The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus, Samsung’s newest members of the Galaxy S family unveiled at Unpacked, are essentially the same as the S22 and S22 Plus from last year. Beyond a handful of small but meaningful spec bumps, these phones are almost identical to their predecessors. Even the prices are the same: the S23 starts at $799 while the S23 Plus starts at $999. Both go on sale February 17th, and preorders are open now.
Okay, I guess we’re done here.
Seriously, these phones are not trying to do anything crazy. Samsung has figured out a formula that works, and they’re sticking to it. The S23 and S23 Plus offer 6.1-inch and 6.6-inch screen sizes, atop designs that are modern but very basic. The sides of each phone are flatter than last year, which is new, and the phones are slightly taller and wider than before.
The Dynamic AMOLED 2X panels on the S23 series are still Full HD+ and 120Hz. They get a boost in brightness from 1,300 nits to 1,750 nits which is handy, but for the most part, they’re the same screens as last year. That’s not a bad thing – Samsung makes some of the best smartphone displays you can buy, and the new S23s won’t likely serve as exceptions.
Under the hood, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 from the S22 gets an upgrade to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. Samsung equips the chip with a few optimizations (hence the “for Galaxy” branding at the tail end) so it plays nicer with the S23’s software, and you’ll generally get better CPU and graphics performance than last year. It’s paired with 8GB of RAM, up to 256GB of storage on the S23, and up to 512GB of storage on the S23 Plus.
The cameras on the back, no longer surrounded by a special housing, are the same as the last year: there’s a main 50MP f/1.8 lens, a 12Mp 120-degree ultra-wide, and a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. Samsung says its new AI-powered image signal processing algorithm will help reduce visual noise at night, and you should get better overall clarity in photos and videos. The selfie camera has been upgraded to a 12MP sensor that has faster autofocus and HDR video support.
The batteries get a bit bigger this year compared to last year, with the S23 getting a 3,900mAh cell over the S22’s 3,700mAh battery. Meanwhile, the S23 Plus goes to 4,700mAh from 4,500mAh on the S22 Plus. You’re still stuck with 25W charging on the S23 while the S23 Plus gets much faster 45W charging. Both offer 15W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging, and no power adapter in the box.
One UI 5.1 based on Android 13 ships out of the box on both phones, and Samsung promises to deliver four major OS upgrades to the devices as well as five years’ worth of security patches. Rounding things off are 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, IP68 certification for water and dust resistance, and Bluetooth 5.3.
If you want to call these phones boring, be my guest. They’re very reminiscent of the upgrade pattern Apple followed for the iPhone 14 from the 13, although at least Samsung felt the need to include a fresh chip and a tweaked design. But it’s worth pointing out that, at least to Samsung, it doesn’t matter how boring these phones are. They’re simply here to be newer versions of the baseline Galaxy S devices many users have come to know and love. All of the newest technologies and breakthroughs can be found on the higher-end S23 Ultra. For a more basic smartphone experience, the S23 and S23 Plus are here to fill the slot.
Preorders for both phones are live now on Samsung.com and other retailers. If you preorder by February 16th, Samsung will throw in up to $100 in credit for accessories. You can also get a bonus $50 credit if you use my unique link.
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