Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review

The Galaxy S23 Ultra packs a stunning 200MP camera along with very fast performance and much longer battery life

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra back in green showing cameras
Editor's Choice
(Image: © Future)

Tom's Guide Verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra takes Samsung's flagship to the next level with a whopping 200MP camera and lots of other photography improvements. You also get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip for Galaxy for the fastest speed on Android, stellar battery life and smart One UI 5.1 upgrades.

Pros

  • +

    Powerful 200MP camera

  • +

    Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip beats iPhone on graphics

  • +

    Awesome display

  • +

    Excellent battery life

  • +

    Smart One UI 5.1 upgrades

Cons

  • -

    Very expensive

  • -

    Curved screen can get in way

  • -

    No upgrade in charging speed

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The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra wants to take smartphone photography to the next level with its massive 200MP camera and other improvements. And based on my testing, this camera system — and nearly everything else about this flagship — lives up to the hype. 

So what can you do with 200 megapixels? The sensor can combine 16 pixels into one for brighter, more detailed shots, or you can shoot in full 200MP mode, which gives you a lot more freedom when it comes to cropping in and reframing your pics. 

Other Galaxy S23 Ultra upgrades include a sharper 12MP front camera, an exclusive new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip made for Galaxy that delivers fast graphics performance that beats the iPhone and a display that's better optimized for S Pen use. See our Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S23 face-off if you're on the fence between both flagships. 

Based on my extensive comparisons, I can tell you that the S23 Ultra is definitely one of the best camera phones — even better than the Pixel 7 Pro and neck and neck with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Even better, the battery life is much improved at over 13 hours. Is all of this worth $1,199?

Yes, the Galaxy S23 Ultra isn't just the best Android phone money you can buy, it's arguably the best phone period among premium flagships. Here's the pros and cons based on my Galaxy S23 Ultra review. 

For more, see our Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max comparison to see which phone is right for you and our Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Pixel 7 Pro comparison. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra release date and price

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra colors

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra arrived in February with a starting price of $1,199 / £1,249 / AU$1,949 for 256GB of storage. That's double the storage of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is good news, but the UK / AU pricing is £100 / AU$100 more than what the S22 Ultra cost. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is also available with 512GB for $1,379 / £1,399 / AU$2,249 or 1TB of storage for $1,619 / £1,599 AU$2,649. 

Check out our Galaxy S23 deals page for the latest discounts. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra specs

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Galaxy S23 Ultra
Price$1,199 / £1,249
Display6.8-inch QHD AMOLED
Refresh rate 1 - 120Hz adaptive
Rear cameras200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto, 10MP 10x telephoto
Front camera12MP selfie
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
RAM8GB/12GB
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery5,000 mAh
Charging45W wired/10W wireless
Water/dust resistanceIP68
Size163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9mm (6.4 x 3.0 x 0.35 inches)
Weight233g (8.2 ounces)
ColorsPhantom Black, Cotton Flower, Botanic Green and Mystic Lilac

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra design and colors

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra back

(Image credit: Future)

There's a couple things you notice about the Galaxy S23 Ultra's design right of the bat. The cameras on the back are even bigger this time around compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the display is flatter. There's still a gentle curve to the 6.8-inch panel, but you get a slimmer curve with a flatter surface area, which makes using an S Pen a bit more comfortable.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra curved display

(Image credit: Future)

I know some would prefer a totally flat design, but I hold the S23 Ultra in my hand the curve does give it a slightly more premium feel. The only issue is that it can sometimes be difficult to target items with your finger on the extreme edges of the display. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is built to be tougher, too, as it's the first phone with Corning's Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which promises to protect the front and back better from scratches and drops. The YouTuber JerryRigEverything has conducted some durability tests, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra fares quite well when it comes to scratching and bending. However, you'll still want to invest in one of the best Galaxy S23 Ultra cases to protect your investment.  

The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes in four colors, including Phantom Black, Green, Cream and Lavender. I'm partial to the green as it pops the most of all the hues — which is the model I'm testing — followed by the lavender, which is subtle and elegant. I also like that the design does a fairly good job of resisting fingerprints.