Like clockwork, Samsung releases its flagship S series phones at the start of every year, and for 2023, we’re treated to the Galaxy S23 Ultra. While there are excellent improvements to the camera, and you get the latest chipset, there’s not much else that differentiates the Galaxy S23 Ultra from the S22 Ultra- and that is fine.

Samsung merged the S line with the Note line last year, resulting in a drastic shift for the Ultra and this year is about tweaks and refinement. How well does that play out? I used the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G for ten days as my daily driver and here is what I think.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Pricing and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S23 series was unveiled by Samsung in February 2023 and comprises the Samsung Galaxy S23, the Samsung S23 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which sits at the top of the range, offering the best of everything Samsung has to offer.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
AED4,949.00 AED3,218.00

Weight: 234g | Thickness: 8.9mm | Screen: 6.8” 1440 x 3088 pixels,, AMOLED, 120Hz | Processor: Octa-core Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 | RAM: 12GB | Storage: up to 1TB | Cellular: 5G, Dual SIM, eSIM | Rear camera: 200MP Quad Camera | Front camera: 12MP | Battery: 5000mAh, 45W Wired charging

  • Excellent performance
  • Great cameras
  • Superb battery life
  • Doesn't charge as fast as other Android phones
  • Not too big of an upgrade over the S22 Ultra
View on Amazon
11/30/2023 09:13 pm GMT

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is available in three capacities which are 256GB, 512GB and 1TB and in four colours which are Green, Black, Lavender and Cream. All models are equipped with 12GB RAM, and I’m glad that Samsung has ditched the 128GB version on their flagship phone- something Apple is still guilty of with the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The Official Samsung S23 Ultra price is listed in the table below. However, the phone is already available at a discounted price from online retailers such as Amazon.

CapacityUAE PriceUS Price
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 256GBAED 4,949US$ 1,199
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 512GBAED 5,449US$ 1,379
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 1TBAED 6,449US$ 1,619

There’s no doubt that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a very expensive phone, but it’s worth noting that Samsung hasn’t increased the pricing from last year while doubling the storage on the base model. This phone offers the best Samsung has to offer on a non-foldable phone, and the price tag is expected.

Specs you should know about the Ultra

Galaxy S23 UltraGalaxy S22 Ultra
DesignDimensions: 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm
Weight: 234 g
Colours: Cream, Black, Green, and Lavender
Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm
Weight: 228 g
Colours: White, Black, Green, and Burgundy
Screen6.8 inches Dynamic OLED
1440 x 3088 pixels at 120Hz VRR
1750 nits (peak) brightness
6.8 inches Dynamic OLED
1440 x 3088 pixels at 120Hz VRR
1750 nits (peak) brightness
PerformanceCPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy (4 nm)
GPU: Adreno 740
Storage: 256/512/1TB
Cellular: LTE/5G, Dual SIM
CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4 nm)
GPU: Adreno 730
RAM: 8/12GB
Storage: 128/256/512 GB
Cellular: LTE/5G, Dual SIM
CameraWide: 200 MP, f/1.8, 24mm
Periscope telephoto: 10 MP, f/4.9, 230mm
Telephoto: 10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm
Ultrawide: 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚
Selfie: 12 MP, f/2.2, 26mm
Wide: 108 MP, f/1.8, 23mm
Periscope telephoto: 10 MP, f/4.9, 230mm
Telephoto: 10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm
Ultrawide: 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120
Selfie: 40 MP, f/2.2, 26mm
BatteryLi-Ion 5000 mAh
Charging: 45W wired, PD3.0
15W wireless (Qi/PMA)
4.5W reverse wireless
Li-Ion 5,000 mAh
Charging: 45W wired, PD3.0
15W wireless (Qi/PMA)
4.5W reverse wireless  

Design and Display

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra looks almost identical to its predecessor- which means that it’s a big phone. I believe Samsung’s goal for this year was to refine the design language instead of rethinking it, which is expected as the S22 was merged with the Note series last year. Samsung does deserve some points for using recycled glass on the phone’s exterior as well as the packaging that uses recycled paper.

