Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review: A Camera Beast with a Stylus
Design & Build
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra keeps a familiar look, much like its sibling, the S22 Ultra. It has a square design and a large camera bump at the back. The front and back are protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which is tougher and resists scratches better. The frame is made from armor aluminum, which is both strong and lightweight. The phone has an IP68 rating, meaning it’s resistant to dust and water. It arrives in four colors: Green, Phantom Black, Lavender Cream, and Lime.
The phone is quite big and heavy, measuring 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm and weighing 234 g. It might be challenging to use with one hand, especially if your hands are smaller. The curved edges of the display could also sometimes hinder certain gestures or inputs. At the bottom, you’ll find a USB-C port, a SIM tray, a speaker grille, and a microphone. However, the phone lacks a headphone jack and a microSD card slot.
While the S Pen stylus doesn’t come with the phone, you can purchase it separately or as part of a bundle that includes a case with a slot for it. The S Pen can connect via Bluetooth, has pressure sensitivity, and features like Air Actions, Live Message, Screen Off Memo, and more. It’s designed more ergonomically and with more recycled materials than before.
Display & Speakers
The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with 1440 x 3088 pixel resolution. It’s a sharp and clear screen, with 500 pixels packed in each inch. This display is ready for HDR10+ content, and it can get really bright, hitting 1750 nits at its peak. Plus, the refresh rate adapts smoothly from 1Hz to 120Hz, based on what you’re doing. The display has a fingerprint scanner under it, and it’s really quick.
The display is a highlight of the phone. It shows off vibrant colors, strong contrast, and clear visuals. It’s also really smooth. It’s also smart, adjusting to different lighting and color preferences with options like Eye Comfort Shield, Adaptive Color Mode, and Vivid Mode. The camera cutout on the display is small and doesn’t distract.
The S23 Ultra has stereo speakers made by AKG and tuned for Dolby Atmos sound. These speakers sound great—they’re loud, clear, and well-balanced. They make things like movies, games, and music sound immersive. You can also enjoy high-quality audio with USB-C or Bluetooth headphones.
Camera & Video
The Galaxy S23 Ultra has four cameras on its back:
- A 200 MP main camera with f/1.7 aperture for sharp and bright photos. It has fast focus and stabilization.
- A 10 MP periscope telephoto camera with f/4.9 aperture for 10x optical zoom. It’s good for distant shots.
- A 10 MP telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture for 3x optical zoom. It’s handy for closer shots.
- A 12 MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture for wide-angle shots and smooth videos.
The main camera can take 200MP photos or combine pixels for better low light or dynamic range. It can record 8K or 4K videos with features like HDR10+, night mode, and more. The telephoto cameras can zoom up to 100x with AI-enhanced details. They also record 4K videos and have features like portrait mode and more. The ultrawide camera takes wide-angle photos and records 4K videos with super steady mode.
The front camera is 12 MP and takes detailed selfies. It also records 4K videos with features like HDR, night mode, and more. The S23 Ultra’s camera system is one of the best, capturing amazing photos and videos in different situations. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip enhances the camera performance with faster processing.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy, which is a custom-tuned version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that is exclusive to Samsung. The chipset is based on a 4nm process and has an octa-core CPU (central processing unit) that consists of:
- One Cortex-X3 core clocked at 3.36 GHz
- Two Cortex-A715 cores clocked at 2.8 GHz
- Two Cortex-A710 cores clocked at 2.8 GHz
- Three Cortex-A510 cores clocked at 2.0 GHz
The chipset also has an Adreno 740 GPU (graphics processing unit) that supports up to 144Hz refresh rate displays and up to 16GB of LPDDR5 RAM (random access memory). The phone comes with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and either 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of UFS (universal flash storage) 4.0 internal storage. There is no option to expand the storage via a microSD card slot.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one of the fastest and smoothest smartphones on the market right now. It can handle any task or app with ease, and it can run multiple apps in the background without any lag or stutter. The S23 Ultra can also run demanding games at high settings and frame rates, thanks to the powerful GPU and the adaptive display. The phone also supports features like Samsung DeX, which lets you connect the phone to a monitor or TV and use it as a desktop PC.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra also supports various connectivity options, such as:
- Wi-Fi 6E
- Bluetooth 5.3
- NFC (near-field communication)
- GPS (global positioning system)
- BDS (BeiDou navigation satellite system)
- USB-C 3.2
- OTG (on-the-go)
The phone also supports various network bands and technologies, such as:
The S23 Ultra supports both sub-6GHz and mmWave bands for 5G connectivity, depending on the region and carrier. The phone can deliver fast and stable data speeds on both Wi-Fi and cellular networks, as well as clear and crisp voice calls.
