Samsung’s yearly flagship refresh is now here. At the middle of the pack is the Samsung Galaxy S23+. It shares most of its specifications with the S23 but with a larger display, battery, and storage. Packing a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset and improved cameras, is it a worthy flagship or should you look somewhere else?
Samsung Galaxy S23+
|Chipset||Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
|Screen||6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 2340 x 1080, 48 – 120Hz, Vision Booster, Gorilla Glass Victus 2|
|OS||Android 13, One UI 5.1|
|Rear Camera||50MP f/1.8 Main, 12MP f/2.2 Ultrawide, 10MP Telephoto 3x Optical Zoom|
|Front Camera||12MP f/2.2|
|Connectivity||WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, USB-C|
|Battery||4,700mAh, 45W Fast Charging, Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, Wireless Power Share|
|Others||In-Display Fingerprint Scanner, IP68 Dust and Water Resistance, Samsung Knox, Samsung Knox Vault|
|Dimensions||157.8 x 76.2 x 7.6mm|
|Colors||Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender|
Design and Aesthetics
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ and by extension the other S23 devices are a refinement of last year’s S22 series when it comes to design. Its triple cameras aren’t quite flush against the back panel but they no longer rest on a platform unlike before. The rear has a matte glass with the Samsung logo embossed near the bottom. The matte finish feels great and is not a fingerprint or dust magnet if you use it without a case.
The sides are glossy with a slight curve to provide you a better grip. All its buttons are clustered at the right-hand side for easy access and are decently tactile. Long pressing the power buttons brings up Bixby while double pressing activates the camera app. The latter can be changed to launch any app you want but the long press can only be bound to Bixby or Power Off.
Located at the bottom is the S23+’s dual SIM tray, USB-C port, and grilles for the microphone and bottom-firing speaker. Like most flagship nowadays, there is no MicroSD card support so you’re stuck with the smartphone’s internal storage and use an external drive or a cloud service to expand storage.
Samsung is offering the S23+ in four colors: Cream, Phantom Black, Green, and Lavender. The one we got on review is the Lavender variant, which is one of the most eye-catching models among the colorways. The other three might be a bit too plain for others but some may like the stealthier look.
Screen and Audio
The smartphone sports a 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which is slightly larger than the vanilla S23. Resolution is kept modest as it is only 2340 x 1080 compared to other flagships that come with a QHD+ screen. This shouldn’t pose a problem though as its size keeps everything crisp despite the lower pixel count.
Its display supports variable refresh rate to save battery. It’s not as refined as LTPO as it only goes down to a rated 48Hz. Based on our testing, however, the screen can go down to only 24Hz if there is only a static image being shown. Watching videos will instinctively adjust the refresh rate to 24Hz, 30Hz, or 60Hz depending on the framerate of the content.
Colors look simply amazing on the S23+. The AMOLED panel delivers inky blacks and saturated colors. It will come in Vivid mode by default so if you want a bit more muted look, you can switch to Standard mode via the Display Settings. Color Gamut is nearly 100% DCI-P3 allowing for a wide range of colors. Brightness maxes out at 694.52 nits under manual mode with Extra Brightness turned on but peak brightness can reach up to 1,750 nits in certain conditions.
- sRGB – 100%
- AdobeRGB – 92.00%
- DCI-P3 – 99.80%
- Luminance (Minimum) – 0.84 cd/m2
- Luminance (Maximum) – 694.52 cd/m2
- Gamma – 1.97
- Contrast Ratio – 1:1
A hybrid stereo speaker is being used by the S23+ with the earpiece acting as a secondary speaker to boost performance of the bottom-firing unit. Samsung manages to balance the performance of the two speakers to deliver a balanced listening experience. Audio can get decently loud as well but without muffling some of the details. Soundstage is good for a smartphone and vocals remain clear throughout the volume range.
Out-of-the-box, the Samsung Galaxy S23+ ships with Android 13 with OneUI 5.1. This version is iterative and Samsung hasn’t done anything drastic with the UI. Of course there are enhancements including Expert RAW, stacking widgets, easier connectivity for supported devices, and a built-in object eraser in the Gallery app.
OneUI 5.1 will feel familiar to Samsung users. It is highly customizable with different animations, icon packs, and themes on offer. Google Discover can be easily toggled on or off on the home screen and you can now launch apps in split screen mode by swiping up from the bottom with two fingers. The edge panel is still present that allows quick access to apps.
The Gallery gets quite a few enhancements this generation. It now has built-in tools to erase shadows and reflections. Object eraser works well enough for tap detection but you can encircle specific spots for editing. Image blending is good for small out-of-focus objects but don’t expect magic when erasing large portions of the frame.
You can also easily augment photos with Samsung’s Remaster Mode. The smartphone will automatically apply color filters and adjustments to make photos pop. It’s okay for quick editing jobs for those who don’t want to delve in the color settings of pictures.
Samsung Galaxy S23+ Review – Cameras
The vanilla Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ share the same imaging capabilities. They come with triple cameras at the back: a 50MP f/1.8 main lens, a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide, and a 10MP f/2.4 Telephoto; while at the front is a 12MP f/2.2 selfie shooter.
The camera app remains the same and easy to use. You can choose from several modes including Portrait, Photo, and Video by default with others being hidden in the “More” menu but you can add modes to the default page. Video supports up to 8K30fps and 4K60fps but 1080p and 720p are capped to 60fps and 30fps, respectively.
