Every year, Samsung is the first among the big companies to unveil their latest flagship smartphone, and this year is no different. And there’s no surprise as to what it is called as well; introducing the Samsung Galaxy S23 series.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 series comes in three models — the standard S23, a larger-sized S23+, and the premium S23 Ultra. All models will come in four colours: Phantom Black, Green, Cream, and Lavender. The phones also have had a slight design change, with the Contour Cut camera housing now removed for a cleaner and more linear look and are using Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 to make them stronger against drops.
What’s new for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra?
Let’s talk first about the top-of-the-line Galaxy S23 Ultra. Seems like Samsung is taking the Ultra name literally with its new highlight feature. The key takeaway about the new flagship phone is that it now has a whopping 200MP primary sensor as part of the quad-camera system. For context, that is almost double what the S22 Ultra had (108MP).
With the improved sensor, Samsung claims that users can take “Pro-grade night photos” in low-light environments. The Adaptive Pixel feature on the sensor helps to combine 16 small pixels into one large pixel, allowing for brighter and more detailed images when taking pictures in dark areas.
It certainly had a positive effect on night photography when the feature was demonstrated to me. Comparing similar shots from the Galaxy S23 Ultra and a Galaxy Fold4, which uses the older functions, the Ultra’s image was more natural and had a reduced ‘halo’ effect around the bright lights captured in the picture.
Another feature of the 200MP sensor is the Super Quad Pixel, which helps detect differences in each direction of four adjacent pixels to enhance its autofocus capabilities, making it faster and more accurate. Users will also be able to capture images with better resolution and more colours with the new sensor.
For videos, the Galaxy S23 Ultra now has double the OIS (optical image stabilisation) angle compared to its predecessor, granting it better image stabilisation. Filming 8K videos at 30 fps is also a reality, with wider angles enabled from 57 degrees to 80 degrees. The bigger pixel size also adds a more cinematic feel to the video.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s new camera system is certainly premium, and its other specs back it up. It uses a huge 6.8-inch edge display, now designed with a newly shaped curvature to create a larger flat surface area to use.
It has also been equipped with a specialised version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a processor that has exclusively optimised Galaxy devices; Samsung is confident it will help make the Ultra the best gaming machine yet. Among the features it touts are real-time ray-tracing for realism and vapour cooling to ensure gameplay remains smooth.
Finally, the generous 5,000 mAh battery capacity included with the Galaxy S23 Ultra ensures that users won’t have to worry about battery life often.
How about the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+?
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ are identical to each other, separated only by the size of their screen and battery. The regular S23 has a 6.1-inch display, while the S23+ measures at 6.6-inches. In terms of battery capacity, the S23 and S23+ come in at 3,900 mAh and 4,700 mAh, respectively — an increase of 200 mAh from before.
Both models share a triple camera system housing a 50MP primary sensor, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto lens. While the S23 and S23+ won’t be able to garner the immense benefits of the Ultra’s 200MP sensor, they do have some upgrades of their own.
The front camera has been upgraded to a 12MP camera (also on the Ultra), which now grants clearer selfie shots. Super HDR is also applied to the selfie camera, helping to capture a more dynamic range of colour.
Portrait shots at night are better as well, having an enhanced bokeh effect and improved A.I. depth separation to make selfie photos in the night pop visually even more. A new feature called Astro Hyperlapse is also now available in the camera app, allowing you to take clips of star movements without additional equipment.
Expert RAW is an application first introduced on the Galaxy S22 series, and users can also download it for the S23 line. It gave people access to the uncompressed data from the image, giving them greater flexibility in photography. You can now shoot in 50MP mode in the app for better resolution for the new phones!
Lastly, in terms of specs, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ also have the powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, so it, too, will be a force for gaming while on the go.
When can you get your hands on the new Samsung Galaxy S23 series?
The Samsung Galaxy S23 series will be available from 17 February 2023 in Singapore, with pricing for the phones starting at S$1,188 for the Samsung Galaxy S23, S$1,528 for the Samsung Galaxy S23+, and S$1,828 for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Pre-orders begin on 2 February 2023 and can be made at the Samsung Online Store (S23|S23+, Ultra), their official store pages on Shopee and Lazada, local telecommunication operators (M1, Singtel and StarHub), and select consumer electronics & IT online stores (Best Denki, Challenger, Courts, Gain City, Harvey Norman). You’ll also be able to enjoy the device early if you made a pre-order, receiving it on 10 February 2023.
If you do want to try out the phones even earlier than that, there is one place you can check out. Right within Gardens by the Bay, Samsung has opened a Galaxy Experience Space for visitors to see and interact with the Samsung Galaxy S23 series as part of its unveiling — one of five worldwide venues and the only one in the Asia Pacific.
The space includes several experiences that allow visitors to interact with the capabilities of the new phones, including a photo booth area which lets you take quirky pictures with the S23 cameras and print them as keepsakes.
Details on the Galaxy Experience Space
Date: 2 February to 25 February 2023
Location: Gardens by the Bay, West Lawn
And so begins another year of smartphone tech! We are definitely excited to try out the phones, so do look out for more coverage. In the meantime, you can check out our reviews on the previous Samsung phones, the Galaxy Z Fold4 and the Galaxy Z Flip4!
Photos by Russell Loh of the DANAMIC Team.