Samsung Galaxy S23: release, specs, price, rumors, and news

The Galaxy S23 — one of 2023’s most-anticipated smartphones — remains unofficially announced by Samsung. We still have some waiting to do before the S23 lineup is revealed, but the seemingly constant stream of leaks and rumors surrounding the smartphone have already painted a pretty good picture of what fans can expect from it.

As we wait for official confirmation on the Galaxy S23 from Samsung itself, which could arrive as soon as February 2023, here’s a quick roundup of everything we know so far

Latest Samsung Galaxy S23 news

January 24

Earlier this week, a video surfaced showing a full unboxing of the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The video doesn’t reveal any shocking details about the phone, but it does provide an idea of what the S23 Ultra will look like when shoppers get their hands on the thing.

Additionally, Twitter user Edwards Urbina recently Tweeted two selfies of themself — one was supposedly taken with the S23 Ultra’s selfie camera, and the other with the Pixel 7 Pro’s selfie shooter. We won’t make any definitive judgments until we use the S23 Ultra ourselves, but looking at this comparison, the S23 Ultra’s selfie appears to look much better. It’s sharper, there’s significantly more detail throughout Urbina’s face, and the color of the shirt pops more. If the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s selfie camera really delivers results like this, we can’t wait to get our hands on it and put it through its paces.

January 18

If it seems like we can’t go a day without more Galaxy S23 details, well, that’s because we can’t. Two leakers recently published extensive spec sheets for the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra — confirming some of the biggest details we’ve been hearing about for months.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is again suggested to get a 200MP primary camera on the back, in addition to a 1TB storage option. It should also get a roomy 6.8-inch screen, while the S23+ and base S23 get 6.6-inch and 6.1-inch displays, respectively. The S23 Ultra should also come with up to 12GB of RAM, while the other two models will get 8GB.

Samsung also sent a Galaxy Unpacked teaser in which the company says it’ll use the event to show off “two devices” that “set the premium standard for innovation.” Does this mean Samsung only has two versions of the S23 this year? Maybe. Or it could be Samsung’s way of teasing the S23 Ultra and an Ultra variant of its Galaxy Book laptop.

January 17

With just days to go before Galaxy Unpacked on February 1, Samsung has officially revealed its new ISOCELL HP2 camera sensor. This is a 200-megapixel camera with a 1/1.3″ sensor and pixels sized at 0.6-micrometers.

Why is any of this important? The Galaxy S23 Ultra has been heavily rumored to ship with a 200MP camera, and this ISOCELL HP2 sensor is almost certainly the one we’ll see on it. The ISOCELL HP2 uses pixel binning to produce 50MP and 12.5MP photos, in addition to supporting 4K HDR video recording at 60fps, plus 8K video at 30fps.

January 13

The Galaxy S23’s design has leaked a lot already, but that hasn’t stopped more leaks from coming in. Recently, WinFuture shared “official marketing pics” of the standard Galaxy S23.

The renders show off the S23 in four distinct colors: Phantom Black, Cotton Flower, Mystic Lilac, and Botanic Green. We also get a good glimpse of its new camera design and rounded aluminum frame. It’s nothing we haven’t seen already, but it acts as further confirmation that this is almost certainly what the Galaxy S23 will look like.

Samsung Galaxy S23 models

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22+ side by side.
Digital Trends / Andy Zahn

Like the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S21 families before it, we expect the Galaxy S23 to be available in three different options: the Galaxy S23, the S23+, and the S23 Ultra.

The “normal” S23 should offer the core Galaxy S23 experience in a smaller form factor and at the lowest price. The S23+ will likely offer a bigger display and battery in exchange for a higher price. Lastly, for folks who want the very best that Samsung has to offer, that’s where the S23 Ultra should come into play. Offering the largest screen and best specs, the S23 Ultra will also be priced the highest.

One image from known leaker Ice Universe gives us a good look at what to expect from each of the phones in terms of their size differences based on screen protector accessories. As expected, the base S23 is the smallest, the S23+ is slightly larger, and the S23 Ultra is the biggest, sporting a less rounded design.

Of course, this is all assuming Samsung follows its usual release cadence. In 2021, we saw the S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra. Then, 2022 gave us the S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra. We have no reason to believe Samsung is changing that strategy for 2023, especially since we’ve seen plenty of credible leaks for all three devices. For now, the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra all seem like safe bets.

Galaxy S23 design

An image of the Galaxy S23 Ultra which looks nearly identical to the S22 Ultra.
Smartprix

A handful of leaked photos of dummy units (nonfunctional versions of the devices) for the entire S23 line were shared online in mid-December. The images mostly line up with rumors and leaked renders we’ve seen making the internet rounds, so there aren’t a whole lot of major surprises.

