This year’s Galaxy S22 series has proven a winner, especially the top tier S22 Ultra. Samsung isn’t done yet though, and the company is already hard at work on 2023’s Galaxy S23 series, once again expected to feature three phones, led by an Ultra.
So, what should we expect when the Samsung Galaxy S23 range arrives? Here’s all we know so far.
When could the Samsung Galaxy S23 be released?
Samsung has a pretty reliable schedule for its Galaxy S phones. We usually see them announced and launched in either January or February each year. As an example, here’s when the last few generations were unveiled:
Samsung Galaxy S22 – Feb 2022
Samsung Galaxy S21 – Jan 2021
Samsung Galaxy S20 – Feb 2020
A January or February launch seems likely then. An industry source supposedly familiar with Samsung told Korean newspaper Chosun that Samsung is planning a launch event in the first week of February (which is 30 January to 5 February), at what’s since been reported to be a large-scale in-person event in San Francisco.
Usually these launches include the standard S model, alongside the Plus and Ultra variants – these are the models we’ll focus on in this article.
In 2020, Samsung introduced the FE (Fan Edition) models, which are essentially a toned down version of the standard S model. These have had a more sporadic release schedule so far, but always launch months after the other models, with the Galaxy S20 FE arriving in October 2021 and the Galaxy S21 FE launching just ahead of the S22 range in Feb 2022.
From the rumours we’ve seen so far, along with the pattern already established by Samsung, we expect to see the Galaxy S23 models take their bow in February 2023, likely shortly after the Samsung Galaxy S22 FE if it arrives – though some rumours say that phone has been cancelled.
How much will the Samsung Galaxy S23 cost?
Again, with no official word from Samsung so far, we’ll need to look at the past few generations to get an idea of the pricing that may accompany the S23 release.
First up, here’s how the regular models have lined up, starting with the most recent S22:
The last couple of years have seen Samsung settle on pricing structures for the range, so we don’t think there will be much change to this with the Galaxy S23 range – though worldwide inflation is likely to push prices up at least a little.
What features and specs will we see in the Samsung Galaxy S23?
With the launch of the S23 range still off in the distance, we haven’t had any confirmation from Samsung on what the hardware will look like. Of course, this hasn’t stopped the rumour mill from reporting on leaks and news on what we may see.
While last year Samsung kept the base model design the same while updating the Ultra, this year it seems to be doing the reverse – which handily brings all three phones back in sync.
OnLeaks has shared renders of the S23 and S23+ with Digit.in and Smartprix, which you can see in the gallery below (S23 in white, S23+ in black). While most elements of the phones look about the same as before, the big change is to the camera module, now made up of three discrete circles with the flash alongside – RIP contour cut.
OnLeaks also shared renders of the S23 Ultra with Smartprix, and here the phone looks essentially identical to its predecessor.
If you’re sceptical, we also have leaks of cases for the S23 range, which appear to confirm the above design with separate camera cut-outs:
The leaks also include dimensions for the phones, which as you can see are incredibly similar to the previous generation – though by and large the phones are getting very slightly larger.
S22 Ultra: 163.3×77.9×8.9mm
S23 Ultra: 163.4×78.1×8.8mm
So those are the phones’ shapes – but what about their colours? Leaker Ross Young has our back here, predicting the four colours the S23 phones will launch in – and yes, he says these will be the same colours across all three models.
Those four colours are also the ones listed by Roland Quandt for the S Pen as part of a larger report on the accessories that will be available for the S23 series. Since last year’s S Pen colours matched the Ultra exactly, this seems to be confirmation of the four colours the phone will be available in – though Quandt does note that the list may not be complete.
Samsung usually fits its Galaxy-class devices with the latest processors, which in this case is likely to be the recently announced Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.
That chip has already been spotted in leaked Geekbench results in a Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra, all with 8GB RAM. The benchmark results themselves looks promising, though with pre-production hardware it’s too early to really assess performance – we’ll know more once the first phones powered by the chip hit the market.
Interestingly, these benchmarks show a prime core clock speed of 3.36GHz, up from the 3.2GHz the chip is officially clocked at. This has led to speculation from leakers including Ice Universe that Samsung has access to an exclusive, faster version of the 8 Gen 2 that should give the S23 line a very slight performance edge over the competition.
Traditionally Samsung has used Qualcomm chips in the US and some other territories, while Europe and India gets the Samsung’s own Exynos processors. This is apparently set to change this year though, with Qualcomm itself announcing that it’s struck a deal with the Korean giant that will see it supply Samsung with Snapdragon chips through 2030.
