We’re only a few weeks away from the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Ultra launch, which should arrive in February 2023 and kick off the year of new Android smartphones. Expect a few exciting design changes, way bigger and better cameras, and more.
Update, 1/11/23: Samsung recently confirmed its “Galaxy Unpacked” event to announce the Galaxy S23 takes place on February 1st. Better yet, you can reserve yours as we speak.
Thankfully, Samsung sticks to a fairly consistent release schedule and typically releases the same models, so we have a good idea of everything on the way and when. This post will mainly focus on the big, bad, high-end Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
And while we don’t know everything about Samsung’s next Ultra phone, countless leaks and rumors have already emerged. So, here’s a quick roundup of all the Galaxy S23 Ultra news and rumors so far.
First things first, we want to talk about a potential Galaxy S23 series release date. Samsung typically releases its flagship phone around March each year. The Galaxy S10, S20, and Galaxy S22 series all arrived in mid-February or the first week of March. Samsung recently confirmed its “Galaxy Unpacked” event to announce the Galaxy S23 is on February 1st, so it’s right around the corner.
The Galaxy S21 series was announced in January, with a release date a few weeks later. The S22 got unveiled on February 9th and released on February 25th. See a trend? With that in mind, it’s pretty safe to say we can expect the Galaxy S23 release date around February 16-23rd, following the global launch event on February 1st in California.
Lending credence to that idea, in November, a Korean news outlet cited a Samsung executive saying, “The S23 series will be shown during our Unpacked event in the United States, which will be held in February.” We’re hearing an early February announcement with a release date before the end of the month.
However, due to ongoing chip shortages and a global supply constraint, we could see a slightly different release schedule in 2023. For what it’s worth, the new Galaxy Z Flip 4 arrived right on schedule, which bodes well for the upcoming Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Another unknown is the expected price tag. Again, Samsung often follows a relatively similar strategy, which leads us to believe it’ll match prior years. For example, the Galaxy S22 initially retailed for $799, while the high-end Galaxy S22 Ultra was $1,199.
Expect the flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra to cost around $1,199 again. That said, don’t be surprised if we see a slight price increase, as everything seems to cost more lately. Samsung is already accepting reservations for the Galaxy S23, and those who sign-up can save $50 with the link below.
After three years of reusing nearly the same design in terms of overall look, especially with the massive pile of cameras on the back, look for Samsung to make some slight adjustments. More specifically, the S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra had nearly the same camera layout; only the latter model did away with the frame around each lens.
We don’t think Samsung will sway much from its tried and true design, but now that the “Ultra” line has inherited the S-Pen, it’ll likely have an even bigger screen than a few generations ago and retain the squared-off design of the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The popular user @Onleaks on Twitter, who’s shared accurate images of phones ahead of time for years, recently gave us our first look at the new Galaxy S23 Ultra. The phone appears rather identical to previous models. Only the two smaller camera lenses are flush with the phone, leaving the three primary camera modules sticking out.
It sounds like Samsung will stick to the same large and gorgeous 6.8-inch Quad-HD screen for the new Ultra in 2023. The biggest changes in terms of the “design” will surely be on the inside and with the camera setup around the back.
However, there is a slight chance we’ll finally see an under-display selfie camera with the Ultra, smaller bezels, or something else to differentiate it from previous models. Expect evolution and refinement, not a complete redesign.
As Samsung’s latest and greatest flagship smartphone, you can expect upgrades. This is the brand’s biggest and best phone, so it’ll hold nothing back. Packing a big screen, crazy cameras, the best performance, and tons of storage and RAM.
Perhaps the most obvious one is the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that debuted on November 15th. Samsung typically offers a Snapdragon processor in the United States and many regions, then uses its own Exynos chipset for select markets. However, several reliable sources suggest it’ll be all Qualcomm in 2023.
1. Qualcomm will likely be the sole processor supplier for Samsung Galaxy S23 (vs. 70% shipment proportion for S22) thanks to the next flagship 5G chip SM8550 made by TSMC 4nm.
— 郭明錤 (Ming-Chi Kuo) (@mingchikuo) July 8, 2022
Popular analyst Ming-Chi Kuo recently said that Samsung would use Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon chip exclusively on the new Galaxy S23, meaning no regions will get a different Exynos model.
We’ve also heard it’ll pack the same 5,000 mAh battery as the S22 Ultra, which isn’t bad but not great. Early rumors said it would be bigger, but now we’re not sure. For what it’s worth, the Galaxy S23 and S23+ are on track to receive slightly bigger battery packs vs. previous models.
