Samsung Galaxy S23
Design and display
Samsung’s design language is more unified than ever, even surpassing the days of the S21 lineup and its unique camera bumps. For the Galaxy S23 series, the company looked to last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra for inspiration, dropping the Tetris-esque camera block for something far more minimal. The result is a bit of a boring year-over-year upgrade for S22 Ultra owners, but a fresh take on Samsung’s house style for all three models.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s look is nearly unchanged from its predecessor. It sports the same frosted glass back — though with some new color choices, of course — the same squared sides that serve as an echo to the Note series, and ever-so-slightly refined curved edges along the display. It’s not to say the S23 Ultra is an ugly phone, or even that it’s uninspired. Rather, it’s more of the same, a “don’t fix what ain’t broke” approach to design that is guaranteed to keep most S22 Ultra owners from feeling any jealousy or buyer’s regret.
The Galaxy S23 and S23+ are certainly the more interesting devices design-wise, though Samsung isn’t rocking the boat here either. Rather, these two devices — the smaller, more affordable choices for consumers — adopt the same camera trends set by the last two Ultra models. Last year, the company blended its module seamlessly into the frame of the device, giving both models a unique look that built on the legacy of the S21 series. This year, it’s all about protruding lens; although both phones lack the same amount of cutouts as their Ultra-sized sibling, it’s clear these three devices are part of a family.
Exciting? No, not especially. But Samsung’s design chops are so far ahead of the pack, it’s hard to argue with the choice to avoid a revolutionary look for another year. While early adopters and enthusiasts might feel disappointed by the decision to recycle this style for another year, regular folks — those who upgrade their devices every three, four, or even five years — are bound to find it as fresh and exciting as shoppers found Samsung’s last-gen models one year ago.
Samsung Galaxy S23: Specs
Those familiar shells aren’t housing some incredible new technology, either. The specs for all three phones are what you’d expect for a 2023 flagship, albeit with a big twist for international users. While Samsung has generally used Qualcomm’s top-tier chipset in North America and other various regions, much of the world relied on Samsung’s own Exynos chips to power their Galaxy experience. Unfortunately, these chips haven’t been able to keep up with the fastest Snapdragon-branded CPUs, something that becomes more obvious with each passing year.
So, for the Galaxy S23 series, Samsung is doing something drastic. Not only is it ditching Exynos for Qualcomm, but it’s also doing so in style. All three models will be powered by a special Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, a souped-up model made especially for Samsung. It keeps everything that made the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 so impressive in last year’s debut, but with a higher 3.36Ghz clock speed for the main Cortex X3 core.
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