People who are into large smartphones but don’t have the budget to buy the very expensive Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra will surely look at the Samsung Galaxy S23+ when doing their research. This model packs the same hardware and features as the smaller Galaxy S23, but it offers a larger screen and increased autonomy. Is this enough to sway you into buying it? To find out, read this review, and see what’s great and not so great about the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus:
Samsung Galaxy S23+: Who is it good for?
This smartphone is an excellent choice if you:
- Want a large, solid, reliable smartphone
- Desire excellent performance and a beautiful display
- Are looking for a phone with great battery life
- You are invested in Samsung’s ecosystem
Pros and cons
Here’s what I like about the Samsung Galaxy S23+:
- Gorgeous, fast, adaptive display
- Beautiful smartphone design
- Excellent build quality
- It includes the same hardware in all markets
- Great camera system with improved low-light photography
- Better selfie camera than the previous model
There are downsides to consider as well:
- The operating system occupies a whopping 65 GB
- The phone’s fast charging is slow for today’s standards
- No expandable storage
When you evaluate the Samsung Galaxy S23+ independently, it’s an impressive smartphone. It looks great, performs beautifully, has a solid camera system, and excellent battery life. However, other competitors offer much faster charging and a less bloated operating system for a price that’s generally lower. That said, if you’re a Samsung user based in Europe, upgrading to the Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a no-brainer due to the improvements brought by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy mobile platform, which replaces the traditional Exynos chips used in this region. If you’re based in the US, though, the Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a great choice only if you upgrade from a smartphone that’s at least two years old. Compared to last year’s Galaxy S22+, the S23 Plus doesn’t offer many improvements, so you’re better off keeping your existing phone and using it until the next generation arrives, in 2024.
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S23+
The packaging of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus is made from recycled materials, and it’s even smaller and lighter than last year’s model. This is great news for people interested in lowering their carbon footprint. As you can see in the picture below, the cardboard box is all black, with a picture of the device you bought and the product name printed on the top.
On the sides and the back, you find some stickers with information about the smartphone you just bought: its serial number, IMEI number, where it was manufactured, and details about the contents of the box. The minimalistic approach is continued inside the box. When you unpack everything, you find the Galaxy S23+, the usual leaflets (quick start guide, warranty details, etc.), the SIM ejection tool, and a USB-C cable. Unfortunately, there’s no charger included.
Unboxing the Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a simple yet pleasant experience. Apart from the bare minimum, there are no accessories in the box. You won’t find a case for the smartphone, a charger, or a pair of headphones. On the upside, the packaging is sturdy and eco-friendly.
Design and build quality
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a large 6.6-inch smartphone with a size of 157.8 x 76.2 x 7.6 millimeters or 6.21 x 3 x 0.3 inches in width x depth x height and a weight of just 196 grams or 6.91 oz. Its frame is made from aluminum, with a tougher drop and scratch resistance than previous models from the Galaxy S family. In addition, the screen and the back are protected by the latest version of Corning Gorilla Glass - the Victus 2. The new version features improved toughness but is also made from an average of 22% pre-consumer recycled materials.
On the front of the Samsung Galaxy S23+, you see a tiny cutout for the camera on the top. If you look closely, you may also notice the speaker slit above the camera, but overall, the front is as clean as it gets.
The back of the smartphone features a triple-camera system, a LED flash, and the Samsung logo. The design of the camera system differs from last year’s Galaxy S22+: the camera island is gone. Instead, each of the three cameras protrudes from the back of the smartphone. This design choice makes this phone more similar to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, a plus in my book. Furthermore, the Galaxy S23+ has the same familiar silhouette with elegantly rounded corners and no sharp lines. I like the general aesthetic and especially how it feels to hold this phone in your hands.
The right side of the Samsung Galaxy S23+ has the Volume rocker and the Power button. They’re responsive and provide good feedback.
On the left side of this smartphone, you won’t find any buttons, only two inserts that facilitate signal reception.
The top side of the Galaxy S23+ has a hole for one of the microphones and an insert for the GSM antenna.
At the bottom, you find a speaker, the USB-Type C charging port, the main microphone, and the dual nanoSIM tray. Unfortunately, there’s no support for expandable storage, which is disappointing.
Color-wise, Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus shares the same colors as its smaller brother, the Galaxy S23. You can choose between four colors: Phantom Black, Green, Cream, and Lavender.
And if you buy your smartphone from Samsung’s website, you get access to two exclusive colors: Graphite and Lime.
Lastly, Samsung Galaxy S23+ is IP68 certified for dust and water resistance. It can withstand being submerged for 30 minutes in up to 1.5 m of water.
As expected, the design and build quality of the Samsung Galaxy S23+ are excellent. The smartphone looks similar to last year’s model, with a few important differences regarding the camera system on the back. Overall, the device feels sturdy and surprisingly light for a 6.6-inch phone, while Samsung’s design language is as elegant as ever.
The most important improvements brought by the Samsung Galaxy S23+ are in its hardware. First, the Galaxy S23 lineup is the first in many years to feature a Qualcomm processor in all markets. Gone are the Samsung Exynos chips of the past offered in European countries and other regions. We now get a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy mobile platform, an overclocked variant made exclusively for Samsung. Only the main core out of the eight that make up this SoC is overclocked from 3.2 GHz to 3.36 GHz. As you’ll see later in the benchmarks section, this guarantees Samsung the performance crown in the Android world. Samsung Galaxy S23+ is available in versions with 8 GB of RAM and 256 GB or 512 GB of storage. One unfortunate aspect is that the operating system has become very large on Samsung’s smartphones, now occupying around 65 GB. The version I received for testing had 256 GB of storage, which is very little, considering that you can record 8K videos with this smartphone. Expandable storage would have been welcome, but that’s missing.
The display of the Samsung Galaxy S23+ has a diagonal of 6.6 inches, a resolution of 1080 x 2340 pixels, a density of 393 ppi (pixels per inch), and a ~87.6% screen-to-body ratio. It also uses an excellent AMOLED panel with a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz and 1750 nits peak brightness. Furthermore, it supports HDR10+.
The Samsung Galaxy S23+ has the same rear camera setup as last year’s model. It includes a main 50-megapixel wide camera (f/1.8 aperture, dual pixel autofocus, and optical image stabilization), a 10 Megapixel telephoto with 3x optical zoom (f/2.4 aperture), and 12 Megapixel ultrawide (f/2.2 aperture). The selfie camera has been improved compared to the Galaxy S22+. We now get a 12-megapixel wide lens with f/2.2 aperture and dual pixel autofocus.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus features stereo speakers tuned by AKG and excellent connectivity options: a Wi-Fi 6E wireless network chip, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, dual-band GPS receivers, and A-GPS. Unfortunately, a 3.5 mm audio jack is lacking, and you only get a USB Type-C port.
The battery is non-removable and has a capacity of 4700 mAh. It can be fast charged at 45 Watts using a proprietary Samsung charger. Unfortunately, one is not available in the standard packaging of the Galaxy S23+. Qi wireless charging is also available at 15 Watts, and reverse wireless charging delivers 4.5 Watts. By looking at these specs, it’s clear that Samsung is steadily falling behind the rest of the Android market, which offers bigger batteries on similarly sized smartphones and much faster charging.
If you want to check this smartphone’s official specs, go to this page: Galaxy S23 vs. Galaxy S23+ vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Turn the page to see my experience using the Samsung Galaxy S23+ and learn more about the camera quality, performance in benchmarks, and bundled software.