Review Of The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Much Of The Same, But Better

The S23 Ultra was unquestionably the highlight of the three phones Samsung presented at its yearly Galaxy Unpacked event. The company spent the most of its launch event discussing their newest flagship device; in fact, there was so much of it that I started to doubt the existence of the S23 and the S23 Plus.
Now that I’ve had a chance to thoroughly test the S23 Ultra over the past few weeks, I can kind of understand why. The S23 Ultra is a completely different concept from its siblings, bringing back classic Galaxy Note-like features combined with a brand-new list of exclusive goods. The S23 Ultra is likely the model to aim for in 2023 if you have the cash to go out on a posh new phone.

Review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Important information

As 2023 gets underway, it is evident that Samsung’s decision to combine its Note and S-series lineups paid dividends. After all, if sales of last year’s S22 Ultra hadn’t exceeded forecasts, Samsung probably would have eliminated the stylus.
So, yeah, the S Pen is back for a second year, adding its customary blend of note-taking and drawing special sauce to what is the company’s most competent smartphone yet.
But perhaps more significantly, Samsung has shifted to Qualcomm chipsets worldwide after taking into account customer input from recent years. This year’s phone is powered by a specially designed Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which promises slightly higher clock rates than the base model (3.6GHz vs. 3.3GHz), as well as significant performance and endurance improvements over last year’s in-house Exynos 2200 chip.

The huge 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, which has a 120Hz refresh rate and a QHD+ (1,440 x 3,088) resolution, is also back. You may choose from 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of storage, albeit the 256GB version only comes with 8GB of RAM. The more expensive 512GB and 1TB models, however, come with 12GB of RAM.
The S23 Ultra’s cameras include a gigantic 200MP main camera, a first for Samsung, as well as two 10MP optical zoom lenses (10x and 3x), a 12MP 120-degree ultrawide camera, and a 12MP (f/2.2) selfie camera.

Review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Cost and Rivals

Before moving on, we must undoubtedly discuss prices. Starting at £1,249 for the standard 256GB model, the S23 Ultra costs £1,399 and £1,599 for the 512GB and 1TB variants, respectively. As you recall, the S22 Ultra’s starting price from the previous year was £1,149, therefore this year’s price has increased significantly by £100.
That is one of the largest generational price increases that Samsung has recently experienced, but the bad news doesn’t end there. The Galaxy S23 Plus now costs £1,049, an additional £100 more expensive than the entry-level Galaxy S23, which now starts at £849 (up from £769).
That’s not ideal, but Samsung isn’t the only phone manufacturer asking for more. It should come as no surprise that the cost of Apple’s iPhone 14 (£849), iPhone 14 Pro (£1,099), and iPhone 14 Pro Max (£1,199) has gone up. The S23 Ultra is, albeit not significantly, less expensive than Apple’s equivalent.
Of course, the earlier Galaxy S22 Ultra is still available and is presently priced at about £880. The Z Flip 4, Samsung’s least expensive folding phone, costs £899, a difference of £350.
There are several Android devices available in addition to those made by Samsung. With a starting price of £1,200, the Sony Xperia 1 IV is priced similarly to the S23 Ultra, while the Google Pixel 7 Pro is the least expensive of all of its rivals.

Review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Design, Features, and S Pen

The S23 Ultra looks very similar to last year’s model, although having four additional color options: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender. Although Samsung claims that the left and right corners of the screen have a somewhat more dramatic curve, I didn’t immediately notice this when I initially took up the device.
It is still a massive behemoth of a phone, weighing somewhat more than the S22 at 234g, and its proportions are quite large, measuring 78 x 8.9 x 163mm (WDH). The S23 Ultra is definitely better suited for the largest hands and the deepest pockets because that is bigger than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
The S23 Ultra’s reflective aluminium sides are a nice touch, and I particularly like the frosted glass rear. The selfie camera is located inside a tiny circular hole-punch notch at the top center of the display, while the group of rear-facing cameras are all evenly spaced out in the top left corner of the device.

On the right edge, adjacent to the volume rocker, is the power button, which annoyingly still activates Samsung’s Bixby assistant when tapped. The USB-C connector, which enables 45W charging, is logically situated on the phone’s bottom, between the speaker grille, two nano-SIM slots, and S Pen housing.
On that front, if you were hoping to see any significant modifications to the S Pen in 2023, be ready to be let down. The hardware has not undergone any kind of upgrade, and the essential functionalities are unchanged.
Slide the S Pen’s base inward, and it pops out of the phone’s bottom, allowing you to slide it out while simultaneously opening a choice of stylus-compatible apps on the screen. From here, you can use the S Pen to make notes, sketch, and even remotely take pictures by pressing the side button while the camera app is active.
As you might anticipate, using the S Pen is equally as pleasant as it was on the S22 Ultra. While there isn’t even the slightest hint of pen-on-paper resistance, Scribbling is lovely and responsive, easy to use, and recorded my illegibly scribbled meeting notes without any issues.

Review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Cameras

Unsurprisingly, Samsung is making a big deal of the cameras on the S23 Ultra in its marketing this year. The 200MP primary sensor, which replaces the 108MP device in the S22 Ultra, is the largest sensor Samsung has ever included in a phone.
But, it is not the first smartphone camera with a 200MP sensor that we have seen. The Xiaomi 12T Pro and Motorola Edge 30 Ultra, both of which were released last year, use the same ISOCELL HP1 sensor as the S23 Ultra. The rest of the camera lineup is largely the same as previously, with a pair of 10MP optical telephoto lenses (10x and 3.5x), a 12MP 120-degree ultrawide camera, and a 12MP selfie camera.
Of course, having more megapixels doesn’t automatically translate into better pictures, but Samsung has made a ton of progress. This includes better stabilization thanks to a software-level technology called “Adaptive VDIS,” which analyzes movement and identifies lighting conditions in video and stabilizes accordingly.
The new 200MP camera is unquestionably outstanding. Every picture taken with the S23 Ultra is very beautiful: rich, detailed, and with neutral colors. If you’re switching from the ordinary S22 to the S23 Ultra this year, the improved sensor has unquestionably made a huge difference. Now consider that comparison:

Zoomed photography is also significantly improved. The S23 Ultra’s telephoto shots are superior in practically every regard, especially when it comes to capturing detail, even at 100x zoom. Another thing to keep in mind is that the zoomed images from the S23 Ultra are taken in a far shorter amount of time than those from the S22 Plus.
Even in challenging lighting conditions, portrait mode can now capture more realistic skin textures, skin tones, and hair colors. This function is comparable to Google’s Real Tone, which is found in its Pixel 7 smartphones.
A new pixel-binning technique that combines nearby pixels to assist boost the lighting in a photo makes night photography even better. You can clearly observe the difference in photographs compared to the S22 Plus.

Conclusion of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review

There is undoubtedly a lot to discuss when it comes to the S23 Ultra’s cameras, but this year, I have been particularly impressed by the device’s significant processing and efficiency upgrades. Generational benchmark upgrades don’t usually surprise me, but this one is noteworthy.
Samsung’s European customers, who have been using Exynos-based Galaxy phones for what seems like an eternity, will appreciate the switch to Snapdragon. Although US Samsung users who have benefited from Qualcomm for a number of years previously may not agree, the S23 Ultra is a significant boost for those on this side of the Atlantic.
The question is still whether potential phone purchasers would notice these upgrades or if the lack of other changes, combined with the price increase, will completely turn them off. That would be unfortunate because, in nearly every way, the S23 Ultra is the best Android smartphone available; if you have the cash, this is the device you should buy.

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