Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review: Born under a lucky star

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Galaxy S23 Plus review
Galaxy S23 Plus Intro

In one fell sweep, Samsung shushed multiple years of criticism by finally addressing one of the big issues plaguing its Galaxy phones: the lackluster performance. Getting rid of the Exynos chipset has been one of the main highlights of the Galaxy S23 family released in early 2023.

While everyone and their mother was enamored with the exceptional Galaxy S23 Ultra, the new Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus got left in the proverbial shadow of its larger brother. Undeserving, as this one turned out to be a rather pleasant surprise after all!

Full disclosure, I went into this review with a pessimistic state of mind, mostly fueled by my not-so-impressive experience with the Exynos-powered Galaxy S22 Plus last year, but the new Galaxy S23 Plus eventually led to a change of heart and convinced me that Samsung has still got what it takes to come up with a flagship worthy of one's attention!

While the Galaxy S24 Plus is already official and the Galaxy S24 Plus vs Galaxy S23 Plus is surely heated, we wouldn't rule out the Galaxy S23 Plus just yet!


  • Superb performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Bright and vivid display
  • Improved camera image quality
  • Excellent selfie camera
  • Friendly and ergonomic design
  • Superb video stabilization


  • Display isn't as accurate as previous Galaxy flagships
  • Lots of storage reserved by the system
  • Somewhat boring color options

Samsung has pleasantly surprised with the surgically implanted enhancements and improvements that have made the Galaxy S23 Plus the poster-child Android phone in early 2023, with a size and form factor that could very well be the golden mean for most people, as well as packing respectable performance, excellent battery life, and meaningful camera improvements. 

Speaking of camera improvements, we have put each snapper on the S23 Plus through our new in-depth camera testing procedure and given it a score, which you can find in this review's 'Camera' section. If you want to find out more about how we rate each camera check out our PhoneArena Camera Score benchmark page.

Buy the Galaxy S23 Plus here:

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.

With an unchanged starting price of $999, which gets you 256GB of onboard storage (twice as more as last year), the Galaxy S23 Plus is an excellent follow-up to the non-convincing Galaxy S22 Plus flagship.

And given that you may never pay the full price of the Galaxy S23 Plus, thanks to the various Galaxy S23 series deals, promotions, and trade-in bargains that retailers and carriers alike host on the regular, this new Samsung phone could be an excellent deal for just about any Android user on the verge of upgrading. Definitely worthy to be shortlisted by anybody.

Table of Contents:

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Galaxy S23 Plus Specs

Curious about the complete Galaxy S23 Plus specs? Well, you can get the full scope by following the link in the previous sentence, but here's the summarized version for your convenience:

Galaxy S23 Plus Design & Colors

Important changes that matter 

The Galaxy S23 Plus has scored a trove of changes in the design section. Gone is the Contour Cut camera island of the Galaxy S22 Plus, which seamlessly blended with the side frame of the phone and housed all three cameras; with the Galaxy S23 Plus, each camera gets its dedicated camera lens cutout, which gently sticks out of the back and makes for a very neat and tidy exterior design. It's simple and unsophisticated, but definitely in a positive way.

Fully flat at the front and the back, with Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for the first time on a phone, the Galaxy S23 Plus also has a slightly convex Armor Aluminum side frame that curves outwards. This makes the phone comfortable to hold in the palm of your hand, as it doesn't carve in your hand as much as a modern iPhone with its right-angled design normally would.

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As such, using the Galaxy S23 Plus as a daily driver left me with the impression of using a much more compact device. With a 6.6-inch display up front, it definitely is not a small phone per se, but is as compact as possible given the form factor. 

Aside from that, the Galaxy S23 Plus remains a pretty well-rounded standard phone, with IP68 water- and dust-resistance on board, stereo speakers on board, an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner baked into the display, as well as no microSD card slot or a 3.5mm audio jack available. Overall, the new Galaxy S23 Plus is a device that's unmistakably Galaxy that sticks to what seemingly works for Samsung.

