- Very good cameras
- Powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 soc
- Good and bright screen
- Long battery life
- Pricey device
Never change a winning horse, Samsung must have thought when they started working with the Galaxy S23 Ultra. When the rumor mill started and the first images of the device leaked, it looked more like an S22 Ultra with a different wallpaper. Now that we have received the device, we see that there are some differences, although they are small. In fact, they are so small that you probably won’t notice them if you don’t have both smartphones in your hands or if you have them lying next to each other on the table.
Another change is the price: the S23 Ultra has become 100 euros more expensive than the S22 Ultra cost when it was introduced. You now have to pay 1399 euros for this flagship. For that money, you get a smartphone with a 6.8″ screen, 8GB ram, 256GB storage space and the well-known integrated stylus.
Another big difference with the S22 Ultra is the main camera. The S23 Ultra features a 200-megapixel one and can film in 8k at 30fps, the highest number you’ll find in today’s smartphone landscape. The other cameras have remained the same, but the photos you take with this smartphone should be better in practice than those of last year, because the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 takes care of the image processing.
Despite the small differences, does the S23 Ultra still have a big impact and, thanks to the 200-megapixel camera and the powerful Snapdragon, raise the bar a bit? You read it in this review.
We already wrote it in the introduction: the S23 Ultra is very similar to the S22 Ultra. At first glance, you would almost say that the devices look alike like two drops of water. Both devices have a rounded body and a curved screen, the camera layout is the same and the buttons have the same look as the S22. Only when you put the smartphones next to each other or hold them in your hands do you notice the minor differences.
The first thing that stands out is that the casing has a slightly different shape: it is slightly more flattened and therefore slightly more angular. You can also feel that when you hold the smartphone in your hand. The edges feel a bit sharper and that’s because the screen and the back are slightly more recessed in the frame. This makes the device a bit easier to grip, but more force than average must still be applied to prevent it from slipping out of your fingers. In addition, the S23 Ultra is slightly wider and heavier. We are talking about numbers after the decimal point and you will not notice the difference in practice.
|S23||S22||S23+||S22+||S23 Ultra||S22 Ultra|
The cameras on the S23 Ultra are slightly larger and protrude a little further than on the S22 Ultra, and the red spot used for the laser is no longer red, making it less noticeable. The S23 Ultra has the same matte finish back as its predecessor. Both the front and back have Gorilla Glass Victus 2. The manufacturer of the glass says you can drop them from up to two meters high on asphalt and concrete without breaking. In addition, the device is again equipped with the IP68 certification, which means that the smartphone is dust and waterproof. The device can withstand half an hour at a depth of one and a half meters.
The smartphone does not give when it is twisted and is just as insensitive to fingerprints as the S22 Ultra. The layout of the buttons is also the same as on the S22 Ultra so we’ll go through that briefly. On the right are the power and volume buttons, at the top a hole for the microphone, the left side of the smartphone is empty and at the bottom is a hole for the S-pen, a grille for one of the two stereo speakers, a USB-C port, the card tray and two microphone holes. On the front of the screen, there is a small cut-out in the center at the top edge for the ear speaker that serves as the second speaker for the stereo sound. And just below that is the camera hole for the selfie camera.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the same screen specifications as the S22 Ultra. It is an ltpo-oled with a wqhd + resolution, so 3088×1440 pixels. Due to that high resolution, it is a lot sharper than the screens of the Galaxy S23 and S23 +, even though it is the largest with its 6.8 “diagonal. The screen has a dynamic refresh rate between 1 and 120 Hz and support for HDR10 +.
Samsung states in its press release that the screen has an improved adjustment for different lighting conditions. The manufacturer calls it Vision Booster. Gray tones are displayed brighter in incident light so that you can still see the image clearly. Three different light levels are now taken into account instead of two, as with the S22 series. There is no option to manually turn Vision Booster on or off. You also don’t have much control over the further color reproduction of the screen. In ‘Natural’ mode, colors are displayed with the correct saturation, but the hue of the screen cannot be adjusted.
We measured the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s screen using our SpectraCal C6 colorimeter and Portrait Displays Calman Ultimate analysis software. As of this year, we are not only measuring the rendering of grayscale and saturated colors, but also the rendering of some common color tones on the ColorChecker test chart. For this review, we also performed the new test procedure on the Galaxy S22 and S21 series to have some comparison material.