Look, this is not your average smartphone review article where I’m going to post some sample photos and videos along with some benchmark numbers and be done. Heck, even I am not rushing for the review article because the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has been keeping me so busy to create contents. In this Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra review article, I’m going to explain why the device is the one for creator and professional users. If you still need more convincing before purchasing the S23 Ultra, then let’s start reading at below.
Performance – Great becomes greater
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 For Galaxy powering the S23 Ultra brings an impressive flagship performance result in 2023. You can just throw any productivity tasks and mobile gaming to the table, the Galaxy S23 Ultra just blazed through it without a sweat. I’ve tried to edit and render two 4K videos (event launches) in one night, the S23 Ultra just perform well and I’ve managed to upload the videos on YouTube before midnight. However, I do noticed for Genshin Impact, the device tends to be a little bit warmer than other 2023 flagship device, but the warmth is still bearable.
My review unit is paired along with 12GB RAM and 256GB ROM, which feels great for average users. However, for the creators and professional users, I highly recommend to go at least with the 512GB and onwards model. With storing various photos, 4K videos and lots of apps, my review unit’s 256GB storage now only left 60GB storage space. Just get the bigger storage if you’re not an average user.
For the software side, OneUI 5.1 with Android 13 has brings lots of features and customization. You adjust the theme’s colour pallete but you can even do more with the Good Lock app which can allow users to adjust from fonts to icon shapes. Using the S Pen on the OneUI 5.1 also feels more productivity despite there is not major upgrade to it thanks to newer features.
Camera – Mixed of improved camera hardware with computational photography and videography to bring one of the best (if not, the best) mobile camera
Despite the new 200MP main camera and 12MP selfie camera, the rest of the camera still retains the same 12MP Ultrawide camera, 10MP 3x optical zoom telephoto camera and 10MP 10x optical zoom telephoto camera. However, Samsung has definitely improved its computational photography and videography which just brings the next level mobile camera.
Let’s start off with photography. The 200MP main camera with pixel binned just delivers excellent shot for most of the time, day or night.
You can even shoot in full 200MP photos which are excellent for lossless zoom crop. However, I do noticed at times, the focusing is can be tricky to lock onto a subject due to the sensor’s characteristic.
As for the ultrawide camera, it still delivers great shots for landscape area. Even on lowlight conditions, the ultrawide still can deliver the shot with minimal noise.
For the 3x and 10x zoom telephoto camera, they delivered fantastic shots especially if you’re a photographer for media and content creator as you now can stand way back and still capture amazing shot. If you love to shoot the moon, the 100x zoom is available here to show off your perfect moonshot. However, I noticed the 3x and 10x zoom telephoto camera may sometimes produce slight soft detail images especially on human and object surface.
Meanwhile, the new 12MP selfie camera is just as capable as the predecessor, if not, even better and clearer selfie photos. The dymanic range and sharpness are great and hardly had any complaints.
If there is one nitpick on the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s photos quality, it would be the cool colour temperature. Above are a sample photo where the white LED boards can turn into blue.
All these splendid photos are made possible with Samsung’s effort to improve in computational photography. For example, the portrait selfie has bokeh effects that goes through my glasses’ lens, which just made me applaud how mobile photography is catching up with DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
For videography, you can now shoot up to 8K 30fps video with the main camera, allowing less choppy 8K footage and giving content creators to delivers crisp details. Just be prepare for a huge storage for the 8K video recording. The video sample I took on the Galaxy S23 Ultra are shot with 4K 30fps, which works at every lens and can be switch at anytime, even on 60fps (something which a lot of the competition failed to provide). I noticed once again computational videography has helped with impressive dynamic range and clarity. Shooting videos from the ultrawide until 10x zoom telephoto camera was key vital point to why I loved shooting videos with S23 Ultra as it covers all the range. Apart from that, I also noticed for low light videos, the amount of noise is quite low.
