Samsung merged its two most successful lines last year, the Galaxy S series, known for its powerful cameras, and the Galaxy Note with the S Pen. As a result, we got the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the ultimate flagship phone with every feature imaginable. This freed up the autumn launch window for Samsung’s foldable, which the company believes is the future.
It’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra isn’t exactly ground-breaking. It has the same sharp corners as its predecessor and retains the familiar S Pen and the impressive 10X optical zoom camera.
While the new S23 Ultra is similar to the previous model, it improves on a few of the fundamentals for a great flagship smartphone. This year’s big upgrade has to be the new 200-megapixel main camera, which promises print-worthy detail and much better night shots.
Samsung S23 Ultra Singapore Price
Samsung S23 Plus Singapore Price
Samsung S23 Price Singapore
So, are these improvements enough for an upgrade? Let us investigate.
Galaxy S23 Ultra models: Snapdragon vs Exynos
Samsung has made it very easy to select the best Galaxy S23 model for you. If you want the S Pen, go with the Ultra variant, but if you don’t, the Galaxy S23 Plus model is both cheaper and significantly lighter weight. The S23 Plus lacks a 10X optical zoom camera, but it retains the 3X zoom camera, as well as the same processor, charging rates, and only a marginally smaller battery.
The Galaxy S23 is the obvious pick for individuals who prefer a smaller phone.
Users will be pleased to learn that all Galaxy S23 Ultra variants, regardless of market, will use the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. The previous Exynos chip was inefficient and even harmed image quality, but this will no longer be an issue with the new generation.
Design and Colours
For a company that isn’t afraid to show off never-before-seen phone designs, the latest batch of market-ready Samsung phones hasn’t shown much creativity. The Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 appeared to be nearly identical to the Z Fold 3, and it’s safe to say that the S23 Ultra cannot be distinguished from the S22 Ultra from a distance. That isn’t always a bad thing.
It’s the classic tick-tock strategy, with Samsung keeping changes iterative to save on costs, R&D, and much more on a microeconomic scale, while still providing a phone that satisfies the consumer itch. That is one of the best phones available.
The S23 Ultra retains the best design traits of its predecessor, such as the charmingly bright 6.8-inch AMOLED display that outperforms outdoor sunlight and the boxy and presumptuous form factor that makes it just as much a Galaxy Note as a Galaxy Ultra, while moving away from some bad habits, such as the overly curved edges that made writing with an S Pen on the S22 Ultra inharmonious.
This year, Samsung hasn’t fully abandoned the curved-edge display; it’s still rounded off on the left and right edges, but the bend isn’t as pronounced as previously. The Ultra appears to be the last Galaxy model with a curved display, so we’ll see how long Samsung can keep it up.
The S23 range is Samsung’s most sustainable phone yet, and a substantial percentage of the Ultra’s buttons, internal modules, and ports are created from recycled materials; they all feel nice and operate well. The company also improved the display’s durability with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which is both more robust and sustainable than the previous generation.
As for the Galaxy S23 Ultra colours, we have the following:
- Phantom Black
- Cotton Flower
- Mystic Lilac
- Botanic Green
In terms of biometrics, the S23 Ultra uses the same Qualcomm-made ultrasonic fingerprint reader that has been shown to be fast and reliable in the past. With the front camera, the phone also offers image-based facial recognition.
Performance and Battery
Samsung has had various ingenious collaborations over the years, but the one that stands out to me the most is its most recent collaboration with Qualcomm. Specifically, the S23 Ultra’s proprietary Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip, which is very probably the most performant chipset I’ve tested on any smartphone, outperforms the iPhone 14 Pro and its A16 Bionic.
The chipset, an overclocked variant of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 manufactured by TSMC, absolutely flies through common tasks like email management, web browsing, and video streaming, and is equally capable of more strenuous ones like playing 60-fps games (Genshin Impact, Fortnite, Real Racing 3), 4K video editing, and operating with GPS navigation in the background.
Clearly, Samsung made the correct decision with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. The mobile platform improves the Galaxy phone experience significantly, and Samsung has done its share to optimise the S23 Ultra with a larger vapour cooling chamber and more efficient back-end processing. You get a phone that is powerful enough for every type of user, even mobile gamers when you combine the two.
The S23 Ultra features the same 5,000 mAh battery as last year, however, battery life has improved even with the same battery.
The new S23 Ultra has a video playback time of up to 27 hours, which is 30% longer than the S22 Ultra, and an audio playback time of 99 hours, which is 22% longer than the previous year’s model.
Audio Quality and Haptics
When compared to last year’s model, the S23 Ultra has much-improved loudspeaker quality. Because the prior model did not get nearly as loud, the sound is much more dramatic. But it’s not just about volume; the S22 Ultra’s sound lacks clarity and depth, and drums sound downright muffled, whereas the S23 Ultra is a lot cleaner, voices come through crisp and clear with significantly less compression, and even at maximum volume there isn’t any distortion. Most significantly, those lows may be heard, resulting in a substantially richer sound profile.
When compared to the Pixel 7 Pro, the Galaxy S23 Ultra wins again since the sound quality is somewhat better, but the Pixel isn’t nearly as awful as last year’s S22 Ultra, so the gap isn’t as significant. The new S23 Ultra has somewhat cleaner voices and slightly more bass than the Pixel. Again, the overall sound profile is fuller, which is noticeable.
Finally, when compared to the iPhone 14 Pro Max, the Galaxy S23 Ultra lacks a wider presence. The iPhone wins with deeper bass; we’re still talking about smartphone format restrictions here, but the iPhone is pushing them, while the Galaxy seems just a tad behind.
And for those asking whether a 3.5mm headphone jack would return with the S23 Ultra, the answer is no.