In terms of the Galaxy S23 Plus colors, Samsung has come up with a few mainstays in the portfolio: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender. In person, the colors look muted and classy, though I can easily see why some might find them a bit too muted, lifeless, and lacking vibrancy. Knowing Samsung, we might get a slew of extra colors either as exclusives or regular paint jobs available everywhere.  

Galaxy S23 Plus Display

A great AMOLED display

There's a 6.6-inch FHD+ display at the front of the Galaxy S23 Plus, as usual of the Dynamic AMOLED variety, and it's just as glorious as Samsung's flagship AMOLED screens usually are!

With its superb contrast, an excellent color vibrancy that makes all content just pop, and a decent sharpness of 393ppi by the FHD+ display (2340 x 1080 pixels), the Galaxy S23 Plus definitely covers all the bases when it comes to a flagship-grade smartphone display in early 2023. 

One aspect of the display that I love is the brightness amplitude. The minimum brightness of just 0.8 nits means that the phone can be easily used in pitch-black darkness without hurting your eyes, which is something I welcome with open hands. At the same time, the maximum brightness is also way higher than before, at roughly 1,100 nits in our tests, which makes it one of the brightest phones out there. In certain lighting conditions, the screen can even go as high as 1,750 nits for a brief time! 

Just like on previous Galaxy devices, you can choose among two different color profiles, a natural one that gives you an sRGB-grade of color accuracy, and a vivid one that should appeal to those who want to experience content in the best way possible. Viewing angles are very good, though the overall color accuracy leaves a bit to be desired. The default color temperature of 6,783 Kelvin in our tests is a bit colder than what we're used to with previous Samsung displays, and the Delta E grayscale color shift is mostly average, so colors might not be as accurate as other phones, like last year's Galaxy S22 Plus, for example.

Overall, I doubt anyone will have a very large bone to pick with the display of the Galaxy S23 Plus.

Display Measurements:

The bad news? It's still the same 48Hz-120Hz panel that has been a mainstay of Samsung's non-Ultra flagships, and although the average user wouldn't notice a stark difference, the Galaxy S23 Plus can't benefit from the potential energy savings of the advanced 1-120Hz screen that Samsung uses on the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Ultra. Those displays allow for potential energy savings while displaying still content. Even employing a 10-120Hz display on the Galaxy S23 Plus would have been an improvement in comparison with the 48-120Hz screen that we have here. 

Galaxy S23 Plus Camera

Triple camera prowess

Samsung Galaxy S23+
PhoneArena Camera Score
BEST 153
PhoneArena Photo Score
BEST 160
Main (wide)
PhoneArena Video Score
BEST 147
Main (wide)

While the Galaxy S23 Ultra is coming with an exciting 200MP main camera and a trove of new features, changes about the Galaxy S23 Plus camera are a few in-between. The Galaxy S23 Plus comes with a 50MP main wide-angle camera boasting an f/1.8 aperture, the good ol' 12MP ultra wide-angle lens, and finally, the 10MP 3X optical telephoto boasting an f/2.4 aperture and capable of pushing the maximum zoom up to 30X.  

There are much more changes at the front, where Samsung has thrown in a new 12MP selfie camera with dual phase-detection autofocus that should keep all of your selfies tack sharp even during the most unfavorable lighting conditions, and ultimately capable of shooting Super HDR videos as well as 4K@60fps video clips to share around social media. Low-light portraits have been greatly improved as well.

The overall experience with the camera app is as good as it gets, with all the essential features intuitively laid out around and with tons of advanced functionalities sprinkled throughout the interface. Samsung neophytes will probably have to familiarize themselves with all the different shooting modes and options that are available, but seasoned Galaxy troopers will have no problem jumping right in and benefitting from all the new features. 

Galaxy S23 Plus image quality

The best way to judge the image quality of the Galaxy S23 Plus is to compare it with the Galaxy S22 Plus, which we've done in our dedicated Galaxy S23 Plus vs Galaxy S22 Plus review. Still, here's how the new compares to the old.

