Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra rumored release date, price, specs and more

a hamds-ono photos of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra should be the top model of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S23 range — at least according to all the rumors about this upcoming model that we've heard so far.

That would mean a phone that replaces the current Galaxy S22 Ultra, which offered a huge upgrade compared to previous Galaxy S Ultra phones, by combining the camera array of previous models with the built-in stylus of the Galaxy Note series. The Galaxy S23 Ultra seems like it'll be building on this in a few ways, most notably with a main camera somehow stuffed with a rumored 200 megapixels and the traditional yearly chipset update for more performance and power efficiency.

There's still a couple months to go until the new Samsung flagship phone takes to the stage, but below we've collected all the rumors (and one official statement) about the Galaxy S23 Ultra so far. And be sure to check out our Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra preview to see all the biggest expected upgrades. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra latest news (Updated November 25)

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra possible release date and price

To get the basics out of the way first, we know that the Galaxy S Ultra model will return, as stated by Samsung boss T.M. Roh when talking about the end of the Galaxy Note series. Now the only question is when it'll appear.

The smart guess would be January or February, the two months that Samsung's unveiled its new Galaxy S phones each year for the past several years. Since we've already seen a new Samsung model receive certification in Korea, it seems like Samsung's keeping to that timing.

It may be sooner than that though, as market sources think Samsung will move its launch date forward a few weeks to mid-January. This would hopefully stop users from buying new phones from other brands like Apple or Google, so Samsung's thinking apparently goes. One slightly shaky rumor seems to back this up too, with one Korean mobile carrier supposedly opening its registration for pre-orders in December.

As for the cost of this Ultra phone, we'd anticipate it'll cost at least $1,200 again, as the current S22 Ultra does. We'd be happy to see a price drop though, especially since its closest rival, the iPhone 14 Pro Max, starts a little cheaper at $1,100. Whatever the release price, we should be able to bring the price down a little for you with our Samsung promo codes.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra design and display

If the Galaxy S23 Ultra is changing as little as the rumors say, then we'll likely see a near-identical design to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, with squared-off corners, a curved display and individually-embedded cameras on the back. That would also mean another embedded S Pen for your doodling needs, one of the most unique features of the S22 Ultra.

Image of leaked renders of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)

That's not to say there are no possible changes. We've heard that the S23 Ultra may be slightly longer and wider than the S22 Ultra, and also heavier, although only by hundredths of millimeters and a fraction of an ounce, so you're unlikely to notice. The display and sides may also be flatter too, which may please users who don't like tapping or writing on curved screens.

Also, leaker Ice Universe has claimed that there will be a new display for the S23 Ultra. There are also rumors that the display will be the brightest smartphone display on the market when the S23 Ultra launches. The display is tipped to get a minimum peak brightness of 2,100 nits, which is significantly brighter than the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and even the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

While it would be hard to improve on the super-bright, 6.8-inch QHD AMOLED panel and its fully variable LTPO 120Hz refresh rate, perhaps Samsung has an even brighter, or a more efficient, display ready to swap in as a welcome update.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra display

(Image credit: Future)

The display may also get another feature upgrade. According to Twitter leaker RGcloudS, the entire S23 lineup could get an upgraded fingerprint reader. This would be the latest Qualcomm 3D Sonic Max fingerprint reader, which has a footprint 17 times larger than the current in-display fingerprint readers used by Samsung. It can even allow for scanning multiple fingerprints at once.

Unfortunately, it's possible that this model will also suffer from the thicker bezels (but no display size increase) rumored for the S23 regular. This could perhaps explain the slight body size increase, although since the normal S23 and S23 Plus have flat displays rather than curved ones, maybe it won't apply to the Ultra.

Image of a leaked render of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)

But now the first leaked renders have appeared (as well as a matching case). OnLeaks working with SmartPrix put out a 360-degree video of the Galaxy S23 Ultra in black. Based on leaked CAD designs, the renders don't look all that much different from the Galaxy S22 Ultra, plus reliable leaker Ice Universe (opens in new tab) has since said some of the changes that appear in the renders may not reflect the real S23 Ultra, and that the cameras may have larger metal surrounds to them, in order to prevent scratching.

