Galaxy S23 price hikes are coming, but there are ways to save money
Samsung’s Galaxy A smartphone series has been quite popular in recent years. According to some reports, the mid-range phones have sold even better than the Galaxy S models. That’s why you’d have a good reason to look forward to the Galaxy A54 and A34 that Samsung just unveiled. The former is a higher-priced, mid-ranged Samsung phone you should check out. But maybe hold off on buying the Galaxy A54 for a few months until we see Google’s Pixel 7a.
The Galaxy A54 is a good alternative to the Pixel 6a, which usually sells for around $300, much lower than its original $449 retail price. But the Pixel 7a will be even better than last year’s Pixel 6a. And it’ll be the mid-range phone to beat this year. Though in earnest, the Pixel 7a is closer to being a flagship phone than the Galaxy A54.
One of the immediate highlights of the Galaxy A54 and A34 is the design. The mid-range phones look a lot like the Galaxy S23 handsets. Especially when it comes to the rear-facing triple-lens camera setup, but they’re not identical, especially the cheaper A34 model.
When it comes to specs, the Galaxy A54 is the more exciting model of the two. It features a 6.4-inch Full HD hole-punch display with 120Hz refresh rate and 1000 nits brightness, under-display fingerprint sensor, Exynos 1380 processor, 6GB or 8GB of RAM, 128GB or 256GB of storage, and microSD card support.
Samsung’s Galaxy A54 smartphone in Awesome Graphite. Image source: Samsung The handset features three cameras on the back, including a 50-megapixel main camera with OIS, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and a 5-megapixel macro camera. The selfie shooter has a 32-megapixel sensor. Also, the A54 phone features a 5,000 mAh battery that supports 25W wired charging.
One other notable Galaxy A54 feature is the support for four years of Android updates and five years of security updates.
All of that will retail for $449 on April 6th when the Galaxy A54 hits stores in the US. The phone will be available to preorder later this month, on March 30th. This is where I’ll tell you to hold for about a month to see what’s coming at Google’s I/O 2023 event.
Word on the street is that’s where the Pixel 7a and Pixel Fold will be introduced. The former is a direct competitor to the Galaxy A54. And while the new Samsung phone looks like a flagship, the Pixel 7a might actually feel like one.
Pixel 7a prototype from Vietnam: Rear design and camera module. Image source: Zing News The Pixel 7a appeared in extensive leaks, so we already know what the phone has to offer. We’re looking at a handset that features a glass and metal build. Even the rear panel is made of glass, unlike the Galaxy A54. This gives the Pixel 7a wireless charging powers, something the Samsung handset lacks.
While the Pixel 7a’s 6.1-inch OLED panel doesn’t support 120Hz refresh rates like the Galaxy A54, it’ll still go up to 90Hz. More interestingly, the Pixel 7a will feature the same Google Tensor G2 processor that powers the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro flagships. That will be a much better choice than Samsung’s Exynos processor.
Other specs include 8GB of RAM, 128GB of storage, and a dual 12-megapixel camera on the back. The camera abilities of the Pixel 7a should exceed the Galaxy A54’s powers. That’s because the Pixel 6a is already a great camera, so the Pixel 7a should build on that.
As for Android updates, the Pixel 7a will get them much faster than the Galaxy A54. Hopefully, Google will match Samsung’s four-year update guarantee.
The Pixel 7a will retail between $400 and $500, like the Galaxy A54. Even if it’s slightly more expensive, the Google phone is the better choice this year. That’s why you’d be better off waiting for Google to unveil the Pixel 7a before your purchase the Galaxy A54. Even if you get the Samsung phone, you might score a better price deal in mid-May than at launch.
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To many consumers, there is no battle between the iPhone and Android. Sure, that’s perhaps based on ignorance — but the battle that many think about in the phone world is between the iPhone and Samsung. Nearly 13 years after the launch of the original Samsung Galaxy S device, Samsung still, to many, represents the best of what Android can offer, and the charge is currently being lead by the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra perhaps isn’t the most exciting Galaxy release of the past 13 years. After the death of the note series and subsequent adoption of its design in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the S23 Ultra is much more iterative.
