There is no clear definition for ultra-smartphones, but Samsung has one in its line if it means maxed-out experience. Case in point is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. Successor to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the smartphone brings upgrades that may not reflect as big on paper but result in evolved experience.
Starting with design, the Galaxy S23 Ultra inherits the form factor of the predecessor but with added fineness in the aesthetics. Its aluminium frame, for example, has less curvature on the sides for improved in-hand feel. The seemingly flatten frame is the result of a new edge-to-edge screen, which has subtle curvature on the sides compared to the predecessor. It looks flat, without adding to the bezels, and feels natural to use with gesture navigation.
Topping the refined aesthetics are the seasonal upgrades in the construction material for sturdiness and durability. The Galaxy S23 Ultra boasts Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protection on the front and back that should make it a little more resilient in the face of accidental drops and every day abuses. Besides, the phone is IP68 rated for protection against water and dust.
Like the design, the upgrades in audio-visual are nuanced but geared toward experience. Starting with the screen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a 6.8-inch HDR10+ certified dynamic AMOLED 2x panel of 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. It is a colour-rich panel with ample brightness for good sunlight legibility. There are smartphones with as good screens, but Samsung maximises the utility of the screen by including SPen to the mix. The built-in digital stylus adds novel experiences, especially with regard to tasks aligned with creativity and productivity, on top of regulars.
Complementing the visual experience is the audio performance. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a pair of stereo speakers powered by Dolby Atmos. The speakers are loud and balanced. Importantly, these sound natural with clear vocals, sharp treble, and deep bass. Like most other premium smartphones, the Galaxy S23 Ultra misses out on wired audio connectivity due to lack of 3.5mm audio jack. It, however, compensates for it by improving the soundstage of its wireless earbuds (Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Pro). The reference to the said earbuds is important because Galaxy S23 Ultra is among the first smartphones in its series to support 360-degree audio recording in videos and it is possible only through the Galaxy Buds2 Pro.
Speaking of videos, the upgrades with regard to imaging in the Galaxy S23 Ultra are pronounced. On paper, the upgrades may seem limited to primary rear camera sensor and front camera sensor.
However, there is an all-round improvement here compared to the predecessor. For maxed-out experience, the Galaxy S23 Ultra irons out the limitations of the predecessor and introduces new capabilities. Among the noticeable differences is the clarity, video stabilisation, and low-light performance.
From close-up macros to portraits, 100x zoomed shots, and everything in between, the Galaxy S23 Ultra captures with fervor and seems confident while at it. There is a perceptible difference in quality compared to the predecessor, especially in terms of colours, details, and dynamic range. This is true even in low-light conditions.
Videos get a boost too with improved stabilisation for shake-free recording in motion. Besides, Samsung bumped up the frame rate in 8K resolution videos to 30 frames-per-second from 24fps in the predecessor. In a related upgrade, Samsung enabled the sensor to use full FoV for 8K videos instead of the 2x cropped view that critics complained about in the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Complementing the imaging experience is the value-added features such as Director’s View mode, Portrait video, and Expert RAW. These are not new but evolved into comprehensive tools for maxed-out experience. On top, there are creator-focused tools such as video editor and image editor for end-to-end coverage. This brings us to performance.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra lives up to the expectations with swift performance and commendable thermals. Be it regular day-to-day operations or power-graphic intensive tasks, the smartphone impresses with smooth experience. Moreover, it has an on-battery time to match. It is among the few Android smartphones that could easily sail through a day of heavy usage – about nine hours on-screen time. Charging is slow and it is the only area where the phone does not max-out. Thankfully, there is support for wireless charging.
Rounding up the package is the software and security upgrades commitment for up to five years that makes the phone future-proof. Out of the box, the Galaxy S23 Ultra boots Android 13 operating system-based OneUI 5 interface.
Priced at Rs 124,999, for the base model with 12GB RAM and 256GB on-board storage, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a maxed-out smartphone. Its utility, especially as a smartphone, goes beyond generic. With built-in DeX computing platform, video editor, image editor, and deep services integration with Google and Microsoft apps make the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra a super smartphone. That said, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a maxed-out smartphone worthy of the Ultra moniker.