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Samsung Galaxy S23 series is here: New colors, camera tweaks, and more

The Galaxy S23 series is about refinement over revolution.
By
February 1, 2023

Samsung officially announced the Galaxy S23 series today at its Galaxy Unpacked event. In this article, we take an on-paper look at what’s new with the Galaxy S23 series. This includes design changes, new colors, improved specs, and much more. If you’re looking for deeper thoughts and impressions, you can take a closer look at our Samsung Galaxy S23 series hands-on coverage.

$799.99 at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23
Samsung Galaxy S23
Compact size
Brighter screen
Larger battery
$999.99 at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Large AMOLED display
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 power
Bigger battery
$1,199.99 at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
New 200MP main camera
Beautiful display
S Pen functionality

Samsung Galaxy S23 series: What’s new at a glance

Samsung Galaxy S23 cream and Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus lavender
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Modern flagships generally see much smaller iterations from year to year than they once did. While a lot remains the same for the Galaxy S23 series, below are the key highlights of what’s new and changed from the S22 series:

  • Galaxy S23 design gets an overhaul: Taking a cue from the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus both offer upgraded designs that include separate camera housings for all three lenses and a slightly more angular body. The Ultra mostly retains the same look as last year.
  • Qualcomm’s latest, globally this time: The Galaxy S23 series brings the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to all its major markets. In the past, many regions saw an Exynos chip, so this is a pretty notable change.
  • Galaxy S23 Ultra gets a camera upgrade: The Galaxy S23 Ultra gets a new 200MP wide camera, a major upgrade from the 108MP shooter on the S22 Ultra. The other rear lenses are the same as last year. Meanwhile, the S23 and S23 Plus rear camera specs are all the same as in 2022.
  • Galaxy S23 series gets a new selfie camera: The Galaxy S22 Ultra had a massive 40MP selfie camera, versus the less impressive 10MP shooter on the S22 and S22 Plus. This year all three models are swapping out their previous-gen selfie cameras for a new 12MP front camera.
  • Galaxy S23 series battery life should hopefully improve: The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus will see 200mAh upgrades bringing them to 3,900mAh and 4,700mAh, respectively. The Galaxy S23 Ultra remains the same as the S22 Ultra at 5,000mAh.
  • The standard Galaxy S23 has a brighter display: In the past, Samsung’s brightest display tech ended up only in the Plus and Ultra variants, but that’s no longer the case. The Galaxy S23 has a peak brightness of 1,750 nits, matching its bigger brothers.

For a closer look at what’s new, check out our guide to the Galaxy S23 vs S22 (including the Plus), as well as our guide on the Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra.

What are the new Galaxy S23 colors, models, and sizes?

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra colorways 1
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • Galaxy S23 series sizes and models: the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 Ultra.
  • Galaxy S23 colors: Phantom Black, Cream, Lavender, and Green for all models. Exclusive specialty colors will be available through Samsung’s online store.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 series will once again launch in three different sizes: the more pocketable Samsung Galaxy S23, the larger Galaxy S23 Plus, and the spec-packed beast that is the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Each of these models will be offered in a few different configurations, depending on how much storage or RAM you need. You’ll also have a choice between at least a few different colors, but this year there’s a bit more uniformity around what choices you get.

Last year, the Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus color choices weren’t the same as the S22 Ultra’s options. Samsung did this to better set the Ultra apart, but it was also a bit confusing. This time things are much simpler.

The Galaxy S23 series will be offered in Phantom Black, Cream, Lavender, and Green across all three models. There will also be exclusive color choices from Samsung.com: Lime, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red for the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The S23 and S23 Plus will also receive at least two of these special color choices, though we don’t have specifics on that just yet.

Samsung makes a few changes to its design language

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra quick settings menu full
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus are getting slightly boxier designs and are changing up the camera lens panel, following the same style as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
  • Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will look almost identical to last year’s model.