During an earnings call Qualcomm president and CEO Cristiano Amon announced that “Snapdragon will power their Galaxy product line, their Galaxy flagship products.” He didn’t quite promise that every S23 will use Snapdragon, but in a subsequent earnings call the company’s CFO seemed to reveal exactly that:
“So from a March quarter perspective, you’re right, the benefit from the Samsung launch for the new phone would be in the in kind of the second half of the March quarter. So it comes in towards the end of the quarter, but that will be an advantage, whereas our share from 75% in G S22 goes up to global share in G S23.”
Akash Palkhiwala, Qualcomm CFO
The key note there is the move from supplying 75% of the S22 series chips to the “global” share this time, which seems to confirm that the S23 phones will use Snapdragon chips in every market. Leaker Ice Universe certainly thinks that it means Europe will get the Snapdragon silicon, and even that it will be a specially tuned “high frequency” version of the chip with more power.
So why the change?
Prominent analyst Ming-Chi Kuo reports that the change comes because Samsung is not confident that its upcoming Exynos 2300 is sufficiently competitive with the 8 Gen 2, and presumably doesn’t want too great a performance disparity between different versions of the phone.
An earlier report from RealmiCentral suggests that Samsung has decided to concentrate on building new bespoke processors for the Galaxy range, although these won’t be ready for a couple of years.The shuffling around of its engineers to pursue this project means that work on the current Exynos chips may be slimmed down or stopped, resulting in the European market getting Qualcomm processors in the Galaxy S23 and possibly the S24 models as well, though perhaps down the line there’ll be a big shift back.
Despite this huge clue as to the chips in the S23 series, leaker Ice Universe suggested in September that while Samsung’s mobile department is unhappy with the Exynos performance on the S22 phones, senior executives at the company still want some models in some regions powered by Samsung’s in house chips rather than Snapdragon.
Returning to other specs, leaker Yogesh Brar has predicted an 8GB RAM configuration for the base S23, though expects a choice between 128GB and 256GB storage. There’s a chance that the RAM will be Samsung’s new LPDDR5x RAM, which can handle 8.5Gbps transfer speeds – the fastest around on mobile right now. We’d certainly expect to also see a 12GB RAM option for the Ultra model.
It’s also been reported by Korea’s ET News that Samsung will follow in the footsteps of Apple and Huawei by introducing satellite communications into the phone. As with those cases, this is likely to be limited to text messages and basic images, and probably reserved for emergency communications in cases where no regular phone signal is available.
We’ve already mentioned that according to leaks the three S23 phones are basically the same sizes as their predecessors. With that in mind, it should be no shock that the screens are apparently the same size too: 6.1in for the S23, 6.6in for the Plus, and 6.8in for the Ultra.
The resolutions are apparently the same too: 2340×1080 for the S23 and S23+, and a more detailed 3088×1440 panel in the S23 Ultra. Yogesh Brar adds the unsurprising details that the base S23 model should use an AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate.
Another Twitter leaker, RGcloudS, adds the claim that the S23 Ultra specifically will use a bright panel, with over 2,000 nits of max brightness – well up from the 1,750 cap of the S22 Ultra. This isn’t a leaker we know well, so we’d take it with a pinch of salt however.
There’s also been some speculation about what might be underneath those screens. One Twitter tipster reports that Samsung may use Qualcomm’s 3D Sonic Max fingerprint sensor on the S23 Ultra. This scanner – already seen on the Vivo X80 Pro – is larger and faster than most rivals, making it easier to unlock a device because you don’t have to hit such a precise spot. It can also enable extra security options requiring two fingerprints to be presented simultaneously.
That’s since been thrown into doubt by Ice Universe, who shared a photo of an S23 Ultra screen protector, revealing a fingerprint sensor area that’s no larger than before. Of course, that could be down to any one of a few factors, so doesn’t prove we won’t see the larger sensor used – but it does suggest as much.
Cameras are another major selling point on Galaxy phones, and we’re seeing rumours being widely reported that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will come with one of Samsung’s new 200Mp sensors for its main camera.
