Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus — which phone should you get?

Galaxy S23 hands-on phones in hand
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The match-up of Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus is a particularly close one. With both models now on sale, it may be hard for you to choose which one's right for you. But we are here to help you decide whether you should go for the cheaper Galaxy S23 or enjoy the larger screen space of the Galaxy S23 Plus.

While screen size is one of the bigger factors when deciding which of these phones to get, it's not the only difference between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus. Price, storage space and charging speed are also different. But a glance at the Galaxy S23 specs and Galaxy S23 Plus specs will reveal a lot of similarities that could make the S23 seem a better value purchase because of its lower price.

To help make your buying decision easier, we're going to detail the key Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus differences. We can also show you what the phones have in common, as that could influence your ultimate choice as well.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus: Specs

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Galaxy S23Galaxy S23 Plus
Screen size6.1-inch AMOLED (2,340x1.080)6.6-inch AMOLED (2,340x1,080)
CPUSnapdragon 8 Gen 2Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Storage128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom)50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom)
Front cameras12MP12MP
Battery size3,900 mAh4,700 mAh
Charging speed25W wired45W wired
Size5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches6.2 x 3 x 0.3 inches
Weight6 ounces7.3 ounches
ColorsPhantom Black, Green, Lavender, CreamPhantom Black, Green, Lavender, Cream

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus: What's different

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Size

Let's address the most obvious Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus difference — as its name would indicate, the Plus is a bigger phone. Specifically, the Galaxy S23 Plus has a 6.6-inch display compared to the 6.1-inch panel on the Galaxy S23.

That screen size difference also leads to different dimensions for the two models. The Galaxy S23 Plus is taller and wider at 6.2 x 3 x 0.3 inches, compared to the 5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3-inch Galaxy S23. The Plus also weighs 1.3 ounces more than the 6-ounce S23.

Galaxy S23 hands-on s23 and s23 plus next to each other displays showing

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For many users, the extra screen space on the Galaxy S23 Plus will trump every other consideration. Personally, having used last year's Galaxy S22 model (which is about the same size and weight as the newer S23), I appreciate how portable the compact design of Samsung's 6.1-inch phone is. But that's a matter of personal taste.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Battery size

A bigger phone means more space for the battery, and the Galaxy S23 Plus takes advantage of that with a 4,700 mAH power pack. In contrast, the Galaxy S23 offers a 3,900 mAH cell.

While we've had some Galaxy S23 hands-on time, that hasn't provided enough of a chance to run battery tests on either the S23 or the S23 Plus. Past battery testing would make us think the larger battery in the Plus model will translate to longer battery life for that phone, even with the larger screen to keep powered up. But we won't know for certain until we run our tests.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Charging speed

In addition to its bigger battery, the Galaxy S23 Plus also charges faster than its more compact sibling. Samsung's equipped the Galaxy S23 Plus with support for 45W charging, a feature it shares with the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The Galaxy S22 makes do with 25W charging.

Galaxy S23 display

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Just as we haven't had a chance to run battery tests on Samsung's new phones (apart from the Ultra, as you can see in our Galaxy S23 Ultra review), we also haven't timed how long it takes the S23 and S23 Plus to get fully charged. However, since last year's Galaxy S22 models had the same charging speeds, we're not expecting much of a change here. Back then, the Galaxy S22 Plus was able to get 10% more of a charge than the S22 after 30 minutes of charging.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Price

How much would you pay to get a larger screen, bigger battery and faster charging speed? I hope the answer is $200 because that's the price difference between the Galaxy S23 Plus and the Galaxy S23.

The smaller S23 starts at $799, which is the same price in the U.S. that Samsung charged for the Galaxy S22. The Galaxy S23 Plus also costs the same as its predecessor, with a starting price of $999.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Storage

There's a key difference in the amount of storage you get with the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus. The $799 base model of the S23 ships with 128GB of on-board storage, the same amount offered by the Galaxy S22. But Samsung doubled the storage on the base model Galaxy S23 Plus — it now comes with 256GB of capacity.

In essence then, you may be paying $200 more for the Galaxy S23 Plus than you would for the Galaxy S23. But in addition to the larger screen size and bigger battery, you also get twice the storage.

