Samsung Galaxy S23 Assessment: S Is for Samey
- Premium compact construct
- Slick efficiency
- Improved battery life
- Stable OS help
- Restricted upgrades
- Gradual wired charging
- Pixel 7 is way cheaper
The Galaxy S23 is one other well-made, enticing and solidly performing flagship smartphone from Samsung. Nevertheless, until you’re loyal to Sammy and wish the newest compact handset, it’s largely unchanged from the S22 and struggles to shine in any specific space – particularly when rivals are cheaper.
Value When Reviewed
As common because the bus that takes me into the town centre, Samsung is again with its newest era of flagship S23 smartphones.
Whereas it’d seem from the advertising and marketing marketing campaign that the S23 Extremely is the one telephone that issues, the plain previous common Galaxy S23 would possibly simply be the darkish horse of the pack.
Granted, the Extremely is all-singing and all-dancing however not everybody, me included, needs, wants or can afford a handset like that. Many individuals, together with quite a few members of the Tech Advisor staff, crave a smaller, less complicated system for his or her each day driver.
If that sounds such as you, then the Galaxy S23 would possibly simply be the one you’ve been ready for.
At first, I beloved this telephone however although nothing overtly mistaken with it, the extra time I spent utilizing it, the extra I realised how comparable it’s to the year-old Galaxy S22 and the way rivals stay extra enticing total, particularly in terms of worth for cash.
Design & Construct
- Nearly an identical to S22
- Gorilla Glass Victus 2
- Extra recycled components
I gained’t spend too lengthy on this part as a result of there are way more fascinating issues to say about this yr’s flagship Galaxy.
The telephones has close to an identical dimensions to its predecessor at 7.6mm thick and 168g, however which means it’s nonetheless probably the most compact and handleable flagships in the marketplace. For comparability, the Google Pixel 7 is simply over 1mm thicker and extra importantly, weighs virtually 200g.
The iPhone 14 is far nearer in measurement and weight however will solely be an possibility in case you’re open to utilizing iOS relatively than Android, after all. Android options embrace the Asus ZenFone 9 and, within the mid-range, the Pixel 6a and Sony Xperia 5 IV.
Samsung has solely actually modified one important factor in regards to the design from the S22. The rear cameras now simply sit independently of one another, with no surrounding steel or the like. They appear like port holes, or in panorama orientation would possibly make you consider the three-eyed fish in The Simpsons.
It’s a small change however one way or the other makes an enormous distinction and I personally a lot favor this new type, whereas the older design didn’t do a lot for me in any respect.
You continue to get the identical aluminium body and IP68 score, however the entrance and rear glass has been barely upgraded to Gorilla Glass Victus 2 which on paper is extra immune to scratches and cracks.
ThE S23 mannequin I’ve examined is Lavender however you can even get the telephone in Phantom Black, Cream and Inexperienced. Samsung then has unique colourways on the official web site within the type of Graphite and Lime.
The telephone additionally has higher eco-credentials with extra recycled plastic (together with fishing nets), aluminium and glass used for sure components. It may very well be higher nevertheless it’s progress nonetheless.
I’m an enormous fan of the vibration motor within the S23 which supplies subtly crisp suggestions for system navigation and typing. Probably not noticing it doing its work within the background is a testomony to its premium high quality and you’ll regulate the vibration energy for varied issues within the settings menu.
Display & Audio system
- 6.1in Dynamic AMOLED
- Full HD+
The show on the S23 is, just like the design, virtually an identical to the Galaxy S22 so it stays a Dynamic AMOLED panel with a Full HD+ decision at 6.1in in measurement. That’s all good and usually according to equally priced flagships just like the Pixel 7.
A key component there’s the 6.1in panel measurement which is good and compact for these searching for a small telephone – the ZenFone 9 is even smaller at 5.9in. It’s nonetheless sufficiently big for having fun with leisure, viewing images and the like though some players would possibly crave extra actual property and the keyboard can really feel slightly cramped.
Like so many telephones, the punch gap digital camera is slightly distracting at occasions. The dimensions jumps to six.6in in case you plump for the Galaxy S23+.
The decision is completely crisp sufficient and as normal, Samsung presents punchy colors and glorious distinction and you’ve got the same old choices to make changes if you want. There’s HDR10+ help as effectively, for companies that help it resembling Amazon Prime Video.
On the subject of refresh fee, the Galaxy S23 remains to be 120Hz which beats the Pixel 7 by 30Hz in case you’re enjoying smartphone Prime Trumps. It doesn’t have the newest LPTO tech however it could actually dynamically regulate right down to 48Hz and on the default Adaptive setting is buttery easy.
One improve on the S22 display is a better peak brightness of 1750 nits, up from 1300 so it’s acquired loads of luminance to carry out in shiny outside situations.
With a Spyder X Professional I measured the show at 752 nits with automated brightness off and further brightness on. As ever, it’s not doable to lab check the true peak output however even 750 is loads of brightness for outside daylight.
