Samsung Galaxy S23 Review – A Worthy Flagship Compact Smartphone

Last month, we shared our first impressions of the Samsung’ Galaxy S23 series. We recently posted our full review of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, so now, it’s time to check out the smallest in their group – the Samsung Galaxy S23.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Specifications

OS:OneUI 5.1 – Android 13
Processor:Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Display: 6.1-inch 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Wireless Connections:5G, Bluetooth 5.3, WiFi, GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO
Memory:8GB + 128GB
8GB + 256GB
Connectors:USB Type-C, OTG
Cameras:Rear Camera
Main – 50MP, f/1.8
Ultrawide – 12MP, f/2.2
Telephoto – 10MP, f/2.4

Front Camera
12MP, f/2.2
SIM Card Slots:Dual SIM (Nano-Sim)
Battery:3900 mAh, 25W Wired Charging and 15W Wireless Charging
SRP:8GB + 128GB – Php 53,990
8GB + 256GB – Php 57,990

The Design

Samsung Galaxy S23 Design

We loved how Samsung made this year’s Galaxy S23 series of smartphones. The Samsung Galaxy S23 has a floating camera design, a flat boxy style different from the Ultra which has a curved design and a matte backplate. To protect the front and back areas, the Galaxy S23 is coated with Gorilla Glass Victus 2. In between them is a frame made of Armor Aluminium. Aside from that, it features an IP68 rating which can survive in water up to five feet deep and for up to 30 minutes in time.

Our review unit comes in color Green, but, they also have other colors like Phantom Black, Cream, and Lavender.

On the right side, you can find the volume rocker and power button. Located on the bottom part of the phone is a speaker grill, microphone holes, a USB type-C port, and a SIM card slot that can accommodate two nano SIM cards.

The Display and Speakers

Samsung Galaxy S23 Display

The Samsung Galaxy S23 still uses the same display as its previous generation but with better brightness. It has a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with a refresh rate of 120Hz and HDR10+ support. The resolution of the screen is still the same which is 1080 x 2340 pixels. It has a rating of 1200 nits which is typical and can peak up to 1750 nits. Brightness is good even if you use it directly under the sun.

Display quality of the Galaxy S23 is great. The viewing angles are good, the colors are vibrant and the blacks are inky. Sadly, as for tweaking the settings of the display, it doesn’t have the same level of options as its Ultra model. The only available option is its refresh rate which is typically compared to its Ultra model where you can change its resolution setting.

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It has a stereo speaker setup each found underneath the earpiece and at the bottom of the phone. At maximum volume, the sound doesn’t distort and it is clear and loud. However, we found the bass lacking though it offers enough punch that is alright for most people.

The Performance

Samsung Galaxy S23 Performance

For the first time in recent years, the Samsung Galaxy S23 now uses only one chipset for all regions worldwide. It is now equipped with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 which is a huge upgrade to the Exynos counterpart, which users around the world complained that Samsung is shortchanging them for using a less powerful processor for the same price. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 found in the Galaxy S23 series is using is an exclusive model which has a higher clock speed of 3.36GHz compared to its 3.2GHz default. Meanwhile, the Adreno 740 GPU is clocked at 719MHz compared to 680MHz in the regular version.

The configurations available for the Galaxy S23 are the 8GB+128GB and 8GB+256GB. Our review unit has the 8GB+128GB model.

Here are some benchmark scores for the Samsung Galaxy S23:

Out of the box, it comes with the latest OneUI 5.1 which is based on Android 13. It has numerous improvements and new features that we already covered in our first impressions article. OneUI 5.1 made more ways to customize the device and they offered more unique ways to express yourself. They also improved its Knox security by adding more privacy features.

It performs as expected with a similar experience to the Galaxy S23 Ultra. However, the storage speed is slower for the 128GB variant because it uses only a UFS 3.1 storage. It is smooth and snappy when navigating the phone. When playing games, it performs pretty well on any games we installed and even if we set it to the highest graphics quality, we didn’t experience any stuttering or performance problems.

In terms of thermal performance, it starts to heat up in 10 minutes whenever we played graphic-intensive games like Genshin Impact. Despite of this, the performance is still pretty good and didn’t drop the frames. In our 3DMark Wild Life Extreme Stress Test result, it peaks to 47C, and its Stability score is only 45.6%. Therefore, do expect that it will suffer in a long gaming session.