Mostly, it seems likely that the devices in the Galaxy S23 line are going to look very similar to those found in the S22 line. This is to be expected, as most smartphone manufacturers tend to make incremental changes with each year’s design. However, the base S23 and the S23 Ultra seem to be nearly identical to their predecessors, with the only noticeable changes being slight differences in the camera layout and the edges. In fact, a recent leak says that the S23 Ultra will have the exact same dimensions as the S22 Ultra.

In terms of the edges, the Galaxy S23 likely has a slight change in its curvature. Instead of the more rounded edges seen in the S22, the S23 is going to be adopting a squarer look that reduces the curvature of the glass — at least according to Ice Universe. While not a huge change in design, it’s one that may impact how the S23 feels to hold, as its harsher edges may give users a better grip on their devices.

It's time to test your imagination. The biggest difference of the S23 Ultra is that the curvature of the fuselage has changed. It looks like this from the top. Can you imagine it? pic.twitter.com/2BNRbxd6la

— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) August 25, 2022

The reason for the change in the S23’s edges appears to be the result of a new metal frame used internally. It seems to be a little bit wider on the edges, necessitating a sharper curve than we’ve seen before in Galaxy devices.

Leaked render of Samsung Galaxy S23.
Samsung Galaxy S23 in white OnLeaks / Digit

The camera design on the S23 is changing slightly as well. On the S22, all of the lenses and sensors sat on a raised island, and now they appear to be following the floating camera design seen on countless other smartphones. It’s not a major change, but it seems like it might be one of the only things that can distinguish the S23 from the S22 at a quick glance.

Allegedly leaked marketing images for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra.
91Mobiles

Further cementing what the Galaxy S23 lineup will look like, 91Mobiles got its hands on leaked promotional material for the S23+ and S23 Ultra — potentially revealing the two phones’ final designs.

Although these promo materials don’t reveal anything that hasn’t been seen in previous leaks, they do reaffirm what we’ve been hearing for months. The Galaxy S23+ is shown off in a lovely pink color, while the S23 Ultra is displayed with a dark green hue. There will presumably be more color options than what’s shown here, but this certainly looks like a good place to start.

Galaxy S23 specs

Playing Asphalt 9 on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Recent leaks have painted a pretty flattering picture of the Galaxy S23 in terms of its specs, but there are a handful of conflicting reports, meaning that it’s important to take the following information with a grain of salt.

According to leaker Yogesh Brar, the S23 seems to be very similar to the S22 before it, but with one key difference: It’ll likely be running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC (system on chip). Although Brar’s track record is pretty solid, and his claims about the S23’s processor have been backed by others like industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, claims were made by Business Korea that Samsung would be working with MediaTek to provide a processor — potentially, the Dimensity 9200.

That claim made some sense when it was first made, but a Qualcomm chip in the Galaxy S23 seems to be the most likely possibility, as a partnership between Samsung and Qualcomm was announced in late July. It was confirmed then that we’d continue to see “Snapdragon platforms for future premium Samsung Galaxy products, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, extended reality, and more.”

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip
Qualcomm

More evidence pointing toward the use of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 came in October in the form of the Geekbench database, which briefly listed an unlocked version of the Galaxy S23+ as having the chipset and 8GB RAM. With each new piece of information, it’s looking like the Qualcomm processor is all but confirmed for the entire S23 line, but we’ll still have to wait to hear from Samsung to know for certain.

The rest of the specs leaked by Brar aren’t much to get worked up over, as the S23 looks like a relatively underwhelming incremental step up from last year’s S22. According to Brar, the display is a 6.1-inch FHD+ AMOLED that supports a 120Hz refresh rate. As mentioned above, Brar says it will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, have 8GB RAM minimum, the same specs from the Geekbench leak, and offer storage options of 128GB and 256GB, as is expected with modern flagships.

Nearly every detail of the S23 Ultra has been leaked by TENAA, China’s equivalent of the FCC. Although the chipset isn’t listed specifically, it seems like the S23 Ultra will be using Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, based on the processing power details provided by TENAA — and it’s also likely this will be true of the S23 and S23+. As expected, TENAA says that the S23 Ultra will offer 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB storage (the same as the S22 Ultra before it).

⭕️officially and exclusively
It turns out to me with time that the development and improvement is more this year in S23/S23+👏

An amazing thing is that the S23/ S23+ screen brightness support is 1750nits🤩

In addition to the design change &development of a larger 200mAh battery pic.twitter.com/BQ4wgga28B

— Ahmed Qwaider (@AhmedQwaider888) December 26, 2022

On December 25, leaker Ahmed Qwaider revealed a promising spec regarding the S23’s display. Supposedly, all three versions of the Galaxy S23 will support a display brightness of 1,750 nits. That’s just slightly lower than the 2,000 nits of max brightness on the iPhone 14 Pro — and you don’t have to get the most expensive S23 to benefit. If this rumor is accurate, the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra will all get the 1,750 nits treatment.