The subtle tweaks in design include a less curved screen on the front which not only makes the phone easier to hold but also stops accidental touches. It does make the phone feel a bit chunky- but I like that, as it sits really nicely in your hand. Maybe next year, Samsung will give us a fully flat display, so the S Pen doesn’t slide off the side.

The phone is almost identical in terms of size to the S22 Ultra, but it is more weighty, and you feel that in longer sessions. As much as I enjoyed watching videos on that large 6.8-inch screen, I did feel tired of holding the phone for extended periods. I do want to point out that the iPhone 14 Pro Max is also about the same weight and suffers from the same.

The screen technology is the same as last year, and I can’t complain about that as Samsung is considered a leader in this category, and you are getting an ultra display. It is protected by the newer Gorilla Glass Victus 2 this time around, which should provide better protection against accidental drops- but it’s not something I tested. I did find the screen a bit too smooth, where my finger would glide over what I intended to tap, resulting in a gesture instead of a tap and causing unexpected results.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra has the same Dynamic OLED screen with a 1440p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate as last year’s model. The screen is also plenty bright with a max peak brightness of 1750 nits letting you see your content easily under the bright Dubai sun. Inside the screen sits the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, which quickly unlocks your phone. I still prefer FaceID used on the iPhone, and though Samsung does provide a Face Unlock feature, it’s not as secure as the Fingerprint sensor and doesn’t work in the dark.

Features and Performance

As with any other Galaxy S series, Samsung uses the latest processors on its flagship phone. The Galaxy S22 Ultra came equipped with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 last year. For the Galaxy S23 Ultra, we get the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “for Galaxy” chip which improved the overall experience of using this phone.

Qualcomm has tweaked the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Samsung by increasing the max clock speed on the performance core and the GPUs, which, on paper, should give the Galaxy S23 series an advantage over other phones using the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processors- especially with gaming. I don’t have any other phones with this processor, but I will test that out once I get them.

Geekbench 6Samsung Galaxy S23 UltraApple iPhone 14 Pro Max
CPU Single-Core18592514
CPU Multi-Core47226265
GPU Compute889722371

As fast as the Galaxy S23 Ultra is, benchmarks show Apple’s A14 Bionic leading the race by a good margin. However, in real-world usage, I don’t see any difference in using Samsung’s latest compared to Apple’s latest. I’m not a high-end gamer, so I can’t tell how if things are different with gaming, but with regular usage that includes social media, YouTube, Reddit, email, browsing and productivity apps such as Notion and Google Drive, both these phones perform about the same.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is available in three capacities which are 256GB, 512GB and 1TB. All three models come with 12GB LPDDR5 RAM. I’m happy that Samsung has dropped the 128GB version, which also came equipped with lesser RAM. As I mentioned earlier, Samsung hasn’t raised the pricing, so you’re getting more RAM and storage on the base model of the Galaxy S23 Ultra for the same price as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Those specs provide a super smooth user experience when using the phone, and I didn’t notice any lag or stutter when launching apps or switching between them. The Galaxy S23 series comes with Android 13 and Samsung’s OneUI 5.1, which mostly adds tweaks to improve the camera and collaboration experience.

With OneUI 5.1, you now have the option to let Bixby answer calls for you, and that’s all I’ll say about Bixby. You also see suggestions in the settings app, which is helpful. The weather app and widget have also been tweaked to show upcoming alerts in parts of the world where you have sudden changes in weather. Samsung has also made some improvements to multitasking and using more than one app on your phone screen, which, of all phones, the S23 Ultra should be a great canvas for.

You also get the S Pen housed inside the phone, and anyone that likes to use a stylus for doodling or taking notes will love the Galaxy S23 Ultra. There really isn’t any other phone that offers a better-integrated experience with the stylus. Coupled with Samsung Notes that syncs with OneNote and other Samsung devices such as the Galaxy Tab and the Pro Galaxy Notebooks, you have an excellent note-taking solution.


Arguably, the biggest change Samsung has made to the Galaxy S23 Ultra over its predecessor is the introduction of the new 200MP camera sensor. Although the S23 Ultra looks about the same as the S22 Ultra in camera layout, that 200 MP sensor is a big jump inside that makes the Galaxy S23 Ultra Samsung’s best camera phone.

