Table of Contents
One of the best compact phones in the world just got better – the Samsung Galaxy S23 is faster, sturdier, better connected, and with more battery juice. The Galaxy S23 is still as small, lightweight and attractive as ever, and we expect it to become a fan-favorite in the compact segment.
The new Galaxy S23 models introduce a refined design, and that’s the first thing you will notice. The contour-cut camera housing is no more; there are just three small rings for the lenses. Additionally, the front and rear glass panels are now made of Gorilla Glass Victus 2 sheets with improved drop resistance.
The Galaxy S23 retains the compact 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with extended 1080p resolution and dynamic 120Hz refresh rate. The peak brightness of the panel has been improved, and it’s now 1750 nits, up from 1300 nits on the Galaxy S22.
For the first time in a long time, the entire Galaxy S23 lineup uses a Snapdragon chipset, so you don’t need to import a Qualcomm-powered unit if you are not a fan of the Exynos platform (we won’t blame you). Even better, Samsung used an overclocked version exclusive to the Galaxy S23 phones with higher CPU and GPU clocks. The new models also rely on next-generation memory chips made by Samsung themselves.
The triple camera on the back has seen no improvements – the 50MP OIS primary, the 10MP 3x telephoto, and the 12MP ultrawide camera stay the same. What has been upgraded is the selfie camera – it is now 12MP and supports Super HDR, while autofocus and 4K capturing remain available.
The battery capacity has been increased by 200mAh, and it’s now 3,900mAh. The charging capabilities are the same as on the S22 – 25W wired charging, with wireless and reverse wireless options available.
Connectivity-wise, the Galaxy S23 introduces tri-band Wi-Fi with 6e support and Bluetooth 5.3. The Ultra Wideband support is still reserved for the Plus and Ultra versions.
Long story short – the Galaxy S23 is a faster version of the Galaxy S22 with a brighter screen and a larger battery. And a more beautiful design, though that is always subjective.
Samsung Galaxy S23 specs at a glance :
|NETWORK||Technology||GSM / CDMA / HSPA / EVDO / LTE / 5G|
|2G bands||GSM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900 – SIM 1 & SIM 2 (Dual SIM model only)|
|CDMA 800 / 1900 & TD-SCDMA|
|3G bands||HSDPA 850 / 900 / 1700(AWS) / 1900 / 2100|
|4G bands||1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66 – International|
|1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 20, 25, 26, 28, 38, 39, 40, 41, 46, 48, 66, 71 – USA|
|5G bands||1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20, 25, 28, 38, 40, 41, 66, 75, 77, 78 SA/NSA/Sub6 – International|
|1, 7, 25, 28, 41, 66, 71, 78, 258, 260, 261 SA/NSA/Sub6/mmWave – USA|
|Speed||HSPA, LTE-A (up to 7CA), 5G|
|LAUNCH||Announced||2023, February 01|
|Status||Available. Released 2023, February 17|
|BODY||Dimensions||146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6 mm (5.76 x 2.79 x 0.30 in)|
|Weight||168 g (5.93 oz)|
|Build||Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus 2), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus 2), aluminum frame|
|SIM||Nano-SIM and eSIM or Dual SIM (2 Nano-SIMs and eSIM, dual stand-by)|
|IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)
Armor aluminum frame with tougher drop and scratch resistance (advertised)
|DISPLAY||Type||Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1200 nits (HBM), 1750 nits (peak)|
|Size||6.1 inches, 90.1 cm2 (~86.8% screen-to-body ratio)|
|Resolution||1080 x 2340 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~425 ppi density)|
|Protection||Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2|
|PLATFORM||OS||Android 13, One UI 5.1|
|Chipset||Qualcomm SM8550-AC Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm)|
|CPU||Octa-core (1×3.36 GHz Cortex-X3 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A710 & 3×2.0 GHz Cortex-A510)|
|Internal||128GB 8GB RAM, 256GB 8GB RAM, 512GB 8GB RAM|
|UFS 3.1 – 128GB only
