In case you missed it, the Samsung Galaxy S23 range is set to be unveiled in a few weeks time at the Galaxy Unpacked event on February 1st. Rumours and leaks about the new generation of Galaxy devices have come thick and fast, suggesting we could see upgrades to everything from audio to cameras – there's even talk of a 200MP sensor on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
There have been a lot of rumours for this release. In part, that's to be expected. The Samsung Galaxy range has been near the top of the pile when it comes to phones for as long as I can remember. It seems fairly obvious that a product with such a rich history would garner a lot of interest.
On top of that, though, is a growing sense that the Galaxy range isn't as strong as it once was. A host of fantastic Android phones look set to do battle with the S23 range this year. Handsets like the Google Pixel 7 Pro, the OnePlus 11 and the Vivo X90 Pro+ are all strong competitors, bringing the best that they can offer to the table. It could be the most crucial time for Samsung to make some improvements to their smartphone offering.
So, what exactly does Samsung have to do to consider the Galaxy S23 range a success? Let's take a look.
One of the main gripes with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra was its camera performance. Let's be clear here – the S22 Ultra doesn't have a bad camera. But it sometimes struggles to live up to its price tag, particularly with low-light shots.
It isn't helped by just how good the phone camera market has become in the last year. A combination of AI-wizardry and hardware has made it possible to create some absolutely stunning imagery on your smartphone. We've seen the Pixel 7 Pro use Artificial Intelligence to enhance the clarity of zoomed in shots, while the Vivo X90 Pro+ uses a one-inch sensor, enhanced with some magic from Zeiss, to produce a simply stunning end result.
But if anyone is well-placed to compete, it's Samsung. We've already heard rumours of a massive 200MP sensor. Combine that with a bit of software magic and it wont be hard to win fans back. If the leaked images from the S23 Ultra are anything to go by, it looks good.
There are two things people complained about with regards to the processor on the S22 – the subpar processor that came in European devices, and the performance of the one that was used everywhere else.
Users in the UK and Europe were plagued with an Exynos equipped handset that just couldn't stack up. Benchmark testing resulted in consistently lower scores than the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 variant which was offered in other territories, leaving a sour taste in the mouth of users. It was far from a rosy experience for everyone else, though, as users complained of thermal throttling which impeded peak performance.
On paper, the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip should solve those issues. And, with it set to feature in devices worldwide, even users in the UK and Europe stand to see the benefits.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sits right at the top end of what many would consider an acceptable price to pay for a phone. The base model will set you back £1,149 / $1,199 / AU$1,849, which is a substantial sum.
Samsung's price structure is hampered by just how affordable some of the alternatives are. Google managed to release their latest Pixel 7 range of phones without raising the price of their devices. That's impressive – particularly in the current climate – and especially when you consider the volume of upgrades the new handsets delivered.
I wouldn't expect any kind of price drop, but anything other than a price freeze would be an insane marketing choice from Samsung. If consumers are facing a tough choice based on spec, pricing could prove to be the deciding factor. Persuading users to pay an extra £200-300 in the midst of a cost of living crisis is no easy task.