The Samsung Galaxy S23+ is not so different from the standard Galaxy S23 released alongside it. We covered the latter in great detail in this full review and concluded it to be a supremely capable compact handset. Of course, the S23+ cannot be classified as a compact phone and it is priced much higher than the S23. However, with basically the exact same specs, it is likely my opinion about the device is going to be very similar to the + model. In this review let’s talk about if the Galaxy S23+ is the flagship smartphone for you.
Samsung Galaxy S23+ and S23 are almost identical in terms of design, camera, and performance. The difference lies only in the display size and battery capacity, which makes the former a bit more expensive. However, the S23+’s svelte look and tenacity for clicking excellent snaps combined with an affinity towards strong processing capabilities, make it an attractive high-end choice.
- In terms of its overall design, the Galaxy S23+ is largely similar to the S22+ from last year. The key difference is the removal of a camera housing in favour of three standalone lenses being arranged horizontally. I would be remiss to say that the previous iteration did more to exude a sense of premium-ness but the S23+’s implementation is more minimalistic and clean. The frame, built from polished aluminium, remains the same and gleams in the sunlight. There are several colour options for the S23+ and I received the Cream variant, which is a very light, pearlescent shade. The rails on each side imbibe this colour scheme and provide an overall soothing look to the device.
- As for the rest, the handset has the same stereo speaker setup along with a USB Type-C port at the bottom. The button placement of the volume rocker bar is at the top of the left side and it can be slightly hard to reach with the thumb. However, the power button, just below it, is positioned perfectly. The device weighs slightly less than 200g and is quite sleek at 7.6mm of thickness. There is also, of course, an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance. In general, the Galaxy S23+ impresses from the outside and has all the makings of a luxury, premium offering.
- Display-wise the S23+ gets a bigger 6.6-inch screen in comparison to the 6.1-inch on the regular S23. It uses the same Dynamic AMOLED panel and provides one of the best viewing experiences possible in modern-day smartphones. The resolution remains FHD+ (1,080 x 2,340) and the display refreshes at 120Hz. The screen is protected by the latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 although I did manage to inflict a few minute scratches on the surface. As for visual quality, the S23+ display is obviously excellent in terms of colour reproduction, dynamic range and contrast levels. The phone has HDR10+ certification for OTT content and brightness levels that can reach up to 1,700nits. Bezels surrounding the display are trim and uniform while up top there’s a punch hole for the selfie shooter.
- The optical setup on the device is also no different than the Galaxy S23. There’s the 50MP primary shooter, 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom. Image quality is as expected from a phone that’s priced just shy of Rs 1,00,000. Pictures are crisp, highly detailed and exposure controlled in a variety of lighting conditions. The overall tonality in the shots is warm but there are a variety of filters in the camera app that can fine-tune the final image to your liking. While the focus speeds were good enough, the shutter speed remained slow, a familiar experience on previous Galaxy S series phones.
- Apart from that the ultra-wide and telephoto sensors remain optimal for everyday use. The colour temperature of the final output between the primary and ultra-wide shooters remained equal, a fact I appreciate. Also, the dedicated Night mode works on all three lenses but with varying degrees of usefulness. In general, the images in low light were sharp and had clearly defined highlights and a good amount of detailing in the shadows. However, the slow shutter speed again plays the piper as even a little bit of hand movement can result in an out-of-focus shot. Even though the primary sensor has OIS, there can be instances of a soft focus in very dimly lit scenarios. Finally, there is the 16MP selfie camera which, like several of the last generation S series phones, can click sharp images with a healthy amount of facial detail.
- The chipset underneath the S23+ is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 which is customised by Samsung to offer a slightly higher clock speed than normal. Performance levels on the device are easily up to the required standards and benchmark numbers back up this claim. The phone easily breaks Antutu’s 1,000,000 barrier and scores above 4,500 on Geekbench 6’s multi-core test. In terms of processing under sustained load, the phone maintains 77 percent of its peak performance, which is decent enough. Long story short, the S23+, like the S23, can handle any kind of task thrown its way, including GPU-intensive games, with relative ease.
- There are two storage options on the phone ie. 256GB and 512GB UFS 4.0, which is mated to 8GB LPDDR5X RAM. There’s no option for expanding the storage nor is there precedent for virtual RAM swap with the internal storage. Other salient features of the phone include a very capable stereo speaker setup with clear highs and deep lows. The fingerprint sensor works exceedingly well and registers even with a wet finger. 5G services on the device operated as expected on Jio’s Noida circle.
- Android 13-based OneUI 5.1 is the software skin of choice on the device. Anyone having used a Samsung phone in the past couple of years will be familiar with OneUI’s overall outlook and interface as it has not changed much. I have always enjoyed the user-friendliness and customisability on offer with the skin. At the same time, I’m not a fan of the pre-installed bloatware. Even so, the UI experience remains better than most custom OEM skins in the market.
- For battery needs, the Galaxy S23+ has a 4,700mAh cell that supports up to 25W charging speeds. It is also important to note that there’s no charger includes along with the phone and it will have to be purchased separately. Even so, the phone’s battery life does negate any need for frequent charging. I consistently got upwards of six hours of screen-on time which I think is optimum for any moderate level of usage. Also, any Qi-compatible wireless charger can juice up the phone at 5W, but it will take a lot of time to do so.
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a reliable high-end offering that shares most of its specs with the standard Galaxy S23. The phone’s sleek and minimalistic outlook should find appeal with the target audience. Other notable features include a capable stereo speaker setup and solid performance. While the S23+ is definitely more expensive than the S23, it is an excellent choice for those looking for a bigger display and good battery life.
Editor’s rating: 4 / 5
- Clean and minimalistic design
- Great performance
- Excellent cameras
- Good battery life
- Can only charge at 25W
- Some shutter lag