The Galaxy S23 — one of 2023’s most-anticipated smartphones — remains unofficially announced by Samsung. Luckily, the company tends to have a consistent and predictable schedule when it comes to its hardware releases. We still have some waiting to do before the S23 lineup is official, but the seemingly constant stream of leaks and rumors surrounding the smartphone have already painted a pretty good picture of what fans can expect from it.
As we wait for official confirmation on the Galaxy S23 from Samsung itself, here’s a quick roundup of everything we know so far.
Samsung Galaxy S23 models
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Like the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S21 families before it, we expect the Galaxy S23 to be available in three different options: the Galaxy S23, the S23+, and the S23 Ultra.
The “normal” S23 should offer the core Galaxy S23 experience in a smaller form factor and at the lowest price. The S23+ will likely offer a bigger display and battery in exchange for a higher price. Lastly, for folks who want the very best that Samsung has to offer, that’s where the S23 Ultra should come into play. Offering the largest screen and best specs, the S23 Ultra will also be priced the highest.
One image from known leaker Ice Universe gives us a good look at what to expect from each of the phones in terms of their size differences based on screen protector accessories. As expected, the base S23 is the smallest, the S23+ is slightly larger, and the S23 Ultra is the biggest, sporting a less rounded design.
Of course, this is all assuming Samsung follows its usual release cadence. In 2021, we saw us the S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra. Then, 2022 gave us the S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra. We have no reason to believe Samsung is changing that strategy for 2023, especially since we’ve seen plenty of credible leaks for all three devices. For now, the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra all seem like safe bets.
Galaxy S23 design
A handful of leaked photos of dummy units (nonfunctional versions of the devices) for the entire S23 line were shared online in mid-December. The images mostly line up with rumors and leaked renders we’ve seen making the internet rounds, so there aren’t a whole lot of major surprises.
Mostly, it seems likely that the devices in the Galaxy S23 line are going to look very similar to those found in the S22 line. This is to be expected, as most smartphone manufacturers tend to make incremental changes with each year’s design. However, the base S23 and the S23 Ultra seem to be nearly identical to their predecessors, with the only noticeable changes being slight differences in the camera layout and the edges. In fact, a recent leak says that the S23 Ultra will have the exact same dimensions as the S22 Ultra.
In terms of the edges, the Galaxy S23 likely has a slight change in its curvature. Instead of the more rounded edges seen in the S22, the S23 is going to be adopting a squarer look that reduces the curvature of the glass — at least according to Ice Universe. While not a huge change in design, it’s one that may impact how the S23 feels to hold, as its harsher edges may give users a better grip on their devices.
The reason for the change in the S23’s edges appears to be the result of a new metal frame used internally. It seems to be a little bit wider on the edges, necessitating a sharper curve than we’ve seen before in Galaxy devices.
The camera design on the S23 is changing slightly as well. On the S22, all of the lenses and sensors sat on a raised island, and now they appear to be following the floating camera design seen on countless other smartphones. It’s not a major change, but it seems like it might be one of the only things that can distinguish the S23 from the S22 at a quick glance.
Further cementing what the Galaxy S23 lineup will look like, 91Mobiles got its hands on leaked promotional material for the S23+ and S23 Ultra — potentially revealing the two phones’ final designs.
Although these promo materials don’t reveal anything that hasn’t been seen in previous leaks, they do reaffirm what we’ve been hearing for months. The Galaxy S23+ is shown off in a lovely pink color, while the S23 Ultra is displayed with a dark green hue. There will presumably be more color options than what’s shown here, but this certainly looks like a good place to start.
Galaxy S23 specs
Recent leaks have painted a pretty flattering picture of the Galaxy S23 in terms of its specs, but there are a handful of conflicting reports, meaning that it’s important to take the following information with a grain of salt.
According to leaker Yogesh Brar, the S23 seems to be very similar to the S22 before it, but with one key difference: It may be running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC (system on chip). Although Brar’s track record is pretty solid, and his claims about the S23’s processor have been backed by others like industry analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, claims were made by Business Korea that Samsung would be working with MediaTek to provide a processor — potentially, the Dimensity 9200.
That claim made some sense when it was first made, but a Qualcomm chip in the Galaxy S23 seems to be the most likely possibility, as a partnership between Samsung and Qualcomm was announced in late July. It was confirmed then that we’d continue to see “Snapdragon platforms for future premium Samsung Galaxy products, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, extended reality, and more.”
More evidence pointing toward the use of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 came in October in the form of the Geekbench database, which briefly listed an unlocked version of the Galaxy S23+ as having the chipset and 8GB RAM. With each new piece of information, it’s looking like the Qualcomm processor is all but confirmed for the entire S23 line, but we’ll still have to wait to hear from Samsung to know for certain.
The rest of the specs leaked by Brar aren’t much to get worked up over, as the S23 looks like a relatively underwhelming incremental step up from last year’s S22. According to Brar, the display is a 6.1-inch FHD+ AMOLED that supports a 120Hz refresh rate. As mentioned above, Brar says it will run on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, have 8GB RAM minimum, the same specs from the Geekbench leak, and offer storage options of 128GB and 256GB, as is expected with modern flagships.
