Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra: Essential Upgrades

Adam Sayah, Technology Review Editor

It would not be a technology presentation if the most “reliable,” “innovative,” and “fastest” devices were not showcased. However, when the word “best” is mentioned 19 times in one hour, this can be a cause for suspicion. Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2023 unveiled some of the tech giant’s newest phones, but during a time when innovation is reaching an all-time low as technology continues to improve, the event simply exhibited essential upgrades.


The Phones

Nowadays Samsung phones are popularized for their folding and flipping models (and for good reason), but the Galaxy S series of phones has remained the flagship of the brand for years. The S23 and S23+ are two of the newest installments of the Galaxy S series, building on the successes of the previous S22 models. This year, the biggest changes come in design, battery life, screen quality, and chipset. 

With the S22 and S23+ models, the rear of the phones are now covered in one sheet of more durable glass, abandoning the unique metal strip that surrounded the camera lens in last year’s phones. Additionally, the phones now have flat metal edges, similar to the ones on newer iPhone models. This provides extra grip when holding the phone without a case. 

The screen, battery, chip, and front-facing camera experience smaller, although noteworthy changes. The AMOLED display on these models can reach new brightness levels for increased clarity outdoors, and the battery is increased by 200 mAh (milliampere-hours) across each respective phone from last year’s generation to this year’s generation. The final improvements can be found with the custom Snapdragon processor powering these devices, which supposedly supports increased power and efficiency, and the selfie camera, with improved focus and quality in bright environments. These upgrades only enhance the Galaxy experience and refine some of Samsung’s most popular phones.

The real star of the show was the S23 Ultra. The gigantic phone with almost 7” of screen estate succeeds the role of the Note series, coming equipped with a thin plastic pen, “advanced” camera system, and more. If your pockets can hold a phone that weighs more than half a pound and are deep enough to afford the steep $1,200 starting price, the S23 Ultra is a competitive device in the increasingly crowded sector. The new standout feature of the S23 Ultra is the 200 megapixel camera that can capture details you never knew you needed, and supports 100x zoom, which makes a neat party trick. Realistically, these features would rarely be used in everyday scenarios, but for the rare photographer who wants to capture the imperfections on the Moon’s surface with their smartphone, the S23 Ultra is now the obvious choice. 

Meanwhile, the battery, although not larger, can last longer between charges and the loudspeakers and microphones support better audio recording and replay, all of which are welcome upgrades.



A big point throughout the presentation was the idea of sustainability and how Samsung is doing its best to use recycled materials in its products. Ocean-bound plastics and recycled aluminum, glass, and dyes make their way to create the phone’s components and packaging. After all, without protecting planet Earth, there will not be any more customers.

Any time that a global brand invests more in sustainability, it has positive ripple effects throughout the industry and beyond. Samsung happened to be caught in one such ripple, as Google and Apple had made such decisions years prior to Samsung’s event. Nonetheless, Samsung’s effort should be praised, as it is better to start recycling now than never.



With the constant competition from Apple’s iPhones, Google’s new Pixel line, and other smaller brands’ phones, Samsung is in the defensive position to create good products that are accessible, innovative, and environmentally conscious. Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2023 was the company’s response to this pressure, and while their new phones may be the brand’s “best yet,” its phones still lag behind competitors in terms of display and camera quality, speed, battery life, and sustainability.