Samsung’s Galaxy S line of smartphones has been available since 2010. It is now one of the most widely distributed Android phones available, and one of Samsung’s best-selling products overall.
The ordinary Galaxy S23 is the smallest and least expensive of the three Galaxy S23 models released this year.
All You Need To Know Samsung Galaxy S23
I’ve been a lifelong iPhone user, but the Galaxy S23 is becoming one of my favourite choices since I’ve joined Digital Trends. It may be the smallest and cheapest in the S23 family, but honestly, there’s a lot to enjoy here.
About our Samsung Galaxy S23
The Galaxy S23 came with a T-Mobile SIM card, courtesy of Samsung. We plan to keep using the Galaxy S23 extensively over the next few weeks and months, and will update this review accordingly.
Samsung Galaxy S23: Design
The Galaxy S23 is an updated version of the Galaxy S21 and S22, with a design that is more in line with other contemporary smartphones such as the iPhone 14 Pro. The camera housing “island” is gone, and the cameras are just floating on the rear.
It’s not as pronounced as the bumps on an iPhone, but neither is it completely flat. Yet, minimalists will appreciate the design’s streamlined aesthetic. The Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra share the same design.
The front and back glass of Samsung devices are made from Gorilla Glass Victus 2, while the shiny metal frame is made from Samsung’s Armor Aluminum. The S23 is also fairly resistant to dust and water, as indicated by its IP68 classification.
The S23 is reasonably sturdy, even without a case or screen protector. It wouldn’t hurt to check out a Galaxy S23 case or Galaxy S23 screen protector if you’re paranoid about your phone.
The Galaxy S23’s minimalist appearance is reminiscent of the iPhone 11’s, with its rounded corners and gently curved edges. However the front screen is flush with the case, and the bezels are narrower than I’m used to seeing.
As part of its commitment to environmental responsibility, Samsung has ensured that its buttons have a satisfyingly tactile click and are constructed from recycled materials. The Gorilla Glass Victus 2’s speaker grille is also eco-friendly, and the phone itself contains recycled glass. Eco-friendliness extends to both the product itself and its packaging.
The S23’s ergonomic shape and light weight are two of its best features. It weighs only 5.93 ounces, making it significantly more portable than my iPhone 14 Pro (7.27 ounces) (without my case and MagSafe PopSocket).
When contrasted to the S23 Ultra, which weighs 8.25 ounces, this becomes even more evident. The Galaxy S23’s small weight made it easy to carry for extended periods of time and navigate the interface with one hand (albeit this could be due to the case I was using). The S23’s matte glass back is a tad slippery without a case.
Samsung Galaxy S23: Colors
My review item is in the Cream colour, which is an off-white creaminess. If you’ve ever owned a Phantom White S22, you’ll immediately note that the Cream leans slightly more beige when compared to your old phone.
Cream is my favourite since it’s a nice, light neutral that complements most colour schemes and really brings out the details in some case patterns. Shown above is my Coach case in Cream, which wonderfully brings off the lavender flowers.
The Galaxy S23 also comes in Phantom Black, Lavender, and Green if you prefer those hues to the standard white. You can only get Lime and Graphite colour options for the S23 if you buy it through Samsung’s official website.
Phantom Black is an excellent choice if you’re looking for a dark neutral colour that goes well with any other tone; unlike Graphite, which is more of a dark grey, gunmetal-like shade, Phantom Black is unquestionably a pure black.
Samsung’s decision to make one of the limited-edition colours look so much like a standard colour and to choose a rather neutral shade is puzzling to me. The Lime hue, at least, is a cheery yellow-green that recalls the zesty freshness of a lime wedge.
Not everyone is a fan of the standard Green colour, which is more of a military, olive-like green. That makes me long for the Midnight Green iPhone 11 Pro of old. Yet, the Green might change and appear more appealing at different angles and illumination.
Yet, neither Lime nor Green is a true neutral, making it more difficult to pair with a suitable carrying case or an outfit. If Cream were tinted slightly pink (or properly purple), it would be lavender.
It’s not overpowering; in fact, it more closely resembles a pale pink than a lavender. Lavender is perfect if you want a little colour and a touch of elegance in your life.
Samsung Galaxy S23: Screen
The Galaxy S23 boasts a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with Full HD+ resolution and an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz. The pixel density is 425, with a resolution of 2340 x 1080. (ppi). It’s worth noting that the S23 and S23 Plus both feature perfectly flat displays, whereas the S23 Ultra has little curvature to its edges.
The flat style seems more modern and functional to me. The maximum brightness is 1,750 nits, the same as the S23 Plus and the S23 Ultra, which is reached when outdoors in direct sunlight.