Main Camera - Good Light

One thing that immediately becomes crystal clear is that the over-excessive image processing of the Galaxy S22 Plus was reined in with the Galaxy S23 Plus. For the most part, we no longer have extreme over-sharpening, which is great. Color rendition is much more natural on the newer device, especially with skin tones. Notice how unpleasantly reddish my face is in the Galaxy S22 Plus sample image, whereas the Galaxy S23 Plus has produced, at least to my eyes, a much better photo. The Galaxy S23 Plus has also captured clearer details in the shadowy areas in the second HDR scene, whereas the Galaxy S22 Plus has crushed most of those and has also generally delivered a generally darker image.

The same general observation can be seen in the above sample photos as well. Victor's face looks much more natural in the Galaxy S23 Plus. The differences in dynamics can also be spotted pretty clearly here: notice how much more details one can distinguish on Victor's very dark coat in the Galaxy S23 Plus photo, whereas the Galaxy S22 Plus has mostly crushed those shadows.


The Galaxy S23 Plus' ultra-wide camera delivers more realistic colors in comparison with its predecessor, not as over-saturated and garish, and certainly more pleasing to the eye. Samsung has dialed back the proverbial HDR slider, making Galaxy S23 Plus photos appear much less excessive, which is definitely a step in the right direction. The best kind of HDR is the one that goes unnoticed, for sure.


The Galaxy S23 Plus takes much better zoom photos in comparison with its predecessor, but the reason isn't a secretive hardware upgrade. When using the 3X telephoto lens, the new Galaxy delivers better detail resolution and tones down the contrast, which takes away from the dramatic look and makes for a lovely photo, all things considered. As a result, sign text is better legible, you can make out way more details on more subjects in the background, and you also don't lose that much information in the shadowy areas of the image, which is seemingly still a big issue for the Galaxy S22 Plus.

Portrait Mode

When it comes to portraits, the Galaxy S23 Plus scores noticeable improvements over the Galaxy S22 Plus. HDR has been tuned so the overall brightness is slightly lifted and as a result, you get a much better portrait out of the newer phone. In comparison, the Galaxy S22 Plus tries to wow us with a moody presentation and slightly boosted saturation, which doesn't work very well for its portraiture, especially when directly compared with the Galaxy S23 Plus.

With a new 12MP camera on board, the Galaxy S23 Plus delivers much better detail than the Galaxy S22 Plus, especially with minute facial features like eyebrow hairs, small wrinkles, and so on. While many would be mostly indifferent to this improvement (some might even shun the extra amount of facial details that showcase all of their defects), one change that many will notice is the better color resolve and dynamics that the selfie camera of the Galaxy S23 Plus has in store for all of us.

One big improvement to portrait mode is the more accurate glasses and hair separation from the background. The phone is finally intelligent enough to distinguish those and not blur them, and this effect also works even with rimless prescription glasses, which is a very big improvement in comparison with the Galaxy S. Additionally, portraits are also just a tad sharper than before, with lots of fine details preserved and correctly rendered in the portraits. The usual roster of portrait-related features, like color tone, lighting, and blur intensity are also on board.


When the light goes down, the Galaxy S23 Plus does an equally good job. The camera errs on the underexposed side, so photos taken with Night mode look the part, whereas previously Samsung photos taken in low light were too over-exposed. Dynamics are mostly good

Finer details are lost during wee hours, and in other scenarios, details can become splotchy, but overall, nothing is out of the ordinary for a Galaxy S Plus-grade flagship phone. 

Finally, selfies are equally impressive in lower light. The phone would almost always engage in selfie night mode, illuminating your face with an auxiliary light to capture a detailed photo. Almost all of the time, this would ring true: even at night, selfies and selfie portraits turn out marvelous, with a ton of details and excellent dynamics. That's a selfie camera done right!  

Video Quality

Video Thumbnail

The new Galaxy S23 Plus can shoot 8K video at up to 30fps, an improvement over last year's 8K@24fps video recording, which finally makes 8K videos usable and flexible for post-processing. Color rendition is more natural on the Galaxy S23 Plus, lacking the reddish hues and more dramatic, contrasty look of videos taken with the Galaxy S22 Plus.