But the iterative releases are often the best. They take the new designs and experimental new features from the last generation, and refine on them, making for a better overall experience, despite not often offering anything radically groundbreaking.
That’s where the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra lies. It’s a better device in almost every way than the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but if you put them side-by-side, you’ll notice immediate similarities. You don’t need to upgrade from the Galaxy S22 Ultra — but if you have anything older, or lower-end, it makes a seriously compelling case for itself.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Rating: 4.5 StarsThe Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra offers a stunning design, top-tier performance, and an awesome camera. Is it worth the money?
BGR may receive a commissionBGR may receive a commissionPros
Stunning design Excellent camera Great battery life Very powerful Beautiful display Cons
Expensive Amazon$1,199.99Samsung$1,199.99 Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra specs
Here’s a look at the specs on offer by the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Dimensions6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inchesIP ratingIP68Display resolution1440 x 3088Display size6.8 inchesDisplay typeDynamic AMOLEDDisplay refresh rate120HzDisplay brightness1750 nits peakChipsetQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2Memory8GB, 12GBStorage256GB, 512GB, 1TBRear camerasWide: 200MP, f/1.7
Telephoto: 10MP, f/2.4, 3x optical zoom
Periscope telephoto: 10MP, f/4.9, 10x optical zoom
Ultrawide: 12MP, f/2.2, 120-degreesVideo8K at 30fps, 4K at 60fps, 1080p at 240fps, 1080p at 960fpsFront camera12MP, f/2.2PortsUSB-C 3.2Battery size5,000mAhCharging45W wired, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wirelessConnectivityBluetooth 5.3, Wi-Fi 6E, 5GColorsGreen, Phantom Black, Lavender, CreamPrice$1,199.99+ Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra design
Perhaps the first thing to notice about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is its design, and it’s far from a bad-looking device. Sure, it looks very similar to the previous-generation Galaxy S22 Ultra, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s generally a handsome-looking device that most should like.
On the bottom, there’s a USB-C port flanked by a slot for the S Pen, which has become a staple feature on the Ultra model after the death of the Note series. The power button and volume rocker are on the right side.
Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR On the back, you’ll find a quad camera array, which is the same as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. We’ll get into the details of those cameras later on.
There are still some differences with the Galaxy S23 Ultra compared to the last-generation model — for one, the camera module is larger, but still not too big. It’s also slightly less curved at the edges, which I personally prefer. In terms of colors, you have three options of Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender. There are other options if you order straight from Samsung, including Graphite, Lime, Light Blue, and Red.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra, as mentioned, comes with an S Pen. I’m not the biggest stylus fan, and didn’t use it all that much — but it was very well-built and offered a range of features. If you like styluses, you’ll like the S Pen with the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR The phone feels very premium in the hand. The device is clearly well-built, and the metal rails and glass front and back feel as such. You would expect that from a device in this price range, but it’s still important to keep in mind.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra display
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is built to offer an incredible display experience, and it succeeds in doing so. The device boasts a 6.8-inch AMOLED display with a 1,440p resolution and a refresh rate that can cycle between 1Hz and 120Hz.
It’s a stunning screen. Text is crisp, and colors are bright and vibrant. It supports HDR10+, though in classic Samsung fashion there’s no Dolby Vision support.
Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR One of the best things about the screen is how smooth it is, without significantly draining battery. That’s because of the variable refresh rate. It’s tech that’s been available for a while and certainly not unique to this phone, but I still really appreciate it.
Samsung rates the screen as offering up to a 1,750-nit peak brightness, which is pretty high, though the same as the S22 Ultra. It’s easily bright enough for all use-cases, including use in direct sunlight outside.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra speakers
The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with stereo speakers, including one under-screen speaker at the top, and one bottom-firing speaker at the bottom.