The new Galaxy S23 Ultra should have a similar screen, battery life, a relatively familiar design, and be all about the cameras and Android 13 (with One UI 5) software. Here’s a loose list of potential (but rumored) specs.
- Display: 6.8-inch Quad-HD AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate, slightly curved
- Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- Operating System: Android 13 (One UI 5)
- Storage: 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
- RAM: 8GB, 12GB, or 16GB
- Rear Cameras: 200MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide) 10MP (3x telephoto), 10MP periscope
- Selfie Camera: 40MP
- Battery: 5000mAh
- Charging Speed: 45w wired, 15w wireless, 4.5w reverse wireless
- Fingerprint Sensor: Ultrasonic in-display
- Networking: mmWave 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS
- Headphone Jack: Nah
- Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+, Armor Aluminum frame
- More: S-Pen Stylus
Again, the list you see above is simply our estimations based on leaks, rumors, and what Samsung offered on previous Ultra phones all blend together. We’re hoping that Samsung will add a bigger battery, and most fans would love improved fast-charging technology.
The most significant changes are the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a crazy 200MP camera, and the hope that Samsung will ditch the 128GB model and offer 256GB at a minimum. We also expect spec improvements to the S-Pen, if you’re into that sort of thing.
Most leaks suggest Samsung will still deliver the same quad-camera setup as in previous years, but the only main improvement is the crazy 200MP primary sensor. Early fan-made renders suggested that a 200MP lens would be huge and take up the top half of the phone, but that’s not happening.
Samsung could keep the exact same 10MP (10x optical and 100x periscope) zoom lens and maybe improve the ultra-wide camera. However, the biggest change will be the 200MP main camera, which one leakster says is its biggest camera upgrade in five years.
The S23 Ultra 200MP sensor is an unreleased HP2, almost 100% sure.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) August 2, 2022
On several occasions, the famed Samsung leakster Ice Universe has mentioned Samsung’s all-new 200MP ISOCELL HP2 camera. At this point, he’s “almost 100% sure” it’ll be in the Galaxy S23 Ultra. So what does that mean? Well, it’s hard to say. The 100MP camera in the current crop of phones is pretty excellent, but it does have some banding issues, and the first generation struggled with auto-focus and around the edges of shots.
For what it’s worth, the Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t take full 100MP photos all the time unless you enable it in settings. Instead, it bins the images down to a more manageable and detailed megapixel size. We could see Samsung do the same thing with this epic new 200MP sensor, but we’ll have to wait and see.
The new 200MP sensor is already being tested in Motorola’s latest X30 Pro, and a variant of that new Samsung ISOCELL camera will likely take up a bunch of space on the back of the Galaxy S23 Ultra and deliver all sorts of impressive camera prowess.
It can be confirmed that S23 Ultra's night photos are very strong and much better than S22 Ultra's. I think it's the biggest improvement of Samsung's flagship mobile phone in five years.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) October 27, 2022
And while we all know a higher megapixel count doesn’t always mean better, the new 200MP ISOCELL sensor from Samsung has some interesting new technology inside. According to Samsung, this is the first image sensor to adopt all-directional focusing Dual Pixel Pro technology, not to mention a new ChameleonCell pixel-binning system that can adapt to any situation or lighting.
By that, we assume it won’t always Pixel-bin down to 12MP unless it needs to, meaning the camera will tweak things on the fly for the best results. We’re not sure what that all means, but it sounds exciting.
The million-dollar question. Should you wait for the Galaxy S23 Ultra? Well, that depends on what phone you currently use, what you need, and your budget. This is a big, fancy, expensive phone with all the latest bells and whistles. If you want the latest and greatest and have already waited this long, it’ll be here next month, so you might as well wait.
If you’re still using an older Galaxy S10+, Pixel 4 XL, or even a Galaxy S20 phone, you’re several years behind at this point. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a solid option, and Google’s Pixel 7 Pro is a great option too. Or, wait for the S23 launch and get the older Galaxy S22 at a discount.
If you’ve owned several generations of Samsung Galaxy flagships, get the S22 Ultra or wait for the all-new Galaxy S23 Ultra in late February. We don’t know everything about the phone yet, but it’ll likely be well worth the wait.
As the release date inevitably draws closer, we’ll get a better picture of what to expect. From the Ultra-high price tag, release details, that wild new 200MP camera, and more.
We will update this article as new information comes to light. Be sure to join our free daily newsletter to stay up to date with all things Galaxy S23.