- What is it? The next big flagship phone from Samsung
- When is it out? Expected to launch in early February
- How much will it cost? Likely $799 / £769 / AU$1,249 or higher
The Samsung Galaxy S23 will likely be the first big phone launch of 2023, but we’re already hearing that the patterns established in 2022 will continue into this year. The Galaxy S23 is not expected to be a huge upgrade over the Galaxy S22 in any way, from the base model up through the Galaxy S23 Plus. Even the top shelf Galaxy S23 Ultra isn’t expected to get many big feature bumps.
The design of the Galaxy S23 will likely be near-identical to today’s models, except that the base model Galaxy S23 will reportedly lose its larger camera bump in favor of Galaxy S22 Ultra-style cut outs for the camera. Otherwise the screen size will seemingly be the same for each phone, and the frame is thought to measure nearly identical dimensions.
That isn’t to say there’s nothing to get excited about. Qualcomm has been champing at the bit to show off its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in a Samsung Galaxy S23, and it has been dropping hints that Samsung will be quitting Exynos across the globe in favor of a unified Qualcomm front.
We’re also hearing a lot of excitement over the new camera in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Samsung could be breaking out a brand new 200MP sensor to give its flagship monarch the biggest camera improvement in years, especially in night photos. Cameras sell Samsung phones, so that may be enough to win us over.
We’ve been following Galaxy S23 rumors since before the Galaxy S22 dropped, and we’ve rounded up what we think will be the final word on this upcoming device before it launches, likely in the first week of February, 2023. Check back often for updates and the most thorough source for Galaxy S23 news.
Samsung Galaxy S23: price and availability
- Likely to launch in early February
- All models could see a price increase over past years
We expect to see the Galaxy S23 in February, likely during the first week. Rumors say that the phone could be available in stores around Friday, February 17. We would assume Samsung would have a week of pre-orders, because Samsung often follows Apple’s sales pattern.
That means we could hear about the Galaxy S23 at an event around February 7 or February 8. That said, a recent leak suggests the launch could happen even earlier, on February 1 or 2.
We’ve heard that the Samsung Unpacked event could take place in San Francisco this year, instead of New York City, where Samsung keeps a headquarters.
However, another rumor suggests the launch might happen later in February, with Samsung still undecided about how to price the smartphones – meaning that the big reveal can’t happen as early as originally planned.
While Samsung has kept prices steady over the last two generations, we are hearing there will be changes this year. We’d love to be optimistic and ask for Samsung to cut prices on its base model Galaxy S23, in keeping with the major global cost of living crisis and a possible looming recession. Instead, we’re hearing Galaxy S23 prices could go up.
So apparently alongside slightly thicker bezel, the vanilla S23 might cut the vibration motor.Do you think Sammy should downgrade the vibration motor on the S23?November 9, 2022
Alternatively, we’ve also heard that some components have been scaled back or downgraded, and that could mean that Samsung is trying to cut costs or at least match last year’s prices in the face of rising supply and shipping costs.
As we’ll explain, the fingerprint scanner may not get the upgrade we hoped, and even minor pieces like the vibration motor may be scaled back to save cost.
However, we’ve also heard that the phones might all come with at least 256GB of storage, which is double the starting capacity of the S22, so you might in some ways get more for your money at least.
Samsung Galaxy S23: design
- Near-identical design to last year’s Galaxy S22
- The camera bump might be gone
- More curves on the Galaxy S23 Ultra?
As phone makers have adopted a tic-tock clock momentum of phone launches, this is what we’d call a “tock” year. On the “tic,” we get a whole new look and feel. On the “tock,” phone makers work on the inside more than the outside. The Galaxy S23 will reportedly look very much like last year’s phone on the outside, just not the phone you’d expect.
The Galaxy S23 will take design cues from the Galaxy S22 Ultra, if we can believe design leaks and possibly leaked Galaxy S23 case designs and dummy units – one of which can be seen below – that show a very similar camera arrangement.
Instead of a raised camera platform, the Galaxy S23 will likely separate each camera lens and sensor on the back. It’s a clean look, and we like it very much on our S22 Ultra.
If there is a bigger change, it may be on the flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra phone. Rumors suggest that Samsung will be bending the glass on that phone on all four screen edges. Samsung has been bending the sides of the phone in varying degrees since the Galaxy S6 edge, but this could be a first for an all-around curve.
The S22 Ultra has a Dual-curved screen design, which makes it impossible to achieve a 4-sided equal-width design. But if the Quad-curved design is used, this problem can be solved very well. It’s too early to talk about the S23, I hope this news is true. https://t.co/zT6iBgy29cFebruary 3, 2022
That said, the extent of the curving could be minimal, with some sources suggesting it will only be very slightly curved – or perhaps not curved at all if leaker @AhmedQwaider888 (opens in new tab) is to be believed.
You can see how the Galaxy S23 Plus and Ultra might look in leaked marketing material, pictured below.
For colors, we’ve heard that the Samsung Galaxy S23 series will launch in four colors: black, beige (really, beige?), green, and a light pink option. We have seen rumored leaks of accessories matching the enigmatic beige, so expect to see matching kit if you want to accessorize.
