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Sunday 19 May, 2024
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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy S23

BY Sharmeen Hussain Feb 27, 2023. 10:58 pm UPDATED: Feb 27, 2023. 10:58 pm

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This comparison of the Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy S23 Plus will highlight all of the differences between the two large-screen Galaxy S23 handsets. You might be wondering which one to buy now that Samsung’s latest flagship series is available.

To be honest, there’s a huge difference between the two phones. From the 200MP camera to the S Pen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the focus of Samsung’s attention this year. The Galaxy S23 Plus receives a new 12MP front-facing camera and an updated design.

With a $200 difference between the two, it is critical to focus on the key features. The Ultra is the best phone available right now, but the Plus does almost everything else right that the Ultra does not.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA VS. GALAXY S23 PLUS: SPECS

Galaxy S23 PlusGalaxy S23 Ultra
Starting priceUS $999 / UK £1,049US $1,199 / UK £1,249
Display size and resolution6.6-inch Super AMOLED (2340 x 1080)6.8-inch Super AMOLED (3088 x 1440)
Display brightness, refresh rate1,750nit, 48-120Hz1,750nit, 1-120Hz
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 for GalaxySnapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
RAM8GB8GB, 12GB
Storage256GB, 512GB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear cameras50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x optical zoom, 30x Space zoom)200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x optical zoom), 10MP telephoto (10x optical zoom, 100x Space zoom)
Video8K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps and Full HD at 120fps8K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps and Full HD at 120fps
Front camera12MP, 4K video at 60 fps12MP, 4K video at 60 fps
Battery size4,700 mAh5,000 mAh
Charging speed45W45W
Size3 x 6.21 x 0.3 inches3.07 x 6.43 x 0.35 inches
Weight6.91 ounces8.25 ounces
ColorsPhantom Black, Cream, Green, LavenderPhantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender

The Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus were both released on February 17. They are available from the majority of carriers and electronics retailers, including Samsung.com. You can save the most money by checking out our best Galaxy S23 deals page — most of these deals revolve around trade-ins.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at $1,199 for 256GB of storage and goes up to $1,999 for 512GB and 1TB. The Galaxy S23 Plus starts at $999 for 256GB of storage. A 512GB option is also available.

That’s a $200 difference for the same amount of storage, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra has more features, including a 200MP main camera, a second telephoto lens (with 10x optical zoom), a larger screen and battery, and the S Pen. However, because both phones use the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, there is little to no performance difference between them.

Samsung unified the design language across the Galaxy S23 series for 2023. The Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 Ultra all have flat displays, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a curved glass screen.

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The camera lenses on the back of the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus are separate, vertically stacked in the latter’s case and in a P-shape for the Ultra. We think it’s a nice change from the camera module clusters we’re used to seeing nowadays.

Although they are both large devices, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a larger 6.8-inch display than the Galaxy S23 Plus, which has a 6.6-inch display. The Ultra is taller, wider, and thicker than the Plus, and its screen is curved as opposed to the Plus’ flat glass front.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a more blocky appearance, whereas the Galaxy S23 Plus may be more familiar to long-time Samsung fans. For added durability, both phones have IP68 ratings, Gorilla Glass Victus 2, and Armor Aluminum frames.

The display size, resolution, and refresh rate of the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus differ. The Ultra has a 6.8-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 3088 x 1440. It can be set to a frequency range of 1-120Hz to provide a silky smooth user experience.

That’s a $200 difference for the same amount of storage, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra has more features, including a 200MP main camera, a second telephoto lens (with 10x optical zoom), a larger screen and battery, and the S Pen. However, because both phones use the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, there is little to no performance difference between them.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA VS. GALAXY S23 PLUS: DESIGN

Samsung unified the design language across the Galaxy S23 series for 2023. The Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 Ultra all have flat displays, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a curved glass screen.

The camera lenses on the back of the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus are separate, vertically stacked in the latter’s case and in a P-shape for the Ultra. We think it’s a nice change from the camera module clusters we’re used to seeing nowadays.

Although they are both large devices, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a larger 6.8-inch display than the Galaxy S23 Plus, which has a 6.6-inch display. The Ultra is taller, wider, and thicker than the Plus, and its screen is curved as opposed to the Plus’ flat glass front.

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The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a more blocky appearance, whereas the Galaxy S23 Plus may be more familiar to long-time Samsung fans. For added durability, both phones have IP68 ratings, Gorilla Glass Victus 2, and Armor Aluminum frames.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA VS. GALAXY S23 PLUS: DISPLAY

The display size, resolution, and refresh rate of the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus differ. The Ultra has a 6.8-inch Super AMOLED panel with a resolution of 3088 x 1440. It can be set to a frequency range of 1-120Hz to provide a silky smooth user experience.