Samsung’s design language hasn’t changed a lot over the years, but last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra was a notable exception. While the S22 and S22 Plus looked similar to their predecessors, the S22 Ultra had a boxier design and other adjustments, including S Pen support, effectively making the phone the spiritual successor to the Galaxy Note series. This year Samsung is doing the opposite by changing the looks of the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus while leaving the Galaxy S23 Ultra mostly the same.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has changed very little from the S22 Ultra. The shape and even the camera configuration all look nearly identical, though smaller curves on the side should make for a slightly flatter display. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is also marginally wider and 4 grams heavier at 233g, but neither of these things is that noticeable and won’t majorly impact the look or feel of the device. The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus are a different story. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus colorways
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Although the S23 and S23 Plus still have a rounded shape, the change in curvature gives the phone a slightly squarer look. The camera cut-outs have also been changed up a bit. Just like the Ultra, the S23 and S23 Plus now separate the rear camera cutouts, instead of a single housing for all three sensors. Just like the Ultra, these two phones are marginally wider, but the weight remains the same. The general changes in shape should hopefully make for a more comfortable feel for the S23 and S23 Plus, though we’ll dive deeper into that in our hands-on coverage.

Those looking for better drop protection will also be happy to know that the Galaxy S23 series will use the new Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on all models. The new standard is said to survive drops of up to a meter, even on concrete. Corning claims rival solutions failed after drops of half a meter or less. Victus 2 can also handle two-meter drops on a slightly softer surface like asphalt, just like the original Victus glass. In addition to handling some serious drops without skipping a beat, the Galaxy S23 family will also offer IP68 certification, just like the S22 series before it.

Samsung Galaxy S23 display details: Size, features, and more

Samsung Galaxy S23 homescreen in hand
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • The Samsung Galaxy S23 series will retain the same sizes, resolutions, and refresh rates as the Galaxy S22 series.
  • The S23 will upgrade its brightness to a max of 1,750 nits. This brings it in line with the Plus and Ultra.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 series won’t make too many changes to the display tech involved in its flagships. The Galaxy S23 has a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a 19.5:9 aspect ratio and an FHD+ resolution (2,340 x 1,080) — you also get a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. The S23 Plus has the same display specs, with the exception of a larger 6.6-inch AMOLED display. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has the most impressive display of the three, a 6.8-inch monster of an AMOLED panel with an edge display, QHD+ resolution (3,088 x 1,440), and an adaptive refresh rate that ranges from 1Hz to 120Hz.

There were plenty of rumors that Samsung would take on Apple by pushing brighter display technology out to its flagships. As it turns out, this rumor was somewhat exaggerated.

Last year’s Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra were capable of up to 1,750 nits. This is quite a bit under the Apple iPhone 14 Pro’s 2,000 nits for outdoor use, but still pretty solid. However, the Galaxy S22 had a much lower brightness maximum at 1,500 nits. This year all three models will hit a max brightness of 1,750 nits. While it’s good to see the Galaxy S23 play catch up, there are some that will be disappointed that the S23 Plus and Ultra didn’t aim higher.

The S23 Ultra brings a big camera upgrade

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera housing 4
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera upgrades to a 200MP shooter.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S23 series will receive 12MP selfie cameras across the board, including the S23 Ultra.
  • The rest of the lenses are expected to remain mostly the same for all models.

Samsung has a reputation for making excellent camera phones, and the S23 series continues this. On paper, the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus don’t make massive leaps forward, but considering how good the cameras are in the S22 series, this isn’t unexpected. Both phones rock the same 50MP sensor size as last year, though with four times the color range from the S22 series. Samsung also confirms you’ll be able to take 50MP RAW files, for those that want more control over their photography. There’s also a new, improved AI image signal processor, improved Nightography features, and a brand new 12MP selfie camera. The rest of the sensors will remain the same as last year: a 12MP ultrawide lens and a 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom.

Interestingly enough, the Galaxy S23 Ultra features the same 12MP selfie camera as its S23 brethren, which sounds like a bit of a downgrade compared to the 40MP sensor from last year. Of course, there is more to good photography than just megapixel counts. Until we get some hands-on time with the S23 series, we can’t say how well the new selfie camera compares to the S22 Ultra, but Samsung claims the algorithms and software have improved from last year. More than likely, we’re looking more at a sidegrade than a true downgrade here, but we’ll be testing this out in greater detail a bit further down the road.