Expert RAW requires a separate download from the Galaxy Store. Once installed, you can now capture .dng photos on any of the cameras on the S23+. There are no post-processing applied to the photos and thus be easier to edit via third-party software like Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop.
Its 50MP f/1.8 main camera has a Samsung S5KGN3 sensor and takes 12MP photos by default. Left to its own devices, the Galaxy S23+ takes fantastic photos worthy of a flagship smartphone. Colors are balanced with a slight vibrant hue. Dynamic range is remarkable with well-exposed areas regardless of condition.
There are some over sharpening happening in geometrical lines with some artifacts but these shouldn’t be noticeable in most cases. The sides are also a touch soft but everything within the middle of the frame is sharp.
Powering the 12MP f/2.2 fixed focus ultrawide camera is a Sony IMX564 sensor. Performance is still impressive for an ultrawide shooter with great detail and color. The same problem pops up like a tad of over sharpening in some areas and softness around the edges. The distortion correction does a good job of correcting the frame so there’s minimal fisheye effect around the edges.
The only sub-12MP camera on the device is the 10MP f/2.4 telephoto zoom with a Samsung S5K3K1 sensor with OIS. Oddly enough, it takes 12MP photos so we expect that the company is using some kind of upscaling technique for the zoom lens. It is limited to only 3x optical zoom unlike the S23 Ultra’s 10x optical zoom.
The whole frame is slightly softer when compared to the main camera but ultimately comes out sharp when taking photos. Again, details are well-preserved with colors being slightly vivid due to postprocessing. Using 3x optical zoom dampens the sharpness a bit but minute details should still be noticeable.
Lastly, selfies are taken with a 12MP f/2.2 front-facing camera and its Samsug S5K3LU sensor. Photos come out great and you can choose from 2 different zoom levels depending on the photo. Skin looks natural and there is no aggressive postprocessing by default.
Colors are slightly less vibrant compared to the rear cameras but still look good. Portrait mode has excellent edge detection especially when it comes to stray hair and accessories.
Samsung Galaxy S23+ Review – Benchmarks
Samsung is axing their Exynos chipset on all of their flagships this year. This means that all of the S23 series smartphones will pack a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset instead of being locked in a few regions.
It’s not just a regular flagship chipset, however, as Samsung dubbed their chipsets Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. What does this mean? Well, CPU clock speed is increased to 3.36GHz from 3.2GHz while GPU clocks is upped to 719MHz from 680MHz. It’s only a slight bump in speed but that does help with pushing the device to potential customers.
Realistically, there shouldn’t be any performance difference but it may help in benchmark figures. Running a few canned benchmarks reveals an expected impressive score sheet with the smartphone reaching nearly 1.2 million in AnTuTu and 15,000 in PCMark Work 3.0.
Gaming is a non-issue for the Samsung Galaxy S23+. Most games that you throw at it will run at more than playable framerates. Unfortunately, not all mainstream games support its 120Hz display so they are capped to 60fps. Hopefully, developers will push an update soon to enable high refresh rate mode to take advantage of its display and flagship chipset.
It is worth mentioning that the smartphone will run hot especially near the camera area under heavy workloads. This will become uncomfortable in the long run especially in extended gaming sessions.
Samsung Galaxy S23+ Review – Battery Life
A 4,700mAh battery provides juice to the Galaxy S23+. It is only a 200mAh upgrade from last year’s S22+ but its plenty enough for the device. You will be able to get a full day and a half of usage with medium use even with Always-On Display. Running PCMark Work 3.0 battery test with medium volume and brightness yields around 15 hours of use.
45W Fast Wired Charging and 15W Fast Wireless Charging is supported. Unfortunately, we did not get Samsung’s 45W Travel Adapter in time for this review so we can’t comment on its first-party charging speed as it does not have a charging out-of-the-box. Plugging it via a USB PD compatible charging limits speeds to about 25W, which fills the battery from zero to full in an hour and 40 minutes.
Samsung Galaxy S23+ Review – Conclusion
It’s no surprise that the Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a well-rounded flagship-class smartphone. Samsung hasn’t done anything radical this generation but instead refined the formula from last year. Its performance is fast, its cameras astounding, and the display simply gorgeous.
The smartphone is powerful by its own right but there are some nitpicks. Samsung might have bumped up their charging speeds to 45W but that’s still slow when compared to flagships that support 100W charging. It doesn’t help that they no longer bundle chargers on their devices.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 8 for Galaxy might be impressive on paper but the smartphone’s thermals holds it back. Its perfect for short and burst-y workloads but might not be as impressive in longer loads like lengthy gaming sessions.
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a beefy device that can perform everything you expect it to despite some nitpicks. It is significantly more expensive than last year’s offering so we don’t expect flagship users from last year will rush out to buy one. But for those looking to expand their smartphone capabilities, the Galaxy S23+ will be a pleasure to use.
Samsung Galaxy S23+ Price and Availability
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ is priced starting at PhP 68,990 in the Philippines. Two variants are available: 8GB/256GB for PhP 68,990 and 8GB/512GB for PhP 76,990. You can now get it as well as other entries in the S23 series range via the official Samsung website, Shopee, Lazada, and authorized retailers nationwide.