Despite all I’ve mentioned about the phone’s appearance and performance, the main reason anyone should consider the S23 Ultra, especially when comparing it to the other two S23 variants, is the camera.
This year, Samsung is going big, with a new Isocell HP2 image sensor that records photographs at an astounding 200-megapixel resolution, putting its previous 108-megapixel sensor to shame. That’s unprecedented for a smartphone camera and takes me back to the days of the megapixel battle.
But, if there’s one thing you should know about megapixels, it’s that a bigger number does not always imply higher-quality images. Fortunately, Samsung has done its homework with the S23 Ultra and it shows.
Second, the S23 Ultra excels at detail, retaining focus on the majority of the flower while smoothly blurring out the background. Overall, the telephoto lens on the Samsung is as standard as they come.
Enthusiasts will also like the introduction of the ExpertRAW mode in the camera app. ExpertRAW on the S23 Ultra is more powerful than the standard “Pro” mode since it allows you to shoot RAW files with multi-frame exposures in addition to manual camera controls. This year, a 50-megapixel RAW file option was added, which takes up lesser data than a 200-megapixel file but still gives far more detail than the usual 12MP photo.
Still, there is one flaw with the S23 Ultra’s camera that you should be aware of: shutter latency. It’s a problem that has afflicted Galaxy phones for as long as I can recall. When capturing photographs of fast-moving subjects, the latency between when I press the shutter button and when an image is shot is still a few milliseconds greater than on competitors like the iPhone 14 Pro and Google Pixel 7.
It’s not a significant difficulty if you’re photographing motionless objects like the basketball stadium or flowers above, but it could be an issue if you’re a parent attempting to get images of a youngster running about or a pet at the park.
Here is a quick overview of the S23 Ultra camera specs:
- 200MP main camera, 23mm f/1.7 with improved OIS
- 12MP ultra-wide, 13mm f/2.2
- 10MP 3X zoom, f/2.4
- 10MP 10X zoom, f/4.9
- 12MP front camera
|Display||6.8-inch AMOLED with 120Hz (LTPO)|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy|
|RAM/storage||8GB/12GB with 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Battery||5,000 mAh with up to 45W wired charging or 25W wireless charging|
|Camera||200MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, dual 10MP telephoto, 12MP front|
|Connectivity||5G (sub-6 GHz and mmWave)|
|IP rating||IP68 water and dust resistance|
Samsung S23 Singapore Pros and Cons
- Performant Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor.
- Flatter 6.8-inch AMOLED display.
- Most versatile cameras on a phone.
- S Pen is still exclusive to the Ultra.
- 256GB base.
- At S$1188, it’s not cheap.
- Some may find the boxier frame awkward.
- Shutter speed lag still remains.
- Charging by wire could be faster.
FYI… Samsung Experience
For users who want to see the phone first, Samsung has a public Galaxy Experience Space in Singapore from 3 February to 25 February 2023, located at Gardens by the Bay, West Lawn.
Ok, I am impressed, now please tell me how I can buy this.
- Pre-order on Samsung Online Store and Samsung Experience Stores
The Galaxy S23 series is available on the Samsung Online Store at
Galaxy S23 / S23+ — https://www.samsung.com/sg/smartphones/galaxy-s23/
Galaxy S23 Ultra — https://www.samsung.com/sg/smartphones/galaxy-s23-ultra/
Customers can place pre-orders at the following physical Samsung Experience Stores during business hours:
- Central: 313@Somerset #B2-24/25/26 Tel: 6836 1809 | Bugis Junction #01-63/63A Tel: 6338 7911| ION Orchard #B3-14 Tel: 6235 0185 | VivoCity #02-28/29 Tel: 6376 9150
- East: Bedok Mall #B1-07 Tel: 6844 9310 | Tampines Mall #02-29 Tel: 6782 9575
- North: Causeway Point #01-01 Tel: 6891 1011 | NEX #04-42 Tel: 6636 7392 | Northpoint City #01-182/183/184 Tel: 6909 9900
- West: Jurong Point #B1-09/10/11 Tel: 6791 2272 | Westga
Customers who pre-order Galaxy S23 series devices will receive a free storage upgrade (worth up to S$360) while supplies last. This offer expires on February 16, 2023, and does not apply to the Galaxy S23 (256GB), Galaxy S$23+ (512GB), or Galaxy S23 Ultra (1TB), which are the largest available variants of each tier.
Pre-orders placed online or in-store will be able to pick up their devices on February 10, 2023. The online collection is done through delivery or in-person at Samsung stores, whereas store walk-ins must return to the same location to pick up their device.
- Pre-order at Amazon Singapore
Pre-order the Galaxy S23 series (S23+, S23 Ultra) from Amazon Singapore and you’ll receive up to S$350 in Samsung e-vouchers:
- Samsung e-voucher worth S$150 for Galaxy S23+ (512GB).
- Samsung e-voucher worth S$250 for the Galaxy S23 Ultra (256GB).
- S$350 worth of Samsung e-vouchers for the Galaxy S23 Ultra (1TB).
Customers will also enjoy a 50% discount on Samsung Care and Screen Care for two years. The phones will begin shipping on February 10, 2023.
Finally, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a move in the right direction for Samsung. It’s not a huge jump forward, but it does improve in all essential areas, including a more powerful camera, an exciting new chip that will finally be available to all consumers, and double the storage. This is something that everyone will appreciate.
In many ways, the S23 Ultra seems like an “S” version. Others who already possess an S22 Ultra may not see much incentive to upgrade, but those coming from previous phones, particularly those who are frustrated by a slower Exynos chipset, may adore this new model. It retains the power and versatility of a Note, and there is nothing quite like it on the market.