Earlier this month, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Series was introduced both globally and in India. The Gadget Bridge crew has therefore been using the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra since the day it was first introduced. While we have reviewed other products in the interim, this phone has been our main phone for the entire time. We are finally prepared to share with you our final, long-term review of the device after using it for a significant number of days. So, we will be sharing all of our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra experiences here.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review: Design and Display
The recently announced Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the same appearance as its predecessor. It has a distinctive look that is quite similar to that of the previous generation but is jam-packed with modifications, improvements, and new functions. To lessen the device’s influence on the environment, recycled materials were used in its construction and design, including internal parts.
According to the company recycled plastic was used for the upper and lower speaker modules as well as the inside cover of the S Pen, and recycled aluminium for the SIM tray, side keys, and volume keys. Even though it is a huge device, this phone is stunning in appearance, and we must commend it for not feeling uncomfortable to hold despite its size. But, based on our own observations, we can tell that this is most definitely a two-handed device for those with small hands.
Ladies out there should be aware that your jeans pocket probably won’t fit this Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Not blaming Samsung, but this is so frustrating that women’s clothes still lack functional pockets. Okay, this is a little out of topic but yes here I am advocating for larger pockets in women’s clothes. Hence, if you don’t like big phones, you should probably consider the Galaxy S23 plus, which offers a more-or-less comparable experience and a rather small form factor.
All the time we used this phone, we never used a cover or a screen protector. It’s impressive that there isn’t a single scratch on the back. You can clearly see that it is in excellent condition. The front, however, has some scuffs, but nothing significant. Nonetheless, we strongly suggest that you put a decent case and screen protector on this device.
But, the one issue we have with the S23 Ultra’s design is how quickly the dust accumulates on the camera array and how challenging it is to clean, particularly around the corners. The company should be commended for paying attention to details like the power button and volume rockers, which give excellent tactile feedback. We also appreciated how the frame and the back of the phone blended together smoothly.
The first product with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 is the S23 Ultra. With an average of 22% pre-consumer recycled content, the new layering provides durability for looooong use. With Vitus 2, the device’s front and rear are both shielded. Significantly, the sides of the metal frame on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are now flat rather than curved. The phone is now comfortable to hold thanks to the enhanced design. There is a slight bend to the edge, mostly for One UI edge functionality and a more fluid swiping experience.
The back panel, however, has a matte appearance. Although the camera design has been slightly updated, the rear panel still feels and looks similar to the previous version. The very same floating camera setup is provided, but each lens has chrome rings around it. It has an IP68 rating for resistance to water and dust.
We must acknowledge how stunning the S23 Ultra’s display is. It features one of the brightest screens on any smartphone right now, in addition to having exceptionally thin bezels. Its most distinctive feature is the 6.1-inch full-HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. In gaming mode, the display is rated to produce a 240Hz touch sampling rate and has a dynamic refresh rate of 1-120Hz, which can tumble to 48Hz.
There is a feature called Vision Booster, commonly referred to as extra brightness mode, for greater visibility outdoors. Under direct sunlight, it raises the screen’s brightness, colour, and contrast levels for better readability. There is also an extra-dim setting that lessens eye strain, especially for those of us who are regretful of using our smartphones during the night while curled up under the blankets.
The display on this phone is arguably the best one we’ve used so far. Thus, the colour and contrast levels on this display are excellent. Our favourite smartphone screen for watching entertainment is in fact this one. Because of the screen’s outstanding touch sensitivity and haptic feedback, even using it has been wonderful. Because of this, typing and unlocking the phone provide you with wonderfully refined vibrating feedback, greatly improving our experience with the S23 Ultra. The fingerprint sensor is incredibly quick, precise, and trustworthy.
Here, a fantastic screen is combined with an outstanding set of stereo speakers. They are balanced, sharp, clear, and loud. We had a wonderful time watching content on OTT platforms and, in particular, listening to music on Spotify, as we previously mentioned.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra also supports the S-Pen. It’s really responsive and comfortable to use the S-Pen. To be honest, we don’t use the S-Pen all that much, but if you’re an artist or an art fan, you’ll definitely love its incredibly low input latency and precise tracking ability.
We definitely give this phone a thumbs up because it is really nicely made and designed overall.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review: Performance and Camera
Let’s now discuss how it performed. We haven’t really had anything to gripe about this one either. For performing routine daily duties, the device operates flawlessly, and using it to play games has been enjoyable.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform for Galaxy is the name Samsung has given to its customised version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC used in the Galaxy S23 series. The processor has been very effectively incorporated, and other phones using the original chip have previously been tested, but the S23 Ultra aims to maintain a cooler temperature. Most significantly, it cools off considerably quickly.
The S23 Ultra’s gaming performance is also simply astounding. The most demanding games may be played at their optimal settings with a little stutter, however, you may experience some heating after around 30 minutes. Other less demanding games, like Call of Duty, run smoothly without lagging and the temperatures stay under control.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about the software. One UI is one of the best Android skins available, so we have nothing but wonderful things to say about it. Its ease of use and navigation is something we appreciate. Furthermore finely optimised, the 120Hz refresh rate makes the phone quick and fluid.
