As we’re all aware, Samsung’s market share in the mobile phone industry is closely rivalled by Apple, leaving other Android phone manufacturers trailing well behind throughout the year. In my experience with Android phones, Samsung wasn’t a brand I frequently considered, and the reason was quite simple: the last Samsung phone I personally used was the Galaxy S6 Edge, and at that time, One UI still had numerous shortcomings.

However, that was many years ago. Today in 2023, One UI has evolved into a highly polished Android customization system, evident in its wide adoption by the global market. While the Samsung S23 Ultra may not have undergone significant changes in its appearance compared to its predecessor, the S22 Ultra, the user experience has undergone a significant upgrade.

What’s in the box

  • Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
  • S-Pen
  • USB-C to USB-C cable
  • Documentation
  • Sim ejector tool

In recent years, phone buyers have noticed a change in what comes inside the box of their shiny new smartphones. Back in the day, we used to receive not just a charging adapter, but also extras like earbuds and cases. However, as headphone jacks have become scarce in top-tier smartphones, wireless earbuds have taken the place of their wired counterparts.

Nowadays, when you crack open the product box, you’ll find just the essentials and not much more. Inside the slim, sleek black box, you’ll be greeted by a mostly empty cardstock folder containing some paperwork. Alongside it, you’ll discover a black USB-C to USB-C cable and a handy SIM ejection tool.

A very recognisable product design

The design of Samsung’s phones has always been a strength, in my opinion. Especially in recent years, the brand seems to have settled on a design language as well. Simply put, it’s a very recognisable brand, like the iPhone, so one can look at it and know it’s a Samsung phone and not another brand. It’s a matter of opinion.

I was a big fan of some Chinese brands of Android phones a few years ago, not so much for the price factor, but because these manufacturers tend to adopt a relatively radical and innovative strategy in terms of design. There are good and bad things about this strategy, and as my main focus in life at the moment is on my family and career, this requirement for the look of the phone will lean towards a more subdued and mature style. It is for this reason that I think Samsung has done a great job.

The design of the Samsung S23 Ultra is largely inherited from the Samsung S22 Ultra, with minor changes to some of the details. Firstly, the edges have been curved to be visually thicker, and accordingly, the side area has been increased to give a wider contact area with your fingers when holding the phone. At the weight of the S23 Ultra, the added friction makes it feel slightly more secure when held in the hand.

A near-perfect screen

The Samsung S23 Ultra delivers an exceptionally comfortable visual experience, despite its curved screen. Whether you’re casually browsing the web or enjoying captivating videos, the display ensures flawless content rendering, immersing you in a world of vibrant visuals. Notably, the Samsung S23 Ultra incorporates the durable Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, specifically designed to withstand unexpected drops with impressive resilience. Corning’s drop tests have demonstrated that the Victus 2 glass can survive falls of up to 1 meter onto concrete floors or an impressive 2 meters onto asphalt surfaces. This enhanced durability offers users an added sense of confidence and peace of mind for their everyday usage.

Weight and the performance

With a total weight of 234 grams, the phone feels slightly cramped when used in one hand. The back of the S23 Ultra is symmetrical to the front and has a matte glass surface for good fingerprint resistance. In contrast, the glossy centre frame is less fingerprint resistant. The design of the lens area is almost identical to that of the Samsung S22 Ultra.

The Samsung S23 Ultra is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor designed especially for Samsung, with a slight increase in CPU and GPU frequency compared to the standard version. On paper, this is a slight increase in performance, but I must say that in practice, it may not be particularly noticeable to the average user. The storage on this phone is top of the range with LPDDR5X memory + UFS 4.0 flash memory.

The Samsung One UI 5 is so good

One UI has the advantage over most customised Android systems in that it keeps up with native features and retains them in a reasonable manner. So we can see and experience a lot of new things in One UI 5 that were previously only available on models like the Google Pixel.

When you first dive into One UI, you’ll instantly recognize its comforting home screen, now adorned with a fresh set of icons. While these icons maintain their familiar rounded square shape, they’ve been imbued with a delightful burst of vibrant colours. Admittedly, not everyone may fancy the exuberant palette, but fear not! Remember, this is an Android phone, granting you the freedom to effortlessly switch to third-party icon packs that better suit your taste. So go ahead, embrace the customization options and make your device truly your own.

Gone are the days when fonts on Samsung phones seemed oddly stretched. Thanks to One UI, everything now appears in proper proportions, giving a harmonious and balanced look. The entire user interface exudes a sense of cohesion, with curved edges adorning every option and menu, seamlessly complementing Samsung’s sleek hardware design.

But that’s not all! One UI goes beyond aesthetics and introduces a host of intelligent features. Recognizing the growing trend of larger phone screens, Samsung has made a thoughtful adjustment by placing most UI elements in the lower half of the display. Whether it’s settings, messaging, albums, or phone screens, you’ll find app navigation conveniently situated at the bottom for effortless accessibility. Say goodbye to stretching your thumb and say hello to intuitive interaction.

Overall, the visual enhancements in One UI give off a fresh and modern vibe. The smooth animations add to the delightful hands-on experience. It’ll be exciting to see how Samsung continues to push the boundaries of design in the future.

The iconic S Pen

The S Pen feature on the Samsung S23 Ultra offers a convenient press-and-pop mechanism. With a simple press on the end of the pen, it smoothly emerges at an optimal distance. When pulled out, the phone automatically loads the S Pen operation interface, which also displays the remaining battery level at the top.

As someone who is accustomed to using an iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil, I initially felt that the S Pen was lacking in size and feel. However, to my pleasant surprise, after using it for several weeks, I discovered that the S Pen turned out to be more useful than the Apple Pencil. The initial discomfort gradually faded away with regular use.

