The Samsung Galaxy S23 Is Coming Soon. Here’s What to Expect

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Samsung releases its new Galaxy S phones in the first quarter of the year. For 2023, that launch will take place on February 1 during Samsung’s next eventwhere we very much expect to see the Galaxy S23, the Galaxy S23 Plus and the Galaxy S23 Ultra with top specs.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 range includes some of our top phones from 2022. The base S22 impressed as a more affordable option, the S22+ is an excellent all-rounder and the almighty S22 Ultra blew us away with his amazing camera skills. We’ve presented both the Plus and Ultra CNET Editors’ Choice Awards.

If Samsung maintains the pattern it’s followed for the past three generations, we can expect another base model, Plus and Ultra variants. We’ll know more on February 1, but here’s what we expect based on rumours, leaks and past Samsung product launches. As for what we want to see the Galaxy S23 lineup, longer battery life and smarter camera features are at the top of my list.

Galaxy S23 release date

Samsung is likely to announce the Galaxy S23 series at its next Unpacked event on February 1, which will take place in San Francisco. The announcement of the event follows previous leaks, including this report from Korean newspaper JoongAng Daily suggesting a Galaxy S23 launch in early February. A January 6 tweet from prominent leaker Ice Universe also claimed to show a Galaxy Unpacked teaser image with a February 1 date.

Whether the phones will be available in stores that month is another matter, as global supply chains are still struggling and there may be a longer delay than usual. But Samsung is already offering promotions for US customers who want to reserve a phone early. You get $50 in Samsung credit if you sign up to make a reservation one device or $100 if you ask to reserve two.

The S22 Ultra has had stiff competition this year, including from Google’s Pixel 7 Pro.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Galaxy S23 models and sizes

We’d expect Samsung to continue its strategy of launching multiple phone models, each with different specs and prices to appeal to a wide variety of people. Based on Samsung’s history, we’re confident we’ll see an entry-level Galaxy S23, a souped-up S23 Plus with a bigger screen, and the top-end S23 Ultra. It’s the Ultra that will pack the best tech, including extra cameras, the biggest screen and almost certainly the S Pen stylus.

Samsung’s Unpacked event invite also seemingly features three spotlights, which could be a subtle nod to three new incoming Galaxy models.

Samsung's invitation to Unpacked

Samsung’s next Unpacked event will take place on February 1. We expect to find out more about the Galaxy S23 lineup.

Samsung

Renowned leaker Ice Universe posted a detailed breakdown of the dimensions of the three upcoming phones (via GSM Arena), bringing them almost exactly in line with the current dimensions of the S22 lineup. As such, we don’t expect any significant differences in screen size from any of the ranges to its predecessors.

That was 6.1 inches for the Galaxy S22, 6.6 inches for the S22 Plus and 6.8 inches for the S22 Ultra.

Galaxy S23 price

Assuming Samsung launches multiple models, the S23 range will have three main prizes. We don’t expect Samsung to deviate from last year’s prices. For reference, the base S22 launched at $800, while the Plus model started at $1,000 and the high-performance S22 Ultra debuted in February for $1,200 in the US.

The Galaxy S22 (left), Galaxy S22 Plus (center), and Galaxy S22 Ultra (right)

The S22 range came in three sizes and we expect the S23 range to do the same.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Galaxy S23 cameras

The cameras look like they could be one of the main areas of focus for the new series. In a recent blog post, the head of Samsung’s mobile experience company, TM Roh, teased the camera improvements we can expect to see. “Our professional camera system continues to get smarter, providing the best photos and videos in any light among our Galaxy smartphones,” he wrote.

That’s probably especially true for the Ultra model, which is usually where Samsung’s biggest camera innovations can be found. We expected the S22 Ultra to pack a whopping 200-megapixel image sensor, as Samsung has launched two of these image sensors and they can be found on other phones. We didn’t see it on the S22 Ultra, but it seems likely that a 200-megapixel sensor will be one of the S23 Ultra’s main bragging rights. Ice Universe also predicts that the Galaxy S23 Ultras will have a 200-megapixel sensor. That seems especially likely given Samsung just announced a new 200 megapixel image sensor for smartphones.

an Android phone and an iPhone both flash

In our tests, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s camera performed extremely well against both the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro.

Andrew Lanxon/CNET

Samsung’s product pages for these sensors boast improved resolution (obviously), but also improved low-light photography by combining sets of smaller pixels into larger individual pixels that can capture more light. The S22 Ultra is already one of the best night camera phonesbeating the Pixel 7 Pro in our recent testing, so another burst of its low-light prowess is exciting to hear.

That huge resolution will also help with the phone’s zooming skills, which are already impressive thanks to the 10x optical zoom. Recent rumours from Ice Universe suggest that the lens setup will remain the same for all phones, but that extra resolution should help make zoom shots even sharper.

There’s a chance we’ll see a slight change in the camera design too, at least on the Galaxy S23 Plus and possibly the Galaxy S23. Rumors from renowned speakers Ice Universe and Steve Hemmerstoffer suggest that the new devices may feature circular cutouts for the camera lenses that sit directly on the back of the device rather than on a camera module. The Galaxy S22 Ultra already has such a camera, but Hemmerstoffer’s leak suggests that this style could also make its way to the Plus model.

Check out the photos of the Galaxy S22 Ultra next to the Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 below to see what I mean.

Samsung S22 and S22 Plus and S22 Ultra compared

The Galaxy S22 Ultra (left), Galaxy S22 Plus (middle) and Galaxy S22 (right).

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Galaxy S23 battery, processor and other specifications

The Galaxy S23 range will almost certainly use the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. In previous years, Samsung used its own Exynos chips for its European models. But a recent Qualcomm earnings call suggested that Samsung will, in fact, use Qualcomm silicon for every phone in the range.

As for other specs, we expect a minimum of 8GB of RAM on the base models, with 12GB available on the S23 Ultra. Storage will likely continue to start at 128GB, with higher capacity options available at higher prices. And no, we don’t expect the return of the microSD card slot to expand storage. Sad face.

Recent certifications from the Federal Communications Commission show that the base S23 will have a 3,900mAh battery, a step up from the base S23’s 3,700mAh, while the S23 Plus will also get a battery boost to 4,700mAh. There’s no official figure for the Ultra model yet, but again Ice Universe suggests it will have the same 5,000mAh cell size as the S22 Ultra.

We’ll probably know more as February 1 gets closer. But if the rumors are true, the Galaxy S23 series will probably be a modest step up from the Galaxy S22 family.

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