Samsung Galaxy S23 Reviewed: A Compact Premium Flagship With A Powerful Camera

Finally, my Samsung Galaxy S23 review is ready. You are likely not a stranger to Samsung’s Galaxy S range of phones. They are the cream of the crop – the crown jewel – in the Korean brand’s range of smartphones. As such, you already have the idea that the Samsung Galaxy S23 is a premium flagship Android phone. It is the base Galaxy S model released in 2023, and it is a compact smartphone.

There are not a many mainstream smartphone brands making compact premium flagship smartphones anymore. Big smartphones are all the rave these days. Thankfully, Samsung has retained the vanilla S23 model with a compact size. I and other members of the MobilityArena team have been using one in the last few weeks and now have our detailed Samsung S23 review ready for your delight. Buckle up and come on this journey with us.

Why you can trust MobilityArena reviews: our expert reviewers spend days, and sometimes weeks, using, testing, and comparing cell phones, accessories, apps, and services of all kinds so you can make informed buying decisions. 

Before I dive into my review, let’s have a quick look at the phone’s specifications to see what to expect.

  • 6.1-inch, 1080 x 2340 pixels, 120Hz, Super AMOLED display with Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus 2.
  • Operating System: One UI based on Android 13
  • 12MP selfie camera
  • 50MP main camera with OIS + 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom + 12MP ultrawide lens + LED light
  • 3900mAh battery with 25W fast charging
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB internal storage

What I like about the Samsung Galaxy S23

  • Premium physical build
  • Good battery life
  • Compact size
  • Excellent performance
  • Great cameras
  • Great stereo speakers

What I dislike about Samsung S23

  • The charging is not as fast as it should be
  • 5G network reception is not good in poor coverage areas.
  • Lack of aptX HD and aptX Adaptive codecs.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Review: Compact Size

This is not likely the kind of thing you read from most phone reviewers out there. These days, people love their smartphones large. Not me. The more compact a phone is, the better for me. My present daily driver is the iPhone SE 2022, which is even more compact than the Samsung S23, and I love its dingy size. As a matter of fact, the S23 feels a little too big sometimes. I am serious. But I can get used to this. I have been unable to get used to big phone sizes.

Samsung Galaxy S23 vs Apple iPhone SE 3 2022
iPhone SE 2022 and Samsung S23 are almost the same size

Samsung Galaxy S23 Review: Premium Build and Feel

The frame of the S23 is premium aluminium and there is glass in front and at the back. It is all so well done and the phone feels pleasant in the hand. The weight is just about right, too. The 6.1-inch, 120Hz AMOLED screen is gorgeous as well.

Samsung Galaxy S23 review - the clean look

Samsung Galaxy S23 Review: Stereo Speakers

The stereo speakers on the Samsung S23 are good, but they are not the best I have heard. Still, the audio is decent enough for me to look forward to playing a music track or watching a YouTube video.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Review: Great Cameras

Look, if there is one overwhelming area in which the Samsung S23 tempts me away from the iPhone SE 2022, it is photography a d video recording. It is simply so much, much better than the budget iPhone.

And it isn’t just me. These days, whenever we have a photograph to take, other members of the MobilityArena team ask for the Samsung S23, shunning my previously loved iPhone SE 2022. These guys have no loyalty.

The Samsung Galaxy S23’s cameras are outstanding. And that’s that.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Review: Network And Telephony

We did not have any issues with the network reception of the S23, except that in many locations where other phones like the iPhone SE 2022 and AGM G2 Guardian were able to hold on to a 5G network, the S23 was mostly fixed on 4G LTE. I definitely was not expecting this from a premium flagship smartphone from Samsung, but it happened so often that it is difficult to ignore.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Review: Multitasking And Performance

One approaches the Samsung Galaxy S23 with expectations of top-notch performance. Happily, one is not disappointed. There are no performance issues that we can identify in our use of the device. Everything works snappily.

This is me being greedy, but I wish it had a 12GB RAM option. My personal greed aside, even with 8GB RAM, apps launch and run smoothly. Switching between apps is smooth as well. On everyday use, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and 8GB RAM combination of the Galaxy S23 is perfect.

If you are into benchmark performance scores, the S23 scored the following in the Geekbench 6 CPU tests we ran:

  • Single-core: 1832
  • Milti-core: 4608

Samsung Galaxy S23 Review: Battery life

Samsung S23 review - fast charging

Unsurprisingly, battery life of the Samsung S23 is good. On a full charge, the battery runs for one working day and some hours. This is on a moderate use case – a few hours of web browsing, email, and the odd telephone call and SMS.

If used more intensively, it will likely require a recharge before 6pm. That is not poor, but it is not excellent either. What really leaves a sour taste in my mouth is the slow 25W fast charging that it is equipped with. Several competitors have 65W and above in their premium flagship phones. I guess Samsung is happy to instead keep their phones in the company of Apple iPhone and Google Pixel phones.

Samsung S23 Review: Should You Buy It?

Samsung Galaxy S23 is a beautiful premium flagship smartphone that checks all marks and scores high in terms of features and actual performance. The only things that have been a let down is lack of aptX HD and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs, and the 5G reception. In many fringe areas where other 5G phones fix on the network, the S23 often struggles or remains fixed on 4G. Bummer, especially for a smartphone of this class and price. Where the 5G signal is strong, of course, it maintains the signal.

It is a good deal for $690 (for the 128GB storage option), and I read that Samsung may be reviewing the price downwards.

Copyright Notice: Reproduction of this article on any website, e-book, book, newspaper, magazine or other media without express written permission from MobilityArena is a violation of copyright rules and will result in appropriate action being taken.