Sunday, April 14, 2024
Smart Phones

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 Ultra: expectations


But what would the differences be between the cheapest and the highest-tier Galaxy S23 versions? They are all considered Samsung’s best, right? It’s just that one is… the best but more? Here, we will explore the differences between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Ultra — battery life, camera, performance, and general experience with the devices.

There are still a couple of days left before Samsung officially announces them at Galaxy Unpacked. So, this is based on what we know from teasers, leaks, and rumors.
Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 Ultra in a nutshell:

  • Ultra to have an upgraded camera system
  • Ultra has an S Pen stylus
  • Galaxy S23 to be more compact
  • Flat screen on Galaxy S23, slight curves on the Ultra’s edges
  • Definite difference in battery sizes expected, battery life differences TBD
  • Slightly better components — screen, RAM — on the Ultra

Table of Contents:

Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 Ultra design and display

Pocketable vs media beast

The regular Galaxy S23 is expected to be — just like its predecessor — a compact and easy to handle device. Despite its power and camera capabilities, it’s meant to be a phone for those that prefer their handset to stay out of the way when not needed.

Numerous leaks have reaffirmed the look of the Galaxy S23 — it will have the flatter frame like the S22 and a new camera module that is no longer a slab on the back on the phone. It will be replaced by simple camera lens rings protruding back there, same as on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Speaking of the Ultra — the Galaxy S23 Ultra will look a lot like its predecessor. Same camera rings, rounded sides, and a screen that’s slightly curved at the edges.

Both of these phones will get Samsung’s excellent Dynamic AMOLED screens (we assume the branding won’t change). But the Galaxy S23 Ultra will probably have an LTPO panel that can diversify between the full 120 Hz and going all the way down to 1 Hz. We suspect that the cheaper S23 will only be able to vary between 48 Hz to 120 Hz, but we’ll see. In the end, this is a feature that affects the Always On Display’s battery drain and not much else.

We also suspect it would be reasonable to expect some sort of upgrade to the highest brightness. As for pixels on screen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will most likely get QHD (1440 x 3088 pixels), while the S23 will have the more modest FHD (1080 x 2340). We wouldn’t worry about the latter — with its smaller screen, it will still a dense setup of pixels per inch.

Early leaks list four colors for the S23 and S23 Ultra: Cotton Flower (beige), Misty Lilac (light pink), Botanic Green, Phantom Black. We think it’s safe to assume there will be a couple of exclusive colors to order from

Performance and software

No more Exynos?

It seems that, with the Galaxy S23 series, Samsung will be ending the confusion of Snapdragon variants and Exynos variants. Before, international models used to get Galaxies with Samsung’s Exynos chips. Now, reports say, the Galaxy S23 series — and all Galaxy S23 phones worldwide — will get the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

Qualcomm and Samsung have been partners for a while and it seems the Galaxy-bound Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipsets will be made in Samsung’s own factories (whereas, they are usually made by TSMC) and have slight customization or overclocking. Supposedly, it will be specifically called “Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy,” and its ARM-Cortex X3 prime core will be able to hit 3.36 GHz.

Above, we have screenshots of supposed benchmarks of the S23+ and S23 Ultra, showing us that the two phones will perform similarly. We assume the Galaxy S23 will not fall short of these results, but we still wonder about thermals and throttling over prolonged usage. Of course, that’s something we will have to test when the phones come out.

We also fully expect to get different storage tiers to pick from on both phones — 128 GB for the S23, then 256 GB for both models, and 512 GB exclusively on the Ultra. It’s very possible that the Galaxy S23 will have 8 GB RAM on all tiers, while the S23 Ultra might get 12 GB RAM even on its starting tier.

As for software — we expect Samsung’s One UI 5 on top of Android 13, which we are well acquainted to now, since the Galaxy S22 series and the Galaxy Fold 4 / Flip 4 have already received it. It’s a bright interface with tons of customizable elements and features that runs smooth and snappy.

Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 Ultra cameras

Upgrades for the Ultra

Since the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the “camera phone” that gets everything that Samsung can cram in it — it will be the one to feature the new 200 MP Samsung ISOCELL HP2 sensor. Needless to say, we can’t wait to test it and see what Samsung has brewed up. The Galaxy S23 will keep a 50MP main camera, which we assume will get some behind-the-curtains upgrades to make its performance slightly better than on the Galaxy S22. For example, we hear focus will be even faster this year around.With the bigger sensor on the Ultra, Samsung will employ some massive pixel binning to collect more light into shots for Night Mode scenarios. We would also hope to see creamier and more realistic-looking bokeh in portrait shots.
For all intents and purposes, it seems like the Galaxy S23 Ultra will be the one to get if you are interested in camera usage. Below are some leaked pictures, allegedly taken with the Galaxy S23 Ultra:

Then, of course, the Ultra will also have a 10x telephoto camera and the crazy 100x Space Zoom, which other phones just can’t touch. The Galaxy S23 will probably cap out at 30x, but we’ll see.

Audio quality and haptics

Samsung’s stereo speakers have sounded pretty OK over the last few iterations of Galaxy phones. Admittedly, they sound best on the Galaxy Z Fold 4, so we are kind of hoping that whatever Samsung did there might trickle over to the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

If it doesn’t, we expect well-sounding speakers with decent enough volume on both phones. Due to physical constraints, the S23 will probably be slightly thinner and slightly lower in volume. But, again, these are preliminary expectations.

As for haptics, we are very happy that Android manufacturers have been taking them seriously for half a decade now. The Galaxies click and clack with a pleasant feedback to each tap — we don’t see why the S23 series would be worse.

Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 Ultra Battery life and charging

It’s in the size

The Galaxy S23 will supposedly get a slight bump in battery capacity, bringing it up to 3,900 mAh. Not huge by 2023 standards, but an impressive number considering the phone’s expected small size. The Galaxy S23 Ultra will retain that 5,000 mAh cell.

So, in general, we have to put these handsets through our tests to give you a final call, but we are pretty sure they will comfortably last for a day even with some more use put into them.

As for charging, we will supposedly get 45 W fast charging on the wire, 15 W fast charging on a compatible Qi pad. Nothin mindblowing, considering the chargers we’ve seen from Oppo and Xiaomi recently, but hey — if Samsung wants to go safe with its battery tech, we say “keep it up”.

Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S23 Ultra specs comparison

Being of the same family, these two phones share a lot of DNA. A full spec sheet comparison can be viewed here, but here are the general differences (based on leaks and teasers):

Summary and Final Verdict

So there are plenty of considerable differences between these phones to be able to make a clear call. If you want the best mobile camera with tons of features, zoom on tap, and an upgraded 200 MP sensor — you will be drawn to the Ultra. That’s not to say that the Galaxy S23’s cameras will be bad. If you choose to save some cash or just prefer a more compact phone — the Galaxy S23 will most probably deliver satisfactory results in all aspects. It’s just not a “poweruser” phone and if you don’t consider yourself one — you are probably going to be drawn to the subtle and compact S23.


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