Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: which one stands the test of time better?

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Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22

Intro


The Samsung Galaxy S23 series now old news after the Galaxy S24 family came out. Now, the S23 is available at a $100 discount, in limited variant options. The good old Galaxy S22 is completely frozen out, hard to find unless you are shopping second hand or refurbished.

Let's assume you do find one. Do you get a Galaxy S23 or the even older Galaxy S22?

They don't look all that different — the base level Galaxy S23 is a slightly facelifted S22, with some hardware updates that were the cutting edge of early 2023. But that's not to say that the S22 feels slow or outdated. So, since both of these phones have a good lifespan ahead of them (Samsung pledges to 4 years of Android updates, 5 years of security patches), it's fair to ask which one you should go for.

Galaxy S23 Ultra (256GB) is 12% off at Amazon

The 256GB Galaxy S23 Ultra in Lavender sells for 12% off its MSRP. The deal is live on Amazon and there are very limited quantities left. Don't miss out.

Galaxy S23+ is available at Amazon

The Galaxy S23+ with 256GB of built-in storage arrives at its standard price, but you can trade-in an eligible device for up to $240 off. Limited quantities are available.

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 $240 in savings. Limited quantities available.



Well, let's examine the differences between the two phones and compare — design, display, camera, performance, and battery.

Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22 as per the leaks:
  • S23 gets new design — slim, with camera rings
  • S23 gets a brighter display
  • S23 gets a special edition overclocked Snapdragon chip
  • S23 has slightly bigger battery
  • S23 gets UFS 4.0 if you buy the 256 GB model (double the read and write speeds)
  • 8K 30 FPS video recording now possible on S23 (vs. 8K 24 FPS)
  • No major change in main camera, but slightly improved selfie cameras

Table of Contents:

Samsung Galaxy S23
6.7

Samsung Galaxy S23


The Good

  • Design is fresh, comfy, solid
  • New speakers sound great
  • Display is sharp and vibrant
  • Great performance bump
  • Good triple camera system
  • Very dependable battery life

The Bad

  • 128 GB model comes with slower storage and RAM
  • Screen leans slightly towards the greenish side
  • 25 W "fast" charging - bigger Galaxies do 45 W
Samsung Galaxy S22
8.5

Samsung Galaxy S22


The Good

  • Awesome display
  • Compact-ish
  • Good haptics
  • Good camera
  • OneUI is all grown up and fleshed out

The Bad

  • Not a huge improvement over S21
  • Battery life is a bit weak
  • Speakers need improvement


Design and Display Quality

Excellent Samsung AMOLED on both phones

It's hard to imagine that Samsung can do anything to improve its screens currently. The manufacturer has perfected its AMOLED tech over a span of many years and the Galaxy S22 has excellent, sharp, vibrant displays. The only upgrade here is in maximum brightness really — the Galaxy S22 has 1,500 nits at peak, the Galaxy S23 can push it up to 1,750 nits. Sizes and dimensions stay the same, with both screens having a 6.1-inch diagonal, 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The resolutions are 1080 x 2340 on both, for a packed 425 PPI pixel density.


There is, however, a noticeable shift in the design. The Galaxy S22 and the S22+ had a metal slab over the cameras on the back, fused to the phones' metal frame. It looked cool and fresh, but distinctly different to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which had a cleaner look, with only metal rings around the camera lenses.

The Galaxy S23 series borrows that latter look — it's a stylish new take on the camera module (or lack of one). Since the metal rings on the back do protrude, there will still be uneven rocking when the phone is flat on a table. But we can't deny the aesthetics upgrade.


As for ergonomics, we have the same almost-flat metal frame around the sides, and a fully flat screen up front. The non-Ultra Galaxies have long dropped the Edge display and are much more angular.

As for colors, the S22 is available in 5 colors — black, white, purple, green, and pink gold — but there are also 3 exclusive paintjobs available at the Samsung.com store — graphite, violet, and sky blue. The Galaxy S23 has just been announced with 4 basic colors — Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender. There are also a couple of exclusive colors for it if you shop from Samsung.com — Graphite and Lime. Yeah, we don't find them that exciting, too.


As for biometrics — the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner makes a return, safely nested under the screen where it has been for the past 4 generations of Galaxies. It feels fast and accurate on both phones and ultrasonic tech makes it possible to scan your finger if your hands are wet or smudged up, too.

Display Measurements:



Performance and Software



When Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 it already had some bombastic promises — 35% faster performance, 40% better power-efficiency. Wow!

The Galaxy S23 series takes them a notch higher with a special edition of the Qualcomm chip — the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy has been co-developed by the two manufacturers and comes with a slightly overclocked performance core. Plus, it enables the Galaxy to use the "Semantic Segmentation" for its selfie camera, too, which should mean better-looking Portrait Mode selfies.

Also, there's no Exynos this time around. While the Galaxy S22 is sold in two variants — Snapdragon and Exynos — for different markets, the Galaxy S23 comes with the one chip and that is that.