Moving on to its security feature, it still has a fingerprint sensor underneath the screen and it performs fast. It also features Face Unlock which also responds pretty well. It has Samsung Knox which ensures that the confidential and sensitive data on your smartphone are at its safety.

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The Camera

Samsung Galaxy S23 Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S23 comes with a triple camera setup on its rear and consists of a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide, and 10-megapixel telephoto. On the flip side, the front camera is now a 12-megapixel compared to its predecessor which is using only a 10-megapixel.

The rear main camera default capture is pixel binned to 12-megapixel and you can set it to capture at its full 50 megapixels which is hidden in the Aspect ratio menu. Taking pictures in a well-lit environment is good. It produces a well and sharp image, but, its colors are a bit over-saturated to our liking.

In a low-light environment, its Scene Optimizer sets it to Auto Night Mode which can be identified as a small moon icon in the lower right corner. Even so, you can also manually switch to the Night mode which performs the same. The results that we got are pretty impressive as the image are pretty well-lit and didn’t experience any blown-out lighting on our images. The details are sharp and the colors still remain vivid. We didn’t encounter any blurred photos which is a great experience.

We can zoom in up to 30x zoom which uses the telephoto camera. However, it still saves 12 megapixels instead of 10 megapixels and that means there is an upscaling process happening. Besides that, despite the fact that there is a noise reduction process that is happening, there are some spots that are left out. Regardless, it is still exceptional with its accurate and vivid colors, with great dynamic range.

Lastly for its rear camera configuration, the ultrawide camera also performs excellently. From the colors that are vivid, the details are sharp, and the good dynamic ranges that we have on our images. It really nailed it to be almost like its main camera quality.

As for the front camera, the improvement that they made is indeed apparent. The details we got are pretty solid, the colors are accurate, and the noises are minimal. Besides that, it also offers a great dynamic range with a rarely blown-out background.

The video capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S23 are also excellent as it can record up to [email protected] on its rear main camera which is an improvement from its predecessor that can only record up to 24fps. As for the front camera, it can capture up to [email protected].

The Battery

The Samsung Galaxy S23 has a 3900 mAh battery which is an improvement of 200 mAh from its previous generation. In our day-to-day use, it lasted with us for 9 hours which included activities such as playing games, browsing the net with mobile data enabled, taking pictures, and listening to music. In our PCMark battery benchmark result, it lasted 11 hours and 19 minutes with 50% brightness.

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Its charging speed remains the same which might disappoint you as other flagship smartphones in the market boast a higher charging speed and are able to fully charge within or under 30 minutes. It still has a 25W wired charger and a 15W wireless charging feature. Out of the box, it doesn’t include a charging brick and only includes a USB type-C to type-C cable. In our charging experience, it charges up from 0% to 100% over an hour.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Verdict

Samsung Galaxy S23 Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is a refinement of its predecessor. It has a great design with a good handling experience, improved battery life and camera, and uses a powerful chipset. Unfortunately, there was no improvement on its charging capabilities. However, if you are looking for a compact smartphone that is still a flagship performer, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is the best bet in the current market. If you are jumping from a Galaxy S22 to this year’s Galaxy S23, you might want to wait as the upgrades are not that inciting. But if you have the Galaxy S22 with an Exynos chipset, you might find this an encouraging upgrade due to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy which provides a significant performance boost.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is priced at Php 53,990 for 128GB+8GB, and Php 57,990 for its 256GB+8GB. It is available to purchase at Samsung Store, Lazada, or Shopee.

9.6 Total Score
Samsung Galaxy S23

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is a refinement of its predecessor. It has a great design with a good handling experience, improved battery life and camera, and uses a powerful chipset. Unfortunately, there was no improvement on its charging capabilities. However, if you are looking for a compact smartphone that is still a flagship performer, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is the best bet in the current market. If you are jumping from a Galaxy S22 to this year’s Galaxy S23, you might want to wait as the upgrades are not that inciting. But if you have the Galaxy S22 with an Exynos chipset, you might find this an encouraging upgrade due to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy which provides a significant performance boost.

Design
10
Display
10
Performance
10
Camera
10
Software
9.5
Battery Life
8.5
Price
9
PROS
  • Great design
  • Excellent display
  • Good camera quality
CONS
  • Slow charging speed
  • No charger in the box
  • UFS 3.1 storage for 128GB model
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