The speaker quality here is excellent, for a phone. While it doesn’t necessarily compete with a pair of decent headphones, the speakers provided a relatively rich and deep listening experience that make them perfect for use casual use, like watching videos in bed or scrolling TikTok.
The speakers get pretty loud too. You might find some distortion occurs at higher volumes, but it’s not unreasonable, and still far better than the majority of other phone speakers.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra performance
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, coupled with either 8GB or 12GB of RAM and up to a hefty 1TB of storage. It’s a small step up from the last generation, but means that the device is keeping up with the best of the best performance in Android phones.
In day to day use, the phone easily keeps up with everything you can throw at it. It loads apps and games quickly, handles multitasking with ease, and so on. Mobile gamers will find that it’s easily able to keep up with high frame rates, even for more demanding games like Call of Duty: Mobile.
Benchmark results confirmed the excellent performance. Here’s a look at the benchmark results we achieved with the phone.
3DMark Wild Life Extreme GeekBench 6 These are excellent scores, and about in line with what we would expect from a phone equipped with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. They should a phone that’s at the top of the game when it comes to an Android phone — though not quite on-par with the iPhones of the world.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra battery and charging
Powering it all is a 5,000mAh battery, which supports wired charging up to 45W and wireless charging up to 15W.
The battery is large enough for the majority of users. I found that it was pretty easily able to get me through a full day of relatively heavy use, and most of the way into a second day. Even heavier users should find the battery life to be excellent, and if you’re good at charging at night, you’ll never have issues with the battery life.
Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR The only issue I have is that while 45W wired charging is fine, it’s not even close to some of the competition from China. At MWC 2023, Realme announced a phone that can charge at a whopping 240W. I don’t expect Samsung to compete in pushing fast-charging forward, but it would be nice if its devices could charge a little faster, for those times when you’re in a pinch. Thankfully, the device does support wireless charging, and it does so at 15W, which is perfectly fine. It also supports reverse wireless charging at 4.5W, which can be used to charge earbuds and wearables that support Qi.
Still, as mentioned, the battery life on the phone is excellent.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra camera
The camera is perhaps where the biggest upgrades to the device lie. The phone boasts a monster five cameras, with the main camera sitting in at a hefty 200 megapixels. That camera supports a range of tech, like optical image stabilization, laser autofocus, and more.
The main camera is supported by a range of others. There’s a 10-megapixel periscope telephoto camera that offers an impressive 10x optical zoom, along with a 10-megapixel standard telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera.
Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR It’s really an excellent selection of cameras, and makes for an incredibly versatile camera experience overall.
So what about image quality? Again, it’s excellent. In well-lit environments, the Galaxy S23 Ultra was able to capture stunningly detailed images. Images were pretty consistent across lenses, and colors were generally vibrant too, which is always nice.
Like many other top-tier phones right now, the Galaxy S23 Ultra uses pixel binning tech to produce brighter, more detailed images. It works very well here. The camera wasn’t quite as contrast-heavy as the Pixel or iPhone 14 Pro, for example, but that’s not necessarily a bad things, it’s just a choice that Samsung has made for its phone.
One of the best things about the phone is how versatile it is, and indeed any images captured between 0.6x and 10x look just as detailed as each other. As you start to zoom in more, detail does degrade — and at 100x, don’t expect anything approaching a realistic experience. But the fact that you still have the option to take photos at 100x zoom is pretty incredible. Again, you probably won’t use it all that much, considering the quality of images produced, but you might zoom up to around 20x or so, and still get high-quality, detailed images.
In low light, the camera is still able to capture some pretty impressive images, and better than the vast majority of smartphones out there. The phone wasn’t as consistent in low light than in brighter environments, but that’s pretty common. Hopefully phone makers will continue to improve on this.
The front-facing camera is quite good too. The camera sits in at 12 megapixels, and was able to produce colorful and detailed images, again.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra software
The Galaxy S23 Ultra ships with Samsung’s One UI 5.1, which is based on Android 13. If you’ve used a Samsung phone in recent memory, you’ll be fine with the software experience here — but if you’re new to it, it may take some getting used to.
