Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphone: key details leak prior to launch

The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus are expected to look similar to the previous model  (Samsung)
The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus are expected to look similar to the previous model (Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is one of the most anticipated launches of the year and yet the South Korean handset-maker seems unable to keep its secrets under wraps, with more details appearing every day.

With their powerful cameras and lightning-fast speeds, Samsung’s premium phones have become bestsellers among handsets powered by Google’s Android operating software. They’ve also helped to cement Samsung’s position as the world’s second-biggest phone maker behind Apple.

Can the new S23 range continue to outclass its Android rivals? Three phones are expected to launch on February 1 at Samsung’s Unpacked event, including the standard S23, the larger S23 Plus and the top-of-the-range S23 Ultra. A series of leaks indicate that Samsung is sticking with a largely similar physical design, while adding a new processor and a potentially class-leading camera into the line-up.

In addition, Samsung is tipped to unveil a new Galaxy Book 3 laptop line featuring four new models, which play nice with the new phones.

When is the Samsung Galaxy S23 released?

Though Samsung has confirmed an official launch of February 1, these phones will probably only be available to pre-order on the day, with an actual release date likely to be in mid-February.

How much will the Samsung Galaxy S23 cost?

The Galaxy S23 range has never come cheap, and that’s not about to change as inflation and the rising cost of securing parts continues to pile pressure on smartphone makers to up prices. Check out our breakdown of the pricing here.

Rumours out of Europe recently suggested that the Galaxy S23 range could cost between €110 to €160 more than their predecessors’ opening prices. But, determining the exact amount you could pay in the UK is tricky as manufacturers tend to tweak prices based on regions.

Some sources now claim that the standard and Plus models will cost the same as last year’s S22 devices, with the larger Ultra device priced higher than its older counterpart.

That means you could be charged £769 for the Samsung Galaxy S23, £949 for the S23 Plus and £1,199 for the S23 Ultra, with additional costs for more storage and memory.

Despite these premium prices, early reports indicate that the cheaper models will retain the somewhat plasticky feel on the rear of the handset. If so, it’d be wise to budget a little extra for a case.

The new S23 range could cost more than the S22 range (pictured) (Martyn Landi/PA)
The new S23 range could cost more than the S22 range (pictured) (Martyn Landi/PA)

Samsung Galaxy S23 features and specs

All three phones are expected to look similar to last year’s range. The biggest physical change is highly likely to be the removal of the large camera bump from the S22 in favor of S22 Ultra-style cutout lenses.

Chances are these phones will have the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, giving them a boost in terms of speed, power and camera smarts. How much real-world difference this makes remains to be seen.

All three phones are also tipped to feature sharp displays, courtesy of their AMOLED screens with 120Hz refresh rates, which should ensure vivid colours and smooth onscreen movements. The screen itself will mark the debut of Corning latest Victus glass, that promises to be more resistant to cracks when dropped on rough surfaces like concrete.

From what we know so far, sustainability will be a key talking-point for Samsung this year. For instance, the screen contains an average of 22% pre-consumer recycled glass, according to Corning, and the phones’ other plastic components are said to be made from recycled fishing nets.

Samsung is also reportedly trying to beat Apple for the title of brightest phone display, with the S23 Ultra apparently capable of hitting 2,150 nits of max brightness versus the iPhone 14 Pro’s 2,000 nits.

Samsung Galaxy S23 camera

Samsung is said to be saving its biggest camera upgrade for the uber-pricey S23 Ultra. The main snapper on the flagship could boast a brand new 200MP sensor, compared with 108MP on its predecessor.

A bigger and better sensor should result in improved night-time and low-light photography, with seriously beefed-up pixel binning said to be on the way. Ultrawide cameras and 10X telephoto zooms are also tipped to return from last year.

Meanwhile, the base and Plus models will probably get a solid 50MP sensor for the main camera, with a 12MP ultrawide lens and 10MP zoom. Then again, imagery is about far more than specs these days and judgement must be reserved until the results are seen.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra could get the biggest improvements like its predecessor, the S22 Ultra (pictured) (Samsung)
The Galaxy S23 Ultra could get the biggest improvements like its predecessor, the S22 Ultra (pictured) (Samsung)

How good is the Samsung Galaxy S23 battery?

Another area where it sounds as if there won’t be too much of an upgrade is the S23’s battery life.

The standard Galaxy S23 may get a slight boost with a new 3,900mAh battery, up from 3,700. The Galaxy S23 Plus might get a 4,700mAh, up from 4,500; and the Ultra may stick with the same 5,000mAh.

Put simply, then, we can expect roughly 5% increase in battery-life compared the last year’s models.

Should you buy the Samsung Galaxy S23?

If you’re on the fence about whether to purchase a new Galaxy S23, there are a few things to consider. If you already own last year’s S22, you might find that the latest devices don’t offer enough upgrades to warrant the expense.

Saying that, the two most eye-catching features appear to be the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, available on all three phones, and the 200MP camera reserved for the Ultra.

Those with older phones will almost certainly notice the improved speeds delivered by the latest Qualcomm mobile processor. And photography or video enthusiasts may want to take advantage of that sizeable camera upgrade. Once again, though, the proof will be in the pudding.

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 laptops

Like the new phones, Samsung’s rumoured new laptops aren’t expected to look radically different from the previous Galaxy Book 2. The devices will include the Pro, 360, Pro 360, and Ultra models, all of which could come with improved connectivity with the new S23 range. Ideally, the feature will emulate the iPhone’s handoff capabilities that let you start something on a device and finish on another -- like writing an email on iPhone and completing it on a Mac.

At the high-end, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is expected to pack a 13th Gen Intel Core i9-13900H CPU and the powerful new NVIDIA RTX 4070 graphics card. The Book 3 Ultra will apparently have a 16-inch, 3K AMOLED screen (2880x1880 pixels).

While the Galaxy Book 3 Pro could come in two screen sizes, a 14-inch and 16-inch option. Both could have the same 3K AMOLED display and the choice between two processors: either a 13th Gen Intel Core i5-1340P or Core i7-1360P CPU, according to leaks.

Finally, the 360 is rumoured to be able to transform from a laptop to a tablet. Leaks suggest the device will boast a 15-inch display, a 13th Gen Intel Evo i7 CPU and a stylus that will reportedly be the S-Pen. As for the Pro 360, it will also feature the same accessory, the same 14-inch and 16-inch screen sizes as the Pro, and a 13th Gen Intel Evo i7 CPU. All are rumoured to carry the same basic ports such as a headphone jack and microSD card slot.