Flagship smartphones are often challenging to innovate yearly, yet Samsung has managed to do it once again with the Galaxy S23 Ultra. With its strengths in display and camera, the new flagship offers a plethora of features that make it hard to fault.
Quick details at a glance
Specs: 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3088 x 1440 (Edge Quad HD+), 120Hz refresh rate, Gorilla Glass Victus 2 Protection, IP 68, Qualcomm Snapdragon Gen 2 customised, 12GB RAM, 256GB/512GB/1TB storage, S-Pen, and 163.4x78.1x8.9mm, 234 grams
Colour: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender.
In the Box: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, Type-C cable
Price: Rs 1,24,999 onwards
The design of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is reminiscent of its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Housed in an aluminium body, the front is all-screen, while the S-Pen, speaker grill, charging port and SIM tray is at the bottom edge. Instead of the raised camera module at the rear, Samsung has kept it simple with camera lenses individually flushed (slightly raised) in the body.
The design has resulted in a flatter display, meaning more screen estate for the touch or S-Pen input. Irrespective of the huge size (163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm), the soft curves on the edges makes it easier to grip and less slippery to hold. While Samsung has added Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for protection against scratches, adding a cover is advisable. And if you are worried about water damage, the phone is IP68 rated, which means it can survive up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes.
Samsung has never gone wrong with the display on its smartphones, and the S23 Ultra is no exception. This new flagship has a world-class screen, with no legibility issues, even in bright sunlight.
Getting into the specifics, the phone boasts a large 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with a resolution of 3088 x 1440 (Edge Quad HD+) and a refresh rate of 120Hz. The contrast ratio is outstanding, with deep blacks and bright whites that enhance the viewing experience. In real-life usage, the screen is incredibly bright and vivid, with excellent colour accuracy, making it a joy to use. It is a delight to play games, browse the web, stream content from platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney Hotstar or even edit photographs on this screen.
I preferred using the phone on adaptive brightness as at full brightness, while everything looked stunning, it started straining my eyes. The S23 Ultra can achieve peak brightness of up to 1750 nits, which makes it easy to read even in direct sunlight. In addition to its excellent display quality, the phone also features an always-on display, which shows notifications, time, and other essential information even when the phone is locked. The fingerprint scanner embedded under the display is quick to unlock the device.
The S23 Ultra boasts a 200MP camera sensor that makes it the best in the business, capturing stunning images in daylight and at night. The camera captures even the finest details, such as leaf veins, flower pollen, and spider webs. The low-light imaging is outstanding, even without night mode, and captures stars in the sky with no noticeable noise. Images are shot at 16MP resolution by default, which uses pixel binning, but there is an option to choose from 50MP or even a 200MP resolution. Shooting in 200MP resolution took me down memory lane when I used the Nokia PureView 808. I could once again zoom in on the image and crop parts without compromising on the details or quality.
In addition to the 200MP primary lens, there are dual 10MP telephoto lenses with 3x and 10x optical zoom, 30x digital zoom and 100x Space Zoom options. The 100x Space Zoom results in noisy and shaky images, but if used when mounted on a tripod, it can get some decent results. However, I extensively used zoom (up to 70x) to capture the shorts of the Indian and Australian cricket teams during the recent Test match of the Border–Gavaskar Trophy in New Delhi, and the results were impressive. In terms of the megapixel count, the front camera has been downgraded from the 40MP shooter on S22 Ultra to the new 12MP one, the S23 Ultra, but it captures improved low-light selfies.
Video capabilities have also been improved in the S23 Ultra, with the rear lens capable of shooting stable footage at 8k 30fps. This makes it perfect for capturing high-quality videos for social media or personal use.
Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera is exceptional and sets a new standard for smartphone photography. Whether you're a professional photographer or simply looking to capture memories on the go, the camera on this device will not disappoint.
Utility & Performance
This year, Samsung has added a customised Snapdragon 8Gen 2 chip (mostly overclocked) to the S23 Ultra, efficiently handling power-hungry tasks like 4k video editing and gaming. The new One UI 5.1 software for Galaxy S23 Ultra runs on Android 13. Samsung claims the device has a larger vapour cooling chamber resulting in less heat. It wasn’t a false claim, as even after the extended camera usage and gaming; the device didn’t heat up.
But what I love about the S23 Ultra the most is the S-Pen. The precise strokes were just perfect for signing documents, taking notes, highlighting documents, or even sketching and painting.
Even with the same battery capacity 5000mAh battery as on the S22 Ultra, the S23 Ultra lasts longer. It easily lasted a day - starting as early as five and retiring at midnight -including camera testing, with still some juice left. Charging time varies depending upon the adapter used, as the box does not have one.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a fantastic device with loads to love. From its impressive display to the S-Pen and stunning camera to its power and lasting battery, Samsung has delivered an exceptional device that is hard to fault. Starting at Rs 1,24,999, the price point may appear steep to some, but for those looking for a premium device with top-of-the-line features, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is well worth the investment.
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