Users are better secured for a longer period of time thanks to the Galaxy S23 series’ inclusion of four generations of OS upgrades and five years of security updates. The most recent version of Samsung One UI, version 5.1, was also published while we were discussing the software upgrade and it brought some minor visual modifications to the user interface.
In addition to other things, we were really pleased with the camera’s performance. Its aspects of photography and videography impressed us. A 200-megapixel primary wide camera with an 85-degree field of view and an f/1.8 aperture is the primary camera on the back of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
There are three more cameras: a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view and an f/2.2 aperture, a 10-megapixel telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture and a 3-x optical zoom, and a third 10-megapixel telephoto sensor (10x optical zoom). A 12-megapixel selfie camera with an 80-degree field of vision and an f/2.2 aperture is located up front.
The primary camera on the device produces top-notch pictures. You get a fantastic dynamic, but the colour appears to be a little enhanced. So, you will enjoy the photographs on it if you favour a more rich, more bright look. A 200-megapixel sensor known as the ISOCELL HP2 has been added to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s primary camera system. With pixel binning, which will merge 16 pixels into one, you will be shooting at a resolution of about 12 megapixels.
Nevertheless, you can choose to either use 50 megapixels or the full 200-megapixel resolution if you’d like. As we zoom in 100x, you can see a lot more detail.
It captures excellent images in low light thanks to its excellent ability to preserve shadow and highlight details. Images taken indoors are clear, finely detailed, and noise-free. Also, we don’t often use flash unless it is absolutely necessary in certain circumstances.
We’d like to point out that when we take images of moving subjects, there sometimes seems to be some shutter lag. Our pet was in the shot, and since they are seldom ever still, the pictures are generally blurry. This is an important point for those of us who enjoy taking pictures of children and their pets.
Also, it features a superb ultra-wide camera, and it performs excellently all around. It has good shadow details and contrast ratio. The ultra-wide camera generated detailed photographs in low light.
It does have autofocus, so you can use it to focus closely for macro images, and we thought it did a fantastic job. Notably, the S23 Ultra has two zoom cameras, one with a zoom range of about 3x and the other with a zoom range of 10x incorporating periscope technology. We found that a 10x zoom produces a crisper image.
Now that the S23 Ultra can zoom out 30x, it is really beneficial if you need to zoom in on a distant sign. The text can be seen well in these sample photos. Although we personally don’t use this feature very often, you can use it to take images of the moon. It can even stretch up to 100x.
The S23 Ultra also performs well for portraits. Here, it also offers a 3x optical zoom option, which in our opinion results in a far more appealing portrait. Yet we observed that our skin looked a little soft. Some of you might even enjoy that. Moreover, S23 Ultra offers foreground blur in pictures, although the outcomes are not to our taste. The edge detection and background blur are flawless.
Speaking of selfies, S23 Ultra was able to preserve the image quality and colour of our skin. You may also use a wider field of view here. It features a night mode for low-light selfies, however, it is quite challenging to keep your hands steady. Although you get a crisp image, using flash tends to over brighten everything.
Let’s go on to videography right now. Samsung has also improved its video capabilities. As a result, you get superb dynamic range in favourable lighting when recording at 4K@30fps. It’s wonderful to see that Samsung now supports HDR10+ across all of its cameras. When you wish to export HDR video from the S23 Ultra, you do have the choice to convert that to SDR (standard dynamic range) video. The video becomes quite noisy when shot in low light. Low light autofocus is not as effective as it is in bright light.
Samsung devices now sport 8K video, which is excellent and offers a tonne of information, especially if you wish to zoom in. Samsung features a super steady mode that produces excellent stabilisation performance. Moreover, 4K portrait video is available and performs a respectable job in general. Yet, blacks have a more blue tint than true black. While the stabilisation and dynamic range of selfie videos are both outstanding.
The camera of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is superb, and using them shouldn’t be an issue. Although the device still suffers shutter slowness, the advantages include an expanded zoom and an overall good Ultra Wide camera. The videos feature better 8K and high dynamic range and sharpness. Nice stabilisation all in all, and improved cinematic mode.
Finally, the S23 Ultra has good battery life. With our usage, the battery’s endurance is not very outstanding. The battery lasted the entire day for us and had about 35 percent charge left when we went to bed.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (starting at Rs 1,24,999) is a very well-built phone, offering the best display experience, performance and cameras. We have been quite happy with the camera performance among other things. Although its photography and videography capabilities are pretty excellent, there are still a few areas of its cameras that we wished have been better. For example, we discovered that the shutter speed on the S23 ultra was a little slower in portrait and ultra-wide modes. So, there is a potential that a photograph of a moving subject will turn out blurry.
We have had a wonderful experience using the Galaxy S23 Ultra as our daily driver for weeks. There are a few minor details that we critiqued in our review, but they are all insignificant details that you are most likely to overlook anyhow. This is also your only trustworthy choice if you want a high-end phone with a stylus that works with it, unless you prefer a smaller phone, then Galaxy S23+ is a great option as well.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Pros
- IP68 rated
- Gorilla Victus 2 Protected
- S-Pen support
- 200MP quad camera setup
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Cons
- lacks memory expansion
- No charger provided
- shutter lag
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