Don't buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. The S23+ is the pick of the litter

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a brilliant phone, but for most of us it isn't the best one to buy

Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is one of the best phones ever made, I'm sure. But if you buy one, that's probably a mistake. For most of us, the S23+ is the sweet spot in the Galaxy S23 range.

When I look at the Ultra I'm reminded of some of the cars that blurp and burble their way around the streets near me. I live close to student accommodation and some of those students clearly have rich parents: their cars are AMG Mercedes, Maseratis and similarly expensive look-at-me-mobiles. And those cars drive almost exclusively on roads so potholed that if you go beyond 20mph you'll burst your tyres.

There's no point in buying a fast car you can't drive fast. And I think it's a similar story with phones. 

Why the Galaxy S23+ is the best Galaxy S23

I think the S23+ hits all the right boxes for power users. It's a step up from the standard S23 in several actually useful ways – a slightly bigger screen, a significantly better battery – and where it differs from the Ultra it doesn't differ dramatically, so while it has 8GB of RAM to the Ultra's 12GB you're not going to notice a huge difference.

The most significant differences aren't deal-breakers. There's no S-Pen, and you don't get the fancy new 200MP camera. But 50MP with all Samsung's processing power is more than enough for amazing prints, assuming anybody even gets photos printed these days, and the S Pen isn't something most phone users are crying out for. 

Me, I'd buy the Plus – and I'd buy it now while Samsung is offering double the storage for free. You can get the 512GB Plus for £1,049, minus any trade-in, and that's a good £200 less than the Ultra with the same capacity. 

Are those extra megapixels really worth an extra £200? That money could get you a really sweet pair of true wireless earbuds to go with your phone instead, and I don't think that's a decision you'd regret.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series; her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, was shortlisted for the British Book Awards. When she’s not scribbling, Carrie is the singer in Glaswegian rock band Unquiet Mind (unquietmindmusic).