When it arrives, the Galaxy S23 will have some big shoes to fill, but we’re confident that Samsung can pull it off with its new flagship phones.
Among this year’s releases, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus felt a lot more iterative than innovative — but the Galaxy S22 Ultra had no such problem, bringing the Galaxy Note back to life.
Rumors about the Galaxy S23 are just starting to pick up, but we wanted to share what’s out there plus what we want to see. So here’s what we’ve heard about the Galaxy S23 so far, plus our wishlist.
Samsung Galaxy S23 latest news (updated September 20)
Samsung Galaxy S23 possible release date
The Galaxy S22 launched in February, so we’d expect a similar timeline for the Galaxy S23. The Galaxy S21 series came out in January 2021, but Samsung had to make room for the Galaxy S21 FE, so it likely pushed back the S22’s debut. Of course, there’s likely no Galaxy S22 FE in the works at Samsung, so that may not impact the S23 rollout plans.
Either way, the Galaxy S23 looks due for an early 2023 appearance. Phone release windows are pretty predictable nowadays and we don’t expect Samsung to deviate from this, though the coronavirus pandemic and chip shortages have created some delayed phone launches in recent memory.
Still, if you want evidence that a February 2023 launch is in the cards, a battery for a phone matching the Galaxy S23 Plus’ description showed up for certification with a South Korean agency in early September. The timing matches the S22 rollout, which would seem to suggest a February 2023 launch is on track.
Samsung Galaxy S23 design
In terms of design, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra could look very similar to its predecessor. A recent tip from leaker Ice Universe has the smartphone set to measure 6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches, which is a minor increase over the 6.42 x 3.06 x 0.35 inches of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. That’s all in spite of a new camera tipped, which has been theorized as one way we could end up with a larger camera module and thus a thicker overall phone.
Since this original rumor, Ice Universe has taken a closer look and thinks that the reason the phone is getting thicker is that Samsung could be increasing the bezel thickness of the Galaxy S23. We still don’t know why the bezel thickness would possibly increase — could be a move to increase durability — so that is something we will want to keep an eye on as the phone gets closer to launch.
Another leak from Ice Universe (opens in new tab) mentions that the Samsung Galaxy S23 series will look very similar to the previous S22 series. Right from the phones’ dimensions to the screen size, are all nearly identical to their predecessor models. According to the leak, the Galaxy S23 will feature a 6.1-inch 1080×2340 display, the Galaxy S23 Plus has a 6.6-inch 1080×2340 display, and the S23 Ultra will have a 6.8-inch 1440×3088 screen. For comparison, this is exactly what the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra currently offer.
Samsung Galaxy S23 cameras
Several rumors have claimed the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will get a 200MP camera, which would be a notable increase over the 108MP camera on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
This camera rumor has been gaining a lot of momentum in the recent past, however, another leak says it may not be the second-generation ISOCELL HP3 sensor Samsung goes for after all, but the older ISOCELL HP1.
But a more recent tip has the Galaxy S23 Ultra poised to get a 200MP camera in the form of an unreleased sensor from Samsung, later claimed to be the ISOCELL HP2, which will beat both the existing HP1 and HP3 200MP sensors that the company makes.
This could be good news for the next Samsung flagship phone. Samsung’s HP3 is a mid-range sensor and the HP1 is the larger and more refined sensor that is expected to debut on Motorola’s X30 Pro or the Motorola Edge 30 Ultra. In a bid to be better than its competition, Samsung could well have another sensor planned for its own flagship.
If you’re curious as to what this sensor may be capable of, Samsung has shown off a video of the 200MP HP1 camera sensor in action by snapping a photo of a cat and then blowing up that image to fit a 28 x 22-meter canvas that was hung off the side of a building. It’s hard to tell for sure in a YouTube video and not in person, but the image looked impressive. Details appear to be very crisp, with individual cat hairs picked out.
This is something even cameras on some of the best phones can struggle with due to their lower megapixel counts. Samsung’s video definitely suggests that a 200MP main camera could be the key to unlocking more out of its Galaxy phone photography.
One leak has spilled more details on the rumored 200MP camera on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and indicated the phone could take on the iPhone 14 Pro. Ice Universe has tweeted that it is “100% confirmed” that the phone will get a 200MP camera with 0.6μm sized pixels, along with a larger aperture of f/1.7 for capturing more light. This indicates an almost insignificant increase in camera sensor size from the S22 Ultra but it is apparently slightly bigger than the 48MP camera sensor that the iPhone 14 Pro sports.
Another rumor, from GalaxyClub, claims that the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus will both come with a 12MP front camera. That would mark the first time either model has had a selfie resolution upgrade since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S10 in 2019.
It’s not clear what other upgrades might be involved, or if this rumor has any validity. Still, when the Galaxy S22 Ultra packs in a 40MP front camera, it’s about time Samsung added some shooting power to the two cheaper models.
