Galaxy S23 Review

Samsung Galaxy S23 Complete Review: Screen, Design, Performance and Camera

Published Apr 25, 2023 - The Samsung Galaxy S23 offers several exciting updates from the S22 series. Let's see how this phone holds up to previous models as well as the other models in the S23 series lineup.

Introducing the Samsung Galaxy S23

Samsung dropped the Galaxy S23 along with the rest of the S23 series on 17 February 2023. The Samsung Galaxy S23 release date might have been overshadowed by the souped-up S23 Ultra, but this palm-friendly smartphone is an affordable choice for those looking to upgrade. 

The Galaxy S23 offers many improvements to the S22, especially when it comes to battery capacity and display credentials. What's more, it holds up well when you compare it to its more expensive sibling, the S23 Plus. Consider upgrading your current phone and seeing what all the fuss is about? Our Samsung Galaxy S23 review has all the information you need.

Full list of S23 specs

Samsung Galaxy S23 Full Spec Table

Performance

Processor

Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

CPU

Octa Core

Operating system

Android 13

Memory (RAM)

8 GB

Internals and battery

Technology

Li-ion

Battery capacity

3,900mAh

Autonomy

Up to 22 hours

Max charge speed

25W (wired), 10W (wireless)

Camera

Ultra-wide camera (rear)

12MP, f/2.2

Wide-angle camera (rear)

50MP, f/1.8

Telephoto camera (rear)

10MP, f/2.4

Selfie camera (front)

12MP, f/2.2

Zoom

3x optical zoom, 30x Space zoom

Video recording

4K at 60fps, 8K at 30fps

Screen

Technology

Dynamic AMOLED 2X

Screen size

6.1 inches

Screen resolution

2340 x 1080 pixels

Pixel density

425 ppi

Display frequency

120Hz

Height and weight

Weight

168 grams

Size

70.86 x 143.3 x 7.62mm

Storage

Internal storage

128 GB / 256 GB

Design

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S23 doesn't look massively different from the Galaxy S22. While the redesign is a subtle one, there's a lot to love about the new and improved Galaxy S23.

If you found the contoured edges of previous Galaxy S phones a little cumbersome, you'll be glad to know those edges have been redesigned for a sleeker experience. The result is a handset that looks right at home alongside its contemporaries like the iPhone 14

This stripped-back design gives the impression that the rear cameras are larger than they are, but they're actually the same size as with previous Galaxy S releases. While the Galaxy had a defined housing for the camera array, the vertical stack of lenses here gently protrude from the body of the phone. This low-profile aesthetic is a welcome one, that I feel is very similar to the Galaxy Ultra.

Despite its slimline design, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is incredibly durable. Gorilla Glass Victus 2 delivers a crack and scratch-resistant screen. This handset is also IP68 rated, offering excellent dust protection and water resistance at up to depths of 1.5 meters. 

At just 168 grams, the Galaxy S23 is one of the lighter smartphone models on the market. This palm-friendly device is a fair bit lighter than the S23 Plus which comes in at 196 grams. It's also significantly less bulky than the S23 Ultra which weighs in at 234 grams. 

The layout of the Galaxy S23 is pretty much identical to the S23 Plus. You'll find a primary microphone at the bottom of the screen, along with a secondary mic at the top and one at the rear. Since the introduction of the Galaxy S20, Samsung has positioned the volume and side keys on the right side, making the Galaxy S23 a good choice for potential iPhone converts looking for a new device that still feels familiar. You'll find the SIM tray and a multi-purpose USB-C port at the bottom, while the speaker grille is positioned at the top, just above the selfie camera. 

There's also plenty of variety when it comes to Samsung Galaxy S23 colors. All the standard Samsung shades are available, including Cream, Phantom Black, and Lavender. Lime and Graphite are also available as online exclusives.

Screen and display

If you're familiar with the Galaxy S22, the display specs of the S23 aren't going to be anything new. That's not necessarily a bad thing though because the S22 Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen really delivered when it comes to brightness, contrast, and color vibrancy - same thing you can expect for the S23. 

At 6.1 inches, the Samsung Galaxy S23 screen size does fall slightly short of its bigger sibling, but if you're like me and prefer smaller phones, then this shouldn't be an issue. The S23 does, however, outperform the S23 Plus when it comes to pixels density. As with previous models, the S23 boasts a maximum brightness that puts other smartphones to shame. While the S22 impressed with a max brightness potential of 1,300 nits, the S23 goes even further at 1,750 nits. At peak brightness, the Galaxy S23 comes out on top compared to the iPhone 14 and Google Pixel 7, but be careful using it at max as you'll drain your battery significantly faster. 

Although the screen size delivers a smaller display, the screen resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels is identical to that of the S23 Plus. Whether you're watching TikTok videos or streaming movies and shows, the enhanced definition is really impressive.

With a refresh rate of 120Hz, the S23 allows for smooth scrolling, without impacting on-screen animations. At the highest refresh rate, I didn't notice any lag bouncing between gaming, social media and the camera. That being said, the refresh rate is variable. If you're looking to push a fully-charged battery further, turn off the adaptive refresh feature and opt for 60Hz instead.

Another welcome feature here is a new and improved Advanced Vision Booster. This will adjust your screen automatically, bringing you the best contrast and color accuracy in all ambient light settings. At times, this feature was more bothersome as it forces your eyes to adjust to new settings, but it did result in more vibrant images. Furthermore, the dark mode feature here is incredibly impressive, offering a degree of sharpness that's comparable with standard viewing on non-smartphone devices.

