Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review: It’s been six months since I purchased the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and during this time, I’ve had the opportunity to test its various features and performance aspects thoroughly. While this flagship smartphone offers some remarkable qualities, it might not be the ideal choice for everyone.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review
In this comprehensive review, I’ll delve into the standout features of the S23 Ultra, its design, performance, and more, providing insights into what makes it an attractive option for some and where it falls short.
The Camera System: Unparalleled Photography Experience
One of the standout features of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is its camera system. Samsung has equipped this device with one of the most advanced camera setups in the smartphone market. The camera configuration includes:
- A main camera.
- An ultra-wide lens.
- A 3x telephoto lens.
- A 10x optical telephoto lens.
What sets this apart is the 200-megapixel main camera, which enhances low-light photography and allows for detailed cropping without significant loss of resolution.
In practical use, the main camera consistently delivers excellent photos with impressive detail and sharpness. The overall photography experience with this device has been highly satisfying. However, it’s worth noting that the 10x telephoto lens is a standout performer, providing impressive video quality and stability, even during challenging shooting conditions, as evident in the sample videos captured.
While the camera system excels in many scenarios, there are instances where the 10x telephoto lens might struggle to produce optimal results, particularly in close-up shots. Nevertheless, compared to other flagship smartphones like the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera system holds its own, largely thanks to its 10x optical zoom. This compelling camera system offers natural color processing and remarkable HDR capabilities, making it an excellent choice for photography enthusiasts.
External Design: A Blend of Style and Ergonomics
Samsung is renowned for its craftsmanship, and the S23 Ultra is no exception. The exclusive green color variant is visually appealing, and the slightly flatter sides enhance grip and handling. However, one design quirk is worth mentioning—the placement of the SIM card tray can be somewhat confusing due to its proximity to another similar-looking hole.
Performance and Battery Life: Snappy and Long-Lasting
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra boasts impressive performance, driven by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. It has remained consistently snappy throughout the six months, with no noticeable degradation in performance. The device’s 5,000-milliamp-hour battery offers excellent longevity, easily lasting through a day of typical use and still retaining a substantial charge. On travel days, it proved to be reliable, ensuring you won’t run out of power when you need it most.
The S Pen: A Different Kind of Convenience
The S Pen is a unique feature of the Ultra line, and its utility extends beyond just note-taking. While it might not be the primary reason to choose this phone, it enhances the overall user experience. Notably, it changes the way you hold the phone, offering a more comfortable grip and providing a precise input method when fingers aren’t sufficient. The S Pen’s extensive functionality, including remote camera control and text conversion, adds value for those who appreciate its versatility.
Display and PWM: Vibrant, but with a Caveat
The 6.8-inch display of the S23 Ultra is a visual treat, offering vibrant colors and adaptive refresh rates for a smooth viewing experience. However, it’s important to mention the use of pulse-width modulation (PWM) in this display, which can be a concern for individuals sensitive to this technology. With a PWM frequency of 240 Hz, some users may experience eye strain or headaches. While it’s not a deal-breaker, it’s worth considering if you have a sensitivity to PWM.
Weight and Bulkiness: A Hefty Companion
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is undeniably heavy at 234 grams, making it noticeably bulkier than other smartphones. While it doesn’t reach the extreme levels of bulkiness seen in foldable phones, it can feel substantial in hand. If you prioritize a lightweight and compact design, you may find the S23 Ultra less appealing in this regard.
Bixby and One UI: Room for Improvement
Bixby, Samsung’s virtual assistant, remains a point of contention. Its limitations and lack of popularity compared to competitors like Google Assistant frustrate many users. Additionally, while functional and fluid, Samsung’s One UI feels cluttered with preloaded Galaxy S23 ultra apps and services that may not align with every user’s preferences. The absence of a proper app drawer is also a notable drawback for those who prefer a cleaner, more streamlined Android experience.
Conclusion: Is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Right for You?
In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra offers a remarkable camera system, impressive performance, and extended battery life, making it a compelling choice for photography enthusiasts and power users. The S Pen adds a unique dimension to its usability, enhancing comfort and precision in various tasks.
However, its bulkiness, the presence of PWM in the display, and the limitations of Bixby might only sit well with some. If the camera system and S Pen functionality are not your top priorities, alternatives like the Pixel 7 Pro or Nothing Phone 2 offer a simpler Android experience with comparable screen sizes and more budget-friendly options.
Ultimately, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra excels in many areas, but it’s essential to consider your specific needs and preferences before making a decision. With its strengths and drawbacks in mind, you can determine whether it’s the right smartphone for you.