Overall, you still get wide at 24mm, ultra-wide at 13mm and two zoom lenses at 70mm (3x) and 230mm (10x). That’s an incredible amount of flexibility and, along with that large 200MP sensor on the primary lens, lets you get some great and detailed shots.

By default, the photos are taken at 12 MP using 4×4 pixel binning. This produces manageable file sizes, but you can switch to 50 MP or 200 MP modes that produce more detail and larger file sizes, adding to the time it takes to save images after you’ve taken a shot. I found the 12 MP images perfectly fine and one you’ll likely use the most.

Zooming on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is excellent, with dedicated 3x and 10x lenses. They obviously work better during day time but can also produce decent low-light shots. Night-time shots taken from the primary lens are excellent. There’s an Astro mode as well to photograph stars but you do need to download a separate app from the Galaxy Store for that called Expert RAW. That app is not needed to photograph the moon, which can be done from the standard camera app.

I also liked the portrait mode on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, where the phone managed to separate the main object from the background quite adequately. The selfie camera has also been updated on the Ultra this year. You might think that it’s a downgrade as the S22 Ultra featured a 40-megapixel front camera and this year’s Ultra has a 12-megapixel camera but the use of dual pixel technology lets you take much better selfies.

Check out the TbreakTech Instagram account for a sample of photos from the Galaxy Ultra and comparisons with the iPhone 14 Pro Max as well as the Huawei Mate 50 Pro.

The video mode also works well with stabilized videos and natural colour- which is surprising as Samsung likes to pop colours. There is a stabilization mode as well as you can now shoot 8K video at 30fps. Surprisingly, the phone didn’t get warm when I recorded a 4-minute 8K video which I’ve embedded below.

Battery & Charging

Like the display, the battery tech is the same as last year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra, though, thanks to the efficiency the new chipset brings, you get better battery life than last year’s model. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra comes equipped with a 5,000 mAh battery that can fast charge at 45 watts. There’s no charger included in the box, so you’ll need to bring your own, which will add to the costs.

Wireless charging is also supported with a maximum of 15W along with 4.5W of reverse wireless. Neither of these is fast, considering what other Android phones have to offer. Still, considering the efficiency that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 brings to the phone, you’re unlikely to run out of battery on any given day under normal usage.

Overnight charging using the wireless or wired standard will ensure your phone is topped up by the morning. The 45w of wired charging will get half the battery charged in half an hour- not the fastest but good enough for most users.

Final Verdict

It’s quite clear that Samsung is not going after its customers that purchased the Galaxy S22 Ultra last year. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a refinement of last year’s flagship, and you’re completely fine using that for another year. But if you are a fan of the note series that wanted to stretch their phone for one more year and skipped the S22 series, then the Galaxy S23 Ultra certainly checks all the boxes.

That being said, I find the Galaxy S23 Ultra offers more than just the sum of its parts. The display is top-class, and the camera can produce stunning results. But you don’t lose out on anything else either- you get excellent battery life and superb performance in a beautifully designed premium phone with a built-in stylus.

The best thing I can say about the Galaxy S23 Ultra is that I’m not itching to rush back to my iPhone 14 Pro Max- I haven’t found anything that I’ve disliked about the phone in the first week of usage. How long that goes on for is anybody’s guess. But it’s good enough for me to crown the Galaxy S23 Ultra as not only the best Android phone there is but also the best phone currently available. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Galaxy phones are no strangers to the top phones lists, and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra continues that tradition.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Feel free to ask us any more questions in the comments section below.

When was S23 released?

The Samsung Galaxy S23 line-up was released on February 17, 2023

What processor will the S23 Ultra have?

The Galaxy S23 Ultra comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy processor

What is the price of Samsung Galaxy S23?

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra price start at AED 4949 or US$ 1199

How much storage does Galaxy S23 Ultra have?

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra comes in three storage sizes which are 256GB, 512GB and 1TB

What colors does Galaxy S23 Ultra come in?

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is released in four colours for retail which are Green, Black, Lavender and Cream. However, you can buy in in four additional colours directly from Samsung

Abbas Jaffar Ali
Abbas Jaffar Ali

Abbas has been covering tech for more than two decades- before phones became smart or clouds stored data. He brought publications like CNET, TechRadar and IGN to the Middle East.

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