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Is it worth spending ALL that extra cash on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra? Let’s find out…


2023’s ULTIMATE Android Phone (Bar None)
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
5.0

Bleeding-edge specs? Check. Amazing design? Check. Masses of power and a brilliant camera? Check, check! The Galaxy S23 Ultra is by far and away the best Android phone you can buy right now. It delivers heaps of performance, has excellent battery life, and it runs like a dream. If you can handle the price, this is the phone to get in 2023…

Pros:
  • The Camera is utterly amazing – zoom capabilties are off the charts.
  • Masses of power and performance
  • Base model comes with 256GB of storage
  • Faster charging (45W)
  • One UI software is superb
  • Runs rings around the competition

For those seeking the best possible performance and specs in the Android space, Samsung’s “Ultra” smartphones have been a mainstay for the last few years, packing in excellent design, bleeding edge specs, and brilliant camera modules.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is Samsung’s latest model and it comes with quite a few new features over its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. You have a new 200MP camera, an updated CPU, and vastly improved battery life. All good stuff, to be sure.

But is it worth all that extra cash? Are are you going to be better off saving some money and going with an iPhone 14, OnePlus 11, or Google Pixel 7 Pro? Let’s dig in and find out…


Design and Display

  • Display: 6.8in Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1200 nits

Samsung’s flagships have always looked the business, and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is no exception to this rule. It has a gentle curve to its display that is slight but gives it an air of prestige. The curve, it must be added, is less pronounced than on the S22 Ultra and this makes using the S-Pen a lot easier on the S23’s screen.

samsung galaxy s23 ultraPin

Front to back, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra cuts a fine figure. It is one of the first commercially available phones to use Gorilla Glass’ Victus 2, so it is properly robust with respect to structural integrity, and this applies both to the front and back of the phone. And it covers bumps, scuffs, and scratches too.

Good news for people that don’t like hiding their phones in cases.

The display, a 6.8in Dynamic AMOLED 2X with HDR10+ and a 120Hz refresh rate and 1200 nits of brightness, once again, is one of the best screens you’ll find on a phone in 2023. Colors look sublime, blacks have a void-like depth to them, and the contrast is pitch perfect.

The sublimity of the S23 Ultra’s display makes it ideal for gaming, watching movies, browsing the web – basically doing anything. It is perfectly sized, being not too big and not too small, and, thanks to Samsung’s solid grasp of design, you get a very impressive 89.9% screen to body ratio.

In terms of dimensions, the Galaxy S23 Ultra comes in at 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm and it weighs 234g. Again, this is a fairly large phone – around the same size as Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max – so if you’re after a smaller, more portable phone, you’ll need to look elsewhere.

For a slab-like phone, though, the Galaxy S23 Ultra handles brilliantly. It looks and feels great in the hand and, while the design changes are minimal, the things that have changed, a flatter overall design, flatter side rails, and a new camera module on the rear, all work cohesively and make it feel better engineered.

You also, of course, get a full IP68 rating for water and dust resistance and the button placement for the power/unlock button and volume rocker is the same as it was on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, so if you’re coming from that phone – or the S21 Ultra – the S23 Ultra will feel instantly familiar.

Camera

  • Rear Camera: 200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, 10MP 10x telephoto
  • Front Camera: 12MP selfie

The “main event”, at least in Samsung’s marketing campaign for this phone, is its camera. And given the kind of hardware Samsung has packed into the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, it is easy to see why it focussed so heavily on its imaging prowess.

First and foremost, the Galaxy S23 Ultra packs in a 200MP main sensor. This sensor is backed up by a 3x and 10x telephoto lenses and an ultrawide lens for good measure. Zoom performance, as you’d expect, is utterly incredible (easily the best on the market right now), with clear details at up to 30x.

As a point and shoot setup, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera is up there with the best of them, even surpassing the current best in the business (Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max) when it comes to zooming performance. Images look crisp, detailed, and for the most part hugely impressive. And best of all, it doesn’t really require any input from the user – just point and shoot.

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With low-light performance, again, the S23 Ultra is mightily impressive. Samsung has put its new 200MP sensor to good use here; the 200-megapixel sensor can combine pixels to improve image quality in low-light conditions. And it is this, combined with things like Night Mode, that really help the phone excel in low-light conditions.

You’ll want to let the phone decide when to use Night Mode, though, as forcing it when YOU think it is dark enough can and will produce weird, odd-looking results, so just sit back and let Samsung’s machine learning do its thing – it knows better than you what it can and cannot do in the dark, seemingly.

Another stand out feature is the Galaxy S23’s Portrait Mode. Usually, when applying bokeh and tightening up on a subject, details get lost or blurred. This happens on the iPhone 13 and iPhone 14 as well as other potent Android phones. But the Galaxy S23 Ultra is in another league entirely in this context.

Take as many portraits as you like, you’ll never find a single artefact out of place or misplaced blur around the subject. Fine details like hair or, in the case of some of my friends, long, grizzly beards are rendered in exquisite detail and this, yet again, is another area where the Galaxy S23 Ultra well and truly runs rings around the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Pixel 7 Pro.

