Samsung’s latest ‘Ultra’ gets a new camera sensor and several feature upgrades
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Review) proved to be a winning formula upon its unveiling last year. The integration of the S Pen stylus experience marked the end of Samsung’s Galaxy Note series and completed the smartphone’s puzzle.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has just been unveiled, and it lives up to its expectations. It boasts a recognizable design that is reminiscent of the previous model, but boasts numerous enhancements, upgrades, and novel features. It differentiates itself from the standard Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ models, and is the most compelling smartphone in Samsung’s S series lineup for the current year. Let’s delve into what sets it apart.
The design of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has undergone some changes compared to its predecessor, as per the company. The flat sides and reduced curvature of the edges make the phone easier to hold and provide a larger flat area for holding the phone vertically. The back panel has a similar texture and look, but with a slightly altered camera design featuring chrome rings around each lens. Like the other models in the S23 line, the S23 Ultra is IP68 rated for dust and water resistance and comes in Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender colors.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 6.8-inch QHD+ Super AMOLED display which offers a dynamic refresh rate of 120Hz and a touch sampling rate of up to 240Hz, when Game Mode is enabled. Unlike the previous model, the display on the new one does not bend or curve aggressively over the left and right sides. The mild curved-edge is present mainly to allow the One UI edge functionality, along with a more seamless swiping experience.
Samsung has gone with its own customised version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC in the Galaxy S23 series and is calling it the “Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 platform for Galaxy”. According to Samsung, the customisations enable better performance, which should help with better software performance and AI-based imaging. The Galaxy S23 Ultra will be available with up to 12GB of RAM and up to 1TB of internal storage.
The main camera setup on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra now includes a newly introduced 200-megapixel sensor called the ISOCELL HP2. This combines 16 pixels into one larger pixel which is said to produce brighter shots in low light. Samsung claims that this adaptive pixel sensor along with the advantages of its customised SoC can help deliver brighter images in low light. The sensor is also claimed to have better optical stabilisation (OIS), which should result in sharper and smoother night videos.
Samsung says there’s also enhanced noise reduction technology to help reduce noise in videos recorded in low light, and a new ‘Astro Hyperlapse’ mode for capturing star trails as well. The other rear cameras are a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle, 10-megapixel telephoto (with 3X optical zoom), and a second 10-megapixel telephoto (with 10X optical zoom). There’s a 12-megapixel front-facing camera for selfies, that can now capture RAW photos and record HDR10+ video. The Galaxy S23 Ultra can also capture up to 8K video at 30fps using the main rear camera but with a wider angle than before.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has four rear cameras
Samsung plays it safe with battery capacity and charging speeds with this year’s ‘Ultra’, sticking to a 5,000mAh battery and 45W wired charging. As for software, there’s Samsung’s One UI 5.1 skin which is based on Android 13 and comes with all the note-taking customisations that were available on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
This year, more than ever, Samsung seems to have packed enough hardware in the Galaxy S23 Ultra in order to distance it from the Galaxy S23+, and even last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. With only a few premium flagships announced so far in India bearing the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC, Samsung has secured a solid lead with its early launch. Whether its custom SoC actually translates into better gaming performance compared to say, the iQoo 11 5G (Review), or if its new camera system is really able to offer better low-light performance compared to the previous model and other heavy-hitters such as the Google Pixel 7 Pro (Review), are something that we need to wait and see.