Is Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra going to be outclassed by this new Android flagship?

The Android phone throne is up for grabs

Vivo X90 Pro+ is a fierce Android phone rival to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
(Image credit: Vivo)

While excitement grows around the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, notorious Samsung leaker Ice Universe says we're getting excited about the wrong Android phone.

"I don't think the S23 Ultra lives up to its name," he writes (opens in new tab), listing rival phones including the Vivo X90 Pro+, the first smartphone to be powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. "Who is 'Ultra' and who is 'Pro'?"

It's a good question. Let's find out.

Who is Ultra and who is Pro?

On the basis of multiple Samsung leaks, we can be pretty sure what its specs are –and that means we can compare the forthcoming Galaxy S23 Ultra to the Vivo X90 Pro+.

In many key respects, they're very similar, with 6.8-inch dynamic OLEDs running at 120Hz. The Galaxy is expected to have 500ppi and the Vivo has 518ppi. The processor is a Snapdragon 7 Gen 2, possibly a special edition in the case of the Samsung, and the Galaxy is expected to have 8GB of RAM to the Vivo's 12GB. Storage is 128GB in the Samsung and 256GB in the Vivo, and both devices run Android 13. 

However, where these devices really differ – and where Ice Universe reckons the Samsung fails to live up to its Ultra label – is in their camera setups. The Vivo has Sony's new 1-inch IMX989 sensor while the Samsung Galaxy 23 Ultra's sensor is yet to be announced, but while it's expected to be 200MP on the main camera the Vivo's other cameras are significantly more powerful than the Samsung's.

We're expecting the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra to have a 200MP main camera, two 10MP telephotos and a 12MP ultra-wide camera; the Vivo X90 Pro+ has a 50MP main, two telephotos with 64MP and 50MP respectively and a 48MP ultra-wide camera – although what the Samsung telephoto lenses lack in megapixels they make up for in zoom, with an expected 10x optical zoom.

There's another big difference. The Samsung won't be out until February 2023, but the Vivo is available now. It's only officially available in China right now though, but it'll work with European phone networks and Google Mobile Services so it's a tempting one to import. It's currently listed at $1,199 on Giztop, which works out at around £998 before shipping; the Galaxy S23 Ultra is expected to cost from £1,199 when it's released next year.

If the leaked specs so far make you think the S23 Ultra won't be a massive improvement over the S22 Ultra, importing a rival isn't your only option here. Some still-available Black Friday deals have slashed the price of the S22s. As we said in our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review, it's "everything you'd expect from a flagship smartphone and more."

Robert Jones

Rob has been writing about computing, gaming, mobile, home entertainment technology, toys (specifically Lego and board games), smart home and more for over 15 years. As the editor of PC Gamer, and former Deputy Editor for T3.com, you can find Rob's work in magazines, bookazines and online, as well as on podcasts and videos, too. Outside of his work Rob is passionate about motorbikes, skiing/snowboarding and team sports, with football and cricket his two favourites.