Nothing CEO Carl Pei reviews Samsung S23 Ultra in comparison to the Phone (1)

Video Thumbnail

Nothing CEO, Carl Pei, in typical fashion took to YouTube today with his review of the Samsung S23 Ultra just as he has done in the past with the OnePlus 11 and the iPhone 14 Pro. In his review, he shared his thoughts on the design, software, and price of Samsung's latest flagship smartphone, as well as comparing it to those same characteristics on his own company's Nothing Phone (1).

As done in his previous smartphone review videos, featuring a familiar interview format, Carl Pei talked about being a fan of Samsung in the early days having been the first among his friends to get the Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3. For the purposes of his review, though, Carl was in possession of the S23 Ultra for over a month so he could try it out and experience the device fully, admitting that his so-called "Youtube career" has been difficult to balance with his CEO career as he had originally planned to release his review of the Samsung S23 Ultra at the time of the embargo, just like the other influencers had. However, his busy schedule got in the way and thus why it is just now being released.

In his previous smartphone reviews, such as on the one for the OnePlus 11, Carl reiterated the importance he places on having a brand identity and physical features on the phone that set you apart from the rest and make you recognizable. When asked if Samsung had accomplished that with its latest S23 Ultra, Carl admitted that the design is very polished and a lot like a "straight A student" with pure science, but no art.

Is there a difference between the S23 and S22 Ultra?

He clarified this earlier statement by explaining that it is very hard to tell this newest model apart from the S22 Ultra, with the exception of a reduced curvature in the bottom corners of the device and a slightly larger bezel around the cameras.

Recommended Stories
The design is so iterative, that you can barely tell it apart from its predecessor and proceeded to share a cheeky meme illustrating his point. However, he admitted that this is usually not important to the average consumer, and that is exactly who Samsung designed the device for.

As far as the camera goes, he finds that the number of megapixels in a smartphone camera nowadays is irrelevant, placing a larger important on the physical size of the camera and its sensor. He states "the larger the sensor, the more light can get in and the better the photo is going to be," which comprises the physical component of mobile photography as he finds that software-wise, everyone has already pretty much cracked the formula on photo post-processing.

But what about those moon photos?

Carl did address that controversy regarding the 100x Space Zoom which combines optical zoom and computational processing, resulting in ultra-sharp images of the moon that many have called fake. He correctly stated that every smartphone camera uses computational photography in some way, and in Samsung's case it just happens that they've chosen to use this feature to enhance images of the moon. However, he also added that this controversy is not new and resurfaces every two years or so.

Samsung software and pre-installed apps

Carl admitted that he finds the UI a little dated in some of the interaction logic, but he does't find that to be as bad as the amount of pre-installed apps on a Samsung device nowadays. He counted how many were installed on the phone he had in his hand and got up to 35 before comparing that to the three or four pre-installed apps on the Nothing Phone. He blamed this on Samsung being such a large company with so many smaller teams that are all competing for that prime real-estate on the phone screen and not enough focus coming from the top.

How important is the S-Pen?

While he can see how the S-Pen could be helpful to have in certain cases where one needs to quickly sign a digital receipt or a contract, Carl is not necessarily a big fan of using a stylus with a phone. He went as far as to say that he found the use of the pen to be pretty useless for his particular needs and finds that he is much better with good old pen and paper when in need to write down his thoughts.

How does this relate to the Nothing brand?

While Samsung markets toward the masses, Carl states that Nothing is still at a stage where it is not targeting everyone, but rather a very small subset of users that are either really interested in technology or really interested in design. This "tribe" will become further defined as Nothing matures and the products are made as perfect as possible.

However, Carl very humbly admitted that Samsung is a company to be respected as they have been in the game for a long time and basically built the Android ecosystem along with Google. Stating that "if it wasn't for Samsung, we wouldn't be here," Carl still stayed true to his opinion that there isn't enough progress between the S22 and the S23 Ultra to be a compelling upgrade for users. There is also the issue of pricing, coming in at $1199 USD, you can literally purchase three Nothing Phone (1)'s for the price of one Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Carl was purposely secretive when asked what we can expect from the Nothing Phone (2) now that he's had a chance to review all these phones from his competitors. Other than admitting that the camera software experience is one of the biggest takeaways that have inspired what his next generation device should work like, he did give us a tidbit that it will be something quite different from what we've already seen. What this looks or works like remains to be seen when the Nothing Phone (2) drops later this year.

Recommended Stories

Loading Comments...
FCC OKs Cingular\'s purchase of AT&T Wireless