The Galaxy S23+ finds itself in a rather awkward situation, sandwiched between its siblings which define their target audience rather well.
Can it justify its existence, or is it losing its relevance? Let’s find out!
Also, many of you might consider cross-shopping this phone with the Pixel 7 Pro. So, a camera comparison between the two makes sense, and that is exactly what we’ve done.
Camera comparison with Pixel 7 Pro
The S23+ has a triple rear camera setup which includes a 50MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and 10MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom.
On the other hand, the Pixel 7 Pro’s main and ultrawide cameras have the same resolution as the Samsung’s, but its telephoto camera is significantly higher-res at 48MP with a superior 5x optical zoom.
Spend a few minutes taking photos from both phones side by side and you’d be amazed to see how miles apart their post processing is.
Let's start with the main cameras.
- In this photo, notice Samsung’s wider field of view and punchier colours. Choosing one will be a matter of personal preference here.
- However, Samsung’s aggressive colour processing can appear to be quite off at times, and this photo is a prime example.
- Moving on, this is a tricky shot as it's against the sun, and while Samsung produced richer colours, the Pixel showcased better dynamic range.
- Next up, this photo is quite evenly matched, but Pixel is better with controlling highlights.
- This low light photo is quite interesting, as it's the Samsung which has preserved the real ambience of the scene here. The Pixel may be more dramatic but it's quite off.
- Moving on to even lower light, Samsung takes the cake here as it preserves the details in shadows much better.
- Coming to 4K 60 fps videos, note how unnaturally warm Pixel’s videos are compared to Samsung’s. This one definitely goes to the S23+.
- Low light videos, too, are a win for Samsung because it preserved more detail.
Now, let’s shift focus on the ultrawide cameras.
- Samsung’s image looks punchier, but note how the Pixel manages to control barrel distortion better.
- However, the S23+ does fight back with better dynamic range and highlight control.
- Pixel’s ultrawide videos are actually brighter than Samsung’s, but the colour science here is completely different from the main camera’s videos. Samsung, on the other hand, is much more consistent.
The telephoto cameras on these phones have completely different focal lengths.
- If you are a zoom junkie, then, you should consider the Pixel because of its 5x optical zoom, versus Samsung’s 3x.
- Both phones can also manage 30x hybrid zoom, but the Pixel easily wins here with its cleaner processing.
Selfies are another area where Samsung is superior because it preserved my facial details better, and also knew when to aggressively process an image to keep the face in focus.
These cameras are so different that it's kind of hard to choose a winner here, but I will still pick the Samsung for its better consistency.
Hold the S23+ in your hand and it immediately justifies its premium positioning. Its aluminium glass design and evenly-balanced weight feels great.
The frame is also rounded, not flat, which definitely helps with the grip, but the S23+, by no means, is a one hand use device. It is protected by gorilla glass victus 2 on the front and the back, which should make it quite sturdy as well.
The matt finish on the back is quite resistant to fingerprints. This Cream colourway of our review device is a bit plain, but it will stand the test of time.
I also would have appreciated this clean, camera island-free aesthetic of this phone if every Galaxy phone from 2023 didn't have it. For instance, if you were to compare the S23+ with the latest Galaxy A54, it would be challenging to distinguish between the two devices.
Anyway, from the front, it's your standard premium Android phone affair with slim bezels and a small hole punch camera cutout.
Display & Utility
The 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel of the S23+ remains one of the best in business. Despite being just FHD+, it is sharp and punchy. This time around, Samsung has increased its peak brightness to 1750 nits, which makes it pretty much unbeatable in sunlight.
The premium package is completed by an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz and HDR10+ certification.
The S23+ has an ultrasonic fingerprint reader built into the screen which is quite accurate and decently fast.
Those who consume a lot of content will be happy to know that the stereo speakers on the S23+ have very good audio output, with good bass, clear vocals, and a high peak volume.
There are also dual 5G SIM cards. I used it with a Jio SIM card and had no problems with it at all. The earpiece and mic also worked very well.
Expandable storage is absent here, but you do get up to 512GB of inbuilt storage.
As before, this smartphone has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance as well.
Performance & Software
Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset is great, especially when it comes to GPU performance. This overclocked ‘for Galaxy’ version on the S23+ is even better, although marginally.
It scored over 3800 on the 3D mark benchmark test, which is brilliant, but the stability score after a 20 loop test was just 55%, so it's definitely not as stable as dedicated gaming phones.
On the software front, it comes with OneUI 5.1 built on top of Android 13. A few stock Android purists might disagree with me, but One UI is the best iteration of Android as of now thanks to its feature set and long update cycle.
The high-end internals, including 8GB of LPDDR5X RAM, of the S23+ also ensure that the UI functions flawlessly.
The S23+ comes with a 4,700 mAh battery, an increment of 200mAh over its predecessor. Cutting to the chase, the S23+ is easily a one and a half day smartphone with medium usage. If you are not on a PubG spree, you can extract 8-9 hours of screen time from it.
The device also supports 45W fast charging, if you buy a compatible adapter yourself, that is, using which, it will fully charge in around an hour’s time. Not remarkable, but still better than the wireless charging which has been stuck at 15W for years.
Look, the S23+ is a brilliant phone, but it does cater to a niche. If you don’t want to spend 6 figures on a large-screen smartphone but still want that quality-of-life premium experience, this is the phone to buy.
For everyone else, the additional cash spent on the Ultra will be definitely worth it for its even better cameras and unique S-Pen experience.
Also watch: OnePlus 11 Review: the best is back again!