Here we go
The S23 is the cheapest of Samsung’s flagships this year. In the 8/256 version, it costs PLN 4,599 in the promotion, which is about PLN 100 more than last year’s S22 model. We can lower the price with the Repurchase program. However, it will still be 3-4 times more than what Poles usually spend on a phone, who dream of a successful smartphone with the so-called. mid-range, costing PLN 1000-1200. The S23 therefore belongs to the premium segment, dominated almost entirely by Samsung and iPhones. This year’s compact flagship is assessed in two ways: some appreciate that this edition is already almost perfect, and others criticize that it is almost no different from the S22. Samsung, similarly to Apple, has for several years started to use the strategy of introducing small corrections, improvements, and not bold changes and revolutions. The smallest “Eska” already has almost everything, what you can dream of in a flagship, still maintaining very handy and compact dimensions. S23 is such an android dream phone for people who still can’t convince themselves of big screens and smartphones weighing 200g. It differs from the most expensive Ultra version with a “poorer” set of cameras, no stylus and support for Samsung 45W charging. The rest of the components are almost identical.
The main pros and cons of the Samsung Galaxy S23
Advantages of the Samsung Galaxy S23:
- Successful, clean design
- handy compact housing
- brilliant screen
- very nice, expanded and refined over the years OneUI system overlay in the latest version 5.1
- latest Android 13
- very fast 4G modem
- latest WiFi 6e
- Bluetooth 5.3
- very good photos from the main matrix
- wonderful fluidity
- fastest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor
- new Victus 2 glass front and back
- even brighter screen (peak 1750 nits)
- new 12 MP selfie camera
- 200 mAh larger battery – 3900 mAh
- Full smoothness and stabilization of 4K 60 fps and 8K 30 fps recordings
- Stronger stabilization Super steady
- Expert RAW mode
- Great night photos
- UFS 4.0 from 256GB version
- RAM Plus function – additional from 2 to 8 GB
- eSIM support
- High-resolution photos from 4K and 8K video footage
- AOD (Always On Display)
- Knox dla B2B
Cons of the Samsung Galaxy S23:
- still no professional and secure “Face ID”
- very high price
- cosmetic changes vs S22
- very slow charging 25W
- power adapter not included
- the 128GB version has slower UFS 3.1 storage instead of UFS 4.0
- at night, telephoto and wide angle photos are very noisy
- no macro mode
How do we evaluate design?
We will appreciate the S23 primarily after switching from a large and heavy smartphone. Eska is light, shapely and handy. When it comes to design, it looks the same as the S22. Only the cylinders around the lenses look different, but only the biggest fans of the series will notice it. The phone wobbles slightly on flat surfaces. The S23 looks elegant, simple, there are no strange, flashy elements. The front and back of the housing are the latest Victus 2 glass – even more resistant to falls (at least that’s how it is advertised). The frame is aluminum. The screen has a very small cutout for the camera and symmetrical, very narrow bezels. We tested the S23 in the green version, and the offer also includes black, graphite, cream, lime and lavender. The case hides good stereo speakers (Dolby Atmos) with a lot of space and sufficient bass.
What do we think about the display?
The S23’s display is brighter than the S22’s. The maximum instantaneous brightness has grown to 1750 nits (from 1300 in S22). Now the brightness is the same as in the higher versions. The screen has an FHD+ resolution, which we know from the mid-price range, but at 6.1 inches it is enough. Dynamic AMOLED 2X is a great panel that fits very well with the compact flagship from Korea. The refresh rate of the display can be dynamic in the range of 48-120Hz. There is a fingerprint reader (ultrasonic) sewn into the screen, which works quickly, but off-screen scanners are probably still faster and more convenient.