Surprisingly, I had a couple of points with the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner embedded within the show. Redoing my fingerprint registration helped and the cracked, winter dry pores and skin on my thumb gained’t have helped so it’s not all Samsung’s fault. The facial recognition was additionally considerably sporadic, method off the reliability of Apple’s Face ID.
Issues are extra pleasing in terms of audio, and though it’s a pipe dream I’d nonetheless like a headphone jack. If you happen to don’t have a Bluetooth speaker or headphones, the built-in stereo audio system are impressively loud and supply up clear and balanced sound.
Specs & Efficiency
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- 8GB of RAM
- 128- or 256GB storage
Whereas it’d seem to be a small change, swapping the processor from Samsung’s personal Exynos chip to Qualcomm’s newest flagship Snapdragon is definitely essentially the most important adjustment in regards to the Galaxy S23 in comparison with earlier generations.
Some markets have been getting Snapdragon fashions for some time, however not right here within the UK, and this modification makes an enormous distinction in some key areas. Battery life is the primary one, however there are additionally efficiency enhancements, too.
Basic operation is easy. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 can deal with demanding video games with out a lot sweat and comes with 5G compatibility as you’d anticipate. The S23 can handle a constant framerate in Genshin Influence even at max settings and the telephone doesn’t get too scorching both.
As talked about, it’s the smaller display that’s not so good in case you play video games like this or CoD Cellular.
It’s value noting that the Galaxy S23 solely comes with 8GB of RAM and storage is proscribed to only 128- or 256GB within the US and UK. With no microSD card slot, you would possibly wish to go for 256.
These wanting a extra spectacular 12GB of RAM should get the Galaxy S23 Extremely.
- 50Mp foremost digital camera
- 12Mp ultrawide
- 10Mp telephoto
- 12Mp selfie
On the again of the telephone, Samsung has caught with the identical three cameras as final yr so that you get the same old flagship mixture of broad, ultrawide and telephoto choices. Notice that the S23+ has the identical pictures credentials, so it is advisable get the Extremely if you’d like a 200Mp foremost sensor and 10x optical zoom.
It’s no shock, then, that the efficiency on supply right here is similar to the S22 and that trio of lenses provides you good scope to get glorious photographs in a variety of conditions and, like so many fashionable smartphones, there’s a lot of intelligent processing happening within the background that will help you simply level and shoot.
Samsung’s digital camera app is without doubt one of the best to make use of and also you’ll typically get glorious outcomes from the primary and ultrawide cameras when taking pictures in good gentle. There’s loads of element (the primary digital camera pixel bins photographs right down to 12Mp by default) and dynamic vary, with the ultrawide avoiding the annoying distortion you generally discover with cheaper sensors.
I don’t personally have a lot want for a telephoto lens however this is without doubt one of the higher ones I’ve examined with good high quality outcomes, aided by the built-in optical picture stabilisation (OIS). The app allows you to then digitally zoom in as much as 30x with, at occasions, surprisingly clear photographs.
There are some points although as the primary digital camera can overexpose slightly, and may battle to focus in case you’re not taking pictures one thing that’s not nonetheless and hues are sometimes over-saturated. That is very true within the meals mode as I can let you know my pizza within the beneath slideshow undoubtedly didn’t appear like that in actual life.
Whereas it has a lot of modes to play with, the portrait mode doesn’t all the time do an amazing job of slicing round hair. In the meantime, low gentle efficiency is OK, however not so good as I’d anticipate from a flagship system with photographs rapidly turning comfortable, fuzzy and missing color, plus there’s plenty of lens flare.
You possibly can at the very least go and use the professional mode and likewise shoot in 50Mp RAW in case you ought to want (making an allowance for that you just’ll begin to fill the storage up in a short time).
The evening mode can conjure one thing out of nothing which is spectacular (it actually was pitch black to my eyes after I took the shot of my backyard) nevertheless it’s understandably grainy.
It’s the selfie digital camera that’s acquired an improve from 10- to 12Mp and it’s a very good digital camera on the entire, albeit nothing significantly particular. As per the primary digital camera, portrait mode can battle at occasions and low-light conditions require a gentle hand.
The Galaxy S23 can shoot in as much as 8K at 30fps which is spectacular, albeit extreme for many customers. You’re in all probability higher off taking pictures in Full HD or 4K the place high quality remains to be sharp and vibrant and the optical stabilisation does a stable job of holding issues easy.
Battery Life & Charging
- 3900mAh battery
- 45W charging
- No charging brick in field
The inclusion of a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset means a big enchancment in battery life when in comparison with the S22. It additionally helps that the battery has acquired bigger from 3700- to 3900mAh, though that’s nonetheless barely off the 4000mAh discovered within the older Galaxy S21.