Samsung is building on a successful formula for the Galaxy S23 cameras.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra might see a shift in the way it handles its selfie camera, but it will still lead the pack when it comes to its main shooter. The Galaxy S23 Ultra will offer a 200MP main shooter, a pretty big upgrade over the already impressive 108MP camera on the S22 Ultra. Just like the S22 Ultra, the S23 Ultra uses pixel binning technology to create sharper images, but as a result, the actual megapixel count will default to 12MP. This might sound like a downgrade, but pixel binning combines data from adjacent pixels to create a sharper, higher-quality image than the megapixel count alone would suggest. Regardless, you can choose to take unbinned images and take advantage of the full 200MP.

There’s also improved optical image stabilization, upgraded from 1.5 to three degrees. The rest of the camera specs remain the same as last year.

Even though the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus look to have a similar camera setup to last year’s models, expect a few other small improvements thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. For starters, the new chip supports Cognitive ISP, allowing faster semantic segmentation — identifying objects within your image. Qualcomm also previously revealed that it’s working with Samsung to get the best results from its high-megapixel sensors, so expect good things here.

Samsung Galaxy S23 specs

Galaxy S23Galaxy S23 PlusGalaxy S23 Ultra
Display
Galaxy S23
6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Flat display
19.5:9 aspect ratio
FHD+ resolution (2,340 x 1,080)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Galaxy S23 Plus
6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Flat display
19.5:9 aspect ratio
FHD+ resolution (2,340 x 1,080)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate
Galaxy S23 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Edge display (curved)
19.3:9 aspect ratio
QHD+ resolution (3,088 x 1,440)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (1Hz to 120Hz)
Processor
Galaxy S23
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Galaxy S23 Plus
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM
Galaxy S23
8GB
Galaxy S23 Plus
8GB
Galaxy S23 Ultra
8GB or 12GB
Storage
Galaxy S23
128GB or 256GB
No microSD card support
Galaxy S23 Plus
256GB or 512GB
No microSD card support
Galaxy S23 Ultra
256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
No microSD card support
Power
Galaxy S23
3,900mAh battery
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Galaxy S23 Plus
4,700mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Galaxy S23 Ultra
5,000mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Cameras
Galaxy S23
REAR:
- 50MP wide
- 12MP ultrawide
- 10MP telephoto

FRONT:
- 12MP wide
Galaxy S23 Plus
REAR:
- 50MP wide
- 12MP ultrawide
- 10MP telephoto

FRONT:
- 12MP wide
Galaxy S23 Ultra
REAR:
- 200MP wide
- 12MP ultrawide
- 10MP telephoto
- 10MP telephoto

FRONT:
- 12MP wide
Software
Galaxy S23
Android 13
One UI 5.1
Galaxy S23 Plus
Android 13
One UI 5.1
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Android 13
One UI 5.1
S Pen support
Galaxy S23
No
Galaxy S23 Plus
No
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Yes, with storage slot
IP rating
Galaxy S23
IP68 certified
Galaxy S23 Plus
IP68 certified
Galaxy S23 Ultra
IP68 certified
Weight & Dimensions
Galaxy S23
146.3 x 70.8 x 7.6mm
168g
Galaxy S23 Plus
157.7 x 76.2 x 7.6mm
196g
Galaxy S23 Ultra
163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
229g
Other specs
Galaxy S23
IP68
WiFi 6E
Gorilla Glass Victus 2
Vision Booster (Adaptive)
Selfie Night Portrait
Galaxy S23 Plus
IP68
WiFi 6E
UWB
Gorilla Glass Victus 2
Vision Booster
(Adaptive)
Selfie Night Portrait

Galaxy S23 Ultra
IP68
Embedded S Pen
Dual HighResolution
WiFi 6E
UWB
Gorilla Glass Victus 2
Vision Booster (Adaptive)
Selfie Night Portrait
Wider OIS
Laser AF

How are the performance and battery life?

Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Ultra backs standing
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • The Galaxy S23 series packs a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, overclocked in partnership with Qualcomm.
  • The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus get batteries that are 200mAh bigger than last year, while the Ultra stays the same.

This year’s Samsung Galaxy S23 series will see a slightly modified version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 across all three models, clocked at 3.36GHz for the Cortex-X3, as opposed to the default of 3.19GHz. There’s also an increased GPU clock speed from 680MHz to 719MHz. This shouldn’t make a massive difference in performance over the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, but it will allow Samsung to market the phone as the fastest at launch.