There is a way for Galaxy S23 shoppers to get that 256BB model without having to pay an additional $60. As part of a Galaxy S23 preorder offer, Samsung will upgrade you to the next level of storage without boosting the price. That means you can get the 256GB Galaxy S23 for $799 instead of the usual $859 price. (It also means Galaxy S23 Plus preorders can get a 512GB model for the $999 starting price.)

Galaxy S23: $100 credit + storage upgrade @ Samsung

Galaxy S23: $100 credit + storage upgrade @ Samsung
Samsung is one of the best sites for Galaxy S23 deals. Preorder your Galaxy S23 at Samsung by Feb. 16 and you'll get a free memory/storage upgrade and $100 Samsung credit. Additionally, Samsung is offering exclusive access to the phones in Lime, Graphite, Sky Blue, or Red colors. Samsung will even let you purchase your phone on any carrier direct from the Samsung website.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: What's the same

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Display

While screen size differs between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, other key display specs are the same. And in one instance, that means a big improvement for the S23 over last year's model.

Galaxy S23 hands-on s23 and s23 plus displays compared

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy S22 featured a maximum brightness of 1,300 nits when it debuted a year ago. With the Galaxy S23, Samsung is boosting brightness on the standard model to match the 1,750-nit brightness enjoyed by the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S23 Ultra. The result should be a much brighter phone than before, so you'll be able to easily use the Galaxy S23 even when it's sunny out.

The Galaxy S23 shares another key display spec with the S23 Plus — both phones have an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz, so they can scale up for smoother scrolling and more immersive games. The phones have a minimum refresh rate of 48Hz to save power when on-screen activity is more static. Only the Galaxy S23 Ultra is capable of scaling down to 1Hz.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Chipset

Unlike Apple, which now uses different chipsets in its standard and Pro iPhones, Samsung turns to the same silicon for all of its flagships. That's very good news if you opt for a Galaxy S23, as you can expect similar performance to more expensive phones from Samsung.

Galaxy S23 hands-on

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In the case of the Galaxy S23 family, the chipset in question is Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. That system-on-chip has been customized for Samsung's phones with a faster clock speed than the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. 

We haven't tested the S23 or S23 Plus yet, but our Galaxy S23 Ultra benchmarks show a big jump in power for the phone over last year's models. In fact, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered device beat out the iPhone 14 Pro models on the 3DMark Wild Life Unlimited graphics test. We'd expect similar results for the Galaxy S23, since it's using the same chipset, though with less RAM than our S23 Ultra review unit.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Cameras

Don't look for that 200MP camera that's the highlight of the Galaxy S23 Ultra release. Instead, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus share the same camera array, and it's unchanged from what the Galaxy S22 offered. (Our Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S22 comparison looks at what's changed year over year.)

Galaxy S23 hands-on back of phone close up on camera

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

For the main rear camera, both phones use a 50MP sensor. That's augmented by a 12MP ultrawide angle lens and a 10MP telephoto lens with a 3x optical zoom. Up front, the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus enjoy the same upgraded front camera — a 12MP sensor with faster autofocus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Design

Other than their size differences, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus look a lot alike, adopting the S23 Ultra's vertically stacked camera lenses on the back of the phone. The two devices also feature the same Gorilla Glass Victus 2 materials for greater durability, along with the same IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, in its four available colors, arranged in a pinwheel

(Image credit: Samsung)

Even the Galaxy S23 colors haven't changed from model to model. You can choose from Phantom Black, Cream, Green or Lavender regardless of whether you opt for the Galaxy S23 or Galaxy S23 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Outlook

Get the Galaxy S23 Plus if you want a larger screen but don't want to pay the $1,199 that the 6.8-inch Galaxy S23 Ultra costs. You'll get a phone that likely lasts longer and charges faster as well.

But the Galaxy S23 is a good phone for budget-minded users who still want a flagship, especially if they can take advantage of Samsung's promotional offer to double the amount of storage at no additional cost. With the same chipset powering the phone and the same bright display, the Galaxy S23 delivers a lot of value for a lower price than the Galaxy S23 Plus.

Philip Michaels

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.