Geekbench 5 SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S231550
Samsung Galaxy S221152
Geekbench 5 MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S235002
Samsung Galaxy S223352
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S233807
Samsung Galaxy S222009
3DMark
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S232079
Samsung Galaxy S221351

This is huge because the difference in Exynos and Snapdragon was not just raw performance — the two chips also process camera imagery differently, leading to a ton of confusion online. "What Galaxy variant were these samples taken with, which processor was used for this battery test?". All of these questions will hopefully, maybe, become a thing of the past.

Of course, the Galaxy S23 will ship with Android 13 and Samsung's One UI 5.1 on top of it. But the Galaxy S22 is also being kept up to date, currently running One UI 5 on Android 13.

The Galaxy S23 also comes with a UFS 4.0 storage chip if you choose the 256 GB version (128 GB is still UFS 3.1, same as Galaxy S22). UFS 4.0 is a big deal because it basically doubles the read and write speeds of the phone, which will additionally increase snappiness. The bad news is that, in 2024, Samsung only sells the 128 GB version of the Galaxy S23. So, you may need to look a bit harder if you want to find one with that benefit.

We remind you that Samsung has pledged 4 years of software support for its flagships (and 5 years of ongoing security updates), meaning the Galaxy S22 will get Android 16 and call it quits in early 2026. The Galaxy S23 should receive Android 17 and then be done.

Camera

Not much improvement?

While the Galaxy S23 Ultra gets a huge improvement with a new 200 MP sensor, it seems that the regular S23 won't budge in terms of camera module. It sticks to the tried-and-tested combo of cameras on its back — 50 MP main, 12 MP ultra-wide, 10 MP telephoto — like its predecessor.

Camera samples



Color us impressed. The first samples show that the Galaxy S23 takes photos with a warmer color temperature and details that just pop. Dynamics are handled very, very well but we can see some people preferring the S22's shots here as they look a bit more "real" with their imperfect blacks and almost-blown-out highlights. The S23's camera takes photos that almost appear flat, though in a good way.


The same clash can be seen on the ultra-wide samples. We are also happy to see that color saturation has been subdued a bit. Yeah, not by a lot, but at least the greens in the grass have been reigned in back closer to reality with the Galaxy S23.


The zoom quality is kind of neck in neck. In fact, we kind of prefer the Galaxy S22's performance here in some portions of the photos, where the S23 seemed to smudge things up a bit. But these are quick little samples, so we need more extensive testing.


Good pictures from both phones, though the bokeh doesn't look convincing enough. We were hoping for a more realistic blur from the S23 here. Otherwise, the Galaxy S22 produced portraits that are more colorful and more contrasty, so we kind of lean towards them.

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We can notice sharper details on the Galaxy S23 selfies, which is much appreciated. But saturation and skintone seems to be better on the Galaxy S22 selfies here.

Video Thumbnail

Audio Quality and Haptics


The Galaxy S22 sounds pretty good — it packs stereo speakers tuned with the AKG know-how, since Samsung has acquired the audio company. They are loud, a bit middy, but still well-detailed. Maybe they lack a bit of oomph in the bass, so we are curious to see if the Galaxy S23 can improve on that. But hey, these are tiny, thin smartphones, so we don't expect miracles.

As for haptics — the flagship Galaxy phones have been clicking and clacking with very pleasant and reassuring feedback over the last few years. Samsung (and other Android phone manufacturers) kind of struggled with nailing the vibration over the years, but we are quite happy to say that they are nailing it nowadays.

Battery Life and Charging

Can the Galaxy S23 shock us?

So, the Galaxy S23 has a slightly larger battery — 3,900 mAh versus the 3,700 mAh in the Galaxy S22. This sounds... promising, considering the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2's improvements in energy efficiency.

Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S238h 6 min
Samsung Galaxy S227h 26 min
Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S2315h 21 min
Samsung Galaxy S2212h 23 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S236h 7 min
Samsung Galaxy S224h 29 min

The Galaxy S22 already gave us a good 12 hours of screen-on time with just browsing, which makes it a dependable daily driver. However, the Galaxy S23 is consistently better than that — a mix of energy-efficient hardware and slightly bigger battery will do that. We were pleasantly surprised by the huge leap in endurance with 3D gaming. The Galaxy S23 may be the smallest S23 phone, but it does have something to offer to powerusers!

As for wireless charging — these two phones only support 25 W fast charging, as 45 W is reserved for the Plus and Ultra models.

Specs Comparison


Well, here's a good look at the data sheets of the two phones.


Summary and Final Verdict


So, is the Galaxy S23 a must-have? Not particularly, no, but we do like the upgraded UFS 4.0 storage. If you can shoot for a 256 GB Galaxy S23, we'd say go for that one. It still has 3 years of Android updates left in it, too, and the superior hardware will give you that much headroom to last through those years.

But if budget is tight and you find a deal on the S22, you will still enjoy a Samsung flagship experience. These phones are still quite adequate in early 2024, and will serve you well for at least a couple of years.

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