Galaxy S23 screen in-hand

Performance

As with most phones, it's the details you can't see that really drive performance when it comes to the Galaxy S23. Samsung has upgraded to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. If you thought the S22's Gen 1 chipset was impressive, wait until you see what the S23 can do. The enhanced internals bolster the CPU and GPU potential, making the Galaxy S23 one of the fastest smartphones on the market, but might still fall just shy of Apple's iPhone 14 series as Apple generally does a better job of optimizing performance between their processors and OS.

The upgraded internals means you'll have a smartphone that can comfortably cope with heavier day-to-day use. Video editing and mobile gaming work like a dream on this phone, while the image capture capabilities of the S23 have also been greatly enhanced (more on that later). Although the hardware itself remains unchanged, the chipset upgrade means that AI features get a helping hand to take your photography sessions to the next level.

One area where the S23 falls short is battery performance. With a battery capacity of 3,900mAh, the S23 falls short of the S23 Plus and the S23 Ultra, which boast capacities of 4,700mAh and 5,000mAh respectively. However, it holds up well when you compare it to the other devices. When using the Adaptive Feature, the S23 should run for around 10.5 hours, beating the iPhone 14 by approximately 60 minutes and the Pixel 7 by several hours. All that's to say, I was still able to use it heavily throughout the day without needing a charge, which is all most people can ask for in a phone.

Charging times are respectable, with the S23 offering the same 25W wired charging capabilities as the S22. Wireless charging is also supported, while the reverse wireless charging function lets you share your reserves with other devices.  

Audio quality should impress, especially if you're making the switch from an earlier Samsung model. You'll get beautifully balanced sound here, although the S23 does struggle at higher volumes. However, even the S23 Plus suffers from distortion and has issues with wide sound stages.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S23 camera array is one of the best for its price point. Although the camera array looks a little bit different from the S22, you'll have a good idea of what to expect if you've used this previous model. 

As with the Galaxy S22, the S23 features three cameras at the rear. The standout is the wide camera with its 50MP sensor, letting you capture candid snaps with high levels of clarity. The Galaxy S23 consistently delivers, whether you're shooting inspiring landscapes or intimate portraits. Image detail is balanced, while colors are rich and vibrant albeit slightly different from Apple iPhones, but individual preference might vary (I tend to prefer Samsung's toned down vibrancy that feels more real). 

However, as with other Galaxy S series models, the S23 can struggle in low-light environments. Thankfully, you've got a night mode feature that gives you longer exposures. That being said, this only goes so far in compensating for lower light levels. If You're looking for high-quality nighttime shots, you'll want to think about upgrading to the S23 Ultra. 

The 12MP ultrawide camera and 10MP telephoto sensors are perfectly serviceable, although the zoom capabilities are a little limited. The 3x optical zoom feature is good for everyday applications, but the 30x Space zoom function isn't particularly reliable (images are too pixelated at maximum zoom). That said, Samsung's phones generally outperform the iPhone when it comes to zoom quality and the S23 is no different. It's also the only phone in its price range that boasts a telephoto lens and thankfully, the 12MP front sensor is a first-rate selfie camera. 

The Samsung Galaxy S23 does stand out with its video capture capabilities. You can record video at up to 8K at 30fps, while the front camera can capture 4K at 60fps. Effective image stabilization is also on hand if you're recording moving objects.

Price and availability

Looking to replace your existing handset with a new smartphone? If you're buying direct, Samsung Galaxy S23 prices start at $799.99* for the 128 GB model. If you have your eye on the 256 GB version, expect to pay $859.99*. 

If you want to get your hands on the Samsung Galaxy S23 for less, Back Market has what you're looking for. We offer an unbeatable range of refurbished devices, including the entire Galaxy S23 series. 

We provide consumers with a more eco-friendly alternative to buying brand-new devices. What's more, purchasing a refurbished device doesn't mean you have to settle for second-rate performance. Every smartphone we sell is professionally renewed and thoroughly tested before being listed. You also benefit from a 30-day money-back guarantee and a 1-year warranty.

*Prices on the Samsung site as of April 2023

So should you buy the Samsung S23?

There's no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S23 is a great smartphone. It's smaller than many of its contemporaries, but the streamlined dimensions should appeal to anyone looking for an ergonomic replacement for their existing phone. 

The 6.1-inch screen might be a little smaller than what you're used to, but you won't have to settle for a subpar display. While their aren't any major screen upgrades from the S22, the Galaxy S23 still delivers impressive brightness and image detail, while the camera setup should satisfy most average users. 

The next-gen Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset also means you have a phone that can cope with CPU-intensive applications. Perfect for high-definition video streaming and mobile gaming, the only thing that's really holding you back here is the limited battery capacity. However, if you make use of the adaptive battery feature, you can wring a full day of use out of the Galaxy S23 no problem.

Final Verdict: I think the Galaxy S23 is a really great phone that might even have the potential to convert a few iPhone users, but I don't necessarily think it's worth the extra money from the S22. If you're looking to upgrade anything below the S21 series, however, I'd highly recommend considering the S23, which should keep you happy for several years. If you can find a great deal on a refurbished model, then that's just icing on the cake!