
The point of this device is speed. From the processor, blazing-fast screen response, and connectivity, the entire point is to keep the user experience as som as possible.
Still, on speed and connectivity, the device supports both the sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G models even though the company is yet to give a rundown on the 5G bands in order to see what mid-band spectrum the device is using.
Apart from its 5G connectivity prowess, the Galaxy S23 Ultra also supports the speedy Wi-Fi 6E for a fast wireless connection. It uses Bluetooth 5.3 so using the Galaxy earbuds shouldn’t cause any problems.
Long-term Software Support
Samsung is one of the few Android OEMs that continuously support its devices after many years of purchase. Users of older devices as far back as 2019 are still receiving software updates.
The device ships with the latest Android 13 OS and One UII 5.1 which is Samsungs custom user interface for Android.
Speaking of long-term software support, Samsung promised the Galaxy S23 series will get about fur full OS upgrades (up to Android 17) and five full years of security updates which will help keep the device up and running efficiently for many years to come.
(Credit: Eric Zeman)
The Galaxy S23 series also got some upgrades in different areas that make the device perform more efficiently and better.
Now, you get things like a video lock screen and a new widget system for keeping the home screen neater even though I’m very adamant and would rather prefer to continue with my Square Launcher.
Bixby Text Call feature which is able to let you answer calls by typing messages for text-to-speech responses also got some updates too.
Fresh modes and routines make it possible to customize your experience throughout the day, such as when you leave or return home and so forth.
There is also an improvement in Samsung’s Knox security suite to keep your device usage safer from the prying eye of apps that are using your hardware without your consent. So you can now see the list of apps that have access to which aspect of your device.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra also retains the S-Pe Stylus which also got some improvements such as scribble status in text fields across a number of Google services.
The meaning of this is that you can now write text in your Gmail address bars, Google Calendar appointment slots, and more.
The last bit is Samsung improving its own ecosystem by ensuring the device works seamlessly with the Galaxy Book laptops. There is now Samsung Multi Control for sharing ice and keyboard accessories between Galaxy phones, tablets, and PCs.
There’s also an enhanced copy-and-paste functionality between devices, as well as Google Meet and Samsung Notes for more collaborative video calls on the S23 Ultra.
How much is the Galaxy S23 series?
The base Galaxy S23 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will reportedly cost about US$799.99 while the base S23+ with the aforementioned 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will cost about US$999.99, while the base model of the S23 Ultra with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage will cost about US$1,199.99.
As you can see, the price is quite similar to the previous models last year even though it would have been ideal if Samsung remove about US$99.99 from the price tag this year to keep customers coming considering the current state of the global economy.
If you’re making a pre-purchase, you will get yours by Feb. 17th which is the period it will officially hit the shelves.
We don’t have the full slate of launch deals from the carriers yet, but you can be sure AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon will all offer some discounts.
We also plan to review all three devices when we get our hands on them in the next couple of weeks so make sure you subscribe by dropping your email below to get notified when next we publish our full review of the Galaxy S23 series.