At the Samsung Unpacked 2023 event today in San Francisco, Samsung announced their Galaxy S23 line of smartphones, along with three new premium laptops in their Galaxy Book series to go with them.
Headlined by the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, the whole slate of S23 devices have high-end specs as expected, but in 2023, you need a little bit more to keep up with the rest of the industry.
But before we delve into everything that the new Samsung Galaxy S23 series has to offer, we have several exclusive pre-order deals to share with you when you purchase the phone directly from Samsung.
Samsung Galaxy S23 series pre-order deals
- The best Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra pre-order deal is to get the device unlocked, direct from Samsung, and you’ll get $150 in free Samsung credit. Plus, you’ll get a free storage upgrade.
- If you’re a T-Mobile customer, use our link for a total of $120 in free Samsung credit when you pre-order the S23 Ultra. If you’re a Verizon customer, use our link for a total of $120 in free Samsung credit when you pre-order.
- If you’re interested in getting the smaller Samsung Galaxy S23 or Galaxy S23 unlocked, you can also get $150 in free Samsung Credit.
- If you’re a T-Mobile customer, use this link for a total of $100 in free Samsung credit when you pre-order the S23+ or S23. And if you’re a Verizon customer, use this link for a total of $100 in free Samsung credit when you pre-order the S23+ or S23.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 specs
It’s been difficult to get premium smartphones to stand out for a long time now — the smartphone has matured, and the benefits of hardware upgrades are getting harder to notice. In recent years, the most noticeable upgrades have been made to camera arrays, and that’s exactly where you’ll find the marquee feature in the Galaxy S23 Ultra, with its 200 MP wide-angle camera. Throw in some AI and gaming features thanks to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset (specifically, a beefed up version specifically made for Galaxy phones with faster processing and Samsung Knox hardware security), and you’ve got the phone to beat in the Android world in 2023.
We’re also seeing more durable devices with more sustainable packaging and manufacturing practices, which dovetails with another more sustainable development in the world of smartphones — folks are replacing them a lot less often, with the average hovering around three to three and a half years.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 will be smaller devices that won’t have that premium camera array, but otherwise have top-end specs for folks who don’t need the absolute best in their smartphone’s camera.
These are all pretty big phones, especially the Galaxy S23 Ultra at 6.8″. The other two both clear 6″ as well, with the S23 having a 6.1″ display and the S23+ having a 6.6″ display. Not a huge change in materials used (aluminum in the case, primarily), but on the back of the phone, longtime Galaxy users will notice that the camera array is no longer set into a bump — the whole back is flush, with only the individual camera lenses slightly protruding from the device. Flip the phone around, and you’ll see displays protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the latest in Corning’s long war against cracked smartphone screens.
All three phones will be IP68 waterproof and dustproof, helping to make these phones last longer to reflect how long folks are keeping their phones these days. The classic Note holdover, the S Pen stylus, will only be found on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which has a more squared-off look than the sleeker, more rounded design of the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+, possibly in part because of the need to house the S Pen.
There are no exclusive colors for the S23 Ultra — all three phones will be available in phantom black, cream, green, and lavender.
If you’re springing for the Galaxy S23 Ultra over the S23+ and S23, this is what you’re paying for (aside from a larger display and battery). Exclusive to the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a main wide-angle 200 MP laser auto-focus f/1.7 camera with optical image stabilization. That’s a big number! It’s almost twice as much as the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and should help reduce noise in nighttime shots — the main selling point. It’s capable of pixel binning, too, combining as many as 16 pixels into one, which also helps with low-light photo quality.
The Galaxy S23+ and S23 have 50 MP f/1.8 cameras with optical image stabilization. All three devices also have ultra-wide 12 MP f/2.2 cameras and telephoto 10 MP f/2.4 cameras, the latter of which has optical image stabilization.