Battery & Charging
The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a built-in battery that you can’t remove, with a size of 5000 mAh. This battery can last a whole day even with heavy use, like browsing, streaming, and gaming. The phone’s display is smart and can adjust its refresh rate to save energy.
When it comes to charging, you have choices:
- Fast wired charging using a 45W charger, which gets the phone to 65% in about 30 minutes.
- Fast wireless charging with a 15W charger, which can do 30% in 30 minutes.
- Reverse wireless charging at 4.5W, which lets you charge other devices by placing them on the back of the phone.
There are also features to help save power, like battery saver mode and adaptive battery. Plus, wireless power share allows you to share your phone’s battery with other devices.
Software & Features
The Galaxy S23 Ultra uses Android 13 with One UI 5.1 on top. The software is smooth, easy to use, and lets you customize things. Here are some cool things it can do:
- Edge Panel: There’s a handy side panel that shows up when you swipe from the edge of the screen. It has shortcuts for apps, contacts, weather, and more.
- Bixby: This is like a smart helper. You can talk to it and ask it to do stuff like setting reminders or translating.
- Samsung Pay: You can use your phone to pay for stuff using NFC or something called MST.
- Samsung Health: This app keeps track of your health and fitness things, like steps, heart rate, and sleep.
- Samsung Knox: This is for keeping your phone and data safe from bad stuff.
- Samsung Members: This is a special app for Samsung users. It gives you cool things like rewards, tips, and special offers.
There are also shortcuts you can use:
- Double tap: You can double tap to wake or sleep on your phone.
- Swipe down: This brings up notifications or quick settings.
- Swipe up: This takes you to the apps.
- Swipe left or right: This lets you switch between apps.
- Swipe from the bottom corners: You can do this to go back.
- Swipe from the bottom center: This takes you home.
- Swipe up and hold: This shows you recent apps.
- Hold the power button: This gets you to Bixby or the power menu.
- Hold the volume up and power buttons: This takes a screenshot.
- Hold the volume down and power buttons: This puts the phone in emergency mode.
The software also has special modes:
- Dark mode: It makes the screen dark for easier viewing and to save battery.
- Easy mode: This makes things simpler with bigger icons and text.
- Kids mode: It’s a fun and safe space for kids with games and controls.
- Focus mode: This blocks distractions so you can concentrate.
- Game mode: For better gaming with special tools and settings.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a splendid device for some, but not for everyone
Who’s It For:
- Love photography and videography and want a versatile and powerful camera system
- Need productivity and creativity tools and want an improved S Pen stylus
- Enjoy entertainment and gaming and want a beautiful display and stereo speakers
- Value performance and speed and want a powerful chipset and adaptive display
- Prefer durability and security and want a dustproof and waterproof design
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is not for users who:
- Have a tight budget and want a more affordable smartphone
- Prefer a compact and lightweight device that can fit in their pocket or hand
- Need a headphone jack or a microSD card slot for their audio or storage needs
- Don’t care much about the camera or the S Pen features and want a simpler smartphone
Other smartphones that you might want to consider
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a unique smartphone that has few rivals in the market, but there are some alternative products that can offer similar or different features and experiences. Here are some of them:
iPhone 14 Pro Max
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the most premium and powerful smartphone from Apple, and it has a 6.7-inch OLED display, an A16 Bionic chip, a quad-camera system with 12 MP sensors and 3x optical zoom, a 12 MP front camera, a 4350 mAh battery with MagSafe wireless charging, and iOS 15 with Face ID and Siri. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is for users who prefer the iOS ecosystem and want a sleek and smooth smartphone with excellent performance and camera quality.