Nearly every detail of the S23 Ultra has been leaked by TENAA, China’s equivalent of the FCC. Although the chipset isn’t listed specifically, it seems like the S23 Ultra will be using Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, based on the processing power details provided by TENAA — and it’s also likely this will be true of the S23 and S23+. As expected, TENAA says that the S23 Ultra will offer 8GB or 12GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB storage (the same as the S22 Ultra before it).
On December 25, leaker Ahmed Qwaider revealed a promising spec regarding the S23’s display. Supposedly, all three versions of the Galaxy S23 will support a display brightness of 1,750 nits. That’s just slightly lower than the 2,000 nits of max brightness on the iPhone 14 Pro — and you don’t have to get the most expensive S23 to benefit. If this rumor is accurate, the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra will all get the 1,750 nits treatment.
Galaxy S23 battery
Rumor has it that the S23 will feature the same 5,000mAh-capacity battery that was featured in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The S22 Ultra had solid battery life and charge times but didn’t stand out among the likes of OnePlus’s super-fast charging speeds. That said, if the entire S23 line is equipped with at least a 5,000mAh cell, we won’t be complaining.
There’s a chance, however, that the 5,000mAh battery cell might be reserved exclusively for the S23 Ultra, as was confirmed for the Ultra in the TENAA leak mentioned above. We’re certainly hopeful that the base S23 will have a larger battery, however, a recent leak says that the battery will only be a 3,900mAh capacity cell.
While that’s a small step up from the 3,700mAh battery of the base S22 model, it’s hardly something that most users would notice — and it might mean that S23 owners won’t see a huge change in battery life if upgrading from the previous model. There would be a pretty noticeable difference, however, if the base S23 were to be fitted with a 5,000mAh battery.
Ice Universe has claimed that the S23 will offer a low-power mode to drastically reduce battery drain in exchange for slightly reduced performance. If the S23 will have a 3,900mAh cell, a setting like this would do wonders to increase battery life and keep the smartphone running for much longer than the S22.
The same leak that claims the S23 will have a 3,900mAh battery also says that it will support wireless charging as expected. Unfortunately, the charging speeds leave a little to be desired, as the leak says the S23 will support 25W wired charging and only 15W wireless. While that’s exactly what was found in the S22, many fans were hoping for an upgrade of some sort in the charging department, as other flagships like the OnePlus 10T support charging speeds that well exceed 25W.
In the midst of conflicting reports on the S23’s battery size, Ice Universe shared an image of the rumored 5,000mAh battery from a leaked certification photo. Unfortunately, the battery doesn’t have its cell capacity written on it, so there’s still no confirmation as to how big the S23’s battery will be. That said, the picture is another piece of the puzzle that will eventually be entirely put together to reveal the legitimate battery specs.
Galaxy S23 satellite connectivity
One of the hallmark features of the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro is their satellite connectivity. Lost in the woods or injured while on a hike? Hold your iPhone toward the sky, and it helps you connect to a satellite to contact emergency services — ensuring you can get help even without a cell signal.
Per a report from ETNews, the Galaxy S23 may get its own version of satellite connectivity. Samsung’s supposedly working with Iridium to power the functionality, and unlike Apple’s implementation on the iPhone, it won’t be limited to emergency situations. If the report is accurate, satellite connectivity on the Galaxy S23 will enable users to transmit data “such as text messages and low-capacity images at hundreds of kbps.”
Samsung Galaxy S23 software
Like other Samsung phones, we fully expect the Galaxy S23 family to run Android with Samsung’s custom One UI interface on top of it. More specifically, the S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra should all ship with Android 13 out of the box.
In addition to Android 13, the Galaxy S23 phones could be the first ones to ship with Samsung’s One UI 5.1 software. Samsung just released One UI 5 this October, with some of the hallmark features including support for stacked widgets, the ability to extract text from images, and a new lock screen customization suite that tries to beat iOS 16 at its own game.
It’s currently unclear what else One UI 5.1 will bring to the table, but it’s likely a refinement of what Samsung started with One UI 5. Maybe we’ll see additional lock screen tools? Perhaps some new camera features? Right now, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Samsung Galaxy S23 release date and price
Because there’s been no official word from Samsung about the S23, we don’t have a specific release date for it. But when taking a look at past releases, we can start to get a glimpse of what the company might have planned on the calendar.
The Galaxy S22 launched in February 2022, the S21 launched in January 2021, and the S20 launched in March 2020. Based on this, it’s a safe assumption to make that the S23 will launch in the first few months of 2023, specifically in late January or February, based on the past two flagship releases.
A recent sighting of the Galaxy S23 spotted it passing through both India and Thailand’s regulatory tech boards, meaning that primary hardware development on the device seems to be complete. This suggests that the launch could be coming soon, as expected. A report from Korean publication JoongAng Daily backs up an early 2023 release date as well. On November 28, the news site published a quote from a Samsung executive, who said, “The S23 series will be shown during our own Unpacked event in the United States, which will be held in February.” JoongAng Daily doesn’t say who that executive is, but that February release date makes a lot of sense, given the last couple of launches.
Pricing is another detail that remains unknown. For context, the Galaxy S22 starts at $799, the S22+ starts at $999, and the S22 Ultra starts at $1,199. Samsung may keep those exact prices for the S23 series, but depending on the market and economic conditions, we could also see a price hike of $50 or $100 per model.