Samsung Galaxy S23 review

GSMArena Team, 8 February 2023.

Design, build quality, handling

The Samsung Galaxy S23 is a beautiful smartphone with a no-nonsense design. It is also a sturdy, waterproof and lightweight device - certainly a winning combination. This year Samsung opted for an even cleaner design, one available in Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender, Graphite and Lime colors - not as many as the Galaxy S22, but still plenty enough.

Samsung Galaxy S23 reviewGalaxy S22 and Galaxy S23

We have the Galaxy S23 in Lavender, and it's a very pleasant hue, easy on the eyes and not as common on the market.

The most important hardware bits of the new Galaxy S23 are the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 panels, the armored aluminum frame, and the retired contour-cut camera housing in favor of a clean flat back.

The curved panels are still exclusive to the Galaxy S23 Ultra model, and that's fine. We found the flat front and rear sides fitting of the Galaxy S23 size and shape. The new Victus 2 glass has improved drop performance against rough surfaces such as concrete, which should increase the chance of the S23 surviving accidental drops on concrete, terracotta, granite tiles, etc.

Samsung Galaxy S23 reviewGalaxy S22 and Galaxy S23

The armored aluminum frame advertised for its tougher drop and scratch resistance compared to regular aluminum is identical across all Galaxy S23 phones, slightly curved and with a matt finish. We certainly hope that the colored coating is more durable than on the Galaxy S22, which looked quite blemished after only a few months in a case.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

Finally, the Galaxy S23 is IP68-rated like many Galaxy S phones before it, and it can survive in 1.5m deep water for half an hour.

Our first impressions from handling the Galaxy S23 are quite positive - it provides a good grip, and the compact size is lovable. Let's get a closer look now.

The front is home to the 6.1-inch 1080p AMOLED screen, the same panel as on the Galaxy S22, but with improved brightness. The S23 looks exactly like the S22 at the front, down to the impressively thin screen bezels and camera cutout.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

The selfie camera has been upgraded, though, it now uses a 12MP sensor instead of 10MP as on the previous Galaxy S models. The cutout size did not grow any larger. And it still supports Dual Pixel autofocus.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

The biometric security is identical to the Galaxy S22's - an under-display ultrasonic fingerprint scanner. It has outstanding accuracy and great speed. If you plan to use screen protectors, you should stick to glass ones and maybe re-scan your fingerprints for better performance.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

There is one thing that deserves mention, although it seems invisible - the top speaker, which also doubles as an earpiece. There is no grille, just a razor-thin outlet between the frame and the glass, just above the camera.

The back is where the bigger change has happened - the metal housing enveloping the three cameras, a signature design element for the Galaxy S22 generation, is now gone. The cameras are still not flush with the glass back, but they are surrounded by small metal rings, slightly jutting out. And because of this improvement, the Galaxy S23 wobbles a lot less when used on a desk without a case.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

There is an LED flash on the back, and it's still a single-color single-LED one like on pretty much any other Galaxy.

We are fans of the slightly curved metal frame - it's just a subtle curvature, but enough to distinguish the galaxy of the iPhone lookalikes. And there is nothing on its left side (if we don't count the antennas).

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

The volume and power/lock keys are on the right side, with enough surface for easy operation and good feedback.

The top of the Galaxy S23 houses only a microphone.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

The bottom is overcrowded - the dual-SIM slot is here, the second speaker, and the USB-C port surrounded by the primary and the secondary microphones.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

We loved our time spent with the little Galaxy S23 - it is one of the most compact modern phones, with exceptional no-nonsense design, beautiful looks and just enough grip for most people to be okay using it without a case.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

We appreciate the glass improvements and the ever-present ingress protection, and we are glad Samsung removed the thick camera housing. Overall, the Galaxy S23 deserves an excellent mark for its design and handling, and we think Samsung has struck a balance between screen size and pocketability once again. And we are going to stop here as this has begun to shape as a verdict, but it's a bit early for that.

Reader comments

  • regs
  • 02 Jun 2023
  • swN

"3DMark Wild Life Extreme (offscreen 1440p)" 3DMark Wild Life Extreme is 4K offscreen test, not 1440p.

  • ghenceaRO
  • 18 May 2023
  • Mvw

does it have touch shutter for camera?

  • Anonymous
  • 16 May 2023
  • 0st

Again, inconsistencies in the battery evaluation. The Galaxy S23's onscreen numbers are "outstanding" while those of the Xiaomi 13 - while being, in fact, higher - are "a bit on the low end". It's just really hard to fol...