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Samsung unveils the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra: What to know

Each member of Samsung's new family of flagship smartphones is a powerful, AI-driven device built for gaming and taking high-quality photographs.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Person holding all three Samsung Galaxy S23 models in Green.
June Wan/ZDNET

Samsung on Wednesday rolled out the latest generation of Galaxy smartphones, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23. Each version of the new flagship smartphone is a powerful, AI-driven device built for gaming and taking high-quality photographs.

Compared with last year's release of Samsung's S22 lineup, there are a few key functional and design changes in the S23 models. 

The S23 lineup offers upgrades in color options, camera functions, durability, and an upgraded processor, the all-new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

Also: S22 vs S23: What are the main differences?

The three phones in the S23 series run Samsung's new OneUI 5.1 alongside Android 13, and are made from more post-consumer recycled material than any previous Samsung phone.

Introducing Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip on top of a bowl of lemons.
June Wan/ZDNET and Qualcomm

There are some remarkable improvements to the Galaxy S23 line that aims to optimize and improve its user experience.

The Galaxy S23 series is the first line of devices to feature Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy, which was designed and optimized specifically for Samsung to power AI functions like photo and video capture and mobile gaming. Samsung said it offers the world's fastest mobile graphics, and we'll be putting that to the test in our full review. 

Meanwhile, a bigger version of Samsung Galaxy's vapor cooling chamber comes in every Galaxy S23 series model for intensive gaming.

Also: Everything announced at Samsung Unpacked

Improved cameras for low-light photos

Person holding Samsung S23 Plus
June Wan/ZDNET

The S23 lineup's new camera features focus heavily on improving the quality of pictures and videos taken in low lighting. While the S23 Ultra's front-facing camera has been 'downgraded' from a 40-megapixel lens to a 12-megapixel, every model in the lineup can now deliver Night Portrait mode by using upgraded sensors.

Also: Every Samsung Galaxy S23 model compared: Specs, display, cameras, and more

For avid stargazers, Astro Hyperlapse is another new feature used to capture the movements of stars in the night sky without needing special equipment. AI Noise Reduction technology is also integrated to improve video quality at night or in the dark while simultaneously reducing visual noise.

It certainly helps that the S23 Ultra's camera system is headlined by a massive 200MP camera sensor, capable of capturing the highest pixel count and detail that we've seen yet on a smartphone. The number of pixels being captured also helps the S23 Ultra better piece together details at night.

More: Samsung just showed off its 200-megapixel smartphone image sensor

The Galaxy S23 series also introduces fast autofocus and a Super HDR selfie camera, jumping from 30 frames per second to 60fps, for better front-facing images and videos.

Design: If it ain't broke, don't fix it

Samsung Galaxy S23 Lineup

When it comes to design features, there are a few remarkable differences between the Galaxy S22 line and S23 line. However, there are some subtle changes, such as the front-facing camera being slightly smaller so that it takes up less space on the display. The S23 Ultra's display edges are now less curvy as well, giving users greater surface area to interact with using the included S Pen.

For the first time, all three phones in the S23 lineup are available in the same colors: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender. On the S23 and S23 Plus, the contoured housing that encases the back camera has been removed. 

Also: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: Is this year's flagship worth the upgrade?

Galaxy S23 specs

  • Dimensions: 2.79 x 5.7 x 0.3 inches
  • Weight: 5.9 oz
  • Display size: 6.1 inch
  • Memory, storage options: 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB
  • Battery capacity: 3,900 mAh
  • Price: Starting at $799

Galaxy S23 Plus specs

  • Dimensions: 3 x 6.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Weight: 6.9 oz
  • Display: 6.6 inch
  • Memory, storage options: 8GB of RAM and 256GB or 512G
  • Battery: 4,700 mAh
  • 45W Super-fast charging capabilities
  • Price: Starting at $999

Galaxy S23 Ultra specs

  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 6.43 x 0.35 inches
  • Weight: 8.25 oz
  • Display: 6.8-inch with a reduced curvature to create a larger and flatter surface area
  • Memory, storage options: 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB, or 1T of internal storage
  • Battery capacity: 5,000 mAh
  • 8K video recording
  • Price: Starting at $1,199
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