What truly changed my perspective was how well the S Pen fit in my hand and its versatility in various situations. I often find myself needing to make changes and sign PDF files, and the S23 Ultra with the S Pen proved to be far more practical than the stylus-lacking iPhone or even the iPad, which lacks the convenience of having the stylus readily available.

Using the S Pen became a delightful experience, leaving me wondering why I hadn’t embraced this remarkable tool earlier during my time with the phone. Additionally, I must applaud the intuitive and intelligent design of the S Pen storage, which felt more natural and well-thought-out compared to the Apple Pencil.

The S23 Ultra has made significant improvements to the writing functionality of the S Pen. Not only does it support its own set of applications, but it also integrates with popular third-party apps like Gmail, Maps, Chrome, and YouTube, allowing for seamless handwriting operations. Whether you’re jotting down notes on a YouTube video or using handwriting in Gmail, Maps, or Chrome, the S Pen offers greater versatility than ever before. The device also boasts reduced stylus latency, thanks to AI pre-determination, ensuring a more comfortable writing experience. Moreover, it supports handwriting-to-digital font conversion for over 80 languages, including Japanese, Korean, and even Malay, making it a truly global tool.

Surprisingly long battery life

The Samsung S23 Ultra is equipped with a powerful 5000mAh battery and supports 45W fast charging, thanks to its large battery capacity and the energy-efficient control of the second-generation Snapdragon 8 processor. To put it to the test, I used the phone intensively for several days in a row, streaming YouTube videos and using GPS navigation extensively. To my pleasant surprise, the S23 Ultra provided me with a minimum of six hours of screen-on time. Considering my heavy use of cellular data and GPS, both known to drain the battery quickly, the S23 Ultra effortlessly delivered a standby experience lasting 1-2 days without interruption.

When it comes to recharging, the Samsung S23 Ultra supports 45W charging power, allowing it to reach a full charge from 5% in approximately 70-72 minutes. With such a high-capacity battery, it’s hard to fathom the idea of running into battery life concerns for users of the S23 Ultra.

Even better camera lens

The Samsung S23 Ultra brings notable advancements to its lens specifications, particularly in the main camera. It boasts an impressive 200-megapixel main camera, which is double the resolution found in the S22 Ultra, thanks to the latest HP2 sensor. This sensor, with a size of 1/1.3 inches, an F1.7 aperture, and a 0.6-micron pixel size, supports three output modes: 200M/50M/12.5M pixels. These enhancements result in significant improvements in focus accuracy and follow-focus performance.

The remaining three rear lenses, including the 12MP ultra wide-angle lens, the 10MP 3X telephoto lens, and the 10MP 10X submersible telephoto lens, remain unchanged, providing users with comprehensive focal length coverage.

Main camera

Samsung excels in colour rendering, delivering realistic hues, accurate scene reproduction, and impressive image purity and colour saturation.


In telephoto photography, the powerful lens module ensures excellent sharpness performance across commonly used focal lengths. Even after zooming, the picture quality remains lossless, accompanied by a stable viewfinder frame.

Night shot

The Samsung S23 Ultra performs admirably in low-light conditions, effectively controlling noise and suppressing highlights, resulting in well-captured details and balanced lighting.

Ultra-wide angle

When it comes to ultra-wide angle mode, the Samsung S23 Ultra delivers impressive imaging performance with minimal distortion in both daytime and nighttime scenarios, expanding the range of shooting possibilities for users.

In terms of video capture, the Samsung S23 Ultra supports 4K HDR video recording, showcasing the ability to maintain high image quality while carrying out advanced algorithms. It particularly shines in extremely dark environments with excellent noise reduction capabilities and remarkable highlight suppression.


While some may argue that the Samsung S23 Ultra lacks significant upgrades, a closer look reveals that this generation has addressed user concerns and pain points. Notably, the customized Snapdragon 8 Gen2 improves system smoothness and power efficiency.

The S23 Ultra impressed me with its performance and heat dissipation. Unlike previous S series models, I didn’t experience any heat issues during everyday use or even gaming sessions.

The camera capabilities are remarkable, offering a wide range of focal lengths. With Samsung’s Photo Suggestions feature, capturing stunning photos has become effortless. The upgraded 200-megapixel lens and improved sensor enhance picture detailing, although the speed of the 200-megapixel mode may be a bit slow. The top curved screen and S Pen feature add to the device’s appeal, showcasing Samsung’s commitment to an exceptional flagship experience.

If you currently own the S21 series or earlier, I highly recommend upgrading to the Samsung S23 Ultra. It offers overall improvements in performance, power efficiency, and imaging. For those new to Samsung devices and in search of a high-quality Android phone, the S23 Ultra is definitely worth considering based on its impressive performance.



  • Possibly the best display in the mobile industry
  • One UI is a huge plus
  • Easily achieve a 2-day battery life
  • Excellent camera
  • The weight isn’t friendly to everyone
  • Charger sold separately
Design & Quality
Battery life
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This is a very kind human who lives in both Apple and Google worlds. David heavily relies on macOS for desktop tasks, but only carries an android phone in his pocket every single day. As a former IT support, he knows how to understand technological products from a user's perspective and their pros and cons. David is currently running a small business and undergoing his second Bachelor's degree in International Relations.
samsung-s23-ultra-review-continues-to-set-the-standard-for-top-tier-android-phonesAs we're all aware, Samsung's market share in the mobile phone industry is closely rivalled by Apple, leaving other Android phone manufacturers trailing well behind throughout the year. In my experience with Android phones, Samsung wasn't a brand I frequently considered, and the reason...