Samsung unveils Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus: Cleaner design, bigger batteries, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

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Samsung unveils Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus: Cleaner design, bigger batteries, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Samsung has officially unveiled the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, along with the big boy Galaxy S23 Ultra, at today's 2023 Unpacked event. The phones are already available for pre-order, and will start shipping on February 17.

Here's what's new with the Galaxy S23 and its bigger counterpart – the Galaxy S23 Plus!

Pre-order now at with a special discount:

Galaxy S23 Ultra: save 21% at Amazon

Act now if you want to save $251 on the Galaxy S23 Ultra with 256GB of storage at Amazon. The phone is available only in the Phantom Black. Don't miss out.

Galaxy S23+ is available at Amazon

The Galaxy S23+ with 256GB of built-in storage arrives at its standard price. You can trade in a suitable device to save up to $260 with an Gift Card.

Galaxy S23 is now available at Amazon

The vanilla Galaxy S23 sells at its standard price on Amazon. Limited color options are available. You can trade in a suitable device to unlock up to $260 in savings.

Flat, cleaner and more minimalist design

A notable design change is that both the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus no longer have a large camera island on the back, but instead, each of their three cameras are its own individual element, making the overall design more clean and minimalist.

And, of course, perfectly in tone with the Ultra model, which already dropped the camera island a year ago. Other than that, the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus' camera and flash positioning are exactly the same as before.

That removal of the camera island is enough for your old S22 cases to not fit on those new S23 phones, so keep that in mind.

We have some beautiful, playful colors to choose from:
  • Cream
  • Green
  • Lavender
  • Phantom Black

Fans of flat phones will be happy to know that both the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus have flat screens and flat backs, with only their metal frame being ever so slightly curved.

And, for those mindful of durability, we're happy to report that the phones have IP68 water resistance, just like their predecessors. This means they have been tested to survive in up to 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to half an hour, so a light rain shouldn't bother them.

IP68 also entails dust, dirt and sand resistance, although as always, Samsung (like most brands) advises not to use the phones on beaches and pools nonetheless. In addition, Samsung naming these phones' frame "Armor Aluminum" sounds reassuring.

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In terms of weight, the Galaxy S23 is obviously smaller and lighter at 168 grams (5.92 oz), while the bigger S23 Plus, which also packs a heavier battery, weighs 196 grams (6.91 oz).

The Galaxy S23 series is also Samsung's most sustainable line of phones yet, using pre-consumer recycled aluminium and recycled glass, and post-consumer recycled plastics, which according to the Korean giant have been sourced from discarded fishing nets, water barrels and plastic bottles.

Even the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 that covers the Galaxy S23 series' displays are using about 22% recycled content. In addition, the smartphones' packaging itself is made with 100% recycled paper, which is also good to hear.

AMOLED displays, 120Hz refresh rate

On the front, the smaller, base Galaxy S23 has a 6.1-inch screen with very small, symmetrical black bezels, while the S23 Plus, like its name suggests, has a slightly bigger screen at 6.6-inches. And yes, those are the same sizes as last year, so S22 users should feel right at home with the new S23.

Both models' screens are using Dynamic AMOLED 2X technology, sport a FHD+ (1080p) resolution, and perhaps most notably – variable refresh rate from 48, up to 120Hz. So, we have a 120Hz refresh rate on both phones!

Gamers may be interested to know that they can even make use of a 240Hz Touch Sampling Rate mode for a super responsive mobile gaming experience. Note that this won't make the screen refresh any quicker, but respond to touch quicker.

As we mentioned earlier, the Galaxy S23 screens are also protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which is the newest Gorilla Glass, and supposedly survives cracks and scratches like a champ, but we'll probably see if that's true soon enough.

As we've come to expect, the displays still have a selfie camera hole punch at the top center, meaning we don't get any fancy under-display cameras just yet, but hey, if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

Yay, no more Exynos processors in Europe! Everyone gets the flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2!

On the inside, all phones in the Galaxy S23 series are powered by the latest flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and even better – this time there'll be no Exynos models in some regions.

No matter where you are, your S23 phone will be powered by the same flagship Snapdragon chip, which wasn't the case before. For example, in Europe Samsung's flagships traditionally ship with Exynos processors, but again – that won't be the case this time around.

Now, that Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (which is also a 5G chip, of course) bodes well for those powerful multitasking features we get on Samsung flagships, such as split screen multitasking, windowed apps, and my favorite – the desktop mode called Samsung DeX.

Both the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus are also packing 8GB of RAM, which helps with keeping more apps open in the background. In addition, you can get up to half a terabyte of storage, which is not expandable, unfortunately.

Galaxy S23 storage options:
  • 512GB
  • 256GB
  • 128GB

Galaxy S23 Plus storage options:
  • 512GB
  • 256GB

As we can see, the Galaxy S23 starts with 128GB of base storage, while the Galaxy S23 Plus starts with 256GB. Regardless of which storage option you choose, the only RAM option is 8GB.

On the software side, the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus come with Android 13 out the box, with Samsung's One UI 5.1 on top. That's the one that brings a distinct Samsung Android experience, with all of the extra multitasking features we mentioned just now, plus the built-in apps like Samsung's own Internet browser, Samsung Notes, and the Galaxy app store. Of course, you don't have to use any of those, as the Google Play Store, and all the third-party apps you may already be accustomed to, are available at your disposal too.

