Galaxy S23 Ultra Intro
With a new 200MP main camera and the biggest upgrade in processors in years, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra shapes up as a worthy successor to the popular S22 Ultra.
The new Samsung flagship is not official yet. It is expected to make its official debut in February 2023, but with the rumor mill in full swing, we already know a lot about it even before the release: we have seen the leaked photos and we have heard most of the specs.
So what's new in the Galaxy S23 Ultra and should you upgrade?
The photos reveal the new S23 Ultra will feature a very similar design to the previous model, and it will also have an S Pen built inside, as well as the same sized 5,000mAh battery. While similar on the surface, things have changed on the inside.
What's new about the S23 Ultra:
No more Exynos versions
S23 Ultra to have Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip everywhere
S Pen built inside
New 200MP main camera
Improved photo and video processing
Same battery size
Same charging speeds
Galaxy S23 Ultra models: Snapdragon vs Exynos
The Galaxy S23 Ultra will put an end to one of the most controversial Samsung practices in recent years: the division of the flagship phone series in two versions, one with a Snapdragon processor and another one with an Exynos chip.
The S23 Ultra is expected to launch in just one version everywhere across the globe, and that version will be powered by the very promising Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.
With no Exynos on the Galaxy S23 series, and no other major phone maker using Samsung's chip, this might also mean the end of Samsung's efforts in this area. It's too early to tell whether this will benefit consumers in the long term or not, but at least in the near future, it is a welcome move. The Snapdragon chip that will be used in the Galaxy S23 Ultra is more powerful and power-efficient than any Exynos counterpart.
Galaxy S23 Ultra Design, Colors and S Pen
The Galaxy S23 Ultra looks so similar to the S22 Ultra that most people will have a hard time telling the two apart.
The new S23 Ultra features the same size 6.8-inch display, roughly the same styling with sharp corners, the same S Pen housed in the phone, and even the same camera arrangement. With a glass front and back, as well as an aluminum frame, the phone will use the same materials as its predecessor. It is also expected to have the same IP68 water and dust protection rating.
The differences will be subtle. The most important one might be the flatter sides of the phone will make it easier to grip when it's laying on a table, and bezels around the screen could also be smaller than before.
As for the Galaxy S23 Ultra colors, we expect to see a classic black version (Phantom Black in Samsung terms), a beige model is also possible, as well as a green one.
Last but not least, the S23 Ultra still comes with an S Pen built inside for your convenience. Expect to see further improvements to the latency of this new S Pen for a true pen-to-paper feel. We don't know much about the new S Pen features just yet, but will be updating this as soon as we learn more about it.
Galaxy S23 Ultra Display
Samsung is the market leader in display technology, and we expect to see its latest and most impressive OLED screen in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Leaks point to a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen with a 1440p resolution and with LTPO technology and variable refresh rate that goes up to 120Hz. Expect improvements in the maximum brightness as well as the color quality, but for more details, we'd have to wait. Samsung will stick with a punch-hole style front camera for a discreet look.
In terms of biometrics, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is expected to use an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which has proven itself to be quite reliable and fast enough. The phone will also support image-based face recognition with the front camera. This is nowhere nearly as secure as Apple's Face ID, but it also doesn't take up as much space as that system.
Galaxy S23 Ultra Camera
With a main camera, an ultra-wide camera and two zoom cameras on the back, the Galaxy S23 Ultra remains probably the most versatile smartphone camera on the market.
This year, the main camera gets the big upgrade. After three generations of using the 108MP sensor, Samsung is making the jump to an even more impressive 200MP sensor. And yes, you would be able to shoot 200MP photos, as insane as that sounds, but the default settings will still produce 12MP shots.
It's way too early to know specifics about image quality, but this leaked camera samples is extremely promising and shows a huge increase in the amount of captured detail.
Samsung leakers also say the phone will capture much better night time photos and videos, which also sounds very encouraging.
Galaxy S23 Ultra Performance & Benchmarks
The Galaxy S23 Ultra will come with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip (SM8550) everywhere in the world, finally ending the tradition of launching a Snapdragon model in the US, and a lower-powered Exynos processor in the rest of the world. That's excellent news for consumers. Insiders claim the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is an absolute beast of a chip. Built on the latest and most efficient 4nm technology, it is rumored to surpass the GPU performance of market leading Apple A16 chip. It is said to come with a CPU with one high-power X3 core running at up to 3.2GHz, two mid A715 cores at 2.8GHz and 2x A710 cores at 2.8GHz, plus finally 3x power-efficient A510 cores running at up to 2.0GHz It will also enable support for the latest technologies: Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, UFS 4.0 storage, LPDDR5X RAM, Ray Tracing and the AV1 codec.
We expect it to launch in similar configurations as the previous model. That means that we should have the following Galaxy S23 Ultra models:
8GB RAM + 128GB storage
12GB RAM + 256GB storage
12GB RAM + 512GB storage
Galaxy S23 Ultra Android version
The new Galaxy will run on the latest Android 13 version with Samsung's One UI 5 on top of it.
Expect to see the familiar Samsung-style interface and icons, as well as all of the features that One UI is known for.
The best thing about buying a Samsung-made Android flagship is that you get the longest software support. Samsung promises 4 years of major updates and 5 years of security updates for its flagships, more than even Google offers for its Pixel phones.