From all appearances, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have some slightly more square edges than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It looks like Samsung might keep the tried-and-true Galaxy Note-like design.

For color choices, it seems like we'll have at least four on our hands. Those will apparently be beige, black, green and light pink, which will be available on all three models in the S23 family.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra cameras

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra rear and cameras

(Image credit: Future)

We should still see four cameras on the back of the S23 Ultra, except with one major change. There will allegedly be a 200MP main camera, (claimed by multiple sources) even higher-res than the already high-res 108MP main camera on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. This will apparently be capable of 200MP, 50MP or 12.5MP photos, giving users the ability to pick whether they want more detail or brightness and color in their shots.

In better news, IU has since said that the S23 Ultra's 200MP main camera could be much better at taking low-light photos than expected. In fact the leaker claims that the Galaxy S23 Ultra 200MP camera will be the biggest leap in photography in 5 years. The high praise comes specifically for the night mode which can apparently “in an environment with almost no light, the S23 Ultra's 5 seconds shooting is much better than the S22 Ultra's 6 seconds, not only brighter, but also significantly improved in image quality”.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra was already a capable camera phone for night shots, so any upgrades on top sound like they'll make for excellent images whether you're in light or shade.

A new 200MP camera sensor has been unveiled by Samsung and it could be the same one that we will see on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. The ISOCELL HPX has been revealed by Samsung to have excellent low-light capabilities as well. 

According to reliable leaker Ice Universe (opens in new tab), the 200MP sensor on the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have 0.6µm pixels on a 1/1.3" sensor with a particularly wide f/1.7 aperture. These specs don’t match the ISOCELL HP1 or the HP3 sensor, which means it could very well be the ISOCELL HPX that we get to see on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.

And Ice Universe has shared what is apparently the first 200MP image shot on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. It's not the most compelling image, but we do get a test for how the extra pixels delver a shaper overall image than the 108MP camera on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, when looked at with a 16x magnification. As such, we can expect the Galaxy S23 Ultra to deliver some very detailed and crisp shots, if it does indeed sport a 200MP camera. 

200MP photo on left and 108MP image on right, both with 16x magnification.

200MP photo on left and 108MP image on right, both with 16x magnification.  (Image credit: Ice Universe/Weibo)

In a subsequent sample photo though, Ice Universe notes that the HDR on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, while better than the S22 Ultra before it, can't match up to the Pixel 7 Pro. It'll be interesting to see how this impacts our own photos in testing, specifically the highlights and shadows that HDR focuses on.

What's not rumored to change are the telephoto cameras, which will both have 10MP sensors like before according to one source, and presumably have the same 3x and 10x optical magnification, too.

Topping that off, we'd expect to see a 40MP selfie camera once again, embedded in the top center of the display. But it's possible that will be swapped out for the same 12MP camera tipped for the regular and Plus models. A lower resolution may sound offputting, but if it's got enhancements in other areas, then we'd still be happy.

While only one of five total cameras seem to be getting a major upgrade, hopefully Samsung will have some new software enhancements or camera modes to show off at the launch that will help the S23 series claim a spot on our best camera phones page.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra performance and Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Samsung usually powers its Galaxy S phones with Qualcomm chips in the U.S., but its own Exynos chips elsewhere in the world. That would mean Qualcomm's now-official Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will join the Exynos 2300 at the heart of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Deus Ex Go

(Image credit: Future)

The rumors can't seem to decide on what's happening though. Some have said we'll see this mix of chips continue for the time being, while others have said Qualcomm will be suppling Snapdragon chips for S23 models all around the world; this would be very good news for European buyers, as often the phones with their Snapdragon chips have been superior to their Exynos counterparts. 

And there's a more recent rumor has the Galaxy S23 range tipped to get a custom version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which lends further credence to the idea of one chip for all regions, as well as tip better performance for Samsung's phones. 

