Galaxy S23 Plus Intro
The Galaxy S23-series is coming early next year, likely in the first weeks of February, complementing the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Ultra that will be helming Samsung's flagship effort for 2023.
Just like previous Galaxy Plus devices, this one would also probably remain in the thick shadow of its much more intriguing, larger, and more expensive peer, the highly-anticipated Galaxy S23 Ultra. The middle child of Samsung's flagship lineups doesn't have the compact dimensions of the regular Galaxy, while the Ultra model always has way more intriguing hardware that makes it a much more appealing purchase.
But for all intents and purposes, Samsung's Plus flagships have always been excellent devices showcasing the best of both worlds—superb hardware and display size with a fair price, making them excellent, but often overlooked alternative to most Android flagships out there. It falls to the Galaxy S23 Plus to break this unfortunate mold, but would this be possible, considering that there might not be that many changes from the previous generation?
Galaxy S23 Plus Models
Aside from the Galaxy S23 Plus, Samsung also has two other phones in the pipeline. Of course, we are talking about the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Despite being part of the same generation, there are lots of 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 aside from that hardware on both new devices is pretty 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, even larger display and battery, and finally, an S Pen stylus on deck.
Galaxy S23 Plus Design & Colors
The Galaxy S23 Plus exterior is expected to be mostly similar to the Galaxy S22 Plus, without any major changes. However, don't expect your old Galaxy S22 Plus cases to fit your new Galaxy S23 Plus, as there would definitely be some important changes on deck.
One of the main differences that might get introduced to the Galaxy S23 Plus (and Galaxy S23, in extension) could be a revamped camera island. Actually, it would be technically correct to call that "revamp" a "removal" of the camera island. That's right, instead of a sleek and blended camera island that merges with the side frame of the phone, we are getting individual camera cutouts. That's not necessarily a new look, as the Galaxy S22 Ultra utilized a similar look for its rear cameras.
Another important change to consider could be the slightly taller yet narrower aspect ratio of the Galaxy S23 Plus in comparison to the S22 Plus, potentially making it easier to handle, especially with a single hand. In terms of Galaxy S23 Plus colors, we expect the phone to be available in Beige, Black, Green, and Light Pink, at least at launch. Samsung usually shakes things up a few months later with a new available color, so we expect at least one new paintjob to become available down the line.
Galaxy S23 Plus Display
One of the main changes that we could see with the Galaxy S23 Plus could be a much smoother display 10-120Hz like on the Ultra models. While we really do hope for such an improvement to make an appearance, so far we've heard no rumors of the type, which means that we might not see such a hardware change.
It's much more likely to see a 48Hz-120Hz hybrid LTPs display on the Galaxy S23 Plus, similarly to the Galaxy S22 Plus. Don't get us wrong, this display refresh rate is still super-smooth, it just wouldn't allow the phone to benefit from the improved power savings and efficiency gains that a 10-120Hz display would otherwise introduce.
In other display specs, we expect the Galaxy S23 Plus to score a 6.6-inch display with the sensible resolution of 2340 by 1080 pixels, just like the Galaxy S22 Plus. Of course, the display will be a Dynamic AMOLED one, which should literally speak for itself and hold the promise for exceptional image quality and color rendition.
Galaxy S23 Plus Camera
While the Galaxy S23 Ultra is coming with an exciting 200MP main camera and a trove of new features, rumors about the Galaxy S23 Plus camera are still not that many, which means one thing, and one thing only—Samsung is unlikely to introduce that many hardware changes in comparison with the Galaxy S22 Plus. Thus, all potential improvements will have to lean on software and algorithm improvements.
As a refresher, the Galaxy S22 Plus came with a triple camera setup. It consisted of a 50MP f/1.8 main camera with a 1/1.56" sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 1/2.55" sensor, and finally, a 10MP 3X optical zoom lens with an f/2.4 aperture and a small, 1/3.94" camera sensor. Up front, we had a 10MP f/2.2 selfie camera. Well, we expect Samsung to keep that layout and introduce feature and software improvements to the camera setup.
Galaxy S23 Plus Performance & Benchmarks
After years and years of segregating the different regions it sold its Galaxies in, Samsung will no longer use different chips for its US and international models starting with the Galaxy S23-series... for now, at least. It seems that Qualcomm's upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset has been chosen as the only brains of the Galaxy S23-series, no matter the region.
