Samsung Galaxy S23 assessment: S is for samey
- Premium compact construct
- Slick efficiency
- Improved battery life
- Stable OS assist
- Restricted upgrades
- Gradual 15W charging
- Pixel 7 is way cheaper
The Galaxy S23 is one other well-made, enticing and solidly performing flagship smartphone from Samsung. Nonetheless, except you’re loyal to Sammy and need the newest compact handset, it’s largely unchanged from the S22 and struggles to shine in any explicit space – particularly when rivals are cheaper.
Value When Reviewed
Finest Costs Right now: Samsung Galaxy S23
As common because the bus that takes me into 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 cellphone 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 group, crave a smaller, easier 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 liked this cellphone 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 general, particularly in terms of worth for cash.
Design & Construct
- Virtually an identical to S22
- Gorilla Glass Victus 2
- Extra recycled elements
I gained’t spend too lengthy on this part as a result of there are way more fascinating issues to say about this 12 months’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 one of the crucial compact and handleable flagships available on the market. For comparability, the Google Pixel 7 is simply over 1mm thicker and extra importantly, weighs nearly 200g.
The iPhone 14 is way nearer in measurement and weight however will solely be an possibility if you happen to’re open to utilizing iOS slightly than Android, after all. Android options embody the Asus ZenFone 9 and, within the mid-range, the Pixel 6a and Sony Xperia 5 IV.
Samsung has solely actually modified one vital factor concerning the design from the S22. The rear cameras now simply sit independently of one another, with no surrounding metallic 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 in some way makes an enormous distinction and I personally a lot favor this new model, 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 too can get the cellphone in Phantom Black, Cream and Inexperienced. Samsung then has unique colourways on the official website within the type of Graphite and Lime.
The cellphone additionally has higher eco-credentials with extra recycled plastic (together with fishing nets), aluminium and glass used for sure elements. It could possibly 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. Not likely noticing it doing its work within the background is a testomony to its premium high quality and you’ll modify the vibration energy for numerous issues within the settings menu.
Display & Audio system
- 6.1in Dynamic AMOLED
- Full HD+
The show on the S23 is, just like the design, nearly 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 customarily according to equally priced flagships just like the Pixel 7.
A key ingredient there may be the 6.1in panel measurement which is sweet and compact for these in search of a small cellphone – the ZenFone 9 is even smaller at 5.9in. It’s nonetheless large enough for having fun with leisure, viewing photographs and the like though some avid gamers would possibly crave extra actual property and the keyboard can really feel a little bit cramped.
Like so many telephones, the punch gap digicam is a little bit distracting at instances. The dimensions jumps to six.6in if you happen to plump for the Galaxy S23+.
The decision is completely crisp sufficient and as typical, Samsung gives punchy colors and glorious distinction and you’ve got the same old choices to make changes if you want. There’s HDR10+ assist as effectively, for companies that assist it comparable to Amazon Prime Video.
With regards to refresh price, the Galaxy S23 remains to be 120Hz which beats the Pixel 7 by 30Hz if you happen to’re taking part in smartphone High Trumps. It doesn’t have the newest LPTO tech however it will probably dynamically modify right down to 48Hz and on the default Adaptive setting is buttery easy.
One improve on the S22 display screen is the next peak brightness of 1750 nits, up from 1300 so it’s obtained loads of luminance to carry out in shiny out of doors situations.
With a Spyder X Professional I measured the show at 752 nits with automated brightness off and additional brightness on. As ever, it’s not doable to lab check the true peak output however even 750 is loads of brightness for out of doors 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, means 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. In the event you don’t have a Bluetooth speaker or headphones, the built-in stereo audio system are impressively loud and provide up clear and balanced sound.
Specs & Efficiency
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- 8GB of RAM
- 128- or 256GB storage
Whereas it’d look like a small change, swapping the processor from Samsung’s personal Exynos chip to Qualcomm’s newest flagship Snapdragon is definitely essentially the most vital adjustment concerning 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 alteration makes an enormous distinction in some key areas. Battery life is the principle 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’ll count on. The S23 can handle a constant framerate in Genshin Influence even at max settings and the cellphone doesn’t get too scorching both.
As talked about, it’s the smaller display screen that’s not so good if you happen to play video games like this or CoD Cellular.
It’s price noting that the Galaxy S23 solely comes with 8GB of RAM and storage is restricted 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 must get the Galaxy S23 Extremely.
- 50Mp principal digicam
- 12Mp ultrawide
- 10Mp telephoto
- 12Mp selfie
On the again of the cellphone, Samsung has caught with the identical three cameras as final 12 months so that you get the same old flagship mixture of extensive, ultrawide and telephoto choices. Observe that the S23+ has the identical pictures credentials, so you might want to get the Extremely if you need a 200Mp principal sensor and 10x optical zoom.
