Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review: It’s Getting Better and Better

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Although the Galaxy S23 Ultra shares many similarities with its predecessor, upgraded features look to fix some of the biggest complaints with last year’s flagship. The question is, how does it perform in real life?

As photo enthusiasts, we will be reviewing more in-depth of the camera instead of others. Here is our review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra after 2 weeks of use:

The Design: Small Changes but Big Impact

The S23 Ultra retains the best design traits of its predecessor, like the charmingly bright 6.8-inch AMOLED display that beats the outdoor sunlight and the boxy and presumptuous form factor that makes it just as much of a Galaxy Note as a Galaxy Ultra, all while moving away from some bad habits like the overly curved edges that made writing with an S Pen inharmonious on the S22 Ultra.

Well, Samsung hasn’t completely gotten rid of the curved-edge display this year; it’s still rounded off on the left and right sides, but the bend isn’t as aggressive as before. It’s looking like the Ultra will be the last Galaxy model to have a curved display on it.

The Display: More Vibrant, Sharper, and Tougher Screen

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with 6.8 inches, it is pushing what we would personally consider acceptable for a smartphone, but its super-narrow bezels and slightly curved edges make it feel a little smaller and more compact than its size would portray.

Samsung’s new Advanced Vision Booster mode is an automatic color management system for its latest screens that adjust the screen temperature, colors, and contrast for three different ambient lighting conditions and eye comfort

The Camera: Better Night Shots

The headline feature of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is its brand-new 200MP primary camera sensor, almost a two times increase from the S22, it also eclipses the latest 50MP sensors in the latest iPhone 14 Max and Google Pixel Pro 7. Samsung’s Expert RAW app can now record images in 50MP (previously 12MP on the Galaxy S22), giving even more control in editing for serious phone photographers.

For video, the S23 Ultra can shoot 8K at 30fps with a viewing angle of 57-80 degrees. Samsung is claiming merging pixels on the 200MP sensor will work to create a more cinematic look. An improved adaptive VDIS (image stabilization) system now uses AI to analyse subject movement and lighting conditions to improve performance.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s other cameras match last year’s line-up of a 12MP wide-angle camera, a 10MP 3x zoom camera, and a 10MP 10x zoom camera. However, the front-facing camera on the S23 Ultra has been upgraded to a 12MP sensor, and now records in super HDR and 4K/60fps.

Not content with just camera hardware upgrades, Samsung has some new AI-powered software tricks. For nighttime photography, the Galaxy S23 Ultra can now use adaptive pixel technology in its massive 200MP sensor to combine 16 pixels into one larger pixel, allowing bigger pixels to capture more detail.

Night portrait mode has been improved for better background separation in low light conditions, and new AI algorithms for portrait mode can now recognize and separate eyes, faces, and hair separately and apply different processing for a more even and natural look in any lighting condition.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 200MP Night Photography
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 200MP Night Photography
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Normal Night Photography
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Normal Night Photography

For keen AstroPhotographers, the new AstroHyperlapse mode allows any Samsung Galaxy shooter to take photos of the actual galaxy at up to 300x with no additional equipment.


The Performance: More Powerful Than Ever

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, customized for this application and featuring an enhanced 3.36GHz Kryo CPU and an accelerated Adreno GPU, plus an upgraded neural processing unit (NPU) is quite possibly the most performant chipset that we had tested on any smartphone

Users could get 8GB of RAM as standard; in Malaysia, the Ultra is only available with 12GB of RAM. As for storage, we could have 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB (online purchase only) options.

The phone was snappy at doing everything, with it easily churning through everything we could think of throwing at it. It opened the camera app nearly instantaneously, swapping between modes and lenses with little to no noticeable delay. We took a couple of photos in Samsung’s new RAW capture app, creating 50MP raw images of over 100MB in size each, which barely troubled the processor. Neither did rapidly switching through a series of successive apps, or opening as many apps as we could.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The camera performance seems very impressive, without diving too far into pixel peeping. In our testing, the photos are very sharp and detailed, with the phone handling the low light of Samsung’s event space very well, with polished and detailed HDR. It’s a new camera’s Smart AI Super HDR that enables the phone to automatically adjust the overexposed photo into a beautiful one.

Clearly, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy was the right call by Samsung. The mobile platform brings meaningful improvements to the Galaxy phone experience, while Samsung’s done its part to optimize the S23 Ultra with a larger vapor cooling chamber and more efficient back-end processing. Together, users get a phone that’s powerful enough for any type of user, including mobile gamers too.

The Security: Longer Security Updates

Samsung Knox has been given an improved focus on maintaining user privacy with more options to control what data apps have access to and the latest Galaxies will come with five years of security updates and four generations of One UI / Android updates.

Integrated Recycled Materials

Samsung has also worked to integrate more recycled materials into the phone’s design, with the likes of recycled fishing nets going into the construction of the S Pen’s inner cover and the speaker module, for example.


The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one pretty phone. Samsung has doubled down on the clean minimal style this year, and it has really paid off, with a cool sophisticated style, that is also distinctly different from the other big manufacturers. The screen is big, bright, and colorful with a near-bezeless curved screen, that is a joy to behold. On the rear of the phone, the camera cutout has been replaced by each lens sitting alone nearly flush with the device. The S Pen continues to be tucked in the bottom of the phone ready for note-taking at a moment’s notice.

Although, this phone has power! With the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, you can expect to fly through daily tasks, mobile gaming, and content creation. When it comes to photography, Samsung is not playing around. With a new 200MP camera sensor, which can now capture 50MP RAW photos, and new AI processing algorithms specializing in new night-time and astrophotography, this phone packs some serious chops when it comes to photography.

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