Galaxy S23 battery

Galaxy S22 Ultra in Phantom Black and Phantom White.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Rumor has it that the S23 will feature the same 5,000mAh-capacity battery that was featured in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The S22 Ultra had solid battery life and charge times but didn’t stand out among the likes of OnePlus’s super-fast charging speeds. That said, if the entire S23 line is equipped with at least a 5,000mAh cell, we won’t be complaining.

There’s a chance, however, that the 5,000mAh battery cell might be reserved exclusively for the S23 Ultra, as was confirmed for the Ultra in the TENAA leak mentioned above. We’re certainly hopeful that the base S23 will have a larger battery. However, a recent leak says that the battery will only be a 3,900mAh capacity cell.

While that’s a small step up from the 3,700mAh battery of the base S22 model, it’s hardly something that most users would notice — and it might mean that S23 owners won’t see a huge change in battery life if upgrading from the previous model. There would be a pretty noticeable difference, however, if the base S23 were to be fitted with a 5,000mAh battery.

Ice Universe has claimed that the S23 will offer a low-power mode to drastically reduce battery drain in exchange for slightly reduced performance. If the S23 will have a 3,900mAh cell, a setting like this would do wonders to increase battery life and keep the smartphone running for much longer than the S22.

A leaked image of the S23's battery.
A leaked image of the S23’s battery. Ice Universe

The same leak that claims the S23 will have a 3,900mAh battery also says that it will support wireless charging as expected. Unfortunately, the charging speeds leave a little to be desired, as the leak says the S23 will support 25W wired charging and only 15W wireless. While that’s exactly what was found in the S22, many fans were hoping for an upgrade of some sort in the charging department, as other flagships like the OnePlus 10T support charging speeds that well exceed 25W.

In the midst of conflicting reports on the S23’s battery size, Ice Universe shared an image of the rumored 5,000mAh battery from a leaked certification photo. Unfortunately, the battery doesn’t have its cell capacity written on it, so there’s still no confirmation as to how big the S23’s battery will be. That said, the picture is another piece of the puzzle that will eventually be entirely put together to reveal the legitimate battery specs.

Galaxy S23 satellite connectivity

Person holding iPhone 14 searching for Emergency SOS satellite.
Apple

One of the hallmark features of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro is their satellite connectivity. Lost in the woods or injured while on a hike? Hold your iPhone toward the sky, and it helps you connect to a satellite to contact emergency services — ensuring you can get help even without a cell signal.

Per a report from ETNews, the Galaxy S23 may get its own version of satellite connectivity. Samsung’s supposedly working with Iridium to power the functionality, and unlike Apple’s implementation on the iPhone, it won’t be limited to emergency situations. If the report is accurate, satellite connectivity on the Galaxy S23 will enable users to transmit data “such as text messages and low-capacity images at hundreds of kbps.”

Samsung Galaxy S23 software

Wallpaper customization in One UI 5.
Nadeem Sarwar / DigitalTrends

Like other Samsung phones, we fully expect the Galaxy S23 family to run Android with Samsung’s custom One UI interface on top of it. More specifically, the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra should all ship with Android 13 out of the box.

In addition to Android 13, the Galaxy S23 phones could be the first ones to ship with Samsung’s One UI 5.1 software. Samsung just released One UI 5 this October, with some of the hallmark features including support for stacked widgets, the ability to extract text from images, and a new lock screen customization suite that tries to beat iOS 16 at its own game.

It’s currently unclear what else One UI 5.1 will bring to the table, but it’s likely a refinement of what Samsung started with One UI 5. Maybe we’ll see additional lock screen tools? Perhaps some new camera features? Right now, we’ll just have to wait and see.

Samsung Galaxy S23 release date and price

Event invite for Samsung Galaxy Unpacked February 2023.
Samsung

On January 10, Samsung sent out press invites to its next Galaxy Unpacked event, which takes place on Wednesday, February 1. Presumably, this is where the Galaxy S23 will be unveiled.

Although Samsung doesn’t explicitly mention the S23 in its invite, the teaser image clearly suggests the phone will make an appearance. The three spotlights hint at the rumored camera design for the S23 lineup, while the green color is the same one we’ve seen leaked for the S23 Ultra.

February’s Unpacked event will be livestreamed for free online, but Samsung’s also hosting a large in-person gathering in San Francisco — something it hasn’t done since early 2020.

Pricing for the S23 remains unknown, but we have an idea of how much it might cost. For context, the Galaxy S22 starts at $799, the S22+ starts at $999, and the S22 Ultra starts at $1,199. Samsung may keep those exact prices for the S23 series, but depending on the market and economic conditions, we could also see a price hike of $50 or $100 per model.

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