The big dog of Samsung's anticipated Galaxy S23 range, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, is less than a week away – the 1st February date has been revealed by Samsung already and you can even pre-order the otherwise as-yet-unnamed handset.
As the largest and most advanced of the Galaxy series, the S23 Ultra is expected to stand apart from the updated S23 and S23 Plus models to offer users even more. Just like the earlier S22 Ultra you can expect an integrated stylus and therefore a different point of appeal compared to its other Galaxy cousins.
But what will the S23 Ultra bring to Samsung's Galaxy range that we've not seen before? Right now it's mostly just rumour and conjecture, but here's everything we know about the Ultra flagship. We'll be daily updating this feature in the countdown to the next Galaxy Unpacked launch...
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: What's new?
The 'in brief' look at the S23 Ultra compared to the S22 Ultra is that... well, it doesn't look hugely different between the generations. Of course we've only got alleged leaks to base that on. But here's the summary on what you can likely expect:
First up, there's rumour of even more curves, potentially a four-sided curve screen. We've seen this before from Huawei, and while it looks nice, it'll be interesting to see if Samsung can actually make it practical to use day to day.
Second, more curves doesn't mean more real estate. The S23 Ultra is believed to have a 6.8-inch panel (with 120Hz refresh and 3088 x 1440 resolution), meaning no change in the core of that specification. In that respect, therefore, this will be much the same device.
So what is new? Well, inside you can expect the latest hardware, expected to be Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, although there are further rumours that Exynos silicon could still end up in some regional devices, in a move away from the current norm.
Around the back the cameras arrangement looks similar, with the individual lenses visible, but it's thought the main lens will jump from 108-megapixels to an even higher 200MP unit.
And that's about your lot. I suspect the S23 Ultra will push new software to add yet further appeal to its integrated S Pen stylus, moving the user experience forward further than the physical design of the phone between generations.
Oh, and a new colour, inevitably, as that's a year-on-year thing for all major phone-makers.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Release date
We expect the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (and its siblings) to be announced at the next Samsung Unpacked event on Wednesday 1st February 2023, which commences at 6pm UK time according to Samsung's official countdown timer (opens in new tab). Exactly where and when it will be hosted isn't yet known, but I'm sure there will be access on YouTube and via other sources.
Availability is typically a week following the announcement, perhaps marginally later, so the 10th February sounds as good a date as any to me. All three Galaxy S23 handsets are likely to go on sale in tandem, there isn't thought to be any delay for the Ultra compared to the other two handsets.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Spec
As I've mentioned further up the page, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is expected to feature Qualcomm's latest chipset, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This is part and parcel of the two companies' ongoing agreement of partnership.
However, rumour of Samsung's own Exynos potentially being used isn't something I'd assume will impact a UK or US launch of the S23 Ultra.
Otherwise it's business as usual by the sounds of things: so expect 8GB or 12GB RAM depending on model and/or region, same as was found in the S22 Ultra model. I don't think there will be giant gains in performance year on year.
Hopefully the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 hardware will be kinder to battery life thanks to its raft of baked-in artificial intelligence smarts. When it comes to battery capacity, again it's a tale of the familiar: a 5,000mAh cell is expected, along with 45W fast-charging (and 15W wireless charging).
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Design
We've explored the overall familiar look between the S22 Ultra and S23 Ultra, so other than the possibility of more curved glass all around the screen, I don't anticipate the older and newer handsets to look any different.
There's usually always the one exception, of course, which is the colour options available. However, there's no crystal clear news on this just yet, except for one retailer leak loosely stating there will be Cotton Flower, Misty Lilac, Botanic Green, and Phantom Black options. Read that as grey, purple, green and, er, black then. We've also heard about 'green', 'rose' and 'beige' colour options, but these sound like regional variations on the above really.
Now, I'd expect one of the colour options to be a headline eye-grabber, like the Bora Purple was for the S22 Ultra. There is talk that the S23 Ultra may have a special edition red finish, i.e. the one that the 'normal' S23 models won't offer, which would certainly jump out from the otherwise muted-sounding pack.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Cameras
The Ultra model is well known for being, well, the ultimate when it comes to photography, featuring an array of lenses to cover wide through telephoto. Samsung has teased its triple lens design in various pre-order teasers, grabs of which you can see in the gallery inserted below.
The S23 Ultra appears not wildly different to its predecessor, in that it'll offer the same 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP 3x zoom and 10MP 10x zoom, but will replace its main camera sensor with a 200MP offering instead, further upping the resolution. There's also said to be more AI integration to produce better results from the zoom lenses. Leaked images, said to be taken with the S23 Ultra, show off a remarkably capable camera, even under 30x zoom.
More resolution opens more possibilities. Heck, you could theoretically shoot 16K Ultra-Ultra-High-Definition video without using the full sensor, permitting optical stabilisation technologies and such like to continue without interruption. That kind of processing would be intense, though, Samsung won't offer it for the simple fact that Qualcomm's processor caps out at 8K30p anyway.
The one feature that's leaked in particular is Samsung's 'ultra night photography', which will no doubt use the ultra-high resolution sensor to pull out crazy levels of dynamic range when composing handheld shots at nighttime.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Software
Here's where I think the Galaxy S23 Ultra is really going to have to try and sell itself. Based on the above rumours it's just not that different to the S22 that came before it, and with an integrated S Pen stylus and all kinds of fancy hardware under the hood, its differentiator will be various Samsung software tools to enable this Galaxy flagship to do more than anything else on the market. That's my best prediciton anyway.
From a raw software point of view, anticipate Google's Android 15 operating system, running Samsung's latest One UI software. It'll be well tested, stable and all the good things that Samsung is able to offer. Although, as ever, you might want to tweak settings such as Bixby being default on the power button, or Samsung Free taking precedence over Google Discover from a right swipe on the homescreen. We shall see in due course though...