Samsung Galaxy S23 review

GSMArena Team, 8 February 2023.

Small yet great Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen

The 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X we saw on the Galaxy S22 appears again on the new Galaxy S23 model. It has one notable improvement - 35% higher peak brightness, something that should further improve the HDR streaming experience.

The AMOLED panel has your typical 2,340 x 1,080 pixels resolution, but on this 6.1-inch screen, it makes for 422ppi density, and everything looks sharp. There is support for a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, wide color gamut, and HDR10+. The protection is handled by the latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

Most flagship displays have been offering 10-bit, even 12-bit color depth, while Samsung is yet to offer more than 16 million colors on its smartphones. Not that many people can tell the difference, but still.

We've completed our brightness test first, and the manual brightness is a match to the one on the Galaxy S22 - 476nits in its default mode and 786nits with the Extra brightness boost from Settings.

The Auto brightness is now higher, though, as we captured 1200nits on the Galaxy S23 screen. We even simulated peak brightness within a 10% screen patch, and it did offer about 1750 nits. Nice!

The minimum brightness at point white was just 1 nit.

Display test 100% brightness
Black,cd/m2 White,cd/m2 Contrast ratio
Samsung Galaxy S23 0 476
Samsung Galaxy S23 (Extra Brightness) 0 786
Samsung Galaxy S23 (Max Auto) 0 1198
Samsung Galaxy S22 0 465
Samsung Galaxy S22 (Extra Brightness) 0 757
Samsung Galaxy S22 (Max Auto) 0 982
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G 0 416
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (Max Auto) 0 856
Samsung Galaxy S20 0 397
Samsung Galaxy S20 (Max Auto) 0 814
Asus Zenfone 9 0 449
Asus Zenfone 9 (Max Auto) 0 831
Apple iPhone 14 Pro 0 842
Apple iPhone 14 Pro (Max Auto) 0 1791
Apple iPhone 14 0 804
Apple iPhone 13 mini 0 831
Sony Xperia 5 IV (Warm WB) 0 624
Sony Xperia 5 IV Creator Max Auto (default, Medium WB) 0 979
Xiaomi 12X 0 504
Xiaomi 12X (Max Auto) 0 925
OnePlus 11 0 487
OnePlus 11 (Max Auto) 0 767

Color accuracy

The Galaxy S23 offers two color modes - Vivid (wide color, DCI-P3) and Natural (standard color, sRGB). The accuracy towards both is consistently great - both modes are fairly accurate towards DCI-P3 and sRGB targets.

When using the Vivid mode, there is a barely noticeable bluish tinge over the white and gray colors, but you can get rid of that by opting for the middle position towards Warm on the color temperature slider.

You can also tune RGB saturation to your liking if that's your thing.

Refresh rate

The Samsung Galaxy S23 has two Motion Smoothness modes - Adaptive (refresh rate) and Standard (refresh rate). According to the description, the Adaptive one switches automatically between different modes and can do up to 120Hz, while the Standard one does the same, but can go up to 60Hz for longer battery life.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

According to the device hardware scanning apps, the screen supports these fixed fresh steps - 10Hz, 24Hz, 30Hz, 48Hz, 60hz, 96Hz and 120Hz - that's consistent with the Galaxy S22.

When using the Adaptive mode, we saw the screen use 120Hz across the interface and all compatible apps and quite a few games. When the picture is static, then the software usually dials down to 24Hz in most cases.

Video streaming and playback are done in an adaptive fashion, too, depending on the frame rate. For example, 24fps videos are shown at 24Hz refresh, 30fps use 30Hz, we also saw 60Hz used on 48fps and 60fps videos across different apps. And throwing a 120fps video will result in the expected refresh 120Hz.

The Always-on display works with 24Hz refresh rate and that's the lowest possible. We weren't able to make the screen switch to 10Hz, 48Hz or 90Hz at the time of writing. Oddly, 48fps and 90fps videos/games always used 120Hz refresh.

When using the Standard mode, the refresh rate behaves as in Adaptive - using 24Hz, 30Hz, and 60Hz where applicable. Games and videos playback will not use 120Hz modes if Standard is selected.

Streaming and HDR

The Samsung Galaxy S23 display supports HDR10+ and is recognized as such by all popular streaming apps. And thanks to the Widevine L1 support, all apps stream 1080p HDR10 content hassle-free.

Battery life

The Galaxy S23 is powered by a 3,900mAh battery, which means it has 200mAh more capacity than the cell inside the Galaxy S22, but still 100mAh short of the Galaxy S21's.

