Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (2024)

Samsung's flagship lineup for early 2023 includes the Galaxy S23, the Galaxy S23+, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Based on what we’ve seen so far, there’s a lot to like about each of these new handsets. But that begs the question: Which Galaxy S23 is right for you?

We're still in the process of reviewing the phones, so we can't offer any definitive buying advice just yet. In the meantime, however, we take you through all the differences in specs and features to help you understand your options.

Hardware Subtleties

As you might expect, the devices aren’t all the same size. The Galaxy S23 is the smallest at 5.76 by 2.79 by 0.30 inches (HWD) and 5.93 ounces. The previous-generation S22 made our list of the best small phones, and this version is just slightly larger.

The S23+ measures 6.21 by 3.0 by 0.30 inches and weighs 6.91 ounces. It practically has the same dimensions as the iPhone 14 Pro Max (6.33 by 3.05 by 0.31 inches), so we can't really call it midsize.

Finally, the Ultra comes in at 6.43 by 3.07 by 0.35 inches and 8.25 ounces; it's one of the largest phones on the market.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (1)

Left to right: Cream, Phantom Back, Lavender, and Green color options for the S23 lineup (Credit: Eric Zeman)

The Ultra is notably the only one in the lineup that comes with the S Pen; it even has a built-in slot for it. That's a huge convenience for people who like to write notes or draw.

Thankfully, they are all equally durable: An IP68 rating means they are dustproof and waterproof, a Gorilla Glass Victus 2 cover protects against drops, and an Armor Aluminum material strengthens the frame.

Display Differences

The only screen difference between the S23 and S23+ is the size. With the S23, you get a 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED panel with a 120Hz refresh rate. It features a FHD+ resolution (2,040 by 1,080 pixels) with a density of 425ppi. The S23+, for comparison, has a 6.6-inch screen with the same resolution and refresh rate. Because it’s bigger, the pixel density is a little lower at 393ppi, but we don't anticipate that making a significant difference in real-world use.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (2)

Galaxy S23 Ultra (Credit: Eric Zeman)

The Galaxy S23 Ultra features an impressive 6.8-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED screen that also runs at 120Hz. With a resolution of 3,088 by 1,044 pixels, it has a density of 500ppi.

In terms of brightness, all three put out 1,200 nits (typical) and 1,750 nits (outdoor peak). In previous generations, the Ultra model had a slightly brighter display, so we appreciate the parity here.

All Get the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy

One of the most exciting aspects of the Galaxy S23 family is the processor. All three devices use the same specially tuned version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip with higher CPU clock speeds (up to 3.36GHz for the primary core) and higher GPU clock speeds. This hardware should put these phones at the top of the list for mobile gamers, but we can't give an official recommendation until we can test the performance fully.

Because the phones all have the same system-on-a-chip, they also have the same Snapdragon X70 modem. That means you get sub-6GHz, mid-band, and mmWave 5G support on all three devices. Each also features the latest in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3.

Choose Your Memory and Storage Wisely

If you plan on multitasking, make sure your phone has enough RAM. And if you want to store lots of media and files, you need lots of storage.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (5)

Galaxy S23 (Credit: Eric Zeman)

Both the Galaxy S23 and S23+ come with 8GB of RAM. If you go for the S23 Ultra, you can get either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, depending on the configuration.

Moving onto storage, the Galaxy S23 and S23+ ship with either 128GB or 256GB. Although 128GB is a solid start, you might need to spring for the 256GB model if you plan to store lots of apps, games, and media because these phones lack a microSD card slot.

The Ultra goes an extra step. The base model has 256GB of storage, but from there you can jump to 512GB or even 1TB (useful if you record lots of hi-res video).

Cameras: Up to 200MP

With the S23 and S23+, you get a 50MP main camera with an f/1.8 aperture. There’s also a 12MP ultra-wide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and a 10MP telephoto lens with an f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom. They even record video in up to 8K resolution at 30fps.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (9)

Left to right: Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra (Credit: Eric Zeman)

The Ultra gets a 200MP main camera with an f/1.7 aperture and laser autofocus. It can produce photos with all 200MP, or boil shots down to a size of 50MP or 12.5MP. It has the same ultra-wide and base telephoto lenses as the other two phones, but gains a special 10MP, f/4.9 lens with 10x optical zoom. This is what powers the Ultra's 100x Space Zoom feature.

All three phones feature the same 12MP, f/2.2 front camera, which can also capture 4K60 video.

Pay Attention to Battery Size and Charging Speeds

The S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra respectively have 3,900mAh, 4,700mAh, and 5,000mAh batteries.That's an increase of 200mAh in the battery size for both the S23 and S23+ compared with the previous models.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (10)

Galaxy S23+ (Credit: Eric Zeman)

There’s a slight difference between the S23 and the other two models in terms of charging speed. The base S23 features Super Fast Charging, which means it charges at 25W. Meanwhile, the S23+ and the S23 Ultra feature Super Fast Charging 2.0, which unlocks charging speeds of up to 45W. In other words, the two bigger phones recharge more quickly when you use a compatible charger.

Everything else is the same: All three phones offer the Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 (15W) and Wireless PowerShare features.

Which Galaxy S23 Is Right for You?

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (11)

Left to right: Galaxy S23 Ultra, S23+, S23 (Credit: Eric Zeman)

Beyond specs, you need to consider your budget. The S23 starts at $799.99, the S23+ retails for $999.99, and the S23 Ultra comes in at $1,199.99. And if you bump up the storage on any model, expect to pay more.

If price is not a concern, try focusing on the differences. Do you need the largest screen, the most RAM, and a stylus? Get the Ultra. Do you want a phone with a large (but not gigantic display) that charges quickly? The S23+ might be right for you. Do you want a more portable, hand-friendly phone? Get the S23.

That's the basic breakdown of audiences for each, but we plan to provide more in-depth buying analysis in our full reviews. Make sure to check back soon for all those details.

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Samsung Galaxy S23 vs. S23+ vs. S23 Ultra: What’s the Difference? (2024)
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