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Samsung Galaxy S23 vs S23+ vs S23 Ultra: Differences explained

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

    Best overall

    $1099 $1199 Save $100

    The Ultra sits at the top of the pack with its excellent camera experience. It’s the clear flagship of the group, with the S Pen as an added skill. It’s flagship priced, but if you want the best, go Ultra.

  • Samsung_S23_Plus

    Samsung Galaxy S23+

    Big display for less

    $849 $999 Save $150

    On one hand, the S23+ has the screen space and power as the Ultra, but in a more compact package, on the other, it’s just a more expensive S23. The S23 will be the phone of choice for many, a good all-rounder.

  • Samsung_S23

    Samsung Galaxy S23

    Best on a budget

    $599 $699 Save $100

    The smallest and cheapest of the Galaxy S23 models, it offers everything the S23+ does — except faster 45W charging — but comes in a more pocket-friendly format with a smaller display. It’s cheaper too.



Samsung revealed its 2023 ​​​​flagship line-up of smartphones in the Galaxy S23 series at its Galaxy Unpacked in early 2023. Three devices were announced — the Samsung Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra — succeeding the previous year’s Galaxy S22 crop. Fast-forward to today, and Samsung has announced the Galaxy S24 series following the same naming scheme as it typically uses, which are arguably the best Android phones you can buy right now.


The trio of Galaxy 23 phones can keep up with the S24 lineup and are getting many of the same
Galaxy AI
features the S24 launched with.

However, that doesn’t mean the Galaxy S23 lineup is old and outdated. On the contrary, the trio of Galaxy 23 phones can keep up with the S24 lineup and are getting many of the same Galaxy AI features the S24 launched with. Not to mention, you can often find the Galaxy S23 lineup on sale, potentially saving you a good amount of money over the newer S24 series.


If that sounds appealing, here’s a rundown of each S23 device in a bid to figure out which is the right Samsung Galaxy S23 device for you? We have fully reviewed each device, and now we’re comparing them to highlight the differences and help you decide which one is the best Galaxy S23 to buy.

Related

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs S23 Ultra: Almost the same

Samsung’s high-end smartphones have their similarities, but also some key differences. We discuss what sets them apart.

Price and specs compared

The Samsung Galaxy S23 family was announced on February 1, 2023, and is still globally available. Let’s quickly start with price, as this may determine which of the three Galaxy S23 devices is best for you, depending on your budget. The Samsung Galaxy S23+ and Ultra are no longer available directly from Samsung, but you can still find them newly on sites like Amazon and Best Buy. The regular S23 is available from Samsung starting at $699.

Below are the major specs for the phones so that you can directly compare devices before we dive into the details.


  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

    SoC
    Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

    Display
    6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3088 × 1440, 120Hz adaptive

    Battery
    5,000mAh

    Operating System
    One UI 5.1 w/ Android 13

    Front camera
    12MP, f/2.2

    Dimensions
    163.4 × 78.1 × 8.9mm

    RAM and Storage
    8/256GB, 12/256GB, 12/512GB, 12/1TB

    Rear camera
    200MP f/2.2 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10MP f/2.4 3x telephoto, 10MP f/4.9 10x telphoto

    IP Rating
    IP68

  • Samsung Galaxy S23+

    SoC
    Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

    Display
    6.6in Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2340 x 1080, 48-120Hz

    Battery
    4700mAh, 45W wired, 15W wireless

    Operating System
    Android + One UI

    Front camera
    12MP, f/2.2

    Dimensions
    76.2 x 157.8 x 7.6mm, 196g

    RAM and Storage
    8/256GB, 8/512GB

    Rear camera
    50MP f/1.8 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10MP f/2.4 3x optical telephoto

    IP Rating
    IP68

  • Samsung Galaxy S23

    SoC
    Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

    Display
    6.1-inch, 120 hz, AMOLED 2X

    Battery
    3900mAh, 25W wired, 15W wireless

    Operating System
    Android + One UI

    Front camera
    12MP, f/2.2

    Dimensions
    70.9 x 146.3 x 7.6mm, 168g

    RAM and Storage
    8GB, 128/256/512GB

    Rear camera
    50MP f/1.8 main, 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10MP f/2.4 3x optical telephoto

    IP Rating
    IP68


S23 Ultra with S PenDesign

The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ share an identical design aside from their physical size, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra offers a slightly different look, much like we saw on the Galaxy S22 series. All three devices have individual camera lenses on their rear. A design first introduced on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, with the S23 and S23+ ditching the camera housing this year. There are three lenses on the S23 and S23+, while the S23 Ultra has additional sensors to the right of the three main lenses.

S-Pen compatibility and IP ratings

The S23 Ultra also features a built-in S Pen. It also has a frame that looks more square when compared to the rounder and softer appearance of the S23 and S23+. All three of the Galaxy S23 devices are IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, and they all have centralized punch-hole cameras at the top of their displays. All have recycled aluminum frames and glass for the back.

The Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra all come in Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender color options — with a range of exclusive colors available through the Samsung Store — so there is no color differentiation between the three models.


