Between the practicality of the Galaxy S23 and the majesty of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it is hard for the Samsung Galaxy S23 to escape its shadow. However, the Galaxy S23 fills several important niches in the smartphone market.
The Galaxy S23 is trying to thread the needle between affordable size, affordability, and a respectable experience.
Galaxy S23: General specifications
With improved battery life, the Samsung Galaxy S23 stands head and shoulders above the past three generations. This year we got a very bright screen, ample power from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, and the consistent full-featured stability of One UI 5.1. These features, combined with the S23’s compact size, make it one of the best small Android phones since the Galaxy S10e.
|SoC||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy|
|Display||6.1″ FHD+ AMOLED, 48~120Hz refresh, 240Hz touch sampling|
|Storage||128GB or 256GB|
|Operating System||One UI 5.1 w/ Android 13|
|Front camera||12MP f/2.2|
|Rear cameras||50MP f/1.8 OIS main, 12MP f/2.2 wide (120°), 10MP f/2.4 OIelephoto (3x)|
|Connectivity||4G, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC|
|Dimensions||146.3 × 70.9 × 7.6mm|
|Colors||Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender + Samsung.com exclusive Lime, Graphite|
|Charging||25W wired (Quick Charge 2, Samsung AFC), 15W wireless (Samsung Fast Wireless Charging 2.0/WPC), Wireless Power Share|
|Micro SD card support|
|Security||Fingerprint (Ultrasonic, under-display), Facial|
Galaxy S23: Display
The Galaxy S23’s flat screen is 6.1 inches, but when the corners are rounded, the screen is 5.9 inches. These curved corners don’t actually take up any usable space, but they do make it easier to reach the top corners of the screen when using the phone with one hand.
There al highlights of this 2340 x 1080 pixel panel are the brightness and refresh rate. While the Galaxy S23 Ultra and S23+screens are largely unchanged from last year, the Galaxy S23 has been updated from 120Hz to a variable frame rate of40-120Hz. Last year’s 1000 nits brightness (1500 nit sat maximum auto brightness) has likewise been updated to1200 nits and up to1750 nits, the same as the S23+ and Ultra.
Frankly, it is still hard to tell the difference between 90Hz and 120Hz just by looking at it, but this brightness will come in handy when using the phone outdoors. Even under the Florida sun, it was easy to read, even with dark mode on. Samsung’s screens continue to be the best in the industry, and if you use your phone for many hours a day, the S23’s screen will not disappoint.
Galaxy S23: Design
You could be forgiven for thinking that the Galaxy S23 is a clone of the Galaxy S22 and that the camera design is not so pretty. Other than the loss of the metal camera module, the only noticeable difference in appearance is the slightly sharper edges of the phone. The Galaxy S22’s frame was almost flat, but the edges and the back glass edges were a bit more curved.
This year’s design is a bit more linear, giving it a more minim a list look that is both luxurious and practical. The slim curvature for a more comfortable grip is still there, and the super glossy finish Samsung applied to the Arm or aluminum frame looks great in reflections and light. Even with one hand, it’s easy to hold the S23 for hours on end. However, I wish Samsung had dropped the shiny chrome finish for a textured finish that is more grippy and doesn’t show the marks of accumulated oil.
Adding to that minimalism is the new floating camera design. First and foremost, the lack of a camera module makes it difficult to see where my fingers are in relation to the lens until it is too late. My hands are not the most stable in the world. When taking portrait photos, I often hold the phone in both hands, and too often my fingers end up in the lens, especially the lower 3x zoom lens. Thankfully, most cases have a lip around the camera to prevent this.
Galaxy S23: Camera
Shooting portraits, selfies, and videos is easy with the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra’s great camera features. Simply tap to zoom in and out, use the AI image enhancer to increase the resolution of your photos, or take photos and videos in total darkness using the S23 series ‘Nightgraphy mode. The Gallery app also allows users to arrange their shots into personalized stories!