On sunny days in Southern California, it’s quite functional despite being less bright than Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro series (2,000 nits outside). Even though it has been cloudier than I would like, I have no trouble using the S23 outside in the sunshine on the rare occasions when the weather cooperates.
I was immediately taken aback by the quality of the display on the Galaxy S23. As you’d expect from a premium device, the colours are bright and vivid, with deep blacks and clear lettering. I find the lack of elasticity in Android compared to iOS to be disconcerting, but the 120Hz adaptive refresh rate makes scrolling quite smooth.
Performance and Software:
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is at the heart of Samsung’s Galaxy S23. The OnePlus 11 and other high-end Android phones released this year use a similar processor, but this one is somewhat different.
Contrarily, Samsung would like you to know that this is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, a variant of the Snapdragon 8 that has been tweaked for use in Galaxy devices. So, what’s so special about this one?
Its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 variant, developed jointly by Samsung and Qualcomm, features a higher CPU clock speed and more software efficiency for picture processing. Enough with the jargon; the S23 is blazing fast thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Samsung.
Both the 128GB and 256GB models of the Galaxy S23 have 8GB of RAM. It’s disappointing that the base model of the S23 only has 128 GB of storage, while the S23 Plus and S23 Ultra both begin with 256 GB and the Ultra even offers 12 GB of RAM in the 512 GB and 1 TB configurations.
Nonetheless, 128GB is sufficient for most people, and 256GB should be more than enough.
The Galaxy S23 is the entry-level model in the series, yet it still has a triple-lens camera. The main camera has 50 megapixels and an aperture of f/1.8; the ultrawide-angle camera has 12 megapixels and an aperture of f/2.2; the telephoto lens has 10 megapixels and OIS and an aperture of f/2.4.
The front-facing camera has a respectable 12 megapixel resolution, dual-pixel autofocus, and an aperture of f/2.2. The S23 Ultra, with its 200-megapixel main camera sensor, was the device that stole the show this year.
Despite the fact that Samsung should have included the S22 Ultra’s 108MP camera in the S23 and S23 Plus, the S23 still manages to shoot excellent images. Several times I tried to photograph my 15-month-old son playing in the park near our home, putting the camera to the test.
With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, photos can be taken rapidly at the press of a button, and they come out looking sharp and colourful. I also brought the S23 with me to Disneyland, and its pictures turned out clear and vibrant.
My impression was that the colours weren’t always spot-on with what I was seeing in real life, but that could be because of the brighter, more saturated nature of Samsung’s display. While comparing shots taken with the S23 with my iPhone 14 Pro, the former produced more natural and accurate tones.
On a different screen, such as the iPhone 14 Pro using Google Photos, the S23 photos appear slightly less vibrant and dazzling, more in line with how they actually appear. The Galaxy S23’s telephoto lens provides 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom.
I was looking forward to trying out the 30x zoom, but it turns out that the best results can be achieved at only 10x. The images I captured at 20x and 30x magnification resembled terrible watercolour paintings.
Images of the Disney 100 Years of Wonder sign high above Disney California Adventure and a Pixar Pal-A-Round ride car look decent enough to be used. But 30x magnification of a Disney duck? Definitely not a good sign. Without a question, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the superior choice if you’re seeking for high-quality zoom photographs (at least up to 30X).
Battery and Charging
The battery in the Samsung Galaxy S23 is 3,900mAh, making it significantly larger than the battery in the Samsung Galaxy S22 (3,700mAh). In the box, you’ll discover a charging cable that goes from a USB-C port to another USB-C port, but Samsung has chosen not to provide a charging adaptor.
The S23 Plus and S23 Ultra support up to 45W fast charging, however the standard S23 only supports up to 25W, therefore it will only get to 50% in 30 minutes. I’ve found that a single charge lasts me about two days on the Galaxy S23 after a week of use.
Please keep in mind that my primary device is an iPhone 14 Pro, and that I do not exclusively use the S23 for making and receiving phone calls and sending text messages.
In contrast, I use it almost regularly to access social media sites like Mastodon, Instagram, and Facebook. I check my personal Gmail account, my work Outlook account, Microsoft Teams, and the camera whenever I can. On occasion, I use it to play games and watch videos.
Price and Availability
You may purchase a Samsung Galaxy S23 right now. The base model with 128 GB of storage costs $800, while the 256 GB model costs only $60 extra. Phantom Black, Cream, Lavender, and Green are the four colour options for the S23.
You may also choose from the unique Graphite and Lime hues when you buy from Samsung directly. The S23 is widely available and not limited to just Samsung’s official online store. You can find one at major retailers like Best Buy, Amazon, and your carrier’s store.
Remember that the only place to obtain the Graphite and Lime colour variants is via Samsung’s website.