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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra preview: All new features to expect

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra preview: All new features to expect

Galaxy S23 Ultra Intro

With a new 200MP main camera and the biggest processor upgrade in years, Samsung’s next Galaxy S23 Ultra is shaping up as a worthy successor to the popular S22 Ultra.

Samsung’s new flagship is not yet official. It’s expected to make its official debut in February 2023, but with the rumor mill in full swing, we already know a lot about it even before the release: we’ve seen the leaked images and heard most of the specs.

So what’s new in the Galaxy S23 Ultra and should you upgrade?

The images reveal that the new S23 Ultra will feature a very similar design to the previous model, and will also have an S Pen built inside, as well as a 5,000mAh battery. While things are similar on the surface, on the inside things have changed.

What’s new in S23 Ultra:

  • No more Exynos versions
  • The S23 Ultra has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip all around
  • Built in S Pen
  • New 200MP main camera
  • Improved image and video processing
  • Same battery size
  • Same charging speeds

Galaxy S23 Ultra specifications

Let’s start this by taking a look at the specs of the Galaxy S23 Ultra and see how it compares to its predecessor.

Galaxy S23 Ultra models: Snapdragon vs. Exynos

The Galaxy S23 Ultra will put an end to one of Samsung’s most controversial practices in recent years: splitting its flagship phone series into two versions, one with a Snapdragon processor and the other with an Exynos chip.

The S23 Ultra is expected to be launched in only one version all over the world and this version will be powered by the very promising Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip.

With no Exynos in the Galaxy S23 series, and no other major phone maker using the Samsung chip, this could also mean the end of Samsung’s efforts in this area. It’s too early to tell whether or not this will benefit consumers in the long run, but at least in the near future, it’s a welcome move. The Snapdragon chip that will be used in the Galaxy S23 Ultra is more powerful and energy efficient than any Exynos counterpart.

Galaxy S23 Ultra Design, Colors & S Pen

So similar, you can’t tell it apart from its predecessor

The Galaxy S23 Ultra looks so similar to the S22 Ultra that most people will find it difficult to distinguish between the two.

The new S23 Ultra features the same 6.8-inch size, almost the same sharp-edged design, the same S Pen as the phone, and even the same camera arrangement. With a glass front and back, as well as an aluminum frame, the phone will use the same materials as its predecessor. It is also expected to have the same IP68 water and dust protection rating.

The differences will be subtle. Perhaps the most important is that the flat sides of the phone make it easier to hold when placed on a table, and the edges around the screen can be smaller than before.
As for the Galaxy S23 Ultra colorsWe expect to see a classic black version (Phantom Black in Samsung terms), a beige model is also possible, as well as a green one.

Last but not least, the S23 Ultra still comes with an S Pen built inside for your convenience. Expect to see further improvements in the latency of this new S Pen for a true pen-on-paper feel. We don’t know much about the new S Pen features just yet, but we’ll update this once we know more about them.

Galaxy S23 Ultra screen

Samsung is the market leader in display technology, and we expect to see the latest and most impressive OLED display in the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

The leaks refer to a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 pixels, LTPO technology and a variable refresh rate of up to 120 Hz.

Expect improvements in maximum brightness as well as color quality, but for more details we’ll have to wait.

Samsung will stick with a punch-hole front camera for a discreet look.

In terms of biometrics, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is expected to use an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which has proven to be quite reliable and fast enough. The phone will also support image-based facial recognition on the front camera. This isn’t nearly as secure as Apple’s Face ID, but it also doesn’t take up as much space as this one.

Galaxy S23 Ultra Camera

The new main camera with a resolution of 200 megapixels is its highlight

With its main camera, ultra-wide camera, and zoom camera on the back, the Galaxy S23 Ultra remains probably the most versatile smartphone camera on the market.

This year, the main camera got a major upgrade. After three generations of using a 108MP sensor, Samsung is jumping into a more impressive 200MP sensor. And yes, you’ll be able to take 200MP photos, which sounds crazy, but the default settings will still produce 12MP shots.

Here is a quick overview of the expected S23 Ultra camera specifications:
  • 200MP main camera, 23mm
  • 12 MP Ultra Wide, 13mm
  • 10MP 3X Zoom
  • 10MP Zoom
  • 40 MP front camera

It’s too early to know details about image quality, but these leaked camera samples are very promising and show a massive increase in the amount of detail captured.