The Galaxy S23 Plus features a 6.6-inch Super AMOLED (2340 x 1080) screen with a refresh rate of 48-120Hz. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a brighter display, but both phones are rated at 1,750 nits. In our tests, the Ultra achieved a maximum brightness of 1,444 nits, while the Plus achieved a maximum brightness of 1,345 nits.

They’re about equal in terms of colour reproduction. However, if you want the best screen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the phone to consider. That is not to say that the Galaxy S23 Plus is bad in this regard; it is simply not as good.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA VS. GALAXY S23 PLUS: CAMERAS

The Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus diverge here. Samsung has significantly improved its camera game in recent years, and it shows. Based on our testing, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has earned the title of best camera phone.

This is largely due to the phone’s massive 200MP primary sensor, which can capture incredibly detailed photos in almost any situation. There’s also a 12MP ultrawide camera and dual 10MP telephoto sensors (one 3x and the other 10x).

The Galaxy S23 Plus matches the Ultra in terms of front camera resolution, with the same 12MP sensor for selfies. It has the same 50MP primary camera as the Galaxy S22 Plus, as well as a 12MP ultrawide and a 10MP 3x telephoto lens.

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Despite having a quarter of the resolution, the Galaxy S23 Plus can take excellent photos, even outperforming the iPhone 14 Pro. However, as with displays, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best camera phone you can buy right now. However, the cameras on the Galaxy S23 Plus remain very good.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA VS. GALAXY S23 PLUS: PERFORMANCE

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset is shared by the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus. This is an overclocked version of the already-excellent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (found in the OnePlus 11).

The overclock may not appear to be significant (0.16GHz or 160MHz), but it adds up in every benchmark we ran. Geekbench 5, for example, revealed nearly identical single-core scores, though the Galaxy S23 Ultra had a significant advantage in multicore performance. In our Adobe Premiere Rush video transcode test, they both took 39 seconds.

So, regardless of which phone you choose, you’ll get top-tier performance, including the most powerful GPU available. (Yes, more powerful than the A16 Bionic in the iPhone 14 Pro.) The Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus have both proven to be excellent gaming devices, scoring 88 and 87 frames per second in 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited, respectively.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA VS. GALAXY S23 PLUS: BATTERY LIFE AND CHARGING

Another distinction between the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus is battery capacity and lifespan. The former has a massive 5,000 mAh battery, while the latter has a 4,700 mAh battery. This is a minor difference, but it adds up in our battery life test.

We instruct a phone to reload web pages indefinitely over a cellular connection until it dies. The Galaxy S23 Ultra lasted an impressive 12 hours and 22 minutes in adaptive refresh rate mode; lowering the refresh rate to a locked 60Hz increases that time to 13 hours and 9 minutes.

The Galaxy S23 Plus was not far behind, clocking 11 hours and 24 minutes in adaptive mode and 11 hours and 47 minutes in standby mode.

Another piece of good news is that the Galaxy S23 Ultra and S23 Plus both support 45W fast charging. (The Galaxy S23 can only handle 25W.) In our tests, the Ultra recharged 57% of its battery in 30 minutes, while the S23 Plus recharged 71%. The disparity is most likely due to a difference in battery capacity.

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Because neither device comes with a charger, you’ll need to bring your own to get those speeds.

SAMSUNG GALAXY S23 ULTRA VS. GALAXY S23 PLUS: SOFTWARE

Even better, the basic software experience on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus is nearly identical. Both use Samsung’s latest software, One UI 5.1, which is based on Android 13. It includes everything from One UI 5, plus some extras.

Bixby Text Call is one of them; the Bixby virtual assistant will answer your phone calls and read out your text responses to the caller. It’s interesting, and it’s the closest thing anyone has come to the Pixel’s Call Assist suite (which includes Call Screen).

Both phones will receive four years of platform updates and five years of security patches, which is the best update policy currently available in the Android world. That means the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Plus will continue to receive Android updates until 2027.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra differs from the S23 Plus in that it supports the S Pen. This super stylus is capable of a wide range of tasks, including document markup, artistic work, note taking, and so on. One UI 5.1 provides the best S Pen experience to date. Because the Plus lacks the S Pen, it is deprived of these extra features.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the better phone, as you might expect given the $200 price difference. In fact, it is the best phone available right now. The Galaxy S23 Plus is an excellent device in its own right, with a stunning display, long battery life, and potent performance. However, the Ultra is the ultimate phone.

So, if you have an extra $200 to spend, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the phone for you. It has all of the bells and whistles you could want, including some seriously impressive cameras. The S Pen has dubious utility for most people, but it’s a fun trick to know. The large display is the best available on the market.

If you can’t afford the $200, the Galaxy S23 Plus is still a fantastic device. Some people may prefer it because it is a little smaller and has a flat display. That is entirely up to you.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the clear winner, but the Galaxy S23 Plus isn’t far behind.

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