This is a major move that will ditch Samsung's own Exynos line of chips, which have generally lagged behind Qualcomm's offerings for a couple of years now, delivering less efficiency, lower performance, slightly worse image quality, and worse battery life.
Leaked info about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a pretty different beast than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It reportedly consists of one high-performance 3.36GHz core, four mid-range 2.8GHz cores, and finally, a trio of efficient 2.02 GHz cores. Despite expectations that it could be built on a 3nm node, the chip is more likely to use TSMC's 4nm node instead.
Not to fret—judging from some preliminary benchmarks, this puts the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on par with the Apple A15 Bionic (which powers the iPhone 14 and 14 Plus), which is a superb achievement! Only the Apple A16 Bionic that powers the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max comes ahead among the potential competitors of the Galaxy S23 Plus.
Storage-wise, the Galaxy S23 Plus will likely be available with either 128 or 256GB 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.
Galaxy S23 Plus Connectivity
The Galaxy S23-series is expected to come with an all-new Qualcomm X70 5G modem, which looks like quite the improvement in all areas. Here are just a few of the new features that the X70 delivers:
Snapdragon X70 unleashes advanced capabilities such as Qualcomm 5G AI Suite, Qualcomm 5G Ultra-Low Latency Suite, Qualcomm 5G PowerSave Gen 3 and 4X
sub-6 carrier aggregation to achieve unmatched 5G performance.
Harnessing the power of AI to enable breakthrough 5G speeds, coverage, low latency and power efficiency to fuel the 5G Connected Intelligent Edge
World’s only comprehensive 5G modem-RF system family capable of supporting every commercial 5G band from 600 MHz to 41 GHz, offering flexibility to OEMs for
designing devices capable of supporting global operator requirements
Unmatched global band support and spectrum aggregation capabilities including world’s first 4X downlink carrier aggregation across TDD and FDD, mmWave-sub-6 aggregation
Standalone mmWave support to allow MNOs and service providers to deploy services such as fixed wireless access and enterprise 5G, without needing sub-6 GHz spectrum
Unmatched uplink performance and flexibility with uplink carrier aggregation and switched uplink support across TDD and FDD
True global 5G multi-SIM including Dual-SIM Dual-Active (DSDA) and mmWave support
Upgradeable architecture allowing rapid commercialization of 5G Release 16 features through software updates
Galaxy S23 Plus OS / Android version
The Galaxy S23 Plus will come with Samsung's own One UI 5 interface running on top of Android 13. In our One UI 5 review, we called the latter "the perfect software update," as it seamlessly combined deepened customization features with palpably improved performance and overall system smoothness. The same can generally be expected from Android 13 itself, though it's not as feature-rich as Samsung's One UI.
Galaxy S23 Plus Battery
It's expected that a 4,700mAh battery will make it inside the Galaxy S23 Plus, or a 5% increase over the 4,500mAh battery that made the rounds inside the Galaxy S22 Plus. Paired with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, the Galaxy S23 Plus might turn out to be way more efficient than its predecessor, and as a result, have much better battery life. While we were generally satisfied with the Galaxy S22 Plus' battery life last year, there's always room for lots of improvement, and the Galaxy S23 Plus is the perfect candidate to give is a serious bump in endurance. That's what we expect of the Galaxy S23 Plus battery.
Galaxy S23 Plus Competitors
The Galaxy S23 Plus would definitely duke it out with the iPhone 14 Plus and the Pixel 7 Pro, seeing that all of those phones will reside in the same price range. While Apple's misunderstood big phone might lack some of the features that the Galaxy S23 Plus will score, like a telephoto camera and a high-refresh rate display, it could even things out with a better battery life. Meanwhile, the Pixel 7 Pro comes with tons of camera goodies that could certainly give the S23 Plus a serious run for its money.
Galaxy S23 Plus Summary and final verdict
So far, we expect the S23 Plus to be quite the major improvement over the Galaxy S22 Plus in some areas, and not so much in others. When it comes to performance and battery life, we are hopeful that Samsung could introduce major enhancements to the Galaxy S23 Plus and the Galaxy S23-series as a whole thanks to its almost certain decision to drop its own silicon in favor of Qualcomm's.
These improvements, paired with the generally excellent value that a Samsung flagship phone brings to the table might just be enough to make the S23 Plus our go-to recommendation when it comes to an all-around good Android phone. But hey, let's not put the cart in front of the horse.