For those who loves to vlog, the new 12MP selfie camera still presents incredible selfie video up to 4K 60fps. This is really impressive as most competition failed to offer 4K selfie video recording. If you’re serious with high quality detail for your selfie videos, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is downright for you.
Something new for content creators and aspiring filmmakers are the increased resolutions for Steady Video (up to 2K aka QHD 60 fps) and Portrait Video (up to 4K 30fps). The new updates will definitely help content creators and aspiring filmmakers to developed their video without the need to purchase expensive cameras and offers compact form factor when shooting videos.
Overall, the video performance is solid thanks to impressive dynamic range, great stabilization and incredible mic which is important for mobile photographers and videographers.
Design – Retaining what is an iconic and recognisable look
For the design of the S23 Ultra, it may look similar to the predecessor but It is a good move as the floating camera design on the back of the S22 Ultra was so iconic that people knows it an Ultra phone from Samsung. But Samsung did change a little bit on the aesthetic as the display now spots a less curve on the edge, allowing a more larger flat surface for users to optimise the screen usage.
Coming from the Galaxy S21, the transition to a huge phone is quite tricky. However, within days, I am so used with the size and I was comparing back to my S21, I was wondering how did I managed to stay on the small size device for 2 years. Even now, I felt my S22+ was a little small.
With all the usual IP68 rating, Armor Aluminum and the new Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, durability on the device is remarkable but I would prefer to hold my comments after few months of usage as I feel it is still early to comment on it.
Battery – Powerhouse that lasts you at through the end of day
If you’re a heavy user, I would be glad to tell you that the S23 Ultra’s 5,000 mAh battery has a phenomenal battery life. You can expect it to last till the end of the day with mid heavy usage. However, if you’re planning to shoot a lot of 4K videos or long mobile gaming session, battery life may deplete quicker. You can top up the juice within roughly an hour from around 30% level to full battery level with the 45W fast charging support.
Display & Audio – Immerse to your entertainment
The 6.8 inches Dynamic AMOLED 2X on the device still retains the support for 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+, and brightness peak at 1750 nits. Colours and touch response on the display is on point without anything to complain. The max resolution of 1440 x 3088 pixels will allow to users to enjoy sharp and immersive visual.
For the audio, the stereo speakers has a balanced bass and clarity with fairly loud speakers. Also, make sure to turn on the Dolby Atmos to improve the audio quality as it was not turned on as standard.
Others – S Pen still provides great assistance for productivity and leisure
I will be honest with the readers, I am not someone that uses the S Pen function too frequently. But when I use it, it helps a lot in terms for productivity and leisure. Signing digitally on documents or using it as a controller for the camera shutter, the S Pen helps you to perform task in a smarter and efficient way. Don’t believe me? Try it and you know what I meant.
Final Verdict – A worthy premium flagship smartphone for those who wants to go to greater heights
With the price of RM5,699 (12GB RAM + 256GB ROM), RM6199 (12GB RAM + 512GB ROM) and RM6699 (12GB RAM + 1TB ROM), you’re getting the Galaxy S23 Ultra if you want a device that brings you to go to greater heights. With so much features, impressive cameras, long-lasting battery life and great performance, this is the device for creators and professional users who wants to unlock their potential in delivering results.
However, the device is definitely large so for those with tiny palms may find it difficult to grip and navigate with a single hand. I wouldn’t recommend this device for those are not fully optimising the features on the S23 Ultra. Even for those who are coming from the S22 Ultra, I also won’t recommend them to upgrade to S23 Ultra unless they can afford for yearly upgrade. But, if you really need to break free from the usual and ready to take the leap to greater heights as a modern creators and professional users, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is simply no-brainer to get one today.
The question now is: Are you ready for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra?
This review is made possible with a review unit supply by Samsung Malaysia. As usual, our reviews are not being paid, therefore there is no creative input or final approval by brands. The review is based on two weeks of usage thus any future software update may provide a differ experience.