There is still a slight lag when the phone switches between the different lenses during video recording, but I'm definitely willing to give it a pass for that small omission given just how awesome the new stabilization is.

Even without enabling the Super Steady mode, we get to see just how more stable footage taken with the Galaxy S23 Plus is in the same shooting conditions as last year's model, a definite win for Samsung which stems from the fact that the company has thrown in improved image stabilization. 

Thanks to VDIS (Video Digital Image Stabilization), footage taken with the Galaxy S23 Plus is noticeably smoother, which should appeal to those who shoot lots of videos. Overall, the Galaxy S23 Plus is a definite win if you're into video, delivering noticeably better results than its immediate predecessor. 

Still, if you're big on video, an iPhone could still do a better job, though Samsung is closing the gap. 

Galaxy S23 Plus Performance & Benchmarks

Bye, bye, Exynos (you won't be missed)

Finally, after years upon years of clamoring, Samsung fans worldwide will be spared from the latest iteration of an Exynos chipset. Starting with the Galaxy S23 series (and probably about to last for a few good years at least), Samsung will solely rely on Qualcomm's top-of-the-line Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in all regions around the globe, a pretty major change that would finally allow non-US Galaxy fans to enjoy the performance and energy efficiency of a Snapdragon chip. Samsung's Exynos chips have generally lagged behind Qualcomm's offerings for a couple of years now, delivering less efficiency, lower performance, and worse battery life.

And with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, which is the exact name of the silicon intended for all of Samsung's latest flagship wares, performance and efficiency are what you get. In real life, the phone performs admirably and is a perfect match for the Galaxy S23 Plus. Utilizing regular everyday activities is a joy, and the phone zips through just about anything you might throw at it with gusto. It will be curious to see how the phone would perform in a couple of months, but so far, I'm moderately impressed. 

Surprise, surprise, the new Snapdragon chip inside the Galaxy S23 Plus simply and decisively destroys its predecessor in our synthetic performance benchmarks! The main rivals to the Galaxy S23 Plus are also either matched or left in the dust, and even the mighty iPhone 14 Pro with the Apple A16 Bionic has to concede to Qualcomm's latest creation in 3DMark's tasking tests! 

Performance benchmarks

Storage-wise, the Galaxy S23 Plus will be available with 8GB of RAM, and either 256 or 512GB storage versions, with no microSD card slot for further expansion. Bummer, but microSD card slots have been absent on Samsung's flagship for a few years now, so we should accept this as the new normal and stop clamoring. 

Galaxy S23 Plus Connectivity

The Galaxy S23 Plus is a 5G-enabled device that supports both the sub-6GHz and mmWave 5G connectivity standards, delivering excellent data throughput speeds. There's also Wi-Fi 6E support on the Galaxy S23 Plus, which requires a compatible router, but can deliver much greater Wi-Fi data speeds. One thing is for certain: you are unlikely to be disappointed with the Galaxy S23 Plus' connectivity capabilities, that's for sure. 

Galaxy S23 Plus Software, OS, and features

The Galaxy S23 Plus comes with Samsung's own One UI 5.1 interface running on top of Android 13. In our One UI 5 review, we called the latter "the perfect software update," as it improved the overall functionality and the performance of Samsung's One UI  seamlessly combining customization features with palpably improved performance and overall system smoothness. And for all intents and purposes, One UI 5.1 is a minor software update that adds certain touch-ups and polishes to the interface. 

Given Samsung's recent commitment to long software support, the Galaxy S23 Plus will be receiving major software updates until 2027, as well as security patches well until 2028, which future-proofs the phone quite nicely. 

Circling back to some of the highlights of One UI 5.1, we have enhanced Modes & Routines, which allow you to customize scenes for sleep, exercise, driving, work, or relaxation, Bixby Text Call, which lets you respond to incoming calls with a text (similar to the Google Assistant), as well as co-edit Samsung Notes during video calls, which is quite a nifty addition to the functionality roster. Continuity with the Samsung Galaxy Book has also been introduced, allowing you to have universal input and a clipboard between the two devices. 