The S23 Ultra will also have a fourth camera mode — another telephoto option at 10 MP and f/4.9, which opens up 10x optical zoom. The S23 Ultra will exclusively have an improved version of optical image stabilization tech on both of those telephoto cameras, a nice addition — smartphone cameras are constantly trying to catch up to mirrorless and DSLR standalone options, and being able to take still, clear video with that kind of zoom is huge. The improved OIS will also help to ensure cropped photos retain their quality.
All three phones will have front-facing 12 MP f/2.2 cameras with improved auto-focus, making them better for selfies while acknowledging that the front camera’s performance is all the more important now with more and more folks using video chat.
Video will look terrific regardless of which camera you’re using — both front and back cameras can take 4k video in Super HDR at 60 fps. AI-powered object recognition and tracking helps to boost auto-focus, making almost pro-level video possible.
With that Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset powering the phone, processing capabilities are going to be top-notch, too. The phones will use AI to detect face and objects in shots, enhancing details and reducing noise and color saturation accordingly. But, if you’re the hands-on type, there will also be a pro mode of sorts — you can use Samsung’s Expert RAW app to shoot with manual settings and edit in RAW and JPEG.
Part of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset is their Adreno GPU, which enables real-time ray tracing in mobile gaming, enhancing lighting effects. Makes games look real good, so it’s a good thing all three devices have terrific displays to do that hardware justice. All three phones feature AMOLED 2X displays with a 120 Hz adaptive refresh rate and 1,750 nits of brightness, which should make them perform well in all conditions, including direct sunlight. The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ will have 1080p displays, while the larger Galaxy S23 Ultra benefits from a 1440p display.
And, in part of the march to stuff as much desktop-like stuff in as small a package as possible, all three Galaxy S23 devices have vapor cooling chambers to help keep the chipset from overheating and hampering performance.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery, the Galaxy S23+ has a 4,700 mAh battery, and the Galaxy S23 has a 3,900 mAh. Hard to say what this will boil down to in terms of battery life — there’s a lot of processing power going into those camera and gaming features, so how much you get on one charge will depend a lot on how often you use those features.
Fortunately, the phones should regain power quickly, with Super Fast Charging on the Galaxy S23 and Super Fast Charging 2.0 on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23+. The phones will also optimize battery life carefully during video playback, helping to extend battery life.
You’ll find a lot of recycled materials in the build of the Galaxy S23 phones — recycled aluminum and glass, and a lot of recycled ocean-bound plastic, particularly in the S Pen inner cover and speaker module parts. Where you won’t find any plastic is in the packaging — Samsung has redesigned their packaging to use only recycled paper. Even the little protective film you’ll peel off that brand-new phone is made of recycled materials! Even more satisfying than before.
The phone’s durability should also make it last longer, and Samsung is backing that up by guaranteeing four years of OS upgrades and five years of security upgrades. Better yet, Samsung is also launching a self-repair program in the U.S., another great way to make sure the devices last as long as possible.
Samsung is also thinking about power draw — their phone chargers will draw no power when in standby, making them more efficient.
Samsung Galaxy S23 pricing and availability
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy S23 will all be available on February 17th, with pre-orders starting today. Samsung looks to be pushing folks to buy direct this time around — while any pre-order will get you a free upgrade to the next tier of storage, folks who buy on Samsung’s website will also get $150 of credit to use with them. Buying on the site will also unlock four additional color options — lime, graphite, sky blue, and red.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at $1,199 for the 256 GB model, and will be available with 512 GB and 1 TB of storage. The Galaxy S23+ starts at $999 and just has the 256 GB and 512 GB options, while the Galaxy S23 will start at $799, with 128 GB and 256 GB variants available.
How can I get the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra through AT&T?
Not to be outdone, AT&T is going just as hard on getting folks to buy in. In addition to having the same free storage upgrade deal, AT&T is knocking $1,000 off the asking price with a trade-in. To no one’s surprise, it’s not quite as straightforward as AT&T handing you a grand — in addition to needing to trade in a Galaxy Note, S series, or Z series phone (or a Google Pixel), you’ll need to have a qualifying monthly unlimited plan with AT&T and an installment plan set up for the phone.
