Just a few weeks ago, I reviewed Samsung’s Galaxy A14 5G, calling it an outstanding phone for only $200, proving you don’t have to spend a lot of money on a smartphone. Now I’m reviewing Samsung’s top-tier Galaxy S23 Ultra and $800 Galaxy S23 — and dang it, sometimes it’s nice to splurge, isn’t it?
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 lineup (which includes the S23+, which I haven’t tested yet) aren’t game-changing devices—and most people don’t need such high-end cameras and incredible power. Sometimes it is OK to invest a little money in the best of the best. On a sunny day, it is nice to not have to squint at a dim screen, and to be able to play demanding games with high fidelity.
It’s not worth upgrading if you’re coming from a Galaxy S22 or S21 or any other flagship device released within the last two years. You should definitely take a look at it if you have an older device in your pocket, or if you feel your wallet-friendly device provides a compromised experience.
I won’t bore you with the technical details of these phones. Instead, check out my piece to understand the distinctions and similarities between the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra. If you are familiar with last year’s S22 series reviews, then you should have an idea about what to expect from these devices. However, specs don’t tell all; each phone has its own feel, too. For example, I personally love the 6.1-inch S23 because it fits perfectly in my hands and allows me to use it with one hand without much struggle. The 6.8-inch display of the S23 Ultra is workable even with my big hands, but I need some extra help after a while due to how far away my thumbs have to reach.
The edges on the S23 Ultra are flatter than those of last year’s S22, although not as flat as an iPhone 14. The Ultra feels great to hold and is easier to grip without ever disrupting the screen. To be honest, I found the S21 series with their Contour Cut camera module and accent colors to have a sharper design language. As for these new phones? They look smart, but there’s no character to them with their understated, accent-free cameras.
The three handsets share many of the same characteristics, such as the 120-Hz AMOLED screens can each now hit 1,750 nits of peak brightness. When you’re outside on a sunny day, it’s hard to read the screen because of the high brightness. It’s too often that my fiancée has to squint at her Pixel phone, but it’s never a problem here. (It also gets pretty dim at bedtime for anyone who prefers low brightness.)