Image source: Christian de Looper for BGR One UI has never been my favorite, but to be fair it’s far from the old day of TouchWiz bloat. The operating system feels relatively modern and stylish, and while there are still some apps and features that probably aren’t necessary, most of the experience feels intuitive. You will have to get used to using Samsung apps instead of Google’s (or have two Clock apps, for example), but again, these apps are well-designed and work well.
Overall, One UI is well-designed and easy to navigate. Many really like Samsung’s software approach, and it remains mostly the same here, if not slightly more refined compared to previous generations.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a phone with no compromises — except, perhaps, price. The device is extremely powerful, offers an excellent camera, a long-lasting battery, and a sleek and stylish design. If you’re looking for the best Android phone right now, this device is a real contender.
There isn’t a ton of competition to the Galaxy S23 Ultra in the U.S., unfortunately. There is outside of the U.S. — like the newly-announced Honor Magic5 Pro, which squarely targets the Galaxy device in the camera and display department. In the U.S., perhaps the best competition comes from the Google Pixel 7 Pro, though that’s maybe a little unfair considering they’re in very different price ranges. If you want value for money, the Pixel 7 Pro is a better option, but for raw performance and overall quality, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a stellar phone.
Should I buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra?
Yes. It’s the best ultra-premium Android phone right now.
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It’s been six months since Apple released the iPhone 14 Pro Max, and it still holds the crown as the best smartphone for several reasons. While BGR already reported it has a better camera and a better processor, a test conducted by YouTuber PhoneBuff shows Apple’s biggest phone also beats the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in a battery test.
Besides the spoiler alert, his video is very interesting as it’s the first time a Galaxy phone lasts for so long in a battery test. Long story short, the iPhone 14 Pro Max beat the S23 Ultra by 30 minutes, and during several hours of the 27-hour long test, it’s Samsung’s phone that actually reigns over the iPhone.
That said, it’s worth noting that while the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery and the iPhone 14 Pro Max offers a 4,323 mAh battery, it’s Apple’s iPhone that wins the test thanks to optimized applications and better integration between hardware and software.
Image source: PhoneBuff During the tests, the YouTuber starts with a call, then texting, e-mail scrolling, web browsing, and Instagram scrolling. While both phones offer a similar experience, it’s during a 16-hours standby test that the iPhone’s battery drops way below Galaxy S23 Ultra from 73% to 66% (S23 Ultra stays at 69%).
The experiment continues with watching YouTube videos, gaming, playing music, and sending Snapchats. That said, with the Snapchat app, Galaxy S23 Ultra loses the lead as the battery drains from 27% to 15%, and the iPhone remains with 16% of battery life.
To end the test, the YouTuber kept opening all the apps he used from the test until the battery of one of the phones died. That said, it’s Galaxy S23 Ultra that turns off first. By the end of the trial, here’s how each phone performed:
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Active time: 11h06 Standby: 16h Total: 27h06 iPhone 14 Pro Max
Active time: 11h44 Standby: 16h Total: 27h44 You can watch PhoneBuff with all testings in the full video below.
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DXOMARK recently published its Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review. While the company praises several features of the latest Samsung flagship, its scores show the camera, display, and audio capabilities lose by a lot to Apple’s latest iPhone 14 Pro models – and, sometimes, even the iPhone 13 Pro devices.
According to DXOMARK, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has consistent camera performance in all features, can render photos properly, and has strong telephoto zoom performance at long range. On the other hand, the publication complains about the following:
Loss of image detail in low-light situations; Exposure and focus instabilities, particularly in backlit scenes; Under sunlight, colorful content lacks nuances. On DXOMARK’s global ranking, the company tests three main categories: Camera, Display, and Audio. The Galaxy S23 Ultra loses for the iPhone 14 Pro models in these three categories. For example, in the Camera department, it scores 140, bringing it to the 10th position alongside the Google Pixel 7. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro scores 141 in the 7th position and iPhone 14 Pro in the 4th position with a 146 score.