The Galaxy S23 managed a great Active Use Score of about 11:30 hours. That puts it about on par with the Google Pixel 8 with its larger battery. Though, the Galaxy does still get bested by the iPhone 15.

Expand to reveal our legacy battery test (Endurance rating). How we test now.

The Galaxy S23 is powered by a 3,900mAh battery, which means it has 200mAh more capacity than the cell inside the Galaxy S22, but still 100mAh short of the Galaxy S21's.

Still, the Galaxy S23 scored a 101h endurance rating on our battery life test and showed outstanding performance across all tests - call, web browsing and video. It bested both the Galaxy S21 and S22, as well as the iPhone 14 and 14 Pro.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

Our battery tests were automated thanks to SmartViser, using its viSerDevice app. The endurance rating denotes how long the battery charge will last you if you use the device for an hour of telephony, web browsing, and video playback daily. More details can be found here.

The Galaxy S23 offers a slight improvement in the standby performance (251h) when compared to the Galaxy S22 (239h, Exynos), but it still did a bit lower than that Galaxy S21 (319h, Exynos).

Video test carried out in 60Hz refresh rate mode. Web browsing test is done at the display's highest refresh rate whenever possible. Refer to the respective reviews for specifics. To adjust the endurance rating formula to match your own usage patterns, check out our all-time battery test results chart, where you can also find all phones we've tested.

Charging speed

While the Galaxy S23+ and S23 Ultra support up to 45W fast wired charging, the charging power of the Galaxy S23 is limited to 25W. It still supports fast wireless charging, as well as reversed wired and wireless charging options.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

Samsung ships the Galaxy S23 without a charger, so you will have to buy Samsung's 25W power adapter for best results (if you haven't already, or if your retailer/carrier hasn't gifted you one).

The said adapter recharges 30% of the Galaxy S23 battery in 15 minutes, while another 15 minutes will get you to 57%.

30min charging test (from 0%)

Higher is better

Sort by
Name
30 min time
OnePlus 11
100%
Xiaomi 12X
78%
Samsung Galaxy S22
63%
Apple iPhone 13 mini
61%
Apple iPhone 14
60%
Samsung Galaxy S23
57%
Asus Zenfone 9
57%
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (25W PD)
55%
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
48%
Sony Xperia 5 IV
45%
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (15W bundled)
37%

* Tap/hover over the device names for more info

A full charge requires 71 minutes sharp.

Time to full charge (from 0%)

Lower is better

Sort by
Name
Time
OnePlus 11
0:22h
Xiaomi 12X
0:48h
Samsung Galaxy S22
1:03h
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G (25W PD)
1:13h
Asus Zenfone 9
1:15h
Samsung Galaxy S23
1:16h
Apple iPhone 13 mini
1:24h
Apple iPhone 14
1:31h
Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (15W bundled)
1:35h
Sony Xperia 5 IV
1:45h
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
1:52h

* Tap/hover over the device names for more info

Speakers - loudness and quality

The Samsung Galaxy S23 offers stereo speakers - one lies at the bottom, and another one is front-facing, just above the selfie camera. This setup is usually called a hybrid one, as the front one doubles as an earpiece.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review

The phone also supports Dolby Atmos enhancement - it can be turned on from Settings. Then you can choose between Auto, Movie, Music, or Game sound mode. We did our test with Dolby Atmos OFF and ON (Auto), and we found the output to be identical.

The Galaxy S23 scored a Good mark on our loudness test, and it indeed offers enough punch to satisfy most people. Even better, its audio quality is excellent - there is bass, voices sound great, and there is more than enough presence in the high range. It has one of the richest and deepest outputs across the phones we've tested so far, and you can hear the improvement it offers over the Galaxy S22.

Use the Playback controls to listen to the phone sample recordings (best use headphones). We measure the average loudness of the speakers in LUFS. A lower absolute value means a louder sound. A look at the frequency response chart will tell you how far off the ideal "0db" flat line is the reproduction of the bass, treble, and mid frequencies. You can add more phones to compare how they differ. The scores and ratings are not comparable with our older loudspeaker test. Learn more about how we test here.

Reader comments

  • JSS
  • 13 Jun 2024
  • Hkv

No calculator and battery only 3 hours ??? U sure its S23 even my moms old J series Samsung phone has those things

  • Andre
  • 03 Jun 2024
  • 0Cf

While recording, you can switch between front and rear camera, but can't switch between lenses on rear camera. I own this phone, don't listen to dudes, who say it's possible.

Nah they aren't. I took some photos with this phone that can compete with flagships like Xiaomi 14 Pro.