Samsung has confirmed that its next Galaxy Unpacked event will take place on 1st February, 6PM GMT in San Francisco.
There’s no mention of the S23 on the invite, obviously, but it’s pretty much nailed on that we’ll see the latest range of Galaxy devices boasting that moniker at the start of next month.
That means new S23, S23+, and S23 Ultras will probably begin winging their way to buyers towards the end of February.
As an iPhone guy who has wrestled with the interminably crippled UK variant of the S22 Ultra, I’m actually pretty excited this time around, and I think there are a number of rumours about these new Galaxy devices that could point towards a potential iPhone beater.
The UK will finally get the RIGHT chip
If you’re not based in the UK or the EU, this won’t mean anything to you. You’re the lucky ones; you’ve been receiving the right Samsung devices all along.
Over in Blighty, and many other countries throughout Europe, we haven’t. At all.
The last few iterations of Samsung’s S series smartphones have endured a frustrating chip strategy. If you live in the US and certain other regions, you’ll receive the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon chip. If you live in the UK or the EU, you get Samsung’s own Exynos chip.
Put simply, the Exynos chip I’ve experienced in the S22 Ultra is utter garbage. It renders a huge portion of Samsung’s user base with an underperforming device, and it is teeth-pullingly frustrating.
Thankfully, it appears Samsung has come to its senses and decided to ship S23 devices with the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip to everyone. Those are the rumours, anyway – although most self-confessed industry experts seem to agree it’s a likely outcome.
So, that should mean iPhone-like performance over here if you buy Samsung’s latest smartphone. Finally.
Design: same same
According to the leakers, the S23 and S23 Ultra are going to look pretty much identical to their predecessors.
That’s ok! And reports of a flat-screened tweak for the S23 Ultra are very welcome indeed.
Samsung smartphones are very well made these days. For all its Exynos faults, my S22 Ultra is a beautifully designed device that feels incredibly iPhone-like.
Camera: watch out, iPhone 14 Pro!
Samsung never holds back when it comes to camera features. The S series has long beaten the iPhone to the post with pixel counts and zoom ranges. While the iPhone 15 Pro series may indeed be getting its own periscope lens later this year, there’s no doubting Samsung’s lead in several areas of smartphone photography.
The S23 Ultra looks set to get the biggest camera upgrades, with a rumoured 200MP sensor on the cards – quite an upgrade from the 108MP camera on the S22 Ultra.
Megapixel counts are, admittedly, usually nothing more than flex fodder for marketing teams, but if the S23 Ultra comes with Samsung’s ISOCELL HP1 sensor, we could be in for some impressive results. Last year, the tech giant showed off a 28 x 22-metre canvas print of a cat which had been taken with that sensor. It looked mightily impressive and hints at the marketing angle Samsung might take with the S23 series.
Lots of megapixels equal big prints and more detail, right? I’m interested, if so!
However, we do need to see an upgrade in general photographic performance for the S23 devices. The S22 Ultra, for instance, can take some utterly wonderful photos – but it demands just the right conditions, which makes it frustratingly inconsistent.
Likewise, the iPhone still reigns as king when it comes to video shooting. I couldn’t care less about 8K video on a smartphone – once again, I want it to be reliable in most settings. I’m curious to see if the S23 can finally deliver. If it can… Tim might have a bigger challenge on his cards this year.
This is the big one for me. Apple’s pricing strategy for the iPhone 14 range is concerning. Exchange rates aside, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max in particular are becoming far too expensive – particularly in the UK.
Your guess is as good as mine when it comes to the pricing for the S23 line-up. No firm details have been leaked, but with global inflation in full effect, it’s likely we’ll see some price rises on Samsung’s side of the fence, too.
There is one glimmer of hope, which is Samsung’s traditionally generous trade-in strategy. In the past, they’ve offered admirable sums not just for their own devices, but for pretty much any smartphone you might want to swap for the latest Galaxy device.
You can even reserve your next Galaxy phone today and grab a $50 credit. That’s definitely worth doing if you’re a nailed-on buyer (just make sure you do so before February 1st).
There’s usually a free bundle on offer, too, such as a pair of Galaxy Buds. It certainly sweetens the deal even further and beats Apple hands-down when it comes to trade-in generosity.
I’m really looking forward to this next batch of Galaxy phones. The switch from Exynos to Snapdragon in the UK is a huge deal and will finally make both the regular S23 and the flagship S23 Ultra genuine iPhone beating contenders.
I’ll be reviewing both, so stay tuned.