Be sure to check out ours The best Android phones And The best cheap phones guides for more advice. If you are grabbing last year Galaxy S22 rather cheap, well, we also have recommendations on accessories.
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The new technology in all 3 phones
The Galaxy S23 series has a similar design philosophy across all three devices, although the Ultra stands out with its squared edges. They all have the same bright AMOLED screens, characteristic 120Hz screen refresh rateand they have the basics like wireless charging, robust 5G and Wi-Fi 6E support, in-display fingerprint sensors, and IP68 water resistance. They are made of aluminum and the glass that protects the screen and the back is Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2. You can get them all in Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender, and you’ll find Lime, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red color options if you buy them direct at Samsung.com.
These phones are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip with 8GB of RAM, not just in the US, but globally. The “for Galaxy” moniker indicates that the chips have a slightly higher clock speed than base Snapdragon chips, so they’re a bit faster, and there are further optimizations available to make them more efficient. The range also features a redesigned cooling chamber that’s twice as large, which should keep the phone cooler during extended gaming sessions. Camera-wise, all three models share the same 12-megapixel ultrawide, a similar 3X optical telephoto lens, and a new 12-megapixel selfie cam.
All three S23 phones will receive five years of security updates and four Android OS updates (they launch with Android 13), which is the best software policy you’ll find with Android phones. This is just where the similarities end. That’s how they are all different.
The Galaxy S23 is the smallest in the lineup with its 6.1-inch screen, so if you’re looking for a phone that you can use comfortably with one hand, this is the way to go. It’s also the cheapest, even if it’s not “cheap” at all. It’s the only S23 model that starts with 128GB of internal storage (the other two now start at 256GB), but Samsung has increased the battery capacity by 200mAh over the Galaxy S22’s 3,900mAh. This phone is the only one of the bunch that’s limited to a 25-watt charging speed, so it’s not that quick to top up when you plug it in. (Remember, there’s no longer a charging adapter in the box, so you’ll need to supply one yourself.) The big change is the main camera, which uses a new 50-megapixel sensor for a better range of dynamic colors.
The S23+ is the awkward middle child that isn’t how as feature-packed as the Ultra, but not as distinctive from the standard S23 as to warrant a $200 price bump. However, this phone is larger at 6.6 inches and has a larger 4,700mAh battery capacity than the Ultra. his predecessor. Internal storage starts at 256GB, which is significant since Samsung stopped including microSD card slots in its high-end phones in 2021. Since the S23+ has the exact same camera setup as the S23, the only The main difference is the charging speed: it supports 45-watt charging (charger not included), so it charges a little faster than the S23. In our previous experience, the charging speed isn’t drastically different, so that shouldn’t really factor into your decision. Get it if you want more battery or a slightly bigger screen.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with S Pen ($1,200)
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is the crème de la crème of the Samsung range. It retains the same great 10X optical zoom camera as its predecessor that lets you take clear photos of distant subjects. It also it has a 3X optical zoom and who doesn’t love options? If you’re a fan of the S Pen, this is the only Samsung phone with a built-in stylus that’s accessible from the bottom edge of the device. It’s the largest phone of the trio at 6.8 inches (and the heaviest), and while it has a adaptive refresh rate like the other two, it can switch from 1 to 120Hz when needed, which means it’s a bit more battery efficient. It has a 5,000mAh battery, and Samsung claims it will last 20 percent longer than last year’s S22 Ultra despite having the same capacity.
Like the S23+, it features 45-watt charging and the base model comes with 256GB of internal storage, but the big change here is the 200-megapixel main camera. That’s the highest megapixel count we’ve ever seen on a Samsung phone, and should mean higher resolution photos, more detail, and potentially brighter low-light images.
There are other great phones: If you’re alarmed by these prices, well, you should be. Phones are unnecessarily expensive these days. There’s absolutely no need to spend nearly $800 to get a great smartphone. Check out our The best Android phones And The best cheap phones guides for additional advice at affordable prices.
