Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review
Samsung is back with its big and beautiful S series and the latest Galaxy S23 Ultra is going to be the highlight of this review. The phone tries to offer the best Android flagship smartphone experience you can get at a premium price tag.
I have got the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with me and after taking a bunch of photos, using it as my primary device and keeping a check on the battery life, what are my views on it? Well, it’s pretty good, to be honest. And for a starting price of Rs 125K, it better be good.
However, is it better than the Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max? Do you really get the best Android experience? Let’s find out in this Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Price in India and Variants
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has been launched in India and is available for pre-booking. The phone costs Rs. 1,24,999 for 12GB RAM and 256GB Storage variant while the 512GB Storage variant costs Rs. 1,34,999 and the 1TB storage variant costs Rs. 1,54,999.
The phone is available in four colour options: Green, Phantom Black, Lavender and Cream. While there would be four more colour options available exclusively on Samsung India’s website: Graphite, Lime, Red, and Sky Blue. You can pre-book the phone on Samsung’s official website or on Amazon.
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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Box Contents
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra packs the following items inside the box:
- Type-C cable
- SIM ejector tool
- S Pen
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Specs at a glance
Before we talk in detail about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, let’s see what the on-paper specs look like:
- Display: 6.8 inches AMOLED
- Chipset: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
- RAM & ROM: 12GB RAM 256GB Storage, 12GB RAM 512GB Storage, 12GB RAM 1TB Storage
- Software: Android v13
- Rear camera: 200MP + 12MP + 10MP + 10MP
- Selfie camera: 12 MP
- Battery: 5000 mAh
- Weight: 234 grams
- Dimensions: 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Design and Build
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra looks very similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. However, this year, it comes with a more flatter display along with flatter edges. All this gives the phone more of a boxy look.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a big and bulky phone, weighing about 234 grams. You can still slide it into your pockets with no worries. But when you use it for a long duration, you can feel the weight in your hands.
There’s no camera unit in the back and just lenses which are a bit bigger this time and protrude somewhat. The back panel is made of glass which comes with a matte finish and the frame is made of aluminium which feels solid and sturdy when you hold it.
The S23 series is the first set of smartphones to come with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection. It also comes with an IP68 rating which means you can take a dip in the water with your S23 Ultra for 30 minutes. Big thumbs up for the solid build quality.
Talking about ports and buttons, the right side has the power button along with volume rockers while the left is totally clean. The bottom side has the primary speaker, the primary mic, the SIM card slot, the Type-C port and a slot for inserting S Pen.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Camera
Samsung has made a huge upgrade in the camera department with Galaxy S23 Ultra. It features a quad camera setup on the back. This includes a 200MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 10MP 3x telephoto lens and 10MP 10x telephoto lens. The front side has a 12MP selfie shooter.
If you want a really good photo, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the way to go. The main camera takes some of the best shots I have taken from a smartphone. The photos were really sharp and detailed, even when you zoom in. The colours were looking great and punchy. Dynamic range was wide and the contract was on point.
Even the portrait shots were very impressive. The subject was well separated from the background and the edge detection was great. Colours were looking very nice. The low-light shots have improved from last year. I could notice more clarity in the images.
The ultra-wide lens captured really good shots. Dynamic range was good and the colours looked great. The shots were packed with details and pleasing to the eye with a more warm tone to them.
Coming to the selfies, even though the megapixel count has gone down, the selfies are now more detailed and sharp than before. The dynamic range is great and the skin tones look very natural.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra can record up to 8K video at 30fps from its main camera. The 8K footage is really clean and detailed. You can also choose to record 4K 60fps footage which is also good in terms of quality. The low-light videos were superb with good colours.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Battery and Charging
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra packs a big 5000mAh battery which is the same as the last year, with no upgrade. But what’s improved is battery optimisation which offers a longer battery life. A casual user can easily get a full day of usage with about 40 per cent battery left for the second day.
On the other hand, if you are a heavy user, you will still be able to get through the entire day without needing to charge the phone. The battery life will also depend on your usage; I got about 6 hours of screen on time.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is paired with 45W of fast wired charging and 15W of wireless charging support. I know it falls way behind in the charging department. It’s time now for Samsung to offer better chagrin speeds for their flagship phones at least.
Moreover, you don’t get the adaptor inside the box. Buy it separately and then you can fully charge your phone from 0 to 100 per cent in a little less than an hour. A 25 minute charge would get you to about 50 per cent battery.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Display
Samsung is known to offer the best displays in its phones and the same goes for the Galaxy S23 Ultra. You get a beautiful QHD+ 6.8 inches AMOLED display which is the same as last year. Well, you can’t be disappointed with no change as it was already a stunning display.
It features a 120Hz refresh rate and 1750 nits of peak brightness. No doubt it gets really bright and I did not face any issues while using the phone under direct sunlight. It comes with an adaptive refresh rate which can go down to as low as 1Hz to save battery.
Apart from the outstanding specs, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a stunning display for daily usage and media consumption. The colours on the screen look really punchy and the blacks are deep. It’s a very crisp display and the contents on it look sharp as hell.
Moreover, the viewing angles were great as well. I loved using the S Pen to note down things and it really complements the display and enhances the overall experience. Be it watching videos or playing games, you are definitely going to have the best display experience on the S23 Ultra.
It comes with Widevine L1 support along with HDR10+ capability which means you can stream high-quality content on OTT platforms and enjoy the HRD content as well. I really had an immersive experience while using the display of the S23 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Performance
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is powered by a modified version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset. The latest chip is paired with up to 12GB of LPDDR5X RAM and 1TB of UFS 4.0 internal storage.
The phones really feel very fast and responsive in day to day life. The apps open up quickly and switching between them was very smooth. I did not notice any lags or shutters while navigating through the UI or using any app. The 12GB RAM was enough to do multitasking and run apps simultaneously in the background.
It goes without saying that even intensive tasks like gaming or video editing goes on seamlessly. Even while recording 8K footage, the phone handles everything nicely and does not show any signs of slowdowns. There is no doubt that it can run any game you find on Play Store on the highest settings.
I played Apex Legends, Asphalt 9 and Genshin Impact just to test out the gaming performance. Of course, it did not let me down. All the games ran on their highest settings without any lags or frame drops. Clearly, Samsung has done a great job with its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and you get the best performance out of it.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Software and UI
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra runs on One UI 5.1 skin which is based on the latest Android 13 version. The animations look super smooth and the UI feels very responsive. You get a bunch of features and customisation options.
You can change the notification layout and clock on the lock screen. There is Samsung wallet and much more in the UI. Samsung promises the longest commitment to software updates in the industry with four years of major OS updates and five years of security updates.
You can make quick notes with the help of the S Pen. You can even write on the locked screen with the S Pen. Overall the S Pen provides you with a number of ways to interact with the phone.
Then you have the Samsung DeX system which allows you to transform your phone into a PC-like experience by just connecting it to a monitor or any external display. There’s much more in the all-new One UI 5.1 so let me in the comments if you want a detailed review of the UI.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is big and expensive, but its outstanding combination of camera, performance, and reliability makes it one of the best high-end Android phones available.
I am sure you won’t get any lag or shutter while using the phone in everyday life or even while playing games. The cameras are really reliable and take great shots. I am really happy with the battery life as well.
So, all in all, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra does prove to be the best Android flagship out there in the market. You can still aim for the iPhone 14 Pro Max if Android doesn’t suit you. However, Samsung will give you way more flexibility and features combined with one of the best UI experiences.