Samsung’s latest top-end Galaxy S23 Android phones hope to tempt users with larger batteries, faster chips and improved photography, including one of the first 200MP next-generation cameras, writes The Guardian.
Announced alongside a range of new Galaxy Book 3 Windows laptops on Wednesday, the Galaxy S23 Ultra superphone leads the line equipped with new camera technology and a stylus.
It is joined by the smaller S23 and S23+, all of which use the top Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip from Qualcomm in metal and glass designs with fast and bright screens.
The phones run 13 with five years of support and are made of more of recycled materials than before, including 22% recycled glass in the new Gorilla Glass Victus 2 screens and backs that promise greater durability against drops.
Here’s what the experts say:
Ru Bhikha, mobiles expert at Uswitch.com, comments:
“The first major phone launch of the year saw Samsung unveil three new handsets in hopes to outshine Apple and Google’s autumn devices.
“The standout feature announced today is the new 200MP camera sensor on the S23 Ultra. It’s safe to say that Samsung is clearly pushing hard to offer the best smartphone camera on the market. The picture quality is so good that Samsung had enough confidence in it to film the event using the new handset.
“The standard S23 devices have removed the camera bump on the back of the device which gives it an overall sleeker design. The cameras may have broadly the same specs as last year’s S22 so this model might not be enticing to those who bought the phone last year. However, it might be worth considering for those who have older models as there are significant improvements to low-light photography and the use of AI in enhancing images.
“The S23 and S23+ both come with a decent boost to their battery life but the Ultra has remained unchanged. This could attract some criticism from those earmarking the model as the ultimate gaming and productivity phone.
“We are still a while away from seeing Samsung create its own chipset, but the exclusive version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will give users powerful new capabilities across all three handsets — something that can’t be said for the way Apple treats its standard and premium phones.
“Samsung is definitely shooting for the stars when it comes to the power of their technology, but their prices are pretty astronomical too. While the basic Samsung S23 is the same price as the standard iPhone 14 at £849, the S23+ and the Ultra are both much more expensive than their Apple equivalents. Whether or not this introduces a new precedent of £1,500+ handsets on the market remains to be seen.
“It will be interesting to see how many people go for the Ultra, especially as we’ve seen demand for premium smartphones in the market soften, with people choosing to spend less on gadgets due to the cost-of-living crisis.
“Throughout the pre-order period, Samsung and selected partners will also be offering a deal to purchase the S23’s higher memory variant for the same cost as the entry model. This means that customers can get the 256GB version for the price of 128GB and 512GB for the price of the 256GB one – so keep your eyes peeled!
Leo Gebbie, Principal Analyst, Connected Devices, CCS Insight
“The Galaxy S23 family demonstrates just how hard it is to tell a new story in today’s smartphone market. The latest devices from Samsung are undoubtedly impressive but the emphasis on improvements to camera capabilities and battery life is nothing new. They underscore the difficulty that Samsung and other phone makers have in finding genuinely new ways to promote and sell their products.
“As has been the case with most flagship launches in recent years, the customers who will feel the most benefit from Samsung’s latest devices will be those upgrading from older models or from a mid-range device. Customers who have bought a premium-tier mobile in the last year or two will see little difference between the device they already have and the new Galaxy S23 family.
“One exception to the staleness in smartphones is the foldable category, where Samsung is the clear leader thanks to its Z Fold and Z Flip series. This new form factor provides a real point of differentiation and excitement in the market. Samsung has enjoyed early success in this segment but with MWC on the horizon, it would be no surprise to see Chinese challengers launching devices designed to compete here.
“Samsung has placed heavy emphasis on the environment in recent times and the Galaxy S23 series continues this theme. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has double the number of components made from recycled material than its predecessor, with recycled glass, aluminium and plastic all contributing. Samsung has also focussed on durability, which will be welcomed by consumers. Our research consistently shows that people want their smartphones to last for longer, and believe that this is the most significant thing that tech companies can do to reduce their environmental impact.
“The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the star of the show and offers a powerful flagship device with strong productivity features, especially thanks to its onboard Galaxy S Pen. We expect its camera array, which once again offers a 10x optical zoom and enhanced dark mode photography, to prove popular with customers.”
“The Galaxy Book3 Ultra sees Samsung go up against heavyweights in the premium laptop market, and will be compared directly against Apple’s latest MacBook Pro designs. The Galaxy Book3 Ultra is strengthened by the inclusion of Nvidia GPUs, which will enhance the gaming experience and appeal to those seeking the best entertainment on the move.”
“Samsung has placed a heavy focus on device interoperability in recent years and was keen to demonstrate the way in which its Galaxy smartphones, tablets and new Galaxy Book laptops work together to provide a fluid user experience. This pitches its strategy more directly against Apple’s, which is also clearly focused on the ecosystem approach. Arguably, this shows Samsung’s intention to lock consumers into its ecosystem to a tighter degree than ever before.
“Samsung has shown its intention to better connect its entire ecosystem of products, including home appliances, TVs and sound systems, and we expect this push to continue in coming months.”
“A notable development under the hood of the Galaxy S23 series is the inclusion of optimised chipsets from Qualcomm. The phones are powered by ‘Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy’ which offers CPU and GPU improvements over the regular 8 Gen 2 platform. This should boost capabilities across the board, especially for high-performance uses like gaming.
“Samsung and Qualcomm agreed to a strategic partnership in 2022 which is bearing fruit for both firms. Samsung benefits from Qualcomm’s latest silicon in the Galaxy S23 family, while Qualcomm now sees its chipsets adopted for a Galaxy S series launch globally for the first time.”