Samsung revealed its Galaxy S23 line of phones during its Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event on Wednesday, Feb. 1. The event also rolled out the Galaxy Book3 laptops.
Whether your carrier contract is up or you just have a bunch of cash burning a hole in your pocket, Samsung’s latest Galaxy phones may be mighty tempting, especially for iPhone users looking to convert to Samsung. That said, what makes them different from last year’s models?
Samsung Galaxy S23 price, release date, and preorder details: How to get the S23 Ultra, S23 Plus, or the base model
Just like last year, Samsung is releasing three new phones in its flagship Galaxy S line. They are, predictably, known as the S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra. Since 2022 had the exact same release format, that makes comparing this year’s phones to last year’s incredibly easy.
Here’s how Samsung’s latest smartphones stack up to their older siblings.
Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S22 (base model)
Let’s start with the regular ol’ base model phones. At least in terms of what’s on the spec sheet, there isn’t a ton to differentiate the Galaxy S22 and S23, the latter of which starts at $800. Both phones have 6.1-inch AMOLED displays with 120Hz refresh rates. Their rear camera arrays are also identical on the megapixel front, at least: A 50MP main sensor, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and a 10MP telephoto lens. That said, the selfie cam has gotten a modest upgrade from 10MP to 12MP.
Samsung Galaxy S23 will mark the debut of Gorilla Glass Victus 2
There are more upgrades on the inside. All three Galaxy S23 phones run on the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor, which should give them a performance boost over the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip that powered the S22 phones. The battery has also gotten a bit of an upgrade, going from 3,700mAh to 3,9000mAh.
Another change that applies to the whole S23 line is that the phones have been redesigned. They all look the same now (previously the Ultra looked different from the other two), with a flat back and no camera bump. We love a unified vision.
Oh, and as far as memory and storage are concerned, nothing has changed. The S22 had 8GB RAM with either 128GB or 256GB of storage, and the S23’s specs are identical there.
A close look at the camera lenses of an Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphone.
Credit: Kyle Cobain / Mashable
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus vs. S22 Plus
This one is a lot easier because the “Plus” models are more or less just bigger versions of the base models. Therefore, the $1,000 S23 Plus is about as different from the S22 Plus as the S23 is from the S22.
In other words, the S23 Plus will get the same upgraded selfie cam and the same power boost thanks to the new Snapdragon processor. It’s much bigger at 6.6 inches, but the rear camera array is the same as the S23. And of course, the new design applies to the S23 Plus, as well.
There are some differences. The S23 Plus has a 4,700mAh battery, up from 4,500mAh on the S22 Plus. Last year’s model only had 128GB and 256GB storage options, but this year the base has been bumped up to 256GB with an additional 512GB option, too.
Is the S23 Plus a game-changer? Probably not. But if you have big hands and need an upgraded phone, this may be the choice for you.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra phones feature a massive camera upgrade.
Credit: Kyle Cobain / Mashable
Last but definitely not least, the Ultra models are primed the most for comparison because they’re supposed to be the most premium phones. You get what you pay for, right? In this case, you’re paying $1,200 just to get a foot in the door.
That certainly seems to be the case this time around, at least for smartphone photographers. The biggest change between the S22 Ultra and the S23 Ultra is the presence of a staggering 200MP main sensor on the back, up from 108MP a year ago. It’s joined by the same 12MP ultrawide lens and a duo of 10MP zoom lenses just like last year, but that main sensor should provide high quality digital zoom compared to the S22 Ultra.
There is one interesting thing, however: The S22 Ultra had a 40MP selfie camera while the S23 Ultra’s is only 12MP. Maybe Samsung’s image processing software will render the difference moot, but selfie lovers should at least know that going in.
Aside from that, the two phones have the same 6.8-inch display and the same 5,000mAh battery. RAM on higher-end models is bumped up to 12GB just like last year, and the 1TB storage option also returns.
Really, the S23 Ultra seems like it’s best suited for people who really love smartphone photography. That 200MP main sensor is the best reason to upgrade from last year’s model. Otherwise, all three of Samsung’s new S23 phones seem pretty incremental.