Performance, Specs & Features

SpecificationDetails
Price$1,199 / £1,249
Display6.8-inch QHD AMOLED
Refresh rate1 – 120Hz adaptive
Rear cameras200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, 10MP 10x telephoto
Front camera12MP selfie
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
RAM8GB/12GB
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery5,000 mAh
Charging45W wired/10W wireless
Water/dust resistanceIP68
Size163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9mm (6.4 x 3.0 x 0.35 inches)
Weight233g (8.2 ounces)
ColorsPhantom Black, Cotton Flower, Botanic Green and Mystic Lilac

With its “Ultra” branding and high-end price tag, solid performance is not only expected, it is basically assumed. Previous Ultra phones from Samsung were, in no small part, hampered slightly by Samsung’s insistence on using its Exynos CPU on certain regional models.

This caused Samsung – and its users – plenty of headaches, but there is good news: this is no longer an issue on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

All Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra phones run on a special variant of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that is called, wait for it… the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy.

How is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy different from the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2? Here’s what Qualcomm has to say on the question:

  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy powers Samsung Galaxy S23 series globally bringing accelerated performance – making it the fastest Snapdragon ever and defining a new standard for connected computing, including desktop-level gaming features, professional grade photography, and more to consumers around the world.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S23 series features Qualcomm Technologies’ leading connectivity solutions, including the Snapdragon X70 Modem-RF System, the world’s fastest and smartest 5G modem-RF system, and Qualcomm FastConnect for high-speed and ultra-low latency Wi-Fi, and the latest Bluetooth audio enhancements.

Will you notice any difference? I’ve used a bunch of SD 8 Gen 2 phones this year and I couldn’t really tell any difference in performance. It’s a blazingly fast chipset packed with all kinds of potent capabilities, so whatever variant you use, performance is always going to be excellent.

And in this context, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, once again, does not disappoint. It feels blazingly fast, regardless of what you throw at it. Apps load instantly, games run smoothly, and the UX is butter smooth at all times, thanks the potency of the SD 8 GEN 2 for Galaxy and the S23 Ultra’s 120Hz display.

Basically, you don’t need to worry about performance, it is more or less off the charts and most people, like 99.9% of the people that use this phone, will never even remotely tap into its true performance capabilities.

Battery Life

  • Battery: 5000mAh
  • Charging Speeds: 45W wired/10W wireless

For all of its pomp and performance, Samsung has always fallen a little short in the battery performance department. And, like Apple, it too also lagged behind brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi with respect to fast charging abilities.

With the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung has set out to address some of these shortcomings. The Galaxy S23 Ultra runs a 5000mAh battery that’ll comfortably do a day and half with normal to heavy usage, and it now also supports 45W wired fast charging, so topping up is a breeze.

Wireless charging is still pathetically slow at 10W, so is probably not worth bothering with. But if you have a Qi charging mat and you have all night, sure, take advantage of its wireless charging. Me? I just use the 45W wired charging – it’s fairly rapid too, giving you around 50% charge inside 25 minutes.

With RAM, you have two options: 8GB and 12GB. The latter is, of course, more expensive but if you want the absolute best performance from the Galaxy S23 Ultra, you’ll want to pay the extra – it does make a pretty sizeable difference.

Storage options for the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a little more nuanced. Like Apple, Samsung now includes a 1TB option for the Galaxy S23 Ultra but, also like Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro, it is prohibitively expensive and, I’d argue, completely unnecessary for the vast majority of users. Unless you’re constantly shooting 4K video for work, you’ll never use 1TB.

The sweet spot for me, and for most users, would be the 12GB of RAM model with 256GB of storage. This would be more than enough for most, although there is certainly a good case to be made for the 512GB model too. Most would be perfectly fine with the base storage model, however, which is a more and than ample 256GB.

Pricing and Availability

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 256GB: $1,199 / £1,249
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 512GB: $1,399 / £1,449
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 1TB: $1,799 / £1,849

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Reviews

90

Tom’s Guide

100

Digital Trends

93

Android Police

90

The Verge

100

The Guardian

Conclusion

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review: The Best Android Flagship?Pin

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is an exceptional flagship device that delivers in all areas that matter. It boasts a sleek and stylish design with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that is perfect for gaming, browsing, and movie watching.

The phone also packs a powerful camera with a 200MP main sensor, 3x and 10x telephoto lenses, and an ultrawide lens, providing clear and detailed images even in low-light conditions.

The performance of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is also impressive, thanks to its special variant of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy, which provides blazingly fast performance and is one of the fastest Snapdragon chipsets ever made.

The phone also features a 5000mAh battery that supports 45W wired fast charging, and storage options range from 256GB to 1TB.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is an excellent device that lives up to its “Ultra” branding and high-end price tag. It is as good as anything by Apple and Google and, for the right sort of user, is the perfect phone to run in 2023.

If you can afford it, this is easily the best Android phone on the market right now.


2023’s ULTIMATE Android Phone (Bar None)
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
5.0

Bleeding-edge specs? Check. Amazing design? Check. Masses of power and a brilliant camera? Check, check! The Galaxy S23 Ultra is by far and away the best Android phone you can buy right now. It delivers heaps of performance, has excellent battery life, and it runs like a dream. If you can handle the price, this is the phone to get in 2023…

Pros:
  • The Camera is utterly amazing – zoom capabilties are off the charts.
  • Masses of power and performance
  • Base model comes with 256GB of storage
  • Faster charging (45W)
  • One UI software is superb
  • Runs rings around the competition

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