Should you upgrade? If you have the Galaxy S22 or S21 series, there is no reason to upgrade. The phones are pretty similar, so unless you have problems with your phone and can’t fix it, save your money and wait another year or two. Anyone with an older Samsung phone should feel welcome to upgrade, just know that these aren’t your only options. You can wait a few weeks to grab a Galaxy S22 at a great price (ideally for around $600) or choose a cheaper phone. Samsung phones also regularly go on sale, so it might be worth waiting for the next big holiday event to see how the low prices fall.
Where to buy Galaxy S23 series unlocked
We recommend unlocked smartphones rather than buying a phone directly from a wireless carrier. How come? Carriers sell locked phones, which means that if you suddenly want to switch from AT&T to Verizon, you’ll have to jump through hoops to unlock the device and access it on the new network (there are also some restrictions on how long you’ll need to be on a plan before you can unlock a device). You can easily use unlocked phones in other countries without having to pay exorbitant prices for international data, and unlocked phones are less likely to include bloatware apps. They will also receive software updates faster.
Make sure you take advantage of the pre-order bonus. For a few years now, Samsung has been offering a special bonus that gives you a higher storage version of the phone when you pre-order the device. That means you can get the 256GB version of the Galaxy S23 for the same price as the 128GB model, or the 512GB S23 Ultra for the same price as the 256GB model. If storage space is important to you, it’s worth trying to capture it. It is available from most couriers and retailers and we have marked as such below. Here’s where to buy the Galaxy S23 range unlocked.
Get the Galaxy S23 range from Samsung.com (Unlocked)
Samsung offers a free storage upgrade for Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+And Galaxy S23 Ultra when you buy direct from the company’s website, and you can even choose from multiple exclusive colors online in case Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender don’t strike your fancy. Anyone who pre-orders will also get an additional $100 in Samsung store credit, meaning you can spend it on accessories to outfit your phone.
Get the Galaxy S23 range from Amazon (unlocked)
Amazon offers the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+And Galaxy S23 Ultra at the same prices as Samsung, and you can choose the 256 GB model for S23 and the 512 GB model for S23+ and S23 Ultra without paying anything extra.
Get the Galaxy S23 lineup from Best Buy (Unlocked)
Best Buy has the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+And Galaxy S23 Ultra for the same prices and also offers a free storage upgrade. The retailer is also rolling out a Best Buy gift card of up to $100 as icing on the cake.
Wireless carrier deals for the Galaxy S23 series
These models will likely come to locked down wireless carriers, so it will be a pain to use them on other networks. Buying on a payment plan can also quickly add up to much higher recurring charges.
Verified: If you switch to Verizon or upgrade your existing device, you can get up to $800 off any Galaxy S23 device with an eligible trade-in device on an unlimited 5G plan (included the S23+ And S23 Ultra). Surprisingly, Verizon is launching for free Galaxy Watch5 And Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G tablet also complimentary with your purchase. Anyone who switches to Verizon will also get a $200 Verizon eCard to use at the carrier. Verizon offers free memory upgrades and also has various discounts on accessories, such as 20% off S23 cases and screen protectors, and 30% off Samsung cases when purchased online.AT&T extension: New and existing customers can get up to $1,000 off at Galaxy S23, S23+And S23 Ultra with an eligible trade-in. (AT&T’s footnotes say this only applies to “well-qualified customers,” and the device must be a Galaxy Note, Galaxy S or Z-series, or a Google Pixel. It also requires an installment plan and an eligible unlimited plan. The savings come in the form of monthly utility bill credits.) AT&T also offers free memory upgrades.T-Mobile: T-Mobile is offering up to $1,000 off Galaxy S23+ for new and existing customers when you trade in an eligible device with the Magenta Max plan. You can also get up to $800 off Galaxy S23 when you add a row on Magenta Max, even if you see savings on bill credits for 24 months. If you don’t have that plan, you can trade in an eligible device on almost any plan to get up to $500 off. T-Mobile offers a free storage upgrade when you pre-order one of the new devices.
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