It’s no shock, then, that the efficiency on provide right here is similar to the S22 and that trio of lenses offers you good scope to get glorious photographs in a variety of conditions and, like so many fashionable smartphones, there’s numerous intelligent processing happening within the background that can assist you simply level and shoot.
Samsung’s digicam app is among the best to make use of and also you’ll usually get glorious outcomes from the principle and ultrawide cameras when capturing in good mild. There’s loads of element (the principle digicam 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 among the higher ones I’ve examined with good high quality outcomes, aided by the built-in optical picture stabilisation (OIS). The app permits you to then digitally zoom in as much as 30x with, at instances, surprisingly clear photographs.
There are some points although as the principle digicam can overexpose a little bit, and might wrestle to focus if you happen to’re not capturing one thing that’s not nonetheless and hues are sometimes over-saturated. That is very true within the meals mode as I can inform you my pizza within the under slideshow positively didn’t appear like that in actual life.
Whereas it has numerous modes to play with, the portrait mode doesn’t all the time do a fantastic job of slicing round hair. In the meantime, low mild efficiency is OK, however not so good as I’d count on from a flagship system with photographs shortly turning gentle, fuzzy and missing color, plus there’s a whole lot of lens flare.
You’ll be able to at the very least go and use the professional mode and in addition shoot in 50Mp RAW if you happen to ought to want (making an allowance for that you simply’ll begin to fill the storage up in a short time).
The night time mode can conjure one thing out of nothing which is spectacular (it actually was pitch black to my eyes once I took the shot of my backyard) nevertheless it’s understandably grainy.
It’s the selfie digicam that’s obtained an improve from 10- to 12Mp and it’s a great digicam on the entire, albeit nothing notably particular. As per the principle digicam, portrait mode can wrestle at instances 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 most likely higher off capturing in Full HD or 4K the place high quality remains to be sharp and vibrant and the optical stabilisation does a strong job of maintaining 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 obtained bigger from 3700- to 3900mAh, though that’s nonetheless barely off the 4000mAh discovered within the older Galaxy S21.
Final 12 months’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 well now get you thru to bedtime with round 10-20% energy remaining with combined utilization.
After all, if you happen to’re hammering video games, media streaming or video recording then that gained’t occur.
With regards to charging, wired pace stays at 25W which is to say Samsung is means behind the instances 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 must 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 sluggish at 15W, then reverse wi-fi charging so you’ll be able to prime up your wi-fi earbuds case or comparable on the again of the cellphone whereas it’s face down. That is rated at 4.5W.
Software program & Apps
- Android 13
- One UI 5.1
- 4 years of OS assist, 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 feel and appear of Android considerably.
In comparison with the early days of One UI (or TouchWiz because it was identified), issues are considerably higher now with a usually polished and mature expertise that’s straightforward sufficient to get your head round.
Samsung nonetheless insists on doing sure issues in a different way although comparable to having the app tray panels scroll horizontally as a substitute of vertically. I additionally discover the display screen 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 good dwelling package, 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 numerous customisation and settings you’ll be able to play with and the sidebar displaying your favorite apps can are available actually useful at instances.
The excellent news as soon as once more is that Samsung gives long run assist for its S sequence telephones so you’re going to get 4 years of OS updates together with 5 years of safety patches which means you’ll be able to relaxation straightforward that the S23 gained’t be forgotten about after Android 15. That is amongst the longest assist within the Android world and a fantastic factor.
Value & Availability
In comparison with the S22, the Galaxy S23 has been given a value rise (within the UK at the very least) and now prices $799/£849 for the most affordable mannequin (up from $799/£769).
It will get you 128GB of storage and leaping to 256GB will set you again $859/£899. Both means you get 8GB of RAM and, as talked about earlier, there’s no SD card slot so select properly.
As you may think, the cellphone is extensively out there with the official Samsung retailer providing two unique colors in addition to some glorious trade-in gives in your previous cellphone.
You may as well purchase it from the next retailers:
If you need the Galaxy S23 on contract, listed below are your choices:
The price could put some folks off however there are a variety of rivals to think about at decrease costs together with the Asus ZenFone 9, Google Pixel 7 and OnePlus 11.
Try our chart of the greatest telephones to see extra choices.
The Galaxy S23 is one other completed flagship smartphone and for these of you who’re loyal to the model and don’t desire a larger cellphone within the S23+ or Extremely.
Nonetheless, within the wider market, the cellphone sits in a wierd place as not solely is it costlier than its predecessor, many rivals are significantly cheaper but of the same high quality. The Google Pixel 7 gives 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. Nonetheless, I did count on 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 straightforward to search out at a lot decreased 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 principal digicam
- 12Mp f/2.2 ultrawide digicam
- 10Mp f/2.4 3x optical telephoto digicam
- 12Mp f/2.2 entrance going through digicam
- 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