Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus — last-minute leak reveals all the differences

Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra
(Image credit: iTechNews/YouTube)

Update: Follow our Galaxy S23 launch live blog for all the latest Samsung Unpacked news. 

Some of the potential Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus differences have leaked, and it's good news if you were leaning toward the cheaper Galaxy S23 expected to debut at Samsung's Galaxy Unpacked event later this week.

You likely don't have to wait until the February 1 product launch to figure out the chief differences between these two Galaxy S models. Assuming Samsung sticks with the same design as last year's phones — and that's largely what rumors are pointing to — the Galaxy S23 Plus will have a bigger screen and larger battery.

We're expecting a 6.6-inch Galaxy S23 Plus model to go with the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23. Leakers are tipping the S23 Plus to have a 4,700 mAh battery compared to the 3,900 mAh power pack inside the S23.

But those won't be the extent of the changes, according to leaker @Chunvn8888, who took to Twitter to post several more Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus differences, with those changes summarized by a report on Sammobile.

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Galaxy S23 vs S23 Plus: Where the Plus wins

The leaker claims that the base model Galaxy S23 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage will feature UFS 3.1 storage. All other models will use UFS 4.0 storage, which offers double the performance of UFS 3.1 while also consuming less power. That's certainly an edge for the Galaxy S23 Plus, but will it be noticeable enough to justify the likely $200 price gap between the S23 and S23 Plus? Unless you're also sold on the bigger screen of the Galaxy S23 Plus, probably not.

However, other leaks have pointed to the Galaxy S23 Plus starting with 256GB of storage, compared to 128GB for the regular Samsung S23. That's a pretty big upgrade considering that it costs $150 to currently jump from 128GB to 256GB on the regular Galaxy S22. 

Flash storage is not the only one detailed in @Chunvn8888's tweet. The leaker also says the Galaxy S23 will include Wi-Fi 6E support, while other models will work with Wi-Fi 7. The smaller S23 could feature slightly thicker bezels as well.

A phone that supports Wi-Fi 7 would certainly be well-equipped for the coming years, given the emerging wireless standard's ability to quadruple a wireless network's total bandwidth. But the key word there is "emerging" — Wi-Fi 7 networking gear won't appear until later this year at the earliest. And, given Wi-Fi 6E's support for speeds that to 2 Gbps, it's not like Galaxy S23 owners will suffer from laggy performance.

Sammobile's report claims that the Galaxy S23 is expected to miss out on Ultra Wideband (UWB) connectivity used for greater precision with tracking devices. But that feature is missing from the Galaxy S22 as well, so it's hardly a noteworthy sacrifice. Similarly, the Galaxy S23 is expected to only support 25W charging compared to 45W wired charging for the Galaxy S23 Plus — another holdover feature from the Galaxy S22 family.

Cheaper Galaxy S23 should be good enough for most

Image of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus in a leaked marketing image

(Image credit: SnoopyTech via Twitter)

In other words, Galaxy S23 shoppers won't need to make huge sacrifices should they want to buy the cheaper S23. Yes, the screen will be smaller and the storage could be less, but those aren't as significant as the differences between the S23 Plus and the more expensive Galaxy S23 Ultra, with its included S Pen and rumored 200MP main camera.

The similarities between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus figure to be more numerous than the differences. Both phones are expected to feature the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, and both will likely feature 8GB of RAM. The camera setups are expected to be the same, just as they were with the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. (Our Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra comparison runs down all the expected differences between the upcoming Samsung models.)

It's also worth noting that both the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus are tipped to offer bright 1,750-nit displays. 

Not long ago, I wondered what the point of the Galaxy S23 Plus was, given the lack of distinguishing features from the Galaxy S23. Yes, some people are always going to want the biggest screen possible, but I'm not sure that the extra display real estate and additional storage space justifies the higher price of the Plus.

Having seen the extent of rumored Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23 Plus differences, I'd be more confident than ever that the Galaxy S23 would provide a perfectly comparable experience to its larger sibling for most users.

Of course, we won't know for certain until we get our hands on Samsung's new phones. Stay tuned for our Galaxy Unpacked coverage to see if the Galaxy S23 measures up to 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.