Huawei P60 Pro+
The Huawei P60 Pro+ is the most premium and powerful smartphone from Huawei, and it has a 6.9-inch OLED display, a Kirin 1000E chip, a penta-camera system with a 108 MP main sensor, a 10x periscope zoom lens, an 8 MP ultrawide lens, a 3D ToF sensor, and a color temperature sensor, a 32 MP front camera, a 5000 mAh battery with fast wired and wireless charging, and HarmonyOS with AppGallery and Celia. The Huawei P60 Pro+ is for users who want a versatile and innovative smartphone with an impressive camera system and a unique operating system.
OnePlus 10 Pro
The OnePlus 10 Pro is the most premium and powerful smartphone from OnePlus, and it has a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with LTPO technology and QHD+ resolution, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, a quad-camera system with a 50 MP main sensor, an 8 MP telephoto lens with 3.3x optical zoom, a 48 MP ultrawide lens with gimbal stabilization, and a monochrome sensor, a 32 MP front camera, a 4500 mAh battery with Warp Charge 65T wired charging and Warp Charge 50 wireless charging, and OxygenOS based on Android 13. The OnePlus 10 Pro is for users who want a fast and smooth smartphone with a high-end display and performance.
Important Purchase Details
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is available for purchase from various online and offline retailers, as well as from Samsung’s official website. The price of the phone varies depending on the region, carrier, storage option, color option, etc. Here are some of the purchase details for the Galaxy S23 Ultra:
The phone has three storage options: 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. The price of the phone increases with the storage option.
The phone has four color options: Green, Phantom Black, Lavender Cream, or Lime. The availability of the color options may vary depending on the region or carrier.
The phone does not include the S Pen stylus in the box. The S Pen stylus can be bought separately for $49.99, or as part of a bundle with a case that has a slot for it for $79.99.
The phone comes with a 25W charger in the box. A faster 45W charger can be bought separately for $49.99.
The phone comes with a one-year warranty from Samsung. Additional warranty or insurance plans can be bought separately from Samsung or other providers.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is an amazing smartphone that offers everything you could ask for in one device. It has an incredible camera system that can capture stunning photos and videos in various modes and situations. The phone has a powerful performance that can handle any task or app smoothly and quickly. It has a beautiful display that can offer vivid colors, sharp details, and a smooth refresh rate. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a long-lasting battery that can support fast wired and wireless charging options. It has an improved S Pen stylus that can enhance productivity and creativity.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is not perfect though. It has some drawbacks that may not suit everyone’s preferences or needs. The S23 Ultra has an expensive price tag that may not be affordable for everyone. It has a large and heavy size that may not be comfortable for everyone. The Phone has curved edges of the display that may interfere with some inputs or gestures. It has no headphone jack or microSD card slot for audio or storage expansion.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a smartphone that is designed for users who want the best of everything in one device. It is for users who love photography and videography, need productivity and creativity tools, enjoy entertainment and gaming, value performance and speed, and prefer durability and security. It is not for users who have a tight budget, prefer a compact and lightweight device, need a headphone jack or a microSD card slot, or don’t care much about the camera or the S Pen features.
If you are looking for a smartphone that has a lot of features and comes with a stylus, you might want to consider the Galaxy S23 Ultra. This is a Samsung phone that offers stellar hardware and a rich user experience. However, the changes from the previous models are not very significant, so you may not notice much difference.
The S23 Ultra is a smartphone that can handle almost any task you throw at it. It has a lot of features and powerful hardware. However, it does not have many new innovations compared to the previous models, which were already very advanced. If you are looking for something more cutting-edge, you might be interested in the folding devices that Samsung offers.
The S23 Ultra has long-term support from Samsung, which guarantees four generations of Android OS upgrades. This is more than what Google offers, which is only three years. The S23 Ultra also has five years of security updates, so you can use it with confidence for a long time.
With a stunning 200-megapixel main camera, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a great choice for photography enthusiasts. It also has a 100x zoom feature that lets you capture distant details with clarity. The Galaxy S23 Ultra also offers a lot of software features that allow you to adjust your shots to your liking.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a better zoom performance than the Galaxy S20 Ultra, thanks to its two 10-megapixel telephoto cameras. The S23 Ultra can switch between these cameras to achieve a 3x or 10x zoom without losing much quality. The S20 Ultra, on the other hand, has only one 48-megapixel telephoto lens that has to crop the image to zoom in, resulting in less sharpness.