Samsung's Unpacked event is here, and with it, we've got info on what's coming with the latest in the Galaxy line , including Samsung's all-new flagship smartphone: the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, following up last year's S22 Ultra .
The S23 Ultra may be more of an iterative upgrade over the S22 Ultra rather than a revolution, but even still, the S23 Ultra is set to offer up new features and a more powerful chip. So, is Samsung's new flagship worth it?
Naturally, we'll have to get our hands on an S23 Ultra for testing to give you a full picture, but there's a lot to learn from the information Samsung's already revealed. So, sit back, relax, and read on to hear all about what the differences, on paper, are between the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: price
The S22 Ultra retails for £1149 / $1199 / AU$1849 (128GB), £1249 / AU$1999 (256GB), £1329 / AU$2149 (512GB) or AU$2449 (1TB), while the all-new S23 Ultra will run you £1249 (256GB) / £1399 (512GB) / £1599 (1TB).
We haven't got all of the pricing information for the S23 Ultra in every region just yet, but as you can see, at least in the UK, the S23 Ultra is set to increase in price. The bump may not be huge, but nonetheless, Samsung's most expensive phone is set to become even more expensive, depending on where you live.
When you add in the fact that the S23 Ultra isn't shipping with a 128GB model like the S22 Ultra, you'll definitely be spending more for the pleasure, so if money is your primary concern, the S22 Ultra is going to be your top pick.
However, the S23 Ultra is bringing upgrades to the table over the S22 Ultra that may be worth the cash...
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: design
If you liked the design of the S22 Ultra, we've got good news: the S23 Ultra is going to look and feel just about the same as its predecessor.
You're still getting those sharper corners on the Ultra vs the rounded angles of the standard Galaxy, but outside of the Ultra being the bigger device, thanks to Samsung removing the camera lip on the standard S23 Galaxy, the S3 Ultra has a lot in common with last year's model and the rest of the S23 line.
While there aren't any major changes to speak of, that's not necessarily a bad thing. We appreciated the design of the S22 Ultra in our five-star review , calling it comfortable with a premium feel, so if not much is changing, we'd wager that's something of a win.
However, if you were looking for a big shake-up in terms of design with the S23 Ultra, you'll be better off waiting for the next generation.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: display
The S23 Ultra is coming with the same display as the S22 Ultra; however, you will be getting the next generation of Corning Glass Victus that Samsung promises is more durable, which is a nice little bonus.
However, even if that may not sound too exciting, the S22 Ultra already comes packed with a 6.8-inch 120Hz AMOLED display that runs at 1440 x 3088 with HDR10+ support and 1750 nits of peak brightness. Put simply, this is a modern display with just about all of the bells and whistles you could want from a smartphone .
In our review of the S22 Ultra, as far as the display goes, we said that we found "the picture quality impossible to beat at this point in time". Suffice it to say that if the S23 Ultra is coming with that very same display then whether you're watching movies or playing games you won't be held back by your display.
Of course, though, we'll have to get our hands on an S23 Ultra for testing to give you specifics on how the display in the S23 Ultra performs, so keep an eye out.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: power
Samsung's latest S23 Ultra Galaxy is coming with an all-new chip vs last year's Galaxy, theoretically bringing more power to the table.
For the 2023 line-up of Galaxy phones, Samsung is pushing Qualcomm's Snapdragon Gen 2 chip, the second generation of the chip powering the S22 Galaxy line, but there's a twist, too. The chip inside the Galaxy S23 Ultra isn't running at the standard clock speeds of the Snapdragon 8, it's been overclocked.
The S23 Ultra chip has got a 3.36GHz CPU clock (vs 3.2GHz base) and a 719MHz GPU clock (vs 680MHz base), increasing CPU speed by .16GHz and GPU speed by 39MHz. Make no mistake, a faster processor is usually better than a slower one, but whether or not this overclock actually has meaningful performance benefits over the same chip running at base clock speeds remains to be seen.
It's also worth keeping in mind that the S23 Ultra has the same 5000mAh battery of the S22 Ultra, so even if the Gen 2 version of Snapdragon 8 is more efficient than the last generation, if the chip has also been overclocked it may well be a possibility that battery life might be slightly worse on the S23 Ultra.
However, as far as performance and battery life go, you'll have to wait for us to get our hands on an S23 Ultra for testing to give you the full picture.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: camera
Like the processor, the camera in the S23 Ultra is also getting some key upgrades over the S22 Ultra.
First up, you're getting a bump up to a 200MP camera vs the 108MP camera on the S22, while the selfie camera is also getting upgraded from 10MP on the S22 to 12MP and can shoot in Super HDR 60FPS. On top of that, you're getting improved optical image stabilisation; better noise reduction via AI tech; and a new Astrophoto mode for taking pictures of the night sky.
Samsung's S22 Ultra was already known for its excellent camera, with What Hi-Fi? 's reviewers appreciating the S22 Ultra's clarity and detail especially when zooming in, so we'd expect great things from the S23's camera. However, we won't know how the new camera performs until we get our hands on one for testing.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: battery
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is coming the same 5000mAh battery of the S22 Ultra, which may not be the best news, though further testing is necessary.
In our review of the S22 Ultra, we found that it did manage a full day of heavy usage of battery life, which will likely be enough for most folks, but nonetheless, one of our problems with the S22 Ultra was its overall beatable battery life.
And when you consider that the new chip powering the S23 Ultra is coming overclocked, which will suck up more power than that same chip running at base speeds, it may be the case that we see slightly worse battery life on the S23 Ultra in comparison to its predecessor.
Of course, the actual performance of the S23 Ultra's battery remains to be seen until we test out the phone ourselves, but we wouldn't expect any big gains.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: sound
The audio set-up of the Galaxy S23 Ultra looks to be, on paper, just about the same as the S22 Ultra, but that may actually be a good thing.
With the S22 Ultra's Dolby Atmos stereo loudspeakers, we found that the phone managed to offer up a meatier, more spacious soundstage than the competition, even if those speakers lacked dynamic haptic vibration the likes of which you can find in Sony's Xperia line of smartphones .
In terms of listening to audio with headphones on the S22 Ultra, we found its performance to be competitive in our review, though it didn't manage to compete with the best of the best in terms of headphone audio quality.
Altogether, audio quality on the S22 Ultra was tough to beat in terms of its speakers and not a poor performer in terms of headphone sound quality, so if the S23 Ultra is bringing the same audio performance as its predecessor, chances are you won't be disappointed with the power on offer.
Of course, we'll have to test out the S23 Ultra to give you our full thoughts on its audio quality and performance.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs S22 Ultra: early verdict
As you'll see, on paper, the S23 Ultra is an iterative upgrade over the S22 Ultra, but it is an upgrade nonetheless. With improvements to its chip and camera headlining the changes in Samsung's new flagship, depending on who you are, you may find the price bump worth it for what's on offer.
However, if you've already got an S22 Ultra and you're thinking about upgrading, you may not find the S23 Ultra to be enough of a change to justify its premium price tag. Nonetheless, make sure to keep an eye out for our review where we'll be able to tell you everything you'll need to know about the S23 Ultra.
Check out our review of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
As well as our review of the Sony Xperia 1 III
And our list of the best smartphones