Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: what's new, is it worth it?
We may earn a commission if you make a purchase from the links on this page.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 series has now had a few months to go through... multiple ringers. And they've held up quite well — the community likes them, we rate them high, it's all fine and dandy in Android smartphone world. But have they gotten us to forget the older Galaxy S22 phones? Not quite, as they are still quite good in late 2023, and often come at bargain deals!
They even don't look all that different — the base level Galaxy S23 is a slightly facelifted S22, with some hardware updates to keep it at the cutting edge. But that's not to say that the S22 feels slow or outdated.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.
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:
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.
Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22 (Image credit - PhoneArena)
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.
Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22 (Image credit - PhoneArena)
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.
S23 colors (Image credit - PhoneArena)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Not much improvement?
Camera software (Image credit - PhoneArena)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Well, here's a good look at the data sheets of the two phones.
Summary and Final Verdict
So, if you own a Galaxy S22, should you be worried? Should you hurry to upgrade to a Galaxy S23? Not really — the Galaxy S22 is still a great device with a good camera and dependable performance.
If it has been lacking that little bit extra oomph for you — then the S23 might be what you've been waiting for. So, now's the time to jump in. The Galaxy S23 has a good bump in both performance and battery life. The camera upgrades are small but do add improvement where it matters. And the new design is fresh!