Samsung’s OneUI 5.1 update is rolling out to the S22, Z Fold4, more
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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A Redditor went viral over the weekend by proving that phones like the Galaxy S23 Ultra will produce fake Moon photos with a few simple experiments. This wasn’t the first time someone showed that Samsung might be misleading Galaxy S buyers. But the post’s virality brought the matter back to everyone’s attention. It took Samsung a few days to address the fake moon photos controversy. The company translated a post published in Korea last year to English which explains its algorithms for moon photos. Samsung also essentially says that it’ll keep lying to you.
The main problem here isn’t that Samsung is faking moon photos with the help of artificial intelligence (AI). It’s that Samsung is misleading buyers and using “nightography” and moon photos as big selling points for the phone. Check out the Galaxy S23 Ultra ad below:
Remember, Samsung did something similar back in 2016 when it turned on Beauty Mode by default on Samsung phones. The beautification feature removed face imperfections by default, and users hated it.
Samsung’s moon photos controversy response is available at this link. The English version is almost similar to the Korean variant, available at this link.
Samsung explains how its high-end phones use a Screen Optimizer feature to improve the resulting image. Specifically, the feature allows AI to enhance photos of the moon.
Samsung says that users can disable Screen Optimizer if they want to. The feature launched with the Galaxy S21 series:
Samsung’s Scene Optimizer feature. Image source: Samsung Samsung uses a technology called Super Resolution to take more than 10 images of the moon at 25x zoom or higher. This process should eliminate noise and enhance clarity, Samsung says.
Samsung’s AI detects the moon in photos before applying the Scene Optimizer. Image source: Samsung Furthermore, Samsung explains that it trained its machine learning (ML) algorithms on various moon shapes, so it can recognize all shapes of the moon. But the AI will not recognize the moon if objects block it, something we saw in recent experiments.
Once it recognizes the moon, the Galaxy S phone will adjust the brightness “to present the moon more clearly while maintaining optimal brightness.”
If the moon is at an appropriate brightness level and the user takes the photo, the algorithms will deliver the clearest image of the moon possible:
The final part seems responsible for the fake moon photos we saw in the Reddit experiment. Here’s a diagram of the process:
The full process of taking fake photos of the moon. Image source: Samsung Samsung ends the blog post with a promise to improve Scene Optimizer and essentially tell users that it’ll continue to deliver fake photos of the moon. But maybe make it harder for people to detect it:
The better way to handle the matter would be for Samsung to turn on Scene Optimizer off by default and properly inform customers that the moon photos they take might not be real. Also, not using moon photography in ads until the Galaxy S phone can actually capture real photos of the moon would be great.
Samsung uses a “fake moon” title for the images that highlight the AI features Samsung uses to take fake moon photos. Image source: Chris Smith, BGR Samsung is aware of how important the fake moon controversy might be. Why else use “fake moon” as a title for all the photos uploaded to the blog post?
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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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See Every Detail, Feel Every Moment: Samsung’s Ultra-Large Neo QLEDs Bring Content to Life Like Never BeforeBy STF News
Gone are the days of sitting nose-to-television in order to see every detail and every moment of the action. Now, larger TV screens are not popular for just avid cinephiles, but they are a popular choice and more accessible for more consumers than ever before.
As the size of the average screens at home has evolved, so has the technology within them. This provides users with greater detail, color and motion so content looks even more brilliant in this larger format.
Ushering in the Era of Premium Viewing With Neo QLED 4K
At the forefront of premium screens lie Samsung Neo QLEDs — with state-of-the-art Mini LED and Quantum dot technology that offers superb contrast and vivid, accurate color reproduction. The exceptional picture quality of the Neo QLEDs is even more evident when taken to a larger screen.
The QN100B 98” — Samsung’s Neo QLED 4K — offers consumers the pinnacle of ultra-fine light control thanks to Quantum Matrix Technology powered by a massive grid of Quantum Mini LEDs. This allows viewers to see every single detail on the screen, even in the darkest of scenes, with deeper color and contrast. Subtle nuances in light and color are analyzed and shifted scene by scene so that each and every frame is of the highest quality.
Beyond its unrivaled performance as a television for consumers’ favorite movies, shows and games, this screen has been praised by many industry experts and users as well. IMAX recently commended the massive 98” Neo QLED 4K for its performance in their critical reference environment producing a highly accurate precise image.
“After calibrating and reviewing this new model TV, I can tell you that we were excited to see how closely the image quality matches our reference mastering monitor that we use in post-production finishing work,” said Bruce Markoe, the SVP and Head of Post Production at IMAX Corporation. “We see value in using very large, high-quality displays in mastering content for IMAX Enhanced masters. Having a large sized screen with proper image quality creates the best way to apply and utilize our DMR technology during the mastering process.”
▲ Bruce Markoe, the SVP and Head of Post Production at IMAX Corporation
A reference monitor is a specialized display device used for color grading during post-production. Reference monitors must produce a highly accurate image so teams can create the most precise, high-quality output possible.
In order to provide an outstanding cinematic experience, IMAX films are produced with cameras up to 16K resolution, which means the mastering monitor used must be extremely accurate in order to accurately display the creators’ intent.
Elevate the Premium Viewing Experience With Neo QLED 8K
Stepping above and beyond the already high-performing Neo QLED 4K, consumers find Samsung Neo QLED 8K. These screens offer the dazzling picture quality users have come to expect from Samsung in even more brilliant 8K resolution. Powered by Neo Quantum Processor 8K, the state-of-the-art upscaling neural networks ensure that all content is displayed with utmost precision and immaculate picture quality.
As streaming platforms begin to offer content optimized for a larger 1.9:1 screen ratio, perfect for an immersive cinematic experience, having an 8K TV with premium picture quality is a sure-fire way to future-proof a home entertainment set up.
Premium TV Sales Are on the Rise With Neo QLED 4K and 8K
In fact, more content, better features and more things to do on your TV mean the trend of purchasing larger and larger TV screens is not simply expected to continue to even to grow. According to Omdia, the over-80-inch TV market is expected to grow from 2.8 million units in 2022 to 3.5 million units in 2023 — over 24%.
Samsung’s premium TV lineup has also helped solidify its leadership in the TV industry for an impressive 17 years. In 2022, Samsung sold a staggering 9.65 million units of QLED and Neo QLED TVs, bringing the cumulative sales to 35 million units since its QLED product launch in 2017.
Samsung also dominated the ultra-large TV segment in 2022, reporting 36.1% and 42.9% in terms of market share for TVs over 75-inches and 80-inches respectively.
“Neo QLED offers one of the most premium viewing experience for large screens over 75-inches, and we believe they are the future of home entertainment,” said Seokwoo Yong, Executive Vice President and Deputy Head of Visual Display Business at Samsung Electronics. “As more content and features become available to consumers, Neo QLED 4K and 8K TVs will help consumers get the most out of these new contents while providing breathtaking visuals packed with lifelike details.”
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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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