More good news – bigger batteries and faster charging

On the battery front, the Galaxy S23 is sporting a 3,900 mAh battery, while the S23 Plus – a 4,700 mAh one. Those are both slightly bigger than what we got with the previous generation, so that's some good news for people who appreciate that longer battery life. Stay tuned for our full reviews, where we'll test just how much extra battery life that increase gets us.

Speaking of the battery – the charging speeds are one thing that differs between the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus.

The Galaxy S23 has slower 25W wired charging, while the Galaxy S23 Plus has support for faster 45W wired charging. Both phones also have Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, but we're yet to confirm whether this means 10W or 15W wireless charging speeds.

According to Samsung, the Galaxy S23 can get up to 50% charge in about 30 minutes of charging, with a 25W power adapter (or faster). Similarly, the Galaxy S23 Plus is claimed to get charged up to 65% after around 30 mins, again with at least a 45W adapter.

Two-day battery life?

As for how long those phones will last you on a single charge, Samsung claims up to 22 hours of video playback for the Galaxy S23, and up to quite an impressive 27 hours of video playback for the Galaxy S23 Plus.

The two phones also share Wireless PowerShare support. PowerShare is all about convenience, as it means you can plop your Samsung Galaxy Buds or smartwatch on the back of your Galaxy S23 or S23 Plus, and the phone will serve as a wireless charger for your accessories.

Lastly on the topic of batteries and charging – we don't get a charger in the box, as has become the norm with the biggest smartphone brands nowadays, but hey, at least we still get a charging cable. That's something, right?

Both the S23 and S23+ share the same triple camera setup

But now let's get into what's become the main topic of every modern flagship smartphone – the camera. Both the Galaxy S23 and S23+ have triple cameras on the back, and those share the same specs:

Galaxy S23 and S23+ cameras:
  • 12MP Ultra-Wide Camera (F2.2, FOV 120˚)
  • 50 MP Wide Camera (F1.8, FOV 85˚)
  • 10MP Telephoto Camera (3x Optical Zoom, F2.4, FOV 36˚)
  • 12MP Front Camera (F2.2, FOV 80˚, can film at up to 4K, 60FPS)

That main camera is definitely no slouch at 50MP, and for when the need to take a wider shot pops up we have a 12MP ultra wide camera with a field of view of 120 degrees. On top of that, if you ever need to zoom in on a distant subject or landscape, there's a telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, just like last year.

Obviously that's not as impressive as the monster 10x zoom on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but still, 3x optical zoom is not a small amount, and can make all the difference in certain situations.

Also, we still get the option of up to 30x digital zoom, which digitally crops the image in order to close in on a subject, so it results in quite a substantial image quality loss, but it's still more than welcome to have as an option.

But what's probably the most exciting and futureproof camera upgrade is that every phone in the Galaxy S23 line-up is now capable of recording 8K video at 30FPS (frames-per-second), which is smoother than before. And Samsung is beating its main competitor, Apple to the punch, because iPhones don't have any 8K video recording yet.

To be fair, most people don't even have 8K screens right now, which would be why we don't see a lot of 8K videos on YouTube or anywhere just yet, but hey – again – this is some great, early futureproofing. 8K 30FPS today, maybe 8K 60FPS next year?

In addition, the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus can obviously also film in lower resolutions which take less storage space, such as 4K at 60FPS, and FHD at 120FPS. There's even a 960FPS super slow motion video recording mode for the creatives out there, looking to try something different!

Speaking of camera features, Samsung is banking on improved Night Mode photography ("Advanced Nightography"), and from what we've seen so far, it is very impressive. Say you're taking some pictures of your friends at night – well, normally those would come out a grainy dark mess with barely distinct human figures in it, but as it seems, that improved night mode can turn nights into days, almost.

Improved night selfies are another worth getting excited about. According to Samsung, the front camera focuses faster even in low light now, and uses AI to deliver authentic colors "that rival real time," which is indeed something many phones struggle with in low light.

The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus can also capture hi-res RAW images, for the professionals among you, thanks to which Samsung promises "bright and detailed shots ready for pro-level editing."

Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus specs

Interested? Pre-orders are open, shipping starts soon, prices are unsurprising

Let's get on to prices, storage options and release dates. The Galaxy S23 series is now available for pre-order, and shipping starts on February 17.

In the US, the Galaxy S23 prices start at:

  • Galaxy S23: $799.99
  • Galaxy S23 Plus: $999.99
  • Galaxy S23 Ultra: $1199.99

In the UK, the Galaxy S23 prices start at:

  • Galaxy S23: £849
  • Galaxy S23 Plus: £1049
  • Galaxy S23 Ultra: £1249

Note that those prices will go up if you choose higher storage options. Also, we still have a few regional spec differences, as usual. For example, we noticed a UK Galaxy S23 Ultra model with 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, which does not appear in the US, at least for now.

What do you think about the S23 and S23+? Did Samsung nail the 2023 update?

Let us know what you think about the Galaxy S23 and S23+ in the comments section below. Are you excited to get one, or will you skip the upgrade this year?

After all, we get faster processors, bigger batteries, a more minimalist design, on top of those improved cameras. It's not exactly a small upgrade, like the S22 arguably was. But hey, again, let us know what you think!

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