Samsung has finally revealed the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, its flagship smartphone for 2023. As part of the first Samsung Unpacked event in 2023, we took a look at the new device as well as taking stock of its capabilities.
As in previous years, the new top-of-the-range phone offers several upgrades over the entry-level Samsung Galaxy S23 and mid-kid Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, including better cameras and longer battery life.
If you want to see our early thoughts on the new Ultra, check out our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review, or scroll down to see a summary of the new smartphone’s key specs, as well as a release date and price.
Or, if you want to find out more about the other new Samsung S23 phones, read our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 review for our early impressions of the most affordable option, or our hands-on Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review for your first look at the larger version primary.
To the point
- What is this? Another top flagship phone from Samsung
- when is it coming out? February 17, 2023
- How much does it cost? At least $1,199.99 / £1,249
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Release Date and Price
- The premiere is February 17, but you can pre-order today
- Some models are cheaper and some more expensive than the S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, as well as the smartphones it launched with it, will be released on Friday, February 17. The devices can be pre-ordered right now, but if you want to protect the unit before its release. If you’re hesitating to order one, we recommend that you check out our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review to get all our thoughts on the new phone.
US and UK device prices are as follows (Australian prices to come):
|RAM / Memory||US price||UK price||AU price|
|8/256GB||$1199.99||1249 pounds||1949 AUD|
One change you may have noticed is – as leaked before the announcement – that the minimum storage model has been increased from 128GB to 256GB – and if you’re in the US, you’re not being asked to pay more than what you would pay for a new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with only 128 GB of memory. The 512GB model is actually $20 cheaper than its predecessor, while the 1TB storage variant is $20 more than before (and only available on Samsung.com).
In the UK, you’re a little underwhelming compared to the price of the S22 Ultra. While you’re paying the same this year as last year for the 256GB Samsung Ultra, it’s now the entry-level option, with the 512GB and 1TB S23 Ultra models going for £70 more and £100 more respectively.
In Australia, the 256GB Ultra costs $50 less than last year, making this a relatively good deal, while the 512GB model costs $100 more and the 1TB model $200 more.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: design
- Very similar design to the S22 Ultra
- Available in eight colors (four are exclusive to the Samsung store)
If you were hoping Samsung would change the look of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra compared to the S22 Ultra, you’ll be disappointed to find out that both phones look virtually identical.
The rugged aluminum alloy housing still houses the hidden S Pen and has a robust IP68-certified dust and water rating (meaning it offers complete dust protection and should withstand a drop in a puddle or kitchen sink), provided you you’ll pick it up pretty quickly).
Its 6.8-inch screen (with a resolution of 3088 x 1440 pixels) should also be fairly scratch-resistant as it is made of Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2.
As for colors, you can choose the Ultra in one of four finishes: Phantom Black, Cream, Green and Lavender in most stores; however, if you want a new phone in Red, Sky Blue, Graphite or Lime, you will need to head to the official Samsung Store.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Specifications and Features
- It uses a custom Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- Comes with 8GB or 12GB of RAM
As rumored before the premiere, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra was equipped with a custom Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy chipset. We’ll have to test the phone properly to see how it performs, but the leaked Galaxy S23 benchmark result showed that Samsung’s new chip isn’t too far behind the Apple A16 chip used in the iPhone 14 Pro (and it apparently was on based on its performance in the base Galaxy S23).
|256GB model||512GB model||1TB model|
|Price:||$1199.99 / £1249||$1379.99 / £1399||$1619.99 / £1599|
|Dimensions:||78.74 x 162.56 x 8.89mm||78.74 x 162.56 x 8.89mm||78.74 x 162.56 x 8.89mm|
|Operating system:||Android 13||Android 13||Android 13|
|Screen Size:||6.8 inches||6.8 inches||6.8 inches|
|Resolution:||3088×1440 pixels||3088×1440 pixels||3088×1440 pixels|
|CPU:||Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 Mobile Platform 2 for Galaxy||Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 Mobile Platform 2 for Galaxy||Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 8 Mobile Platform 2 for Galaxy|
|Rear cameras:||200MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto (3x), 10MP telephoto (10x)||200MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto (3x), 10MP telephoto (10x)||200MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto (3x), 10MP telephoto (10x)|
Mobile gamers will appreciate the Adreno GP chipset, which promises to provide ray tracing for improved visuals (such as better reflections and more realistic shadows in supported titles), as well as 25% faster performance compared to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.
We also know that while the base S23 Ultra with 256GB of storage only has 8GB of RAM, both the 512GB and 1TB models will come with 12GB of RAM, which is similar to what we’ve seen with the S22 Ultra.
Finally, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will run on the Android 13 operating system, giving you access to all the features of the latest Google software.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Display
Apart from a slightly flatter screen around the edges, the S23 Ultra’s display is very similar to that used by its predecessor. As before, you’ll get a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a resolution of 1440 x 3088 and a dynamic refresh rate that can be scaled from 1Hz to 120Hz – automatically adjusting to focus on power efficiency or visual fluidity as required.
We’ll have to spend a little more time with the device, but in our testing so far we’ve found the color and brightness of the display to be a solid viewing experience. Samsung tells us that the new displays have been tuned to offer more accurate colors even when competing with lots of ambient light thanks to the Advanced Vision Booster, although on paper the phone’s maximum brightness isn’t quite as high as Apple’s iPhone 14 Professional.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: cameras
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra had highly respectable cameras, but they weren’t much of an upgrade over the S21 Ultra in terms of hardware. This is not the case with the S23 Ultra – at least not with the main sensor.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra looks like a photographer’s dream thanks to its new 200MP main camera, which we suspect may be the ISOCELL HP2 that our camera editor Tim Coleman analyzed a few days before the launch of the S23 series. It also has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide and a 3x and 10x 10MP dual telephoto lens that look similar to those on the S22.
In comparison, the S22 only offered users a 108MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide snapper, and two 10MP telephoto lenses.
Even if the non-primary lenses are quite similar, the S23 Ultra’s other camera upgrades are designed to give your photos an edge. First, Samsung boasts that the S23 Ultra’s Nightography has been improved, with stabilization for photos and videos (with the latter being improved by a new optical image stabilization system that boasts twice the angular movement of what came before).
Finally, as with all S23 smartphones, the front camera has been upgraded to a 12MP snapper, which should help you take higher quality selfies than before.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Battery Life
The battery in the Samsung S23 Ultra is on paper almost identical to that of the 2022 model, with both smartphones boasting 5000 mAh cells. However, Samsung claims that its new hardware performance and improved software integration make the Galaxy S3 Ultra 20% more efficient with its power, allowing it to extend the life of that battery.
We haven’t been able to verify this ourselves in our own tests, but we’ll be sure to provide details in our full review.