The regular One UI software goodies are all on deck, with some new functionalities to spice up the Android experience. One UI's gallery app has emulated the iOS 16-like subject isolation feature that lets you touch and instantly copy a person or an object as a separate image or even a sticker to send around. You also get to play around with another feature that's borrowed from iOS. That's the lock screen customization functionality that draws a lot of inspiration from Apple's iOS, with different clockface fonts and typeface colors available to the user. At the end of the day, is a nice new addition to One UI to play around with, definitely something that boosts the overall polish of One UI. 

Biometric authentication methods included with the Galaxy S23 Plus include an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner underneath the display as well as a standard photo-based face unlock. I'm pleased to report that the fingerprint scanner is fast and accurate, and it unlocks the phone extremely quickly and mostly error-free. Meanwhile, face unlocking is quite fast as well, but it is not that secure. 

Galaxy S23 Plus Battery

Capacity improvements

Samsung Galaxy S23+
( 4700 mAh )
Samsung Galaxy S23+
Battery Life Estimate
6h 10m
Ranks #20 for phones tested in the past 2 years
Average is 6h 35m
16h 37m
Average is 15h 4m
8h 15m
Average is 9h 54m
6h 47m
Average is 7h 24m
Charging speed
30 min
Full charge
Ranks #28 for phones released in the past 2 years
Wireless Charging
30 min
2h 10m
Full charge
Ranks #10 for phones released in the past 2 years

There's a respectable 4,700mAh battery inside the Galaxy S23 Plus, a 5% increase over the 4,500mAh battery that made the rounds inside the Galaxy S22 Plus, and just a smidgen smaller than the 5,000mAh battery that's found in the larger Galaxy S23 Ultra. Paired with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Galaxy S23 Plus is definitely on track to be way more efficient than its predecessor, and as a result, achieve a much better battery life.

In the PhoneArena browsing battery benchmark test, which has the display set at 200 nits and aims to recreate a regular web browsing experience with the display manually set at 200 nits, the Galaxy S23 Plus achieves a very decent benchmark result that beats its predecessor in this important exercise. With a score of 16 hours and 37 minutes, the Galaxy S23 Plus even bests the iPhone 14 Pro in the same test.

In the PhoneArena video streaming test, things aren't that good for the Galaxy S23 Plus, which lasts less than the likes of the iPhone 14 Pro, Galaxy S22+, and the Pixel 7 Pro. The situation is much better in our custom gaming test, which emulates a standard 3D gaming session: here, the Galaxy S23 Plus lasts for 6 hours and 47 minutes, which is much better than what its competitors achieved. 

In real life, expect similar battery performance. The phone will easily last you day of moderate to heavy usage, but pampering it lets you use it for up to two days even. 

PhoneArena Battery Test Results:

Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23+16h 37 min
Google Pixel 7 Pro14h 19 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro16h 18 min
Samsung Galaxy S22+15h 16 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23+8h 15 min
Google Pixel 7 Pro9h 39 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro9h 14 min
Samsung Galaxy S22+8h 18 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S23+6h 47 min
Google Pixel 7 Pro4h 11 min
Apple iPhone 14 Pro5h 38 min
Samsung Galaxy S22+5h 40 min

Above, you can see just exactly how well the Galaxy S23 Plus scored on each of the benchmarks we perform in house here at PhoneArena.

Galaxy S23 Plus Charging Speeds

Not many changes were introduced here: the Galaxy S23 Plus still supports fast 45W wired charging, as well as Fast Wireless Charging 2.0. That's not too shabby, but a far cry from the fastest-charging Android phones we've seen. Still, it takes just an hour to fully charge the Galaxy S23 Plus with the recommended 45W charger, and you get 74% after just 30 minutes of charging, which should be enough for most people to continue their day.

While it may seem that using Samsung's 25W wired charger will lead to much slower charging times, the final difference is just 11 minutes in favor of the 45W charger, which isn't such a big difference. What's more, a 45-minute charge on both phones gets you more than enough juice (80% with the 25W charger, 92% with the 45W charger), so you can safely continue using your 25W charger if you have one, or even opt for that one instead of the more powerful wall adapter. 