As for the telephoto cameras, prepare for no changes. GalaxyClub’s sources say that the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus will use a 10MP telephoto camera, like the S22 and S22 Plus, and that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will also keep its 10MP 10x optical zoom camera too. That doesn’t exclude other possible changes to the zoom cameras but it seems likely that nothing will change if it’s the same resolution sensor.
Samsung Galaxy S23 chipset
So far, we’ve only heard conflicting rumors about the Galaxy S23’s chipset. Initially, a tipster claimed Samsung would use a MediaTek chip in some Galaxy S23 units, though that’s since been refuted. Then it looked like Samsung would halt production of its own Exynos chips so that it could focus on a new Galaxy-only chipset ready for 2025. Qualcomm seemingly confirmed that it would exclusively provide Snapdragon silicon to the Galaxy S23 lineup over the summer.
You can understand why Samsung might want to look at ways to improve the Exynos chipset after including it in some past Galaxy S models. Typically, Samsung flagships powered by the Exynos system-on-chip lag behind the Snapdragon-powered models — that was certainly the case in our Galaxy S22 benchmark testing.
But leaker Ice Universe reports that there’s internal debate about whether to make the Galaxy S23 exclusively powered by Qualcomm. That could signal an Exynos comeback, with the Exynos 2300 used in some models.
Samsung Galaxy S23: Other rumors
In terms of battery, the Samsung S23 Ultra is tipped to get the same battery as the S22 Ultra and the S21 Ultra — which is a 5,000 mAh one. The saving grace could be the rumored Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip that could be seen in the phone that could go a long way in helping, with a boost to power-management features.
The only other thing we’ve heard is that Samsung might refer to the Galaxy S23 internally as “Project Diamond.” Previously, some thought this codename instead referred to a third foldable, but that’s apparently not the case, according to DSCC analyst Ross Young.
Samsung Galaxy S23: What we want to see
There’s a long time for Samsung to finalize some Galaxy S23 details, so here’s what we’re hoping to see.
Better battery life
The battery life on all three Galaxy S22 models is, in a word, disappointing. Even the Galaxy S22 Ultra with its 5,000 mAh power pack couldn’t last as long as phones like the OnePlus 10 Pro or iPhone 13 Pro Max in the Tom’s Guide battery life test. The mid-range Galaxy A53 doesn’t have stellar battery life, either.
Samsung might be competing with the OnePlus 11 Pro that could also launch in 2023 and needs to up its game with battery life. Shrinking the power packs from the Galaxy S21 to the Galaxy S22 (3,700 mAh versus 4,000 mAh) and Galaxy S22 (4,500 mAh versus 4,800 mAh) was not a wise decision and obviously hurt both phones in testing.
It’s no secret by now that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip runs hot. This causes it to hit throttling problems, especially in intense games. Samsung also got caught intentionally throttling some apps to preserve system performance. While the move ultimately ended up as shady, or downright heinous for some, it proved one point: the Galaxy S22 needed better cooling.
The OnePlus 10 Pro features a new cooling system that makes the phone noticeably more comfortable after long gaming sessions than the Galaxy S22 Ultra in my experience. We’re not asking for something on the level of the best gaming phones, but the S22 can get really hot. We want to see the Galaxy S23 fix this.
Snapdragon or better Exynos
Look, we’re all for breaking Qualcomm’s near monopoly on Android phones in some parts of the world. The strongest performers out of all of the best Android phones use Snapdragon chips. While Apple Silicon is still miles ahead in some ways, Samsung’s Exynos processors are inferior to Qualcomm in many others.
We all had high hopes for the flagship Exynos 2200 with its AMD-powered graphics, but the chip ultimately proved lackluster at best. Samsung either needs to figure out why Exynos chips lag behind Snapdragons, or it needs to give up and use Snapdragons everywhere.
One problem with telephoto lenses on smartphones is that you either use the full optical zoom or get stuck with digital that fills in the gaps. Rumors surrounding the Galaxy S22 Ultra suggested that Samsung was going to introduce continuous zoom, where the phone could go from 1x to 10x and all of the spots between smoothly.
We want to see Samsung introduce this on all three Galaxy S23 models, though we have a feeling the feature might be an Ultra exclusive if it ever materializes.
Better model differentiation
Let’s face it, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus are pretty boring. They look just like their predecessors, without many new features. The biggest change involved improved “nightography” for low-light photos, but all of Samsung’s efforts clearly went into the most expensive Galaxy.
While understandable, we’d really like to see the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 get something that makes them more than iterative upgrades. Whether it’s a fresh design, stronger cameras, or display refresh rates that actually dip to 10Hz — since the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus did, in fact, feature a minimum of 48Hz instead of the 10Hz Samsung initially advertised.
We just don’t want the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus to bore us. The Galaxy S23 Ultra though should be anything but boring. Samsung executive Roh Tae-moon may have just told us that the Ultra will be returning for the S23 lineup and that it isn’t going to disappear anytime soon.