Another source meanwhile points to green as being the ‘signature color’ for the Galaxy S23, light gold or pink gold being the signature shade for the S23 Plus, and pink being it for the S23 Ultra. Those wouldn’t be the only available shades though.
You can see how all four rumored Galaxy S23 series shades might look in the renders below – followed by some older Samsung Galaxy S23 renders.
Note that the official names of these colors are reportedly Cotton Flower (cream), Misty Lilac (pink), Botanic Green and Phantom Black.
Image 1 of 4
Samsung Galaxy S23: display
- Same screen sizes as Galaxy S22
- Galaxy S23 Ultra could take crown for brightest screen
Samsung already uses top-notch displays on its Galaxy S phones, so it isn’t especially disappointing to hear that all of the upcoming Galaxy S23 models will supposedly have the same screens as the Galaxy S22.
All of them are said to be AMOLED screens with 120Hz refresh rates, which means they are colorful and bright with silky smooth onscreen motion.
The Galaxy S23 reportedly gets a 6.1-inch display running at above Full HD resolution, 2340 x 1080 pixels, which isn’t superlative but should help with power management, and that’s a better priority than more pixels here.
The Galaxy S23+ apparently uses a 6.6-inch display with the same resolution as the Galaxy S23. The Galaxy S23 Ultra supposedly gets a 6.8-inch display with 3088 x 1440 pixels, which is the same as last year.
There could be some small screen upgrades though, with for example the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus reportedly getting refresh rates that can drop as low as 24Hz, or possibly even 10Hz. Their predecessors could only drop to 48Hz, and a lower refresh rate can conserve battery when speedy refreshes aren’t needed.
We are also hearing the Galaxy S23 Ultra could take on the Apple iPhone 14 Pro for the title of brightest phone screen. The iPhone 14 Pro can hit 2000 nits at max brightness. The Galaxy S23 ultra may achieve 2150 nits or more, and further rumors suggest that in the lab it can blast out 2500 nits, though customers won’t be able to burn it that brightly.
S23u max brightness, up to 2150 nits”Numbers might be different at launch, due to further adjustments Min 2100Max 2200+Pwz dimming still lose against Q9 ( slightly )below 2kNovember 23, 2022
To cover those displays, we’re hoping to see the new Gorilla Glass Victus 2 that Corning showed us recently. Corning told us that we should see the new material on smartphones in the next few months, so the timeframe fits for Samsung’s next big launch.
Gorilla Glass Victus 2 can supposedly survive a drop onto hard asphalt, and is made for larger phone designs, making it perfect for a big, heavy beast like the rumored Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Beneath the display, we seemingly won’t get the upgrades we wanted. We were hoping Samsung would use a new Qualcomm 3D Sonic Max fingerprint scanner, which is much larger than the existing scanner and can even scan multiple fingers at once for added security. Recent rumors and display leaks show the same scanner size as last year, so there’s probably no fingerprint scanner upgrade on the Galaxy S23. That’s a fine way to save cost.
We also think Samsung won’t use an under-display camera on the Galaxy S23 display. Some manufacturers have managed this trick, but it hasn’t caught on widely. Expect a negligible camera punch-hole on Samsung screens when the Galaxy S23 launches.
Samsung Galaxy S23: cameras
- One big new upgrade on the Galaxy S23 Ultra
- No changes to the rest of the cameras
The biggest single upgrade we expect to see in February will be the new main camera sensor on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Samsung’s camera group, separated by a corporate firewall from Samsung Mobile Experience, launched a 200MP ISOCELL HP1 sensor very early in 2022, and we have long expected it to be the star of Samsung’s next big flagship camera phone.
Recent rumors have taken things even further, suggesting the 200MP sensor we’ll get on the Galaxy S23 Ultra will be an even further upgraded ISOCELL HP2, which will show even further improvements on night photography.
Phone leakers, who tend to be an enthusiastic bunch already, are saying this could be a major leap in phone photography, the biggest step forward from Samsung in years, with one source saying the phone essentially has ‘night vision’.
We’ve seen major leaps from Google that incorporate AI and machine learning in Google’s custom chips. If Samsung can deliver to expectations, it will be the first big step forward in camera hardware in years.
It can be confirmed that S23 Ultra’s night photos are very strong and much better than S22 Ultra’s. I think it’s the biggest improvement of Samsung’s flagship mobile phone in five years.October 27, 2022
Otherwise, we are expecting almost the exact same set of camera options across the board, from the same ultrawide cameras to the same 10X telephoto zoom lens on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Almost every spec looks to remain unchanged from last year.
That means the base model Galaxy S23 will probably get a nice 50MP sensor for the main camera, with a 12MP ultrawide lens and a modest 10MP zoom. The Galaxy S23 Plus will likely have the exact same camera specs.
Although the 3x and 10x camera specs are exactly the same as those of the S22 Ultra, the S23 Ultra still has an improvement in telephoto, and the improvement in color and some AI algorithms is obvious.October 28, 2022
There is a possibility we could get a better selfie camera on the Galaxy S23. The Galaxy S phones have used the same 10MP front sensor for years. We could see minor improvements that give us better video quality, or we could see a sensor upgrade that takes selfies to 12MP shots.