The primary camera uses a 50MP Samsung S5KGN3 1/1.57″ sensor with 1.0μm pixels and a tetra cell filter. This sensor is paired with a 23mm f/1.8 image stabilized lens (OIS) and a dual-pixel PDAF is available. It is the same camera as the Galaxy S22, which saves photos with are solution of 12 MP instead of 12.5 MP. It also has a much wider viewing angle.
The telephoto camera uses a 10MP Samsung S5K3K1 sensor. This sensor is of the1/3.94-inchtype, with individual pixels of 1.0µm. The lens is the same 69mm f/2.4 stabilized lens (OIS)as the Galaxy S22 and supports PDAF.
The ultra-wide camera uses a12MP 1/2.55-inchSony IMX564 with 1.4µm pixels and a 13mm f/2.2 lens. Focus is fixed at infinity.
Finally, the new selfie camera uses a 12MP Samsung S5K3LU sensor with 1.12µm pitch anda25mm f/2.2 lens. As usual, it has a dual-pixel PDAF. Many previous models, including the Galaxy S22, used a10MP sensor for the front camera.
Software and performance
Software in this generation has changed less than hardware; One UI 5.1hasfew upgrades from One UI 5.0 other than a streamlined setup experience and improvements to the Gallery and Camera apps. That said, there is honestly not much that Samsung would have needed to add. At this point, One UI is so feature-packed that it almost feels bloated when trying to find settings and features that don’t yet know their place.
One UI has people who either love it or hate it, but its stability and robustness are undeniable. Switching between multiple high-resource apps is seamless, and even long gaming sessions are smooth-well, unless you havemorethan1,0003D objects to render at once. Even after years of using Galaxy phones, I am still amazed by small but very important features such as temporary mute and integration of sleep mode and morning alarm. For those of us who mute our phones to record podcasts or hold meetings and leave them turned on for hours or even days, missing important calls and updates, temporary mute is a gods end.
The Galaxy S23 can get hot during intense use, and I have had it get pretty warm after 6 hours of web to on, but it is not a hot potato like the S22 or S21. But it is not a hot potato like the S22 or S21. For heavy duty users and heavy duty case users (who tend to hold heat longer), this is nothing short of a godsend after experiencing throttling and overheating issues in the past. The Galaxy S23 did not need to throttle back to cool the phone, even after 30 minutes of taking photos and videos in 80-degree temperatures.
Well, the moment I’ve been waiting for has arrived. After two months of little use of the Galaxy S23, battery life was quite good, unless you drive for hours on wireless Android Auto. On days when I use my home Wi-Fi and don’t constantly turn up the screen brightness to fight the Florida sun, I have8-10 hours of screen time while engrossed in reading a webcomic ore-book or browsing Reddit.
Charging over night never causes problems, but on the rare days when I need to charge before going to a concert at Epcot or fireworks at the Magic Kingdom, I am tied to the PPS charger for more than an hour. The maximum wired charging speed of the Galaxy S23 is 25W, which is only16-19W most of the time. Wireless charging reaches 15W, but only with certain chargers with Samsung’s latest profile. (Most wireless chargers charge the S23 at around 10W, not 15W.)
Regarding wireless, I use a Galaxy S23 MagSafe case with a MagSafe charger and power bank. The charging speed is not the fastest, but I liked the convenience of being able to charge it while I continue my mindless reading marathon. It also doubled as a hand warmer for my perpetually cold fingers when I stupidly left it on the couch cushions.
The Galaxy S23 is a very dependable phone if you know your phone is dying, or if you want to put an end to the misery of dead batteries and super lag all around. And if you don’t take advantage of unlimited plans and carrier trade-in deals, it’s the easiest Galaxy to buy and put in your pocket.
Is it as fancy as the S23 Ultra? No. It’s not $1200 and it’s not the size of a small tablet. This is the closest thing to a compact flagship Android phone in years. The performance and battery improvements are worth it, even if they’re not as sexy as the over hauled design and revolutionary software. If you’ve been holding onto your phone, longing for something that doesn’t constantly spill out of your pocket or force you to carry it around all day like a cyborg attachment, this is the perfect phone for you.