It’s a new year, and that means it’s time for a new Samsung flagship. The Galaxy S23 series is official, with a streamlined design for the more affordable models and a big SoC change for international users. As always, there are three models: the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23, the 6.6-inch S23 Plus, and the 6.8-inch S23 Ultra.
With the release of the S23, Samsung sparks internal drama as Samsung’s Galaxy phone “DX Division” spurns Samsung LSI – the division that makes Exynos chips – for not being good enough. In the past, the Galaxy S-series has opted for two vendors for its SoC, with some regions getting Qualcomm Snapdragon chips (usually the US, China, Japan, and Latin America) and others getting Samsung Exynos chips (Europe, India, among others). ). Exynos chips typically don’t perform up to Qualcomm’s (runner-up) standard, and naturally, Exynos customers stuck with a purely inferior phone will be disappointed. Exynos chips have so enraged Samsung fans that they are petitioning for the superior Qualcomm model to be released in their markets.
This year, Samsung is listening and will be all Qualcomm the whole time. The Exynos chips have been relegated to low-end devices in a wild turn of events after Samsung LSI scored a collaboration with AMD last year and two years ago – perhaps out of desperation – started adding Exynos chips after Galaxy S phones to be named with the Exynos 2100 in the S21 and the Exynos 2200 in the S22. The Exynos division still supplies chips for various mid-range Samsung phones, and an orphaned Exynos 2300 chip is still circling the rumor mill and could end up in a tablet or a stripped-down version of the S23.
The star of the show is a newer, faster Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Samsung has received a higher-class version of the Qualcomm chip, officially dubbed the “Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy.” In addition to the long name, it has a slightly higher clock speed: 3.36 GHz compared to the normal 3.2 GHz. On the non-Galaxy version, Qualcomm promises a 35 percent faster CPU and a 25 percent faster GPU, both with a claimed 40-45 percent higher efficiency. It is a 4nm chip with an Arm Cortex-X3 CPU, two Cortex-A715 CPUs, two Cortex-A710 CPUs and three Cortex-A510R1 CPUs. It’s a slightly odd CPU layout, but Qualcomm has tweaked the Arm-recommended layout a bit to keep 32-bit support going for another year. This is the first Qualcomm chip to support the royalty-free AV1 codec, and it can also support Wi-Fi 7, but Samsung hasn’t added that to any of the models.
The base model of the S23 gets some slimmed down parts. The main differences are 128GB of UFS 3.1 storage, lack of Ultra Wideband (UWB) support and 25W charging on the base model, while the more expensive S23 Plus and Ultra have a base of 256GB of much faster UFS 4.0 storage and 45W wired charging. These store numbers are nothing to write home about, which is a shame. Everything has a base of 8GB of RAM, 15W wireless charging, IP68 water resistance and an 8MP front camera. The Ultra model has higher tiers that can include up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.
The base S23 model costs $800 and packs a 3900mAh battery. The Plus model is $1,000 with a 4700mAh battery and the Ultra is $1,200 with a 5000mAh battery. Those prices haven’t changed in the US, but leaked prices say the phones are about $100 more expensive internationally. The bottom two models have a 200mAh higher battery capacity than the S22.
The biggest visible change in the lineup is with the S23 and S23 Plus. Last year the two cheaper S22s had a wraparound corner camera block, while this year they look more like the Galaxy S23 Ultra with single camera lenses. The corner block never had much of a design justification, but with the single camera lens Samsung has landed on a honestly slick looking minimal design. A subtle change to the S23 Ultra is that Samsung has flattened the screen by 30 percent, according to 9to5Google, and the editable area is now almost completely flat. Samsung finally admitted that curved screens are a bad idea and serve no purpose.
The Ultra model looks the same as last year – it’s a lot squarer than the two cheaper phones, and those higher corners make room for a stowable S Pen. As well as the largest display, the Ultra’s glory is an upgraded camera spec, and this year the main sensor is a whopping 200MP.
The phones are available for pre-order today and will be available on February 17th from all major carriers and electronics stores.
Listing image from Samsung