The S23 itself does not deserve to be called revolutionary, but the fact that there is the latest Snapdragon inside the phone and not Exynos electrifies most fans of the Galaxy S series. Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a refined, very efficient chipset that also manages its temperature well. For the first time in AnTuTu, I managed to get such an unimaginable score of 1.154 million points on S23. And it should be mentioned that for testing from Samsung we got the “poorest” 128 GB version with the old version of UFS 3.1 memory. In higher memory versions there is already UFS 4.0. Apparently, AnTuTu is not yet able to check and assess the speed of these more modern bones. The S23 is also LTE 7CA, 5G (also in Standalone and mmWave versions) and WiFi 6 in the “e” version. There is also the latest Bluetooth 5.3 and eSIM support.
How does the operating system work?
S23 works under the control of the latest Android and One UI 5.1 overlay. The latest One UI is also available for last year’s S22 series. During the premiere of the S series this year, Samsung made a declaration that the flagships will receive 4 more editions of the operating system, and security updates will be available to them for the next 5 years. Such a promise is very important, because it seems that at these prices and inflation we will start using phones longer than before. It is also a declaration forced a bit by what Apple offers, which provides the latest versions of iOS for really old phones.
One UI 5.1 can be available to us in a light version or as a dark mode. When we like to play with the system, it will be a mine of various functions and settings for us. However, when the smartphone is just supposed to work, One UI will also satisfy people who hate digging through complicated menus.
The overlay and the interface work very smoothly, they have no problems – this is also a big advantage of the new Snapdragon platform.
What kind of photos does it take and what kind of videos does it record?
The configuration of the cameras in the S23 is a bit like the one we have on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. In the Samsung Ultra, the set is more advanced. Here we have a brilliant 50 MP main camera with a bright 1.8 lens and a 3X telephoto lens that has an F2.4 light, which is much darker. On the iPhone 3X, it’s even darker – F2.8. The S23 also has a wide angle F2.2 and a 12 MP F2.2 selfie. In fact, only the latter camera is new – in the S22, the front camera was 10 MP. The brightness of the lens for 99% of smartphone users is black magic without any meaning, but these numbers have a direct impact on whether the camera can be used in darker rooms and at night. The camera software in smartphones is responsible for 50% of a successful frame, but the matrix and lens still do the rest. This is my subjective assessment of the weight of individual elements of smartphone photography. What does the set of S23 cameras and software guarantee us? It offers us very good photos both in the day and in the night mode from the main matrix. It also impresses with detailed and stable 4K 60 fps video. What’s more – 8K 30 fps video recording also works brilliantly. From such a film (stable and extremely detailed) we can “take pictures” with a resolution of 33 MP. The 3X telephoto lens and wide angle are also great during the day. Unfortunately, I do not recommend taking pictures with these two cameras at night. The material only looks good on the S23 screen. When we send these photos to the computer, unfortunately, the noise covers all the fun of the night frames. The same also applies to video materials. At night, let’s only operate the main 50 MP camera with a default 12 MP JPEG recording.
The S23 does not have a macro mode, which is quite often already available in the cheapest smartphones for about PLN 1K and is also present in iPhones. Still, the effects of the portrait mode look a bit artificial, which probably separates the object from the background too precisely. More realistic bokeh is provided by the selfie camera, which also offers very high detail of the photographed face.
S23 is now the best compact Android smartphone we can buy. It has a top specification, looks great, takes excellent photos, records brilliant video and works very smoothly (it’s record fast). So that it is not so completely sugary, it is slow to load and there is no such a strong telephoto lens as Ultra. If we have access to “no limit” funds and do not even think about buying an iPhone, the S23 will delight us. Complete with the phone, we also get long support with system updates. It’s a great smartphone, but existing S22 users can sleep peacefully, because migration to S23 doesn’t make much sense to them.
We love: everything
We don’t like: the price and the lack of a power supply
Who is the Samsung Galaxy S23 for:
- Fans of compact premium smartphones
- For the biggest Samsung fans
- For people with very wealthy wallets
- For mobile photographers
For whom the Samsung Galaxy S23 is not:
- For the frugal
- For iPhone fans
- For S22 users (unless for Snapdragon and battery)