|MAIN CAMERA||Triple||50 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.56″, 1.0µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), 1/3.94″, 1.0µm, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.55″ 1.4µm, Super Steady video
|Features||LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama|
|Video||8K@24/30fps, 4K@30/60fps, 1080p@30/60/240fps, 1080p@960fps, HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS|
|SELFIE CAMERA||Single||12 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), Dual Pixel PDAF|
|Features||Dual video call, Auto-HDR, HDR10+|
|SOUND||Loudspeaker||Yes, with stereo speakers|
Tuned by AKG
|COMMS||WLAN||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, tri-band, Wi-Fi Direct|
|Bluetooth||5.3, A2DP, LE|
|Positioning||GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO|
|USB||USB Type-C 3.2, OTG|
|FEATURES||Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
|Samsung DeX, Samsung Wireless DeX (desktop experience support)
Bixby natural language commands and dictation
Samsung Pay (Visa, MasterCard certified)
|BATTERY||Type||Li-Ion 3900 mAh, non-removable|
|Charging||25W wired, PD3.0, 50% in 30 min (advertised)
15W wireless (Qi/PMA)
4.5W reverse wireless
|MISC||Colors||Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender, Graphite, Lime|
|Models||SM-S911B, SM-S911B/DS, SM-S911U, SM-S911U1, SM-S911W, SM-S911N, SM-S9110, SM-S911E, SM-S911E/DS|
|SAR||0.95 W/kg (head) 0.88 W/kg (body)|
|SAR EU||0.96 W/kg (head) 1.30 W/kg (body)|
|Price||$ 725.00 / € 857.44 / £ 749.00 / ₹ 79,999 / C$ 1,097.99|
|TESTS||Performance||AnTuTu: 1231075 (v9)
GeekBench: 4950 (v5.1)
GFXBench: 110fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
|Display||Contrast ratio: Infinite (nominal)|
|Camera||Photo / Video|
|Loudspeaker||-27.0 LUFS (Good)|
Disclaimer. We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct.
The Galaxy S23 is a flagship by the book; there are no two words about that – it has the build and looks, the screen, the chipset, and the cameras of a premium smartphone. The only things we consider missing are 10-bit color depth for the screen – something many high-end phones are offering, and the Ultra Wideband support – a connectivity option that would have allowed support for the SmartTag+. You can still use the regular Bluetooth-reliant SmartTags, of course.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 is a minor update over the Galaxy S22, and we doubt that many S22 owners will find enough novelties to make them upgrade. But it has more than enough new features over the Galaxy S21 and older to make it an attractive offer. Even better, it is shaping as the best compact Android phone on the market. And now it’s time to properly meet it, shall we?
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S23
The Galaxy S23 arrives in a thin paper box, which contains the phone itself, a USB-C cable, and a SIM ejection tool.
Samsung removed chargers and headphones from its boxes a couple of years ago, but we are glad it still provides cables (unlike Sony). And if you’ve bought a Samsung 25W charger, the one that has been available for a few years already, or any USB-C PD + PPS power adapter, you are already well prepared.
Samsung has priced the Galaxy S23 at €950 for the 8/128 model and about €1,000 for the 8/256 version. Some retailers may be offering the higher-tier storage at the same price as the base one, and we do recommend getting it for the faster UFS 4.0 chip.
The compact niche, especially the compact flagship class, rarely sees new additions, and those mostly come from Samsung, Asus, Apple, and sometimes – Xiaomi. And naturally, we’d explore their most current offers.
Let’s start with the Zenfone 9 by Asus. It is €200 cheaper than the Galaxy S23 and has an identical size, but its screen is a bit smaller (5.9-inch vs. 6.1-inch), and the Zenfone runs on the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 chipset. The Zenfone 9 has no dedicated telephoto camera, instead, it relies on a sort of lossless zoom from its primary shooter, which may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Still, if you are after a compact flagship, and the Galaxy S23 is not in your budget, the Zenfone 9 is an excellent choice.