Image source: José Adorno for BGR In the Display department, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra scores 148 points. iPhone 14 Pro models have one point more, making them the first in the ranking. Interestingly, Samsung Display is responsible for panels in both Apple and Samsung flagships.
Last but not least, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra scores 139 points in the Audio section, adding the smartphone to the 17th position alongside the iPhone 12 mini, 13 Pro Max, and 13 Pro. Samsung’s phone is beaten by Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro max, iPhone 12, iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max, ranging from 140 to 142 points.
DXOMARK offers an in-depth look at its Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review and a video testing the camera, which you can watch below.
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Samsung crowned itself the king of the foldable market in repeated remarks recently because it was one of the first companies to adopt the form factor. But the main reason why Samsung outsold competitors had nothing to do with the Korean giant’s ability to manufacture great foldable devices. Samsung simply lacked competition in western markets, and it outspent rivals on advertising by an order of magnitude. That is also part of the reason why the Galaxy Z Flip 5 and Fold 5 might outsell other upcoming foldable phones.
The new Samsung foldables will drop this summer. But, by the time they do, they’ll have to face several competitors. Chinese smartphone makers are coming to Europe in full force, hoping to put pressure on Samsung with devices like the Oppo Find N2 Flip. If you’re a Samsung fan, you can probably thank that competition for some of the best Galaxy Z Flip 5 rumored upgrades.
Like any flagship, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 will get hardware upgrades to keep up with tech advancements. That means a new processor as well as potential RAM and storage upgrades. Add camera and battery improvements to that, and you get a brand-new foldable flagship that’s better than its predecessor. That’s essentially what Samsung has done since the first Flip model.
Oppo Find N2 Flip foldable phone: External display. Image source: Oppo But the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is already rumored to get a larger external display than its predecessor. More importantly, the external display will reportedly be larger than the Oppo Find N2 Flip that the Chinese smartphone maker just launched internationally.
Moreover, the Galaxy Z Flip 5 should feature a brand-new hinge design that will reduce the visibility of the foldable’s display crease. Again, you can thank the same Find N2 Flip for pushing Samsung in this direction.
The Oppo handset features a large 3.26-inch external display that provides a lot more at-a-glance information than the Flip 4’s 1.9-inch cover screen.
Oppo Find N2 Flip foldable phone: New hinge design. Image source: Oppo The Find N2 Flip also rocks a new hinge with a miniaturized design that has fewer components than the first-gen Oppo hinge. According to the company, the hinge is more compact than ever, which leaves more internal space for the battery capacity. The hinge has no gap either when you fold the handset, and it can withstand more than 400,000 folds and unfolds.
Make no mistake, Samsung isn’t designing the Galaxy Z Flip 5 in response to the Oppo handset. Rumors going back to early December said the Galaxy Z Flip 5 would have a much larger cover display, which could measure more than 3 inches. The same leaks said a new hinge design is coming, with Samsung aiming to reduce the visibility of the crease.
More recently, leaker Ice Universe tweeted that he can confirm the Flip 5’s cover display is larger than the one on the Oppo Find N2 Flip. Samsung probably settled on these design changes a while ago. But the foldable phone maker knew its competitors were about to exit China.
Samsung also supplies components for foldable devices, so it might have an idea of what’s coming next from rival companies. Even without supply contracts, the China-bound foldable devices from last year were already great Fold and Flip competitors.
Also, Samsung likely wanted to increase the size of the Z Flip’s external display. The same goes for improving the hinge.
Could it have done all this in time for the Z Flip 4’s release, though? Probably, considering the advancements Samsung has made in recent years, starting with the Fold 3 and Flip 3. But the point is that Samsung never felt the pressure to innovate before. The Fold and Flip were the only foldables worth buying in international markets.
With the Oppo Find N2 Flip’s arrival, Samsung has to impress shoppers this summer when the Galaxy Z Flip 5 arrives. And it must prove that it can innovate in the foldable space at the same pace as rivals.
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