Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S22: The biggest upgrades

A split image with a cream Galaxy S23 and a lavender Galaxy S22
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

It's time to see the differences between the Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S22. What's new and what are the biggest upgrades?

The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus offer Samsung's latest hardware and software. But the outgoing Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus remain excellent phones with many of the same features. So we're here to try and dissect the differences and similarities in the hope of coming to an overall conclusion on which phone is best for you.

This face-off covers the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus versus the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, so if you're interested in a face-off between the top models of each range, then look at our Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra comparison.

And if you're not sure which model in the S23 family to go for, then our Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra guide will help point out the differences. For now, let's dive into the Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22 comparison. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Specs

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Galaxy S23Galaxy S23 PlusGalaxy S22Galaxy S22 Plus
Display6.1-inch FHD AMOLED6.6-inch FHD AMOLED6.1-inch FHD AMOLED6.6-inch FHD AMOLED
Refresh rate 48 - 120Hz adaptive48 - 120Hz adaptive48 - 120Hz adaptive48 - 120Hz adaptive
Rear cameras50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto
Front camera12MP selfie12MP selfie10MP selfie10MP selfie
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 2Snapdragon 8 Gen 2Snapdragon 8 Gen 1Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Storage128GB, 256GB256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB128GB, 256GB
Battery3,900 mAh4,700 mAh3,700 mAh4.500 mAh
Charging25W wired/10W wireless45W wired/10W wireless25W wired/10W wireless45W wired/10W wireless
Water/dust resistanceIP68IP68IP68IP68
Size5.75 x 2.79 x 0.29 inches6.2 x 3.0 x 0.29 inches5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches6.2 x 3 x 0.3 inches
Weight5.8 ounces6.8 ounces5.9 ounces6.9 ounces
ColorsBlack, Cotton, Green, PurpleBlack, Cotton, Green, PurplePhantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold, Bora Purple Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Release date and price

The Galaxy S22 series has been on sale since January of 2022, and likely still will be available for some time from third-party retailers and carriers even as Samsung moves to the Galaxy S23 series. It starts at $800/£749 for the standard Galaxy S22, and $1,000/£949 for the larger Galaxy S22 Plus, though we expect a price drop quickly. 

Galaxy S23 preorders are open at the time of writing, with the retail launch coming on February 17. The pricing for the U.S. is the same as the Galaxy S22 was at launch ($800/$1,000), but it's gone up in the U.K. to £849 and £1,049 for a basic Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus, respectively. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Design and display

The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S22 still come in the same basic 6.1-inch size and 6.6-inch Plus size, but with a few aesthetic differences.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, held in hand next to a plate of biscuits and a mug of coffee

(Image credit: Samsung)

The Galaxy S23 has its cameras separated on its back, but the Galaxy S22 has them joined together in a rectangular camera block. Samsung's also changed up the colors between generations. The Galaxy S23 can be bought in Phantom Black, Cream, Green or Lavender, while the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are offered in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold and Bora Purple (standard S22 only).

Samsung Galaxy S22 in hand back

(Image credit: Future)

The displays on the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S22, other than being the same size, both offer an FHD resolution and a 48Hz - 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. One small change is that the max brightness of the Galaxy S23 is now rated at 1,750 nits, the same as the Galaxy S23 Plus and Galaxy S22 Plus. The regular Galaxy S22 was rated for 1,300 nits.

Another difference between the old and new phones is that the Galaxy S23 uses Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on its front and back, instead of Gorilla Glass Victus Plus like the Galaxy S22. That should mean increased toughness for the new phone, but to what degree we can't be sure without dropping some phones to find out.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Cameras  

Samsung hasn't changed the Galaxy S22's rear cameras hardware when updating to the Galaxy S23. That means on both phones you get a 50MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide camera and 10MP 3x optical telephoto camera.

Samsung claims to have improved its Nightography low-light mode and added new features like astro hyperlapse mode for capturing the stars over long periods of time, and 8K recording at 30fps for smoother video.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus hands-on review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The only new camera on the Galaxy S23 can be found on the front. It uses a 12MP sensor instead of the Galaxy S22's aging 10MP sensor, and should therefore produce much livelier and more detail selfies with Super HDR for better color and contrast. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Performance 

The Galaxy S22 used the best available Android chipset at the time it launched, that being a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Users outside the U.S. however got the phone with an Exynos 2200 chip, a still powerful chipset but one that couldn't quite match up to the Snapdragon version.

For the Galaxy S23, Samsung's gone all in on Snapdragon chips for all markets, specifically the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. That "for Galaxy" part is important as it indicates a higher performance version of the chip that's unique to Samsung, in theory meaning that even as other Android phones debut with the Gen 2 chip, it won't be as powerful as Samsung's.

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

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung also promises the "world's fastest mobile graphics," so the S23 and S23 Plus should be better for gaming.

Samsung's only provided 8GB RAM in the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S23, which isn't a huge amount but should still provide adequate multi-tasking performance. Storage on the Galaxy S23 starts at 128GB and goes to 256GB, like on the Galaxy S22, but the Galaxy S23 Plus gets a storage boost. It now starts at 256GB and maxes out at 512GB storage, up from the 128GB default and 256GB optional you could spec for the Galaxy S22 Plus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Battery and charging 

The batteries on the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus have gained a bit of capacity over their predecessors. The Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus had 3,700 mAh and 4,500 mAh batteries respectively, but those are now 3,900 mAh and 4,700 mAh batteries on the S23 and S23 Plus.

Charging's not changed though. The Galaxy S23 charges at 25W wired and 10W wireless like the Galaxy S22, and the Galaxy S23 Plus charges at 45W/10W as the Galaxy S22 Plus did. Plus there's still no included charger in the box, just a USB-C cable.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Software

You get the Android 13-based One UI 5.1 by default on the Galaxy S23 series, although the Galaxy S22 will be able to update to it soon too. However, as it's newer, Samsung's 4-year Android update schedule will get the S23 to Android 17, while the S22 will in theory stop at Android 16.

One UI 5.1 includes abilities like Bixby Text Call to let you reply to a caller with text messages, while Modes offers an iOS Focus-style method of managing your notifications and available apps depending on the time of day. It's not clear yet which of these are Galaxy S23-exclusive, and which will appear on other One UI 5.1 compatible phones.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Galaxy S22: Outlook

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is obviously the better phone than the Galaxy S22. The only question now is how much better it is.

The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus' improved cameras, faster processor and larger batteries are welcome upgrades, and it's nice that the regular Samsung S23 gets a brighter display. There's little sense going for the older Galaxy S22 if your budget can afford a new phone.

But if you're limited on funds, or already own a Galaxy S22, the S23 probably doesn't offer enough new stuff for you to worry you're missing out.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is 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.