When it comes to wireless charging, the Galaxy S23 Plus supports Fast Wireless Charging 2.0. When juiced up by the official Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 EP-P2400 charger, the Galaxy S23 Plus takes slightly below two hours to get fully juiced up with this first-party charger in particular. Your mileage may vary with third-party wireless chargers, though, so getting the official one is usually recommended.

Galaxy S23 Plus Audio and haptics

The Galaxy S23 Plus features slightly improved audio in comparison with the Galaxy S22 Plus, as the brunt of the audiophiliac improvements has graced the larger Galaxy S23 Ultra. Still, the Galaxy S23 Plus sounds slightly louder and with a more pronounced base and mids, though the sound could easily get distorted if you increase the volume too high. 

The sound stage sounds about the same as on the Galaxy S22 Plus, but with the added richness of deeper base frequencies that make listening to music slightly more enjoyable.

Haptics, on the other hand, are great on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, with precise and strong vibrations that feel very gratifying. 

Galaxy S23 Plus Models

Aside from the Galaxy S23 Plus, Samsung also released two other devices, the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Despite being part of the same phone family, there are some pretty distinct differences between the three devices.

For one, the regular Galaxy S23 is a more compact version of the Galaxy S23 Plus, with a smaller display and battery, but the rest of the hardware on both new devices is similar.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra, however, true to its more intriguing name, has much more going for it in the hardware section, including a longer periscope lens, a much larger and more advanced display, a larger battery, and finally, an S Pen stylus on deck.

Galaxy S23 Plus Competitors

The Galaxy S23 Plus has the iPhone 14 Plus and the Pixel 7 Pro in its sights, as all of these phones seem like natural rivals for each other. While Apple's misunderstood big phone lacks some of the features that the Galaxy S23 Plus has in tow, like a telephoto camera and a high-refresh rate display, it could even things out with better battery life, remains to be seen. 

Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 Pro comes with tons of camera goodies and a user-oriented overall experience that could certainly give the Galaxy S23 Plus a very serious run for its money, plus it's a proper flagship, with little to nothing held back. 

Galaxy S23 Plus Summary and final verdict

Despite my pessimistic expectations that the Galaxy S23 Plus was shaping up to be a minor improvement over the Galaxy S22 Plus, I can honestly admit that it's quite an improvement in many important, key areas. While there aren't exactly exciting changes that "wow" at first glance, using the Galaxy S23 Plus reveals that Samsung has certainly perfected the formula behind the phone.  

When it comes to performance and battery life, two areas in which Samsung flagships (especially Exynos ones) have been lacking, the Galaxy S23 Plus goes back to the drawing board with the hopes of giving users a new Galaxy experience. That was especially true for me, as I was mostly accustomed to the Exynos versions of Samsung's flagships, and to say that I'm pleasantly surprised by Samsung's dedication to deeply ameliorating the Galaxy flagship lineup.

The Galaxy S23 Plus surely has enough for it going on to be an excellent alternative to both the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23 Ultra, as well as a decent stepping stone for users that are willing to switch over from other manufacturers and ecosystems. 

Yes, even long-time users should consider switching to this one: the Galaxy S23 series is the perfect entry point into Android, and will remain so for many months to come. The Galaxy S23 Plus has a lot to offer, namely great performance and battery life, a bright and vivid display, as well as tons of features that build upon stock Android.

In my opinion, this phone should be short-listed by anyone looking out for a new phone. It's hard to not get swayed by the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but this one is a traditional, sensible flagship smartphone that delivers on all fronts. 

 *Disclaimer: You may notice review scores have changed on PhoneArena! Since September 20th, we have started using a new scoring system. Learn more about the new PhoneArena Smartphone Review Rating system here.


  • Superb performance
  • Excellent battery life
  • Super-bright and vivid display
  • Improved camera image quality
  • Excellent selfie camera
  • Friendly and ergonomic design
  • Superb video stabilization


  • Display isn't as accurate as previous Galaxy flagships
  • Lots of storage reserved by the system
  • Boring color options

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

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