Samsung Galaxy S23: performance
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 made special
- Leaked benchmarks approach Apple A16 Bionic performance
Samsung has been shy about it’s next phones, but Qualcomm has been talking up its next big mobile platform, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and making clear that Samsung will be a major player in that chipset’s launch.
In fact, while the Galaxy S22 was split globally between a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and a platform using Samsung Exynos, Qualcomm has been strongly hinting that Samsung will be using Qualcomm chips exclusively this year. Everybody gets a Snapdragon.
That would track with rumors suggesting that the Exynos team at Samsung is going back to the drawing board to come up with a new platform for Samsung flagships in a few years time.
For now, it will likely be an all-Qualcomm party, but Samsung looks to be following in Apple Bionic and Google Tensor footsteps and working towards using its own chipset platform entirely, at least for its Galaxy S phones.
There were early rumors that Samsung might use some MediaTek chips, and we wouldn’t scoff at those. Since we first heard those rumblings, MediaTek has launched an impressive new chipset in the MediaTek Dimensity 9200.
While we expect Qualcomm exclusivity at launch, we wouldn’t be shocked if Samsung ended up with some MediaTek inside, if not immediately then at least eventually.
Perhaps as a way of repaying the favor, Qualcomm is rumored to be endowing the Galaxy S23 with a slightly improved version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform. This will likely be a simple speed boost, with no significant changes.
Still, a boost could make the Galaxy S23 the fastest Android phone on the market for some time, and would put its benchmarks closer to the Apple A16 Bionic.
Indeed, leaked Galaxy S23 benchmark scores show an apparent Galaxy S23 with 8GB of RAM and a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that comes closer to Apple with multicore performance than we’ve seen from Qualcomm in generations.
Plus, one source claims that all three S23 models will see a 36% increase in processor speed, a 48% increase in graphics performance, and a 60% increase in neural processing compared to their predecessors.
There’s also news on the storage, with the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus apparently coming with 256GB of storage as standard, which is double the starting size of the current models. The S23 Ultra will apparently get that same boost, with 512GB and 1TB versions of that phone also set to be sold.
Samsung Galaxy S23: connectivity
- Satellite communications might be offered
Samsung phones usually rule in terms of connectivity options, with the most network bands and every new wireless connection you could hope for. This year, Samsung looks to be playing catch-up to Apple, and the Galaxy S23 will likely get satellite SOS services for emergencies, just like the iPhone 14.
In a rumored partnership with Iridium Communications, Samsung phones will supposedly use low-orbit satellites to send text messages and low-res images. It isn’t clear if every model will get the capabilities, or how Samsung will charge for the service. Apple has made its satellite SOS free for the first year.
A new player has also entered the US mobile network market since Samsung’s last big phone launch. So we’ll be looking for Samsung to support Dish Network’s specific 5G radio bands, which are being used on the Boost Infinite service that the company recently launched. The iPhone 14 Pro is currently the only model you can buy that supports Dish-specific 5G bands.
Samsung Galaxy S23: battery
- Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus may get a slightly larger battery
- No improvements to charging
Among the bigger disappointments in the field of Galaxy S23 rumors are the lack of improvements in battery life and power management. We are hearing that the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23 Plus may get a minor battery size increase, a few hundred milliampere hours (mAh). The Galaxy S23 Ultra will apparently use the same 5,000mAh battery as last year.
Really, it’s hard to get enthusiastic that the Galaxy S23 may get a 3,900mAh battery, up from 3,700, and the Galaxy S23 Plus might get a minor boost to 4,700mAh, up from 4,500. We were hoping for much bigger battery improvements.
Charging speeds will also likely remain behind the pack with the next Samsung smartphones. The Galaxy S23 will supposedly charge at 25W, just like the Galaxy S22. The Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra will charge at up to 45W, which can equal half a battery in around 30 minutes. Still, competitors are charging at 65W and even much higher, some in excess of 120W. Samsung could do better.
We are hearing similarly disappointing specs for wireless charging. All of the phones will apparently get the same 15W wireless charging as last year’s devices. Nothing special coming.
Samsung Galaxy S23: software
- Android 13 on top of Samsung OneUI 5
- Software features remain the big question
We see plenty of hardware leaks before a phone launch, but it’s harder to pin down changes and improvements to software. We have heard that the Galaxy S23 will likely use Android 13, hidden beneath Samsung’s OneUI 5. But there’s no significant news on upgrades, or how long Samsung will offer OS updates for on the Galaxy S23 line.
Samsung OneUI has branched significantly from the version of Android Google uses on Pixel phones. It lacks many of the gestures and new concepts that every other Android manufacturer now uses.
It would be nice to see Samsung catch up a bit with OneUI, but Samsung moves at a glacial pace when it comes to software evolution, to the point where you may sometimes wonder if it has ever moved at all.
Should I wait to buy the Samsung Galaxy S23?
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- If you want to see what the Samsung Galaxy S23 will go up against, check out our rundown of the best phones around.