While all the models share design features, the Ultra stands out. It’s bigger and more square, but it definitely lives up to its name.

samsung-galaxy-s23-20

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S23 has a 6.1-inch display, while the S23+ has a slightly larger 6.6-inch display. The S23 Ultra is larger still, offering a 6.8-inch display. The S23 and the S23+ both offer Full HD+ (2340 x 1080) resolutions, which deliver pixel densities of 425ppi and 398ppi, respectively. The S23 Ultra, meanwhile, sticks with a Quad HD+ (3088 x 1440) resolution like its predecessor, resulting in a pixel density of 500ppi. The Ultra therefore delivers the sharpest display, as you might expect. It is also curved towards the edges and has S Pen support, while the S23 and S23+ both have flat displays that can’t be used with the S Pen.


Screen durability and refresh rates

All three devices support HDR10+ and feature Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection, and they all offer a variable refresh rate too. The Galaxy S23 and S23+ have an adaptable refresh rate between 48Hz and 120Hz, while the S23 Ultra is between 1Hz and 120Hz. That means the Ultra phone is more versatile when dealing with different content types.

All these displays look great, however, with that typical Samsung vibrancy and plenty of brightness. Samsung has long been a leader in smartphone displays, and that’s no different with these devices.

Samsung Galaxy S23 top bezel close up top down

Hardware and performance

Moving onto what is under the hood of these three flagship devices, it will come as no surprise that all the S23 models run on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform, with no Exynos models this time around. It is a custom Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, which Samsung calls Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy, and it has a slightly higher clock speed than the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform announced in November 2022.


Storage options and battery performance

The S23 has 8GB of RAM and comes with storage options of 128GB or 256GB. The S23+ also has 8GB of RAM, but it’s offered at 256GB or 512GB of storage. The S23 Ultra, meanwhile, comes with a choice of 8GB or 12GB of RAM, with storage options of 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. None of the S23 models offer microSD support for storage expansion, so if you need plenty of storage, you need to think about that before you buy.

Elsewhere, on the hardware front, all three devices offer support for Dolby Atmos, as well as support for Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3. The Samsung Galaxy S23+ and Galaxy S23 Ultra also both support Ultra Wide Band (UWB), although the standard Galaxy S23 doesn’t.

The S23 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery capacity, while the S23+ has a 4700mAh capacity. Both are capable of 45W wired charging. The S23 has the smallest battery capacity of the three models at 3900mAh, and it also has a slower charging speed, topping out at 25W. All offer 15W wireless charging. All three models have an under-display fingerprint sensor, and they are all eSIM compatible.


In reality, when it comes to hardware, there aren’t significant differences in the performance of these devices. As they all sit on the same platform, the experience is very much the same, and all three are fast and smooth. The battery life very much depends on what you do with your phone, but we found that all three lasted the day easily enough. The biggest downside, of course, is that the charging is pretty slow compared to the rest of the industry.

Samsung S23 Camera

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra continues to be top-of-the-range for camera capabilities. It offers a 200-megapixel main camera with an f/1.7 aperture, along with a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view. It also has two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses, one with an f/2.4 aperture and the other with an f/4.9 aperture, delivering 3x and 10x optical zoom respectively — and 100x Space Zoom.


Portrait mode, 8k video, and zoom all impress

This camera system is one of the most complete you’ll find on a current smartphone and easily the best of the models offered. It’s the stellar zoom functionality that makes the difference between the S23 Ultra and the other models. It offers some great shooting options — we even compared it to the Pixel 7 Pro right here if you want to see what it can do.

The S23 and S23+, meanwhile, come with a triple rear camera, comprising a 50-megapixel main sensor with f/1.8 aperture, a 12-megapixel ultrawide angle camera with f/2.2 aperture, and a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom capabilities.

Many of the same features are present for all three devices, including portrait and video portrait modes, as well as 8K video recording capabilities at 30fps. There is also a new AstroHyperlapse mode that allows you to take photos of moving stars, and it’s also possible to get a 50-megapixel RAW file from the ExpertRAW app compared to the 12-megapixel file that you could previously get from the Galaxy S22 series.


On the front, all three devices have a 12-megapixel front-facing camera with an f/2.2 aperture and an 80-degree field of view, which is an upgraded sensor from the Galaxy S22 models.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ are pretty much the same device, except for physical size, display size, and battery capacities. The Galaxy S23 Ultra, meanwhile, delivers not only a different design and on a larger scale, but it also delivers better camera capabilities on paper, more storage, more RAM, and a larger battery capacity, as well as the added convenience of the S Pen.

Samsung_S23_Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Best overall

$1099 $1199 Save $100

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the most desirable in the 2023 lineup. It’s the most capable and most exciting of this trio of phones. Through our reviews, we found it to be the best Samsung Galaxy S23 model. The Galaxy S23+, however, offers much the same day-to-day experience with the benefit of a nice big Samsung display, but it can’t match the camera capabilities of the Ultra. It’s more affordable, however, so if you’re not so worried about the camera performance, this is still a top-notch phone and a great option.


Samsung_S23_Plus

Samsung Galaxy S23+

Big display for less

$849 $999 Save $150

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is the smallest and most affordable of the devices, offering all that performance in a more compact package. It matches the skills of the Galaxy S23+, but if it’s outside your price range, you might consider the Galaxy A54 instead.

Samsung_S23

Samsung Galaxy S23

Best on a budget

$599 $699 Save $100

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