The Galaxy S22 price has dropped significantly and it’s not about €350 cheaper than the current S23. It has the same screen, camera department and charging capabilities, while its performance isn’t that behind either. The only thing that’s noticeably worse on the Galaxy S22 is its battery life, but then again, at €350 cheaper, we’d say that is a rather acceptable deal.
Apple’s iPhone 14 is much lighter and thinner than the iPhone 14 Pro and a good match to the Galaxy S22 because of its lightweight design. It’s a powerful phone with good battery life and top-notch performance, but it’s 60Hz OLED, and the lack of optical zoom are some big omissions, especially considering its €900 price.
The iPhone 14 Pro is 40g heavier than the Galaxy S23 – it has a more luxurious design with a stainless steel frame. It offers a better Dolby Vision display, and 2x lossless zoom in addition to the 3x optical one provided by its triple-camera setup. There are other cool features like UltraWideband support, LiDAR scanner, but, as we said, it’s heavier, and costs €350 over the Galaxy S23.
Finally, the Xiaomi 13 deserves a mention, too. It will soon hit the international markets, and it’s shaping as one of the cheapest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 featuring smartphones with a rumored price between €700-€800. It is also among the first IP68-rated Xiaomi phones. It is slightly larger than the Galaxy S23 because of its bigger 6.36-inch Dolby Vision OLED screen, and its rear cameras are a match to Samsung‘s. The selfie department is still years behind the Galaxy’s, and that’s probably its only downside.
Asus Zenfone 9 • Samsung Galaxy S22 5G • Apple iPhone 14 • Apple iPhone 14 Pro • Xiaomi 13
Samsung has made yet another excellent compact flagship that excels in every aspect and aces every test. The phone has an excellent 6.1-inch OLED screen with high brightness and adaptive refresh rate, the most powerful chipset on the Android market, and a superb quartet of cameras that will reliably capture whatever you put in front of their lenses.
We are glad that Samsung took the extra step and made an exclusive deal with Qualcomm for an overclocked version of the SD8G2 chip, and this will surely convince quite a few Exynos-doubting users to grab a Galaxy S23.
Throughout our review, we found that the Galaxy S23 has an excellent design with great handling experience, improved battery life and speaker quality over the Galaxy S22, it is also more powerful, too, and offers an improved camera experience thanks to faster Night Mode shooting. Things that didn’t change this year, but are still alright, are the charging speed and the camera hardware.
The Galaxy S23 has its peculiarities, too. The 128GB model uses the older UFS 3.1 storage chips. And while this year the S23+ got UWB support, it is still missing on the Galaxy S23. Then, many competitors’ displays have 10-bit or even 12-bit color depth, while the Galaxy S23 series is still stuck on standard 8-bit color. And, finally, the GPU stability is not ideal, though this is an occasional thing among phones with passive cooling solutions and top of the line chipsets.
The Galaxy S23 isn’t a major upgrade over the Galaxy S22, and we doubt many people will jump on the new generation. But we can see a lot of people using older phones chose this one for its compact design and all-around package and experience. Even better, those who chose not to get a Galaxy S because of Exynos – well, they can finally get a phone they like, with an overclocked chipset at that.
The new Galaxy S23 made our verdict quite easy this time – it’s an impressive smartphone with modern specs and capabilities. It’s a compact and lightweight phone, still priced below or around €1,000, making it much more attractive than Apple’s offers. And for all of these, the vanilla Galaxy S23 gets a big thumbs up from us!
- No-nonsense sturdy and grippy design, IP68.
- Outstanding OLED screen, bright and fast.
- Great battery life.
- Superb stereo speakers.
- Top-notch performance, the fastest Android chip inside.
- Excellent photo and video quality across the board.
- Exciting One UI with DeX support, great connectivity options.
- 128GB uses UFS 3.1 instead of UFS 4.0 memory chips.
- No UltraWideBand support.
- No Dolby Vision or 10-bit color depth support for the screen.
- The GPU is very quick to throttle under load to 60% of its max performance.
- No charger in the box.