Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra – which one should you go for?

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You may be wondering what’s the difference between the Samsung Galaxy S23 vs S23 Ultra and you’d certainly not be alone.

The Samsung Galaxy S23, the follow-up to the popular Galaxy S22, was released on February 17th 2023, and met with considerable excitement. Though still sharing a number of similarities with the S22, the Samsung Galaxy S23 range stands out with a number of key updates.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is Samsung’s latest flagship and has got the hype to show for it. It strikes a near-perfect balance between familiarity with its predecessor, the S22 Ultra, while bringing a host of new features that make it worthy of its top dog position.

You may be weighing up which phone to go for, and how it matches up to what your main usage will be whether that be for everyday browsing, watching content, or even gaming. It might also be worth checking our chosen alternatives to the S23 and alternatives to the S23 Ultra if you’d like to upgrade without going for the most expensive option.

So, we’re going to make things a little easier by comparing what we think are the key comparison areas between the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Ultra. We’ll look at everything from specs to features, and even design and value for money so you can make an informed choice.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs S23 Ultra – specs

SpecS23 UltraS23
Size6.8″6.1″
DisplayAMOLEDAMOLED
Resolution1080 x 30882340 x 1080
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 2 Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
Battery5,000 mAh3900mAh
Charger45W (wired), 10W (wireless)25W (wired), 15W (wireless)
Cellular5G5G
Refresh Rate120Hz120Hz
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB128GB, 256GB, 512GB
RAM8GB/12GB8GB
Main Camera200MP, 12MP, 10MP (3x zoom), 10MP (10x zoom)50MP, 10MP, 12MP
Selfie Lens12MP12MP

As you can see from the table, there are a number of key similarities between the S23 and S23 Ultra.

First things first, both share a stunning Dynamic AMOLED display that reaches a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz. Regardless of whether you choose the S23 Ultra or S23, expect a blur-free and ultra-smooth user experience. This refresh rate is also dynamic, meaning the S23 Ultra can drop down to as low as 1Hz when displaying content that does not require the ultimate smoothness. This feature is particularly helpful in conserving battery life.

Both phones also share Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. This chipset plays a huge part in their significant leaps in performance compared to the S22 generation’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. Offering improvements in energy efficiency as well as performance, the new chipset is now seriously on par with Apple’s A16 Bionic chip, while boasting Ray Tracing abilities. This makes the S23 and S23 Ultra both excellent choices for gaming, though the S23 Ultra has the edge with a larger 5000mAh battery.

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The cameras for both S23 and S23 Ultra have also made a considerable step-up. After three generations of the 108MP main camera, the S23 Ultra seriously takes the cake with a 200 megapixel main camera, a 3x telephoto, 10x periscope telephoto, and an ultrawide camera. The Super QPD feature allows the main camera to focus easily in low-light conditions, while the shutter lag time will help capture faster moving subjects. Additionally, the S23 Ultra’s photos should also look more true to life, thanks to HP2’s dual vertical transfer gates that allow for more light to reach the sensor.

The S23 meanwhile has a lower megapixel count for its main camera, at 50MP, and has just three cameras, meaning it’s closer in looks to previous generations. That being said, its 12MP selfie camera matches that of the S23 Ultra, though it’s clear Samsung’s flagship has a considerable edge in the photography department.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs S23 Ultra – battery life

Battery life is an important consideration, especially if you’re out a lot, or else like to use your phone for taking photos which tends to sap a lot of battery.

The S23 Ultra clearly has the edge, with a battery power of 5000mAh. While we’re surprised that it shares the same battery power as the S22 Ultra, 5000mAh is pretty high, on par with the Nubia Red Magic 8 Pro and OnePlus 10 Pro.

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The S23 has a slightly smaller battery power of 3900mAh, making Samsung’s flagship the choice to go for if battery life is one of your top priorities.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs S23 Ultra – design

The most noticeable visual design change is the back camera lenses – the S23 Ultra has gained an extra lens, while the S23 keeps the traditional 3, and looks similar to its predecessor.

The S23 Ultra also comes with Samsung’s S Pen for added functionality. If you’re creative or enjoy the versatility associated with handwriting notes on your phone, then you’ll probably prefer the S23 Ultra. That being said, if you prefer a smaller screen on your smartphone – perhaps to better fit in your pocket or hold, the S23 might be better suited to you.

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While there are a few notable differences, both the S23 and S23 Ultra boast the same IP68 water and dust protection rating, meaning they can survive submerging in up to 1 meter of fresh water for up to 30 minutes.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs S23 Ultra – value for money

As anyone would expect, the Samsung S23 Ultra costs considerably more than the S23 model.

It’s tricky to say whether the extra cost is worth it for the flagship, although Samsung hasn’t made the decision easy by making the S23 Ultra pull right ahead in battery life and camera quality.

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Overall it comes down to price. If you think you can make the most of the incredibly high specs of the S23 Ultra, then it will give you a great performance for its price. If you don’t require these high specs, however, the standard S23 is still a great phone with a more budget friendly price.

Check price: Samsung Galaxy S23

Check price: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Which should you go for?

As usual, choosing between two phones is a balancing act between price and performance.

If you can afford it, we definitely recommend going all out with the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Its new camera features easily make it one of the most impressive smartphones on the market today, and with a battery life of 5000mAh, there’s little this phone can’t do.

The S23 remains a good alternative for those looking to upgrade their phone, but aren’t looking for the best of the best. You’re still getting one of the most advanced processors, combined with Samsung’s signature AMOLED display.

About the Author

Romilly Cotta

Romilly is a tech writer for Videogamer. When she's not covering the latest tech and hardware releases, you'll find her taking care of her Nintendogs.