Review: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra – The Everyday Workhorse

BIG BATTERY, GREAT CAMERA, AND A STYLUS TO GET THINGS DONE

New smartphones launch every other day, with the likes of Apple, Motorola, and Huawei trading blows. Recently, Samsung released its latest flagship phone, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. This everyday workhorse boasts a range of new features and upgrades, and I was excited to get my hands on it and see how it performs.

Devices with a stylus have always been attractive to me. I find them far more functional, and their larger form factor dramatically improves battery life.

The S23 Ultra stands 163mm tall and 78mm wide.
The S23 Ultra stands 163mm tall and 78mm wide.

Introduction to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the latest addition to the Galaxy S series. It comes with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display, which is the largest screen ever seen on a Galaxy S phone. The S23 Ultra runs Android 13 and features a Li-Ion 5,000mAh battery with fast charging capabilities.

Built into the design is the latest generation of the S Pen. Conveniently, the stylus is also a remote trigger for the camera, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity.

Sitting between a smartphone and a tablet, the S23 Ultra is the latest incarnation of the ultimate digital workhorse.

That being said, this is not an inexpensive smartphone. Starting at $1,749 and rising sharply to $2,449, the S23 Ultra is quite the investment. And that’s an important distinction to make.

Design and Display of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Available in four colour options: Phantom Black, Green, Lavender, and Cream – this is a sleek and modern design. The phone has a glass back and aluminium frame, which gives it a premium look and feel. All of this Victus 2 Gorilla Glass and metal bump the weight to 234g.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra display is one of its standout features. It rocks an impressive resolution of 3,088 x 1,440 pixels with up to 1750nits and 500ppi density. The screen has a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, which makes it smooth and responsive. The colours are vibrant, and the brightness is excellent, making it easy to use the phone outdoors in bright sunlight.

Performance and Features of the Samsung S23 Ultra

The beating heart of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform with a choice of 256GB, 512GB or 1TB of internal storage. The S23 Ultra everyday workhorse runs on Android 13 – the latest version of Android OS. Thankfully, the S23 Ultra is fast and responsive, and there is little to no lag or stutter when switching between apps or scrolling through social media feeds.

Complimenting the processor and storage of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is an impressive array of cameras fitted to the device’s back and front.

When I use Android for an extended period, I’m always impressed with the new features that have been added since I last used it. Some of these features are easily identified. Others are very subtle. For example, Google apps such as Maps and Home have many features not present on other operating systems.

Then there are the home-screen widgets. I loved discovering a widget that kept the live score of a footy game I was following on the home screen for the game’s duration.

Real-time footy scores on the home screen.
Real-time footy scores on the home screen.

Camera and Video Capabilities of the S23 Ultra – 4K & 100x Zoom

The camera capabilities of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are awe-inspiring. At the front is a 12MP Selfie Camera with a 26mm lens capable of shooting 4K video at 60fps. At the rear, things get really interesting.

Game-changing camera array on the S23 Ultra.

A quad-camera setup on the back includes a 200MP primary camera, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, a 10-megapixel periscope telephoto camera, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera. The camera can shoot 8K videos at 60 frames per second and 4K videos at 120 frames per second. The camera also features optical image stabilisation and 100x zoom.

At the front is a 12MP Selfie Camera with a 26mm lens capable of shooting 4K video at 60fps.

Side-by-side S23 Ultra zoom demonstration.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra The Everyday Workhorse
Colour vibrancy is another strength of the S23 Ultra

Stylus Support on the Samsung S23 Ultra Everyday Workhorse

The S Pen stylus transforms the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra from just another smartphone into a vital business tool. The S Pen can take notes, draw, annotate documents and, as I mentioned, fire the camera shutter for above-average selfies. Stored in a push-button slot on the bottom of the phone, the stylus is easy to access. It’s very responsive and accurate, and it works well with any app. However, avoid losing the S Pen as a replacement costs $50.

The S Pen was one of the key reasons I purchased the Samsung Galaxy Note 9 back in 2018. I like to draw and the use of a pen (stylus) makes this feature so much more efficient.

Much has changed in the 5 years that separate these two devices.
Much has changed in the 5 years that separate these two devices.

5G Connectivity on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Naturally, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra everyday workhorse has 5G connectivity, which means it can connect to the fastest mobile networks available. This makes it possible to download and stream content at lightning-fast speeds. The phone also has Wi-Fi 6E, the latest and fastest Wi-Fi standard.

Bluetooth 5.3 is standard. So too, is NFC for your credit and debit cards. A USB-C 3.2 port sits at the base of the phone next to the speaker and the SIM card tray.

Other features include an ultrasonic Fingerprint sensor (under the display), accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity sensor, compass, and barometer.

Battery Life and Charging Capabilities of the S23 Ultra Everyday Workhorse

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 5,000mAh battery, which is more significant than the previous model. The phone also features fast charging capabilities via USB-C. The phone can be charged wirelessly and can also be used to charge other devices with 4.5W reverse wireless charging.

The business end of the Samsung S23 Ultra everyday workhorse

Pros and Cons of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Pros

Large and vibrant display

Impressive camera capabilities

S Pen Stylus support

5G connectivity

Cons

Pricing – especially for larger storage options

Too big and heavy for most pockets

Front and rear glass is surprisingly fragile

Conclusion – Is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra worth the Investment?

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra everyday workhorse is an impressive smartphone. It has a large and vibrant display, impressive camera capabilities, stylus support, and 5G connectivity. However, it is also expensive and large and heavy. If you are looking for a high-end phone with top-of-the-line features, then the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is worth considering.

However, if you are looking for a more budget-friendly option, then there are other phones on the market that may be a better fit for you.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra online now at Samsung.com and watch your productivity soar!

About Author
Mike is the Australian editor of SonnyDickson.com with a lifelong passion for cars, technology and engineering. He reviews and writes about all kinds of motoring and tech products for our readers. Follow Mike on Instagram or send him an email: mike@sonnydickson.com
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