As is the passing of the guard, the current Samsung Galaxy S22 series is nearing the end of its post and will soon be replaced by the S23. The next headline model from the mighty South Korean mobile manufacturer will come in three models: the S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra. Here’s everything we know so far, including all the latest Galaxy S23 specs, release date info plus rumoured price and more – we’ve got all the latest S23 news right here.
Galaxy S23 rumoured release date and price
To cut to the chase, the Galaxy S23 will launch on the 1st of February 2023. Invites for an event on the 1st of February in San Francisco have landed in journalists’ inboxes, with a teaser campaign kicking off on social media and Samsung inviting US customers to pre-order ahead of the reveal. The handsets should be released soon after, but tips vary between 9 February, 17 February and 24th February as a release date.
This backs up word from a company executive, who told the Korea JoongAng Daily news outlet that the S23 series would be shown at an Unpacked event in February, with the US picked as the headline location.
Take a look back at the last five Galaxy flagship release dates and it’s clear February 2023 was always on the cards:
- Galaxy S22 release date: February 9, 2022
- Galaxy S21 release date: January 14, 2021
- Galaxy S20 release date: February 11, 2020
- Galaxy S10 release date: February 20, 2019
- Galaxy S9 release date: February 25, 2018
Barring an anomaly in 2021, when the world was at peak Covid, Samsung has consistently released its new Galaxy S series in February each year. If we look even further back, there are a couple of March appearances as well, but no radical divergence from the pattern.
When it comes to the Galaxy S23 price, there are a lot of variables – namely if you’re after the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, or Galaxy S23 Ultra.
First off, there’s some bad news. Expect a price hike, and a big one at that for some European buyers. According to a leak from Roland Quandt, the price for the Galaxy S23 in Spain, Germany, Netherlands and Belgium will increase by up to €300 (~£264, or $325). That would be the biggest gen price increase in Galaxy history.
Roland Quandt tweeted the following price breakdowns as:
- S23 w/ 8GB RAM/128 storage: €959
- S23 8GB RAM/256 storage: €1019
- S23+ 8GB/256 storage: €1209
- Euro S23+ 8GB/512 storage: €1329
- Euro S23 Ultra 8GB/256 storage: €1409
- Euro S23 Ultra 12GB/512 storage: €1589
While it’s probably safe to assume those price hikes won’t be contained, buyers in those four countries still have right to be miffed. If an alleged leak found in a Verizon document is to be believed, pricing for all S23 models in the US will remain unchanged.
If the S23 series was based on the S22 series, you would be looking at at least £769 for the base model and £1,149 or more if you want the super-sized, super-ritzy Ultra version. Quite the hike, then.
Galaxy S23 hardware
A trio of leaked spec sheets from Samsung France, courtesy of Twitter user @dohyun354, has seemingly confirmed everything there is to know about all three Galaxy S23 phones:
Galaxy S23: The mainstream Galaxy handset will get a 6.1in AMOLED screen, with 2340×1080 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. Power will come from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU, with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage (expandable with microSD cards). The 3900mAh battery will support fast 25W wired charging and 10W wireless charging. Expect a trio of rear cameras: a 50MP main snapper, 12MP ultrawide and 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom. There’ll also be a 12MP selfie cam up front.
Galaxy S23 Plus: The larger S23 Plus keeps its internals mostly the same as the standard phone, with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU and 8GB of RAM. Storage steps up to 256GB or 512GB, and the battery grows to 4700mAh. It also charges at a faster 45W. The cameras stay the same, with a 50MP+12MP+10MP rear trio and 12MP up front. The display grows to 6.6in, but keeps the same 2340×1080 resolution and 120Hz refresh rate.
Galaxy S23 Ultra: The flagship S23 will land with a 6.8in, 3088×1440 resolution AMOLED, again with a 120Hz refresh rate. A Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is paired with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM depending on the model, and storage options will include 256GB, 512GB and 1TB versions. It has an even larger 5000mAh battery with 45W wired charging and wireless charging (plus powershare). The biggest upgrades are to the rear camera, which sees a 200MP main sensor joined by a 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto good for 3x optical zoom, and a second 10MP telephoto with a 10x optical zoom lens. A 12MP selfie cam appears on the front.
All the Galaxy S23 rumours and leaks so far
Until the latest leak mentioned above, we were largely relying on rumours to fill all the gaps in our Galaxy S23 knowledge.
The FCC, the communications body that rates all of America’s telephone hardware before release, revealed model numbers SM-S911B and SM-S916B (likely the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+) when they passed through certification in late November. While much of the info was redacted, it did suggest Qualcomm would be the firm supplying the CPUs. This is where we learned to expect a 3900mAh battery for the S23, a 4700mAh cell for the S23+, and that both phones will have wireless charging, with reverse powershare.
Interestingly Samsung filed a patent for “Samsung Superfast Portable Power” around the same time, suggesting it had something in the pipeline a little faster than the Galaxy S22’s 25W maximum charge rate. Rivals like Oppo, Xiaomi and Motorola are leaving the firm for dust with how quickly their phones will top up, so an increase would have been welcome for the S23 series – although rumours threw cold water on that idea. Expect the Galaxy S23+ and S23 Ultra to max out at 45W, just like this year’s models.
Twitter tipster Ice Universe suggested the biggest difference between the S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra it replaces will be the radian of the curved sides. Thickness will reportedly be the same, and other design elements won’t stray too far either. That would line up with the rest of the phone world: Apple hasn’t mixed things up massively for the iPhone 14, and the Pixel 7 is a slight evolution of a design Google introduced the year before.