Final yr’s common flagship struggled to get by a day with medium utilization at 120Hz however I’m happy to report that’s not the case for the S23. It may possibly now get you thru to bedtime with round 10-20% energy remaining with blended utilization.
After all, in case you’re hammering video games, media streaming or video recording then that gained’t occur.
On the subject of charging, wired velocity stays at 25W which is to say Samsung is method behind the occasions on this entrance. The S23+ and S23 Extremely cost at 45W, and loads of less expensive telephones include 50-100W and we’re seeing units just like the Realme GT Neo 5 hit the market with 240W.
Samsung doesn’t provide an adapter within the field, only a cable, so that you’ll have to get your individual and utilizing a 67W adapter, I discovered the Galaxy S23 charged to a mediocre 41%.
There’s additionally wi-fi charging however that is additionally comparatively gradual at 15W, then reverse wi-fi charging so you’ll be able to high up your wi-fi earbuds case or comparable on the again of the telephone whereas it’s face down. That is rated at 4.5W.
Software program & Apps
- Android 13
- One UI 5.1
- 4 years of OS help, 5 of safety
The S23 vary comes with Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI 5.1 excessive at launch. Samsung’s Android pores and skin is sort of heavy and modifications the appear and feel of Android considerably.
In comparison with the early days of One UI (or TouchWiz because it was recognized), issues are considerably higher now with a typically polished and mature expertise that’s simple sufficient to get your head round.
Samsung nonetheless insists on doing sure issues in a different way although resembling having the app tray panels scroll horizontally as an alternative of vertically. I additionally discover the display brightness slider awkward to make use of because it’s hidden behind two swipes down within the notification shade.
There’s additionally loads of duplication within the pre-installed apps with Google and Samsung choices for issues together with app shops. It’s bloatware, and Samsung ought to kind it out.
There may be worth in issues like Samsung Well being for wearables and smartwatch metrics and SmartThings for sensible residence equipment, however much less so in terms of Bixby and the aptly named Samsung Web when Google Assistant and Chrome are exponentially higher.
Nonetheless, there’s a lot of customisation and settings you’ll be able to play with and the sidebar exhibiting your favorite apps can are available actually helpful at occasions.
The excellent news as soon as once more is that Samsung presents long run help for its S sequence telephones so you’re going to get 4 years of OS updates together with 5 years of safety patches that means you’ll be able to relaxation simple that the S23 gained’t be forgotten about after Android 15. That is amongst the longest help within the Android world and an amazing factor.
Value & Availability
In comparison with the S22, the Galaxy S23 has been given a worth rise (within the UK at the very least) and now prices $799/£849 for the most cost effective mannequin (up from $799/£769).
This may get you 128GB of storage and leaping to 256GB will set you again $859/£899. Both method you get 8GB of RAM and, as talked about earlier, there’s no SD card slot so select properly.
As you may think, the telephone is broadly accessible with the official Samsung retailer providing two unique colors in addition to some glorious trade-in presents to your previous telephone.
You may also purchase it from the next retailers:
If you’d like the Galaxy S23 on contract, listed here are your choices:
The associated fee could put some folks off however there are a selection of rivals to contemplate at decrease costs together with the Asus ZenFone 9, Google Pixel 7 and OnePlus 11.
Take a look at our chart of the greatest telephones to see extra choices.
The Galaxy S23 is one other achieved flagship smartphone and for these of you who’re loyal to the model and don’t desire a larger telephone within the S23+ or Extremely.
Nevertheless, within the wider market, the telephone sits in a wierd place as not solely is it dearer than its predecessor, many rivals are significantly cheaper but of the same high quality. The Google Pixel 7 presents a equally premium expertise – minus a telephoto lens – for a significantly cheaper at $599/£599.
The design and construct of the S23 is top-notch as is the show and a substantial quantity of the spec sheet. Nevertheless, I did anticipate barely higher pictures efficiency.
The brand new Snapdragon chipset is nearly the one main improve from the S22, although, and there’s no getting round the truth that previous-generation Samsung telephones stay simple to search out at a lot lowered costs.
I began out actually liking the S23 however the extra time went on, the extra I realised that the S22 is a greater discount, the S23+ is a greater candy spot and a lot of non-Samsung rivals are higher worth.
- Android 13 with One UI 5.1
- 6.1in, 120Hz, FHD+, Dynamic AMOLED show
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
- 8GB RAM
- 128/256GB storage
- 50Mp f/1.8 foremost digital camera
- 12Mp f/2.2 ultrawide digital camera
- 10Mp f/2.4 3x optical telephoto digital camera
- 12Mp f/2.2 entrance dealing with digital camera
- Wi-Fi 6E
- Bluetooth 5.3
- Stereo audio system
- 3900mAh battery
- 45W wired charging
- 15W wi-fi charging
- 4.5W reverse wi-fi charging
- Gorilla Glass Victus 2
- 157.8 x 76.2 x 7.6 mm