You’ll then get monthly credits on your bill over the course of the plan that will come out to $1,000 by the end. That’s a long way of saying no, you can’t get $1,000 off a Galaxy S23 Ultra, set up an AT&T plan, and then cancel right after. Do that, and you’re on the hook for the full asking price. You’ll also lose those monthly credits if you open a new line, then cancel service on another one of your AT&T lines within 90 days.
How can I get the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra through Verizon?
Verizon’s deal is pretty similar. The free storage upgrade is here as well, with an $800 credit applied with a trade-in and an unlimited plan for customers switching to Verizon or existing customers upgrading a device. Those who switch to Verizon will also get a $200 Verizon eCard. Both switching and existing customers will also get a Galaxy Watch 5 and a Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G for free with purchase, so if you’re looking to snag the whole Galaxy family in one go, this is the way to do it.
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra, Galaxy Book3 Pro 360, and Galaxy Book3 Pro
As fun as the phones are, the laptops might represent the bigger shift for Samsung — the Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra is a real drive at getting the attention of creatives in need of powerful devices, the set that the MacBook Pro has so successfully captured. The Galaxy Book3 Ultra features a 13th gen Intel Core i9 processor, an Nvidia RTX GeForce 4070 laptop GPU, and up to 32 GB of RAM. That’s all required stuff for a flagship performance laptop, but it’s in the display where things get interesting — Samsung is decking it out with a 16″ AMOLED 2X 1800p display with a 120 Hz refresh rate and a 16:10 aspect ratio.
The Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 and Book3 Pro will be impressive in their own rights. The former is the 2-in-1 convertible option, with a 360-degree hinge that makes the laptop quickly double as a tablet. The Book3 Pro is the ultra-thin model for folks who prioritize portability over power (and will also be available in a 14″ model). Both devices will have the same AMOLED 2X displays found on the Galaxy Book3 Ultra, but won’t have the top-of-the-line laptop CPU and GPU options found on the Galaxy Book3 Ultra.
Samsung is hoping the Galaxy Book3 series will appeal just as much to streamers as traditional media creatives, so they’re adding a Studio Mode, which takes advantage of Full HD cameras to offer better lighting adjustments, while tracking eye and face movements to keep you centered. The mics are outfitted with AI-powered noise-canceling tech to minimize background noise, keeping audio clear for streamers, even if they’re streaming from the laptop in public.
There’s a lot to power here, so while we’re hoping for the best with regards to battery life, at least we know it’ll charge fast — Samsung says out of the box, it can charge to 55% in 30 minutes over a USB Type-C charging cable.
With the trio of Galaxy Book3 laptops, Samsung wants to promote the idea of going all-in on Samsung when it comes to hardware. If you go for the trifecta and get a Samsung Galaxy laptop, tablet, and phone, you can take advantage of a bunch of interoperability features — one sign on gives you access to all services on all devices (for example, taking photos on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and quickly accessing that new Expert RAW photo editing app on the laptop). You can also connect those devices to control your phone or tablet with the Galaxy Book3 Ultra’s keyboard and trackpad, or use a Galaxy tablet as a second display. You can also connect your laptop to your Galaxy phone’s network connection with one click.
The Galaxy Book3 series will also have Microsoft’s interoperability features, including their Phone Link, which allows you to continue web browsing seamlessly between phone and tablet and read and respond to texts on your laptop.
The Galaxy Book3 devices feature similar sustainability initiatives to those of the Galaxy S23 series, with some components made from recycled materials and the elimination of plastic from packaging.
All three laptops will be available on February 17. The Galaxy Book3 Pro starts at $1,499 and will be available in graphite or beige for both the 14″ and 16″ models. The Galaxy Book3 Pro 360 and Galaxy Book3 Ultra will start at $1,899 and $2,399, respectively, and will only be available in graphite.