We gained some further insight into what the Galaxy S23 will look like thanks to a January 2023 leak by the Twitter account SnoopyTech. In a Tweet, SnoopyTech said that the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra will come in four main colours. They are Botanic Green, Cotton Flower, Misty Lilac, and Phantom Black. The S23 Ultra will also come in Grey, Light Blue, Light Green, and Red, according to leaker Ross Young, however these may only be available exclusively on the Samsung online store.
The Galaxy S23 rumour mill gave us a potential glimpse of the future when Samsung officially announced its next-gen Universal Flash Storage 4.0 solution. UFS 4.0 will be roughly twice as fast as the company’s current UFS 3.1 storage, and with production by Samsung Semiconductor set to start in Q3 2022, it’s all lining up nicely for the new tech to potentially debut early next year on the Galaxy S23.
Also getting us psyched for next year’s Sammy flagship were industry reports that the Galaxy S23 Ultra could pack an upgraded 200MP camera. This would apparently come in the form of a new ISOCELL HP3 camera module, which should be pretty exciting given the existing HP1 lens can already do things like record in 8K and features advanced HDR.
Some of these features were all but (supposedly) confirmed, thanks to a TENAA certification which is mandatory for selling all devices in China. According to SamMobile, and the TENAA certification documents, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has four rear cameras. There’s a 200MP primary, a 12MP ultrawide, a 10MP 3x telephoto, and a 10MP telephoto, with 10x zoom.
As detailed in the TENAA certificate, the Galaxy S23 Ultra also has a display measuring 6.8 inches diagonally, with a QHD+ resolution (3,088×1,440 pixels). The certification also says the device has 4G LTE and 5G connectivity, an octa-core processor with three CPU – one cluster running at 3.36GHz, two running at 2.8GHz and 2GHz – and 8GB/12GB RAM and 256GB/512GB/1TB storage.
We gained further insight into how the Galaxy S23 camera might perform on 12 November, when leaker Ice Universe shared three images on social media site Weibo. These images have allegedly been taken on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S22 Ultra and a Google Pixel 7 Pro.
The three images suggest that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will capture more detailed and richer images compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 7 Pro. The Galaxy S23 Ultra also appears to saturate colours much more than the Google Pixel 7 Pro, but compared to the Galaxy 22 Ultra marks only a slight improvement.
Until we can get our hands on the Galaxy S23 Ultra it’s difficult to confirm whether the leak represents its final camera quality. That said, on first impressions, it’s easy to get excited about the potential upgrade.
The first major piece of gossip represented something of a bombshell: according to a Business Korea report, Samsung was mulling a switch to MediaTek’s next top-of-the-line processor for the S23 – a move which would see it ditch long-time chip supplier Qualcomm and its Snapdragon SoCs.
This report has subsequently been questioned by analyst Ming-chi Kuo, who has a stellar track record when it comes to tech leaks and rumours. Apparently Qualcomm is now the sole choice of SoC for the Galaxy S23 series, in part because Samsung won’t have anything home-grown to rival the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset in terms of performance or power efficiency. Previous Exynos-powered devices have struggled with battery life and overheating issues – although Qualcomm’s current top-end chip hasn’t been immune from that either.
The most recent rumour comes from leaker Ice Universe via 91Mobiles, suggesting Samsung has now settled on Qualcomm after all. The Galaxy S32 Ultra looks set for a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 CPU, which should arrive with eight cores and an Adreno 740 GPU, eclipsing anything else on the market. Qualcomm practically confirmed as such in a recent earnings call, saying it would have the “global share” of Galaxy S23 devices next year. It was responsible for around 75% of Galaxy S22 handsets in 2022, with the rest using home-grown Exynos CPUs.
We’ll have to wait for the final Galaxy S23 specs to break cover to see if this one turns out to be true – and whether Exynos will get a look-in at all.
Elsewhere, Twitter tipster Ross Young also claimed to put to bed rumours that Samsung is set to debut a third foldable phone this year, with the Display Supply Chain Consultants CEO saying that the mystery device codenamed Project Diamond is in fact the S23.
Galaxy S23 features: what we’d like to see
The Galaxy S22 series was pretty impressive, with our 5-star Galaxy S22 Ultra review, in particular, running out of superlatives. However, there are a couple of tweaks Samsung could make next time out that would make a good product even better.
All of our Galaxy S22 appraisals were unanimous in saying that Samsung missed a trick by not including the option to expand storage in its latest Galaxy phones. With 5G rollout now gathering pace and large-display smartphones like the Galaxy S Plus and Ultra devices serving as a primary streaming device for many users, this need is only going to be greater next year.
The Galaxy S22 didn’t exactly lack a good battery – it was perfectly serviceable – it’s more that smartphones can never have a big enough battery, given the ever-increasing demands that are being placed on them. But shoving a bigger cell under the hood inevitably means making compromises on design, so what’s the modern handset hawker to do?
Super-fast charging is one solution, and at MWC 2022 we saw some pretty insane tech on display, not least on the Honor Magic 4 Pro, where 100W juicing allows it to go from flat to full in as little as 30 minutes. As far as compromises go, this is the best that’s on offer right now and we wouldn’t be surprised if Samsung had something similar in mind – at least for the more premium S23 Ultra.
Bundles of joy
Closely related to this, we’re getting a bit bored of smartphone manufacturers scrimping and refusing to bundle their fast-charging accessories with the handset. When you’re paying a grand or more for a new blower, you really shouldn’t need to buy accessories separately to use your device to its full potential.
It’s a pain in the arse at best, and just plain cheap at worst. Samsung’s far from the only guilty party here, but one of the big players needs to buck this unfortunate trend soon before it becomes another ‘new normal’ we suffer in silence.
- Now read: Galaxy S22 Plus review