We've benchmarked the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, and it's definitely an impressive chipset. On the tests we ran, a Qualcomm-powered test device bested the A15 Bionic-powered iPhone 14 most of the time. However, the iPhone 14 Pro Max and its A16 Bionic chipset finishes ahead of what we saw from the Snapdragon 8 Bench 2 on the Geekbench test measuring general performance.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
PhoneProcessorGeekbench 5 single-core scoreGeekbench 5 multicore score
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Reference DesignSnapdragon 8 Gen 21,5005,249
Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraSnapdragon 8 Gen 11,2403,392
Apple iPhone 14 Pro MaxA16 Bionic1,8825,333
Apple iPhone 14A15 Bionic1,7274,553
Google Pixel 7 ProTensor G21,0603,046
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 11,3283,831

However, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 really excels in graphics testing, topping even the A16 Bionic. That bodes well for how the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra might perform, assuming it uses Qualcomm's latest silicon.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
PhoneProcessor3DMark Wild Life Unlimited (FPS)3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (FPS)
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Reference DesignSnapdragon 8 Gen 28422.4
Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraSnapdragon 8 Gen 156.914
Apple iPhone 14 Pro MaxA16 Bionic7419.9
Apple iPhone 14A15 Bionic69.115.5
Google Pixel 7 ProTensor G240.310.8
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 152.816

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: battery and charging

To power the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung is supposedly using the same 5,000 mAh battery as we saw in the Galaxy S22 Ultra (now claimed by GalaxyClub and leaker Ice Universe). While some extra capacity would have been nice, this size of battery is par for the course when it comes to large Android phones, so let's just hope Samsung can squeeze a bit more battery life out of the S23 Ultra. While the S22 Ultra had a decent result on our custom battery test, the iPhone 14 Pro Max lasted longer.

Speaking of battery life, a new "light" performance mode has been tipped for the Samsung Galaxy S23 range. This mode will reportedly reduce the performance of the processor to not only keep it from sucking up extra electrical juice, but also keep it cooler, and thus help to extend overall battery life. So we'd hope to see the Galaxy S23 Ultra last longer than its predecessor. 

The new design of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset rumored for the S23 series may also help with efficiency, particularly when compared to Exynos Galaxy S22 models.

The rumors have forecast no charging speed change for the S23 Ultra, meaning it'll keep the same 45W maximum that the Galaxy S22 Ultra had. Samsung's own 45W charger was able to power up the S22 Ultra to 67% in half an hour, which is again good but not outstanding compared to the 65W and higher charging standards used by rivals like OnePlus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra satellite communication

A recent report claims the Samsung Galaxy S23 range could get satellite communication for handling emergency messaging when a phone is out of traditional cell signal. 

if this sounds familiar it's because Apple introduced Emergency SOS via Satellite communications with the iPhone 14. Like the Cupertino's crash detection, it’s not what you’d call an everyday feature, but one that enables you to send SOS messages in an emergency in areas without a cellular signal.

And it look like Samsung will ape its smartphone rival as, according to Korean site ET News (opens in new tab), Samsung will be teaming up with Iridium Communications and its 66 low-orbit satellites to provide similar last-resort contact in an emergency.

As with the iPhone 14, using satellite communications won’t be like connecting via your regular network. Just as Apple only allows emergency SOS text messages and location sharing via the Find My app, Samsung’s implementation will reportedly be limited to SMS and low-resolution image sharing. The latter, presumably, to help pinpoint your exact location by sharing images of what identifiable sights you can see nearby. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: outlook

The Galaxy S23 series as a whole looks like a year of refinement rather than major developments, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra appears to be getting a bit more than its smaller brethren. We're particularly interested in the rumored 200MP camera and how it could shake up the photo quality of Samsung's most photography-focused phone, but we'll also be curious as to how the new chipset will perform and impact things like battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen

(Image credit: Future)

If Samsung's serious about taking on the iPhone 14 Pro and other flagship smartphones, it needs to wring out every drop of performance and efficiency from the Galaxy S23 Ultra, while also making sure it justifies the Ultra premium. Stay tuned for more Galaxy S23 rumors and leaks as we get closer to launch. 

Richard Priday
Staff Writer

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.