OPINION: Earlier this week, Samsung revealed its 2023 flagship smartphone line-up with the Samsung Galaxy S23 series.
While the range boasts the usual year-on-year upgrades including a more powerful processor, improved cameras and newer software, I’ve noticed that some fans have criticised the Galaxy S23 Ultra in particular, claiming that it’s essentially the same as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
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It’s easy to understand why they’d have this opinion – the design remains largely unchanged compared to the S22 Ultra, it sports the same 5000mAh battery, the same display tech and there are no meaningful updates to the Ultra’s S Pen functionality – but, if I’m being honest, I don’t really see it as much of a problem.
Why? Because the incremental upgrades that are on offer, combined with the already-top-end tech of last year’s model, push the smartphone forward in meaningful ways, rather than simply redesigning or introducing features for the sake of it.
I mean, look at it; the S23 Ultra’s ultra-premium 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display is one of the best around, the new 200MP main camera really does look like a big jump forward especially in low-light conditions, and even though it remains unchanged the 5000mAh battery should be more than enough to provide a full day of use.
Even the slight reduction of the curvature of the display, which may not sound like much at an announcement, is surprisingly noticeable once you get the smartphone in your hand.
Let’s not forget the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset that’ll push the performance further than that of most competing flagships, meaning you’ll get the very best mobile performance yet from the top-end smartphone.
Sure, it’s not new or redesigned, but why does it need to be when it ticks so many boxes?
Unless you’re a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra owner, the S23 Ultra remains a tempting option for consumers who are looking for a significant upgrade from their current smartphone.
Taking a look at the bigger picture, smartphone innovation has somewhat slowed down in the past few years compared to the early 2000s when the tech would come along leaps and bounds in the space of a year.
Smartphones used to advance so quickly because there were notable gains to be made, whether that was high-res displays, all-day battery life or capable cameras – benchmarks that have now been largely met in the modern smartphone market.
We now have incredibly detailed displays, cameras capable of taking photos and videos in all manner of scenarios and more than enough processing power to play the most demanding mobile games, so where else is there to go? What else does a smartphone need? At some point, it becomes much of a muchness.
It’s why the incremental changes of the Galaxy S23 Ultra matter so much. It’s not about introducing new tech just for the sake of a few headlines at launch, but about refining the ultimate smartphone experience for the user year-on-year.
If Samsung truly feels that it’s achieved that with the Galaxy S23 Ultra then that’s fine by me.