The sensors promise impressive low-light performance thanks to clever pixel-binning computational trickery called ChameleonCell technology. Here’s how Samsung describes it:
“For ultimate low-light photography, the ISOCELL HP1 features an all-new ChameleonCell technology, a pixel-binning technology that uses a two-by-two, four-by-four or full pixel layout depending on the environment. In a low-lit environment, the HP1 transforms into a 12.5MP image sensor with large 2.56μm pixels by merging 16 neighboring pixels. The newly formed 2.56μm pixel is capable of more light absorption and sensitivity, producing brighter and clearer photos in in-doors or in the evening.”
Leaker Ice Universe doesn’t think Samsung will use any of the already-announced sensors though – instead, Ice reckons the S23 Ultra will use the as-yet unannounced HP2 – and no, we don’t know why the HP3 was announced before the HP2. He’s since added more details about the possible specs for that sensor, and the lens it will be paired with, suggesting that in terms of size it sits somewhere between the HP1 and HP3.
Since then Ice has also shared what he claims are images taken with the S23 Ultra 200Mp camera, which he says is set at an aperture of f/1.7. You can see one on the left below, compared with a shot from the S22 Ultra on the right – both images cropped to magnify 16x, with no AI image enhancement features enabled. Check out another sample comparison over at GSMArena.
Beyond the main camera, we’ve heard that the S23 Ultra will use the exact same ultrawide, 3x zoom, and 10x zoom camera hardware as its predecessor (meaning 10Mp for the two telephotos, and 12Mp for the ultrawide), though IceUniverse says that thanks to computational changes we’ll still see an “obvious” improvement in camera quality, especially from the telephoto. He also thinks that the phone’s night photos are “very strong and much better than S22 Ultra’s,” adding to the sense that Samsung’s emphasis right now is on algorithmic updates.
We also don’t know if Samsung is planning to tweak the S23 Ultra’s selfie camera – all three Ultra models so far have already used a 40Mp selfie sensor.
There should also be changes to the regular S23 and S23+ cameras, though we’re not sure how many.
Yogesh Brar’s spec list predicts no resolution changes in any of the four camera lenses on the base S23, meaning the selfie camera would stay at 10Mp, and the rear camera would remain a 50+12+10Mp configuration.
GalaxyClub agrees on at least two of those lenses, reporting that there won’t be any changes to the base models’ ultrawide and telephoto cameras, which will stick with 12Mp and 10Mp sensors respectively. This will most likely be the exact same sensors used in the S22 series, though it’s possible Samsung will make other tweaks while sticking to the same resolution.
The same site reports that Samsung is however “considering” a jump to new 12Mp selfie cameras on the S23 and S23+, a change from the 10Mp units its used since the Galaxy S10. We don’t know which sensor Samsung might use though – nor if it will be found in a punch-hole or positioned under the display as in the Galaxy Z Fold 3, though one Naver leaker cites “industry sources” in saying that none of the S23 models will use under-display cameras.
Battery and charging
Of course, all of those pixels and processors are going to require a fair bit of power.
We’d gotten our hopes up after a Twitter post from @TheGalox claiming that Samsung could be developing a new stacked battery design that would increase density without making them bigger. The post says that the S23 Ultra is expected to have a battery capacity of 5500mah or more, with the S23+ receiving a 5000mAh cell and the standard S23 sporting a 4500mAh one.
Galaxy Club agrees, though adds that the S23+ will have a capacity of 4700mAh, up from the 4500mAh of its predecessor. Finally, Ice Universe has provided the final piece of the puzzle, predicting a 3900mAh capacity for the regular S23, up from 3700mAh. These two specs have both been confirmed by the phones’ appearance on the FCC certification site, which includes battery capacity.
Brar has touched on charging, adding that 25W wired charging and 15W wireless charging will round out the base S23 spec sheet.
Although battery capacity is only increasing slightly (and not at all for the Ultra), battery life may still be better thanks to the introduction of a ‘Light’ power mode. Introduced in the company’s Z Fold 4 and Z Flip 4 foldables, this mode lowers performance slightly to prioritise battery life and cooling efficiency, and tipster Ice Universe says it’s making the jump to the S23 too.
So far, that’s all the news and rumours we’ve found around the Samsung Galaxy S23. Of course, we’ll continue to update this article as more information comes to light, so be sure to check back regularly. If you can’t wait until the S23 release date to replace your existing device, check out our best Samsung Galaxy S22 deals roundup to see if you can pick up a bargain.
Tech Advisor's Deputy Editor, Dom covers everything that runs on electricity, from phones and laptops to wearables, audio, gaming, smart home, and streaming - plus he's a regular fixture on the Tech Advisor YouTube channel.