Review of the Samsung Galaxy S23+: A competent device that probably isn’t worth the upgrade
You don’t need to buy a new phone every year or two, despite what corporations would have you believe.
Therefore, even though Samsung’s lineup of Galaxy S flagship phones for 2023 may seem underwhelming when compared to the previous generation, it’s actually a good thing that these devices don’t give users many reasons to upgrade. It’s just that it’s now challenging to be enthusiastic about non-folding smartphones after having said the same thing about the 2022 models as well as rival phones from Apple and Google.
Samsung has concentrated on fine-tuning the camera and software capabilities of the S23 series, coupled with minor changes to the display and appearance, much like the majority of the competitors. Additionally, there has been a typical processor upgrade and promised battery life improvements, both of which are objectively positive developments on paper but have little practical effect on day-to-day use.
We’ve already reviewed the S23 Ultra, which is aggressively marketed toward power users due to its large screen, built-in S-Pen, and 200-megapixel camera. The S23+ or the S23 are available for anyone else looking to purchase a new Android phone. We’re concentrating on the Plus model here because Samsung hasn’t yet made the smallest variant accessible for review. It’s probably only worthwhile to consider Samsung’s middle child if you’re using a device that is at least three years old or if you live outside of the US.
This year’s S23+ has a cleaner appearance than its predecessor, which is one of the most obvious differences. The only noticeable difference between the two phones is the older model’s shiny camera housing on the back, which wraps around the top left corner. I started to like the design of Samsung’s “contour cut” housing on the S21, especially in the lavender and pink colors.
I have mixed feelings about the S22+ and S23+ because they are both neutral. Your personal preference will determine whether you like the cleaner look better. Functionally, there aren’t many differences between the two designs; the S23+ wobbles a little less than the S22, but it wasn’t a big concern. The lavender hue of our review device and the green model I saw at Samsung’s hands-on event both appealed to me, but I found the cream and black colors to be uninteresting.
The variations between the two generations are minimal in terms of physical dimensions. They are virtually the same size in terms of weight, width, and length, as well as thickness. Despite having larger displays, the S23+ is lighter and smaller than the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Plus.
both visual and aural
Speaking of which, Samsung did make some improvements to the S23screen. +’s Indeed, the size, FHD+ resolution, and refresh rate are all largely the same as they were previously. You’ve definitely heard reviewers like myself praise screens with fast refresh rates and how amazing they are for skimming Instagram or Reddit feeds by this point. This is also true of the S23+.
But, it can now reach 1,750 nits when used outside, up from 1,200 nits previously, so it should be easier to read in bright light. It has been challenging to put this to the test recently because there haven’t been many sunny days. The S23screen +’s is still brilliant and colorful, as is customary for Samsung mobile devices.
The Galaxy S23+, on the other hand, offers superior audio quality to any premium smartphone. That is to say, it has loud, clear vocals, but the bass is a little underwhelming. The voices of The Weeknd, SZA, and Rihanna were all audible in the songs I listened to, however the latter’s cover of “Love On The Brain” had some muddy sounding instrumentation.
The S23+ uses the same triple-camera setup as before. In other words, in addition to its primary 50-megapixel sensor, it also has a 10MP telephoto and a 12MP ultrawide sensor. But, the S23new +’s 12MP front-facing sensor boasts an f/2.2 aperture and an 80-degree field of view.
I could see the tiniest difference in sharpness between selfies taken with the S22+ and S23+, notably in the highlighted strands of my hair, and I’m a professional pixel peeper (TM). The lines in the photos shot with the older phone had some distortion, but they were razor sharp with the 12MP model. Generally, though, it was difficult to distinguish between the two photographs, save for some minor color temperature differences.
Due to its dual-pixel autofocus as well, the S23+ has a tiny advantage over the Pixel 7 Pro and the iPhone 14 Pro in terms of maintaining detail. One night, my friend and I took a few pictures while laughing uncontrollably, and Samsung’s flagship was the only one that managed to preserve the stunning greens, purples, and blues in her hair while capturing each each strand of her eyelashes. Even the structure of the pigment in her purple makeup was visible.
Her hair’s colors were also captured by the 10.8MP front camera on the Pixel, although the image it produced was less crisp and detailed. The 12MP iPhone photo, on the other hand, hardly captured any of the hues in my friend’s hair.
The S23rear +’s cameras are still rather capable despite staying unaltered. They produce images that are comparable in quality to those taken by the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro in the majority of circumstances with sufficient light. On a cloudy day, I took pictures of the New York cityscape, and each one had a little different colour. The Pixel was the most neutral, while the S23+ exhibited the deepest, brightest blue. Although Google’s algorithms still produced clear images, Samsung’s 3x telephoto lens allowed me to get the closest to distant buildings while still getting clear pictures.
Nonetheless, the Pixel frequently outperformed the S23+ in low light, with greater exposure and clarity retention in my several photographs of delectable food. The Pixel produced more evenly distributed highlights than the S23+, whether it was a dish of enticing scallops or a dazzling shrimp that had just been cooked. Although every now and again the S23+ would create a photo with astonishingly accurate contours of my subjects, Google’s portrait mode constantly kept subjects in focus.
The S23+ gives some adaptability for those wishing to shoot images from a distance, even though it isn’t on par with Google’s or Apple’s flagship cameras.
Battery life and performance
For the first time, regardless of where the Galaxy S series is purchased, Samsung is adopting a Snapdragon CPU in all of its models this year. Thus, if you previously had to use a model with Samsung’s own Exynos chip, getting an S23 would be a bigger improvement for you than it would be for someone in the US. Trading in your S22 for an S23 would make more sense in Europe or Asia than in the US because Exynos devices have been criticized for performance and battery life shortcomings compared to their Snapdragon counterparts.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, a specialized version of Qualcomm’s top-tier mobile chipset, powers the S23 series. If the difference in clock speeds between it and the standard version is the only thing keeping you from buying a Galaxy over, say, a OnePlus, be aware that the difference is extremely tiny.
The S23+ felt as quick in daily usage as any of the recent new phones I examined. The S23+ never exhibited any lag whether I was dragging and dropping my face between apps, playing Genshin: Impact, learning Japanese on “Hello Japan,” or simply scrolling through Instagram. I can’t say I’m very impressed because I typically anticipate fairly slick performance from new phones like this, and it would probably be more accurate to judge performance after using the phone for a few months.
I can tell about how amazing the battery life has been, though. In terms of general performance, the S23+ has been comparable to the Pixel 7 Pro, which I also used to test the cameras on both devices. Both devices also lasted for more than two days without a charge. Of course, I wasn’t primarily using either at the time; instead, I mostly used both to capture images and movies as I went about my day.
The S23+ outperformed the Samsung S23 Ultra, the OnePlus 11, and just much every other phone we tested in 2022 in our video rundown battery test, clocking a massive 25 hours.
Although it may seem nitpicky, the S23+ doesn’t seem like it’s worth upgrading to if you’re currently using an S22 or S21. That is, if you live in the US, at least. Those who currently own an older Galaxy flagship with an Exynos processor will probably notice a bigger gain in performance and battery life, making the upgrading more worthwhile.
But it doesn’t mean the S23+ isn’t a decent phone just because it lacks surprises and improvements. It remains one of the top Android smartphones available. With the S23+, Samsung continues to be a serious contender for those looking for an excellent Android phone. Samsung has consistently produced capable phones with thoughtful software and features in recent years.