Mehul Reuben DasFeb 01, 2023 23:30:45 IST
The launch of the Samsung Galaxy S23 series is a major event not just for Samsung, but the entire smartphone industry. Tech experts are usually divided on whether the introduction of the Galaxy Z Fold and the Galaxy Z Flip series, has meant that the Galaxy S series is no longer their flagship device. However, even they have to agree that the Galaxy S series, year after year sets the tone, and more often than not, the bar, against which flagships from all other manufacturers will be compared to.
The S23 devices this year, looks identical to the S22 devices from the previous year. In fact, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the true flagship from Samsung this year, looks and feels almost exactly the same as last year’s S22 Ultra.
Look a bit closer though, and you’ll see that its a classic case of new wine in an old bottle. The S23 Ultra is not just a device that has been given an annual spec-refresh – it is so much more than that, especially in three key elements. Two of these three elements are benchmarks of what a flagship device ought to be. The third is an element, which we hope becomes an everlasting trend.
Say what you will, but it is very difficult to argue with the fact that the Galaxy S series has arguably the best smartphone camera across all budgets. The S23 Ultra gets the best possible sensor for its main camera, the 200MP ISOCELL HP2 sensor, that Samsung makes itself. While a 200MP sensor to take photos and videos seem impressive, what is actually bewildering is how Samsung has used these many pixels to enhance and sharpen the experience of taking photos and videos.
For example, the main camera supports Super Quad Pixel Autofocus, which basically means it uses all the pixels in the sensor to focus on a subject. Smartphone cameras usually don’t do that. As a result, subject tracking is sensational on the S23 Ultra. Moreover, the autofocus feels much more faster than any other smartphone we have tried so far.
Apart from the main 200MP sensor, you also get an ultra-wide system with a 12MP sensor, a 10X telephoto system with a 10MP sensor, and a 3X telephoto system with a 10MP sensor.
On the front, you have a 12MP unit, that for the first time ever, has HDR, along with Dual Pixel autofocus. And of course, you have portrait mode on the front-facing camera as well.
All of this hardware has allowed Samsung to experiment on software as well. The S23 Ultra gets a bunch of photography modes, but what really caught our eye, was the addition of Astro and Multiple Exposure mode. This is stuff that usually, you need a proper DSLR or a mirrorless camera from, and then too you will have to spend a bunch of time in some post-processing software like Lightroom or Photoshop to get the best results. Needless to say, this is a feature that we are eagerly waiting to test out.
Furthermore, Samsung has also scaled up its OIS, and doubled it. That along with their Enhanced Noise control, means that photography and filmmaking in the dark, shouldn’t be a challenge anymore.
Samsung says that with the S23 Ultra, they have a renewed focus on gaming. In fact they say that the S23 Ultra will provide users the ultimate gaming performance. Now that is a tall claim, but at least on paper, it seems that they have done everything they could to stand true to their claims.
First and foremost is the SoC. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset is a rather capable SoC and performs very well in managing even the most demanding of tasks. Samsung, however, went on step further. In the S23 Ultra series, Samsung is using a variant of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that has been specifically designed and tweaked for them.
The new SoC brings a 34 per cent increase in CPU performance, a 41 per cent increase in GPU performance, and a staggering 49 per cent increase in Neural processing over the outgoing S22 Ultra.
Furthermore, for the first time ever, we have Ray-Tracing on a smartphone. Samsung were actually very serious when they claimed that they want to take smartphone gaming as close to PC and console gaming, and they surely have tried. Again, this is a feature that we would love to test out thoroughly, provided a game publisher actually releases a game that has Ray Tracing enabled for a smartphone.
There are other enhancements as well. To ensure that the S23 Ultra delivers a reliable gaming performance consistently, Samsung has fitted the device with a vapour cooling chamber that is about 2.7 times larger than that of the S22 Ultra.
The S23 Ultra also gets a ton of software features that helps it perform better. You get AI-powered Adaptive performance that ensures that you get all that the Snapdragon SoC has to offer, and ensure a smooth and stable experience when playing hardcore and demanding games.
You also get a ton of additional features that help you get the best out of your battery life. There’s the AI-Powered Adaptive Performance feature as well as Video Streaming Optimisation. What this basically does is that consuming content or videos on Google, YouTube, Insta and Facebook draws less power, which can boost battery life by upto 30 per cent.
A touch of sustainability
This is where we feel we have to give Samsung some major props. Understanding why sustainability is important, and the need to recycle as much of our resources as we can, the entire exterior of the S23 Ultra, as well as the S23 and the S23 Plus, have been made using recycled materials, such as recycled aluminium, recycled glass and recycled PET. Even the S23 Ultra’s display, which is protected by Gorilla Glass Victus 2, uses recycled glass.
Everything else about the S23 Ultra and its siblings, the S23 and the S23 Plus, are what befits a flagship series in 2023.
The S23 Ultra comes with a 6.8-inch AMOLED display that supports a refresh rate 120Hz. In comparison, the S23 comes with a 6.1-inch 120Hz AMOLED display, and the S23 Plus has a 6.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED.
As for the battery, the S23 Ultra comes with a 5000 mAh unit, the S23 Plus is equipped with a 4700 mAh unit, and the S23 comes with a 3700 mAh unit. Barring the S23, all the devices support Samsung’s Super Fast Charging 2.0.
We have already seen the cameras that the S23 Ultra gets. The S23 and The S23 Plus, both come with a 50MP main sensor, a 3X telephoto system with a 10MP sensor, and an ultrawide system with a 12MP sensor. Both devices get a 12MP front-facing camera.