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Samsung’s New Galaxy S23 Ultra Aims for the Stars

Person holding the back of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in Green
Justin Duino / Review Geek

After nearly a year of waiting, the bigger and better Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is officially here. It’s the company’s first flagship of 2023, replaces the S22 Ultra, and still has the S-Pen stylus. Along with its usual year-on-year improvements, this phone aims for the stars with a new 200-megapixel camera.

Note: Samsung unveiled the Galaxy S23 Ultra during its Unpacked event on February 1st, 2023. The new phone was accompanied by Samsung’s more affordable Galaxy S23 and S23+, along with a new Galaxy Book 3 laptop series.

On the back is that new 200-megapixel camera, arranged nearly identical to last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra, but there’s a lot that’s new. The big 6.8-inch Quad-HD 120Hz Infinity-O display is covered with an even stronger Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the base model offers 256GB of storage (up from 128GB), and it comes in four colors starting at $1,199. Here’s what you need to know.

Galaxy S23 Ultra Specifications

Person holding the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in Green and taking a picture
Justin Duino / Review Geek
  • Display: 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED X2, Quad-HD AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate, slightly curved (500ppi, 1,750nit)
  • Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
  • Operating System: Android 13 (One UI 5)
  • Storage/RAM: 8GB RAM with 256GB or 12GB RAM with 512GB/1TB storage
  • Rear Cameras: 200MP f1.7(wide) with OIS, 12MP f/2.2 (ultrawide), 10MPf2.4 (telephoto) with OIS, 10MP f4.9 periscope
  • Zoom: 3X/10X Optical, 100X Space Zoom
  • Video: 8K@30fps/4K@60fps/FHD@120fps and 960fps (Super SlowMo)
  • Selfie Camera: 12MP ultrawide
  • Battery: 5000mAh
  • Dimensions: 3.07 x 6.43 x 0.35 in (8.25oz)
  • Charging Speed: 45w wired, 15w wireless, 4.5w reverse wireless
  • Fingerprint Sensor: Ultrasonic in-display
  • Networking: 5G sub6/mmWave, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS
  • Headphone Jack: Nah
  • Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, Armor Aluminum frame
  • More: S-Pen Stylus
  • Colors: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender

The Design: All About Refinement

Person holding the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in Green and taking a phone call
Justin Duino / Review Geek

With each iteration, Samsung has refined the design and features of its Ultra. And while the overall look is nearly the same as last year, and it’s still a massive rectangle with squared edges hiding an S-Pen, there are subtle changes you’ll want to know about.

For one, the big frame uses Samsung’s “armor aluminum” to ensure the phone is beautiful and scratch-free, regardless of what color you buy. Then, this is the first phone with Corning’s new Victus 2 glass, meaning the screen is more durable and scratch-resistant than previous generations.

That said, not much else is different in terms of the design. We still have a slightly curved display that neatly wraps into the aluminum frame. The phone is big, with squared edges reminiscent of the Galaxy Note line, sporting a flat bottom and a slot for the S-Pen stylus. As a reminder, Samsung won’t be making a Note phone moving forward.

Person holding the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and its S Pen with a hand-written note
Justin Duino / Review Geek

Perhaps the only noticeable difference to the refined design is that the camera lenses on the back are a bit bigger and shiny, and the phone comes in four fun colors. Black and White are a given, but we like the muted Green and Lavender colorways.

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra still has both the volume up/down and power button on the right side, with nothing on the left edge, along with a single bottom-firing speaker and the USB-C port for charging. It’s the same Ultra, only better.

Samsung’s 200-Megapixel Camera

Person using the 100x zoom on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Justin Duino / Review Geek

As you can see, Samsung still employs the same quad-camera setup as previous generations. That fifth cutout (the smaller one near the top) houses the laser auto-focus and other sensors.

The star of the show here, literally, is the new 200-megapixel camera. Yes, that’s nearly double the 108MP that first debuted on the Galaxy S21 Ultra in 2021. This new camera setup (ISOCELL HP2) is being touted as the most significant Galaxy camera upgrade in years. The company hopes it’ll help the S23 Ultra offer the best camera in any smartphone.

And while your phone won’t always take 200MP photos (although that is an option in settings), the images will bin down to between 12.5 and 50MP captures, and combine the pixels with a feature known as pixel-binning, to help create stunningly beautiful, sharp, bright, and clear photos and video.

Samsung's new 200MP phone camera sensor

According to Samsung, this sensor features fancy technology to help the camera adapt to different lighting situations on the fly. On stage, the company talked about vastly improved color reproduction, dynamic range, and better autofocus. The new 200MP camera captures more light and will make night photography better than ever. There’s even a new AI engine that can automatically brighten images, especially at night, if needed.

And, as you gathered from the title of this post, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will be great at night, whether that’s typical shots of friends and family or the stars. This new 200MP sensor allows Super HDR recording at 60fps, an improved Nightography mode, and a new “High-Resolution Photo” capture similar to the 108MP mode on the last two Ultra phones.

Additionally, all 200 million pixels are used for auto-focus, so it’ll be fast and accurate. In fact, the shutter lag we’ve seen on the S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra shouldn’t be a concern, as Samsung says it’s faster than ever.

Interestingly, Samsung lowered the front-facing selfie camera from 40MP on the S22 Ultra to only 12MP on the new Galaxy S23 Ultra. Now, the entire S23 line has the same front-facing camera, but one that Samsung says has its fastest auto-focus yet. It received a boost from 30 fps to 60 fps for better selfie photos and video.

Galaxy S23 Ultra Release Date & Pricing

Samsung Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra pre-order and shipping dates being presented at Galaxy Unpacked 2023
Justin Duino / Review Geek

Now for the big questions. When can you buy the Galaxy S23 Ultra, and how much will it cost? Samsung confirmed the Galaxy S23 Ultra will be available for pre-order starting today, February 1st, with a February 17th release date.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra retails for $1,199, with most carriers offering it for $33.33 a month for 36 months on an installment plan. Some rumors suggested a price increase due to the new camera, but it’ll be $1,200.

As expected, all partner carriers in the United States will have deals readily available, and we’ll add them to this post as they’re announced. For example, those who switch to Verizon or upgrade an existing line can get $800 off any Galaxy S23 series phone with select trade-ins on a 5G plan. Additionally, you’ll get a free Galaxy Watch 5 and Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G with the purchase.

Those who pre-order a new Galaxy S23 model from Verizon or Samsung on February 1st will get a free upgrade to the next storage tier, so you’ll get 256 GB instead of 128 GB. Or, for the S23 Ultra, an upgrade to the 12 GB RAM model with 512 GB of storage.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Pre-order the all-new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra today, with orders shipping by February 17th.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Hands-On Photos

The new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is finally here, and we’re loving all the new color options. The subtle Green and Lavender look great, but fans will also enjoy the look of all-black. Here’s a quick set of photos from Galaxy Unpacked 2023 of the new phone.

Stay tuned for more details, and subscribe to our daily newsletter, so you don’t miss a thing.

Cory Gunther Cory Gunther
Cory Gunther has been writing about phones, Android, cars, and technology in general for over a decade. He's a staff writer for Review Geek covering roundups, EVs, and news. He's previously written for GottaBeMobile, SlashGear, AndroidCentral, and InputMag, and he's written over 9,000 articles. Read Full Bio »