Samsung leakers also say that the phone will take much better night photos and videos, which also looks very encouraging.

Galaxy S23 Ultra performance and benchmarks

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in all markets

The Galaxy S23 Ultra will bring the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset (SM8550) everywhere in the world, finally ending the tradition of launching a Snapdragon model in the US, and a low-power Exynos processor in the rest of the world.

This is excellent news for consumers.

Insiders claim that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is an absolute beast of the chip. Built on the latest and most efficient 4nm technology, it is rumored to outperform the GPU performance of the market-leading Apple A16 chip. It is said to come with a CPU with a high-powered X3 core running at up to 3.2GHz, a medium A715 core at 2.8GHz and 2x A710 cores at 2.8GHz, as well as a 3x energy-efficient A510 core running at up to 2.0GHz

It will also be able to support the latest technologies: Wi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.3, UFS 4.0 storage, LPDDR5X RAM, Ray Tracing and AV1.

We expect it to be launched in similar configurations to the previous model. This means that we should have the following Galaxy S23 Ultra models:

  • 8 GB RAM + 128 GB Storage
  • 12 GB RAM + 256 GB Storage
  • 12 GB RAM + 512 GB Storage

Galaxy S23 Ultra Android version

The new Galaxy will run on the latest Android 13 with Samsung’s One UI 5 on top of it.

Expect to see a familiar Samsung-style interface and icons, as well as all the features One UI is known for.

The best thing about buying a flagship Android phone made by Samsung is that you get the longest running software support. Samsung promises 4 years of major updates and 5 years of security updates for its flagship, more than Google offers for Pixel phones.

Galaxy S23 Ultra battery

No change in battery size

The S23 Ultra will come with a 5,000mAh battery, a number that has become the de facto standard for major Android phones.

This is also the same battery size that Samsung used on previous Galaxy Ultra models, so we don’t expect major changes in battery life. However, with rumors of a more efficient processor, a slight improvement is likely, and those coming from an Exynos chip will likely notice an even greater increase.

We’ll update this section with more details and our independent battery tests, but that’s all we have for now.

Galaxy S23 Ultra charging speeds

Another area left unchanged is shipping.

The S23 Ultra is expected to support charging speeds of up to 45W with a cable, and as with previous models, there won’t be a charger included in the box, so if you don’t already own one, prepare to spend a little more for a charger. Keep in mind that if you want the fastest charging speeds, you also need a 5A USB-C cable (thicker than the average USB-C cable).

The S23 Ultra will also support wireless charging at speeds of up to 15W, and will be able to mirror the wireless charging of other devices when placed on its back (you can charge wireless headphones, a smartphone, or another phone for example).

Galaxy S23 Ultra Audio and Haptics

The only area we really want to see is better sound quality.

Previous Galaxy Ultra models lacked bass and depth, and we’d expect more speakers on a flagship smartphone.

For those still wondering, the 3.5mm headphone jack won’t be present on the S23 Ultra.

Galaxy S23 Ultra competitors

In the US and most western countries, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will face competition from big players.

The arch rival is, of course, Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max. The iPhone comes with an industry-leading battery life that the Galaxy will find hard to match, plus it packs in iOS and the entire Apple ecosystem. However, it lacks the zooming, opening, and multitasking capabilities of Android and the S Pen.
Another worthy option is Google Pixel 7 ProA phone with a clean Android build, faster Galaxy updates, and smart Google AI features built in, but it doesn’t match the Ultra in terms of performance, zoom quality, video quality, and the S Pen.

Galaxy S23 Ultra summary

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is undoubtedly one of the most important phones of 2023.

It’s Samsung’s best in the traditional non-foldable form factor.

With the new Snapdragon core for all models, it has better chances of selling well, plus the new 200MP camera might be just the boost buyers need.

We’re excited about the S23 Ultra, but there’s one final piece of the puzzle we know nothing about: the price. Will Samsung follow the industry trend and raise the price of the S23 Ultra? We haven’t seen yet, but rest assured we’ll update you with the latest news on the phone as the news comes in.



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