I’m at a crossroads. Only a few weeks in the past, I reviewed Samsung’s Galaxy A14 5G, calling it an exceptional cellphone that prices a mere $200, proving that you simply actually don’t have to pay heaving wads of dough to get an awesome smartphone. Now I’m reviewing Samsung’s top-tier $1,200 Galaxy S23 Extremely and $800 Galaxy S23—and dang it, typically it’s good to splurge, you recognize?
Samsung’s Galaxy S23 lineup (which additionally contains the S23+, a mannequin I haven’t examined but) should not game-changing units within the least—and most of the people don’t want all these high-end cameras and super horsepower. However I’ve to remind myself that typically it’s OK to pay up for the very best of the very best. It’s good not having to squint at a dim display on a sunny day, and to have the power to play a demanding sport at its highest constancy.
Should you’re coming from a Galaxy S22 or S21 or some other flagship machine launched inside the final two years, these new Samsung handsets do not actually offer you a purpose to improve. However when you’ve got one thing older in your pocket, or a extra wallet-friendly machine that you simply really feel affords a compromised expertise, then it is best to positively have a look.
I received’t bore you with the nitty-gritty specs on these telephones. As a substitute, you may learn my explainer on how the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Extremely are all totally different and the way they’re comparable. (Heck, you may learn final 12 months’s S22 sequence evaluation to get the gist on what most of those new units are about.) What you may’t fairly discover out by studying specs are how these telephones really feel—the 6.1-inch S23 is my private favourite as a result of it matches my palms and many of the display stays pretty accessible after I wish to use it one-handed. The S23 Extremely’s 6.8-inch show is not terribly unwieldy, however whereas utilizing it, I discover my thumbs stretching farther and farther till my different hand has to affix in—and I’ve massive palms.
One of the best change is the S23 Extremely’s edges, that are far flatter than final 12 months’s curvy S22 Extremely. The perimeters should not as flat as the sides on an iPhone 14, however the Extremely nonetheless feels nicer to carry than its predecessor, and my grip virtually by no means interrupts the display. Outdoors this, coloration me whelmed with how the Galaxy S23 lineup appears. I nonetheless suppose Samsung’s S21 sequence supplied a sharper design language with the Contour Lower digital camera module in an accent coloration. These new telephones with their understated and accent-free digital camera array appear like the textbook definition of a “smartphone”—they’re little question elegant, however there’s not a lot character.
The three handsets share most of the identical traits, like how the 120-Hz AMOLED screens can every now hit 1,750 nits of peak brightness. This can be a function that is usually ignored; a excessive brightness makes it a lot simpler to learn the display once you’re exterior on a sunny day. Too usually my fiancée has to squint at her Pixel cellphone, and that is by no means an issue right here. (It additionally will get fairly darn dim for anybody who appreciates low brightness at bedtime.)
They’re all powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “for Galaxy” chipset, which is barely quicker than the base-level Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 you may discover on different flagship Android telephones just like the OnePlus 11. My benchmark checks bore that out, but it surely’s not a large leap. This chip is particular in two methods. 12 months over 12 months, it is actually exhausting to note significant beneficial properties in efficiency today, however I’ve observed that telephones with this processor really feel extra responsive and snappier than ever earlier than.