Even more interesting, the Samsung Galaxy S23 series won’t be pushing Exynos this time. In fact, all variants are expected to ship with the Snapdragon globally. Last year Samsung announced that it would be favoring Qualcomm, so this isn’t surprising, but it is a welcome change.

Moving beyond the processor, you’ll find that the S23 Ultra is a bit different from the other two models.

The Galaxy S23 is going all-in on Snapdragon silicon.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra offers 8GB or 12GB of RAM, depending on the model. Storage is also a bit higher than last year, with options of 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. The Galaxy S23 Ultra retains the same 5,000mAh battery as last year though improvements to its processor and other hardware should result in slightly better performance nonetheless. In our review last year, we found the S22 Ultra had average battery life but was nothing special here. It looks like the same situation will apply to the S23 Ultra.

Turning our attention to the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus, you’ll get the same overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 with 8GB of RAM and your choice of 128 or 256GB of storage for the Galaxy S23. The Galaxy S23 Plus will start at 256GB, but you can also choose the 512GB version if you need more space. Battery life wasn’t great for the Galaxy S22 or S22 Plus, so we’re happy to report Samsung is raising the battery sizes by 200mAh for both these models. That brings us to 3,900mAh and 4,700mAh, respectively.

Fast charging exists on all three phones, but the S23 is capped at just 25W wired and 15W wireless charging. In contrast, the Galaxy S23 Plus and S23 Ultra will feature much faster 45W wired charging, though you get the same 15W wireless speeds.

Samsung One UI 5.1 will ship with the new S series

Samsung Galaxy S23 OneUI 5 Whats New
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
  • One UI 5.1 ships with the Galaxy S23.
  • The new update includes Android 13, but the real trick is new customizations and improvements to One UI.

The Galaxy S23 series will feature Android 13 with One UI 5.1 on top. The latest version is expected to offer quite a few improvements, including using video as a lock screen wallpaper, more customization features than ever before, and even a new widget system that allows you to drag and drop to save space. That’s just scratching the surface, but we’ll be taking a closer look at the software and sharing our hands-on experiences with it in the not-too-distant future.

Samsung is the best Android device manufacturer when it comes to software support, so it’s no surprise to hear you’ll get four OS upgrades and five years of security updates with the S23 series.

Samsung Galaxy S23 release date and price

  • Pre-orders start today, with in-store availability on Feb 17.
  • Pricing is as follows:
    • Samsung Galaxy S23 (8GB/128GB): $799 / £849
    • Samsung Galaxy S23 (8GB/256GB): $849 / £899
    • Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: (8GB/256GB): $999 / £1,049
    • Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: (8GB/512GB): $1,049 / £1,149
    • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: (8GB/256GB): $1,199 / £1,249
    • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: (12GB/512GB): $1,299 / £1,399
    • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: (12GB/1TB): $1,399 / £1,599

The Galaxy S23 series has the same pricing as the S22 series, with pre-orders starting today! The Galaxy S23 family will be available in stores starting February 17 in the US and UK. We’ll update this section with more details on other regions as we learn them.

One big difference you’ll notice is that, except for the S23, the new series starts at 256GB of storage, and yet pricing remains the same as the 128GB models from last year. Pricing across the board is identical to the S22 series in the US, though those in Europe will have to pay more this time around.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S23?

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Google Pixel 7 Pro camera
Robert Triggs / Android Authority

If you want the latest and greatest Qualcomm silicon, the Samsung Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra are great ways to get it — not to mention the S23 series has a slightly more powerful version than you’ll find on other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 devices. Just keep in mind this year seems to be more about refinement than revolution.

If you aren’t sure the Galaxy S23 series is right for you, there are plenty of other options. The Galaxy S22 series remains a great choice for budget-conscientious buyers who want to save a little and aren’t lured by the S23 series’ new features. There’s also plenty of competition from Apple with the iPhone 14 series and Google with the Pixel 7 family. Lastly, OnePlus recently unveiled the OnePlus 11. Looking for more options? Be sure to check out our guide to the best phones.

$799.99 at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23
Compact size • Brighter screen • Larger battery
See review
See review
$999.99 at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Large AMOLED display • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 power • Bigger battery
See review
See review
$1,199.99 at Samsung
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
New 200MP main camera • Beautiful display • S Pen functionality
See review
See review