Samsung S23 Plus: Is the Middle Sibling in an Unenviable Position?

The month of love is of importance only for couples in love. Fans of the Samsung S phone series were eagerly waiting to see what Korean giant had in store for them. Just like last year, the company prepared a special treat for us in the form of three flagship products - Galaxy S23, S23 Plus and S23 Ultra - which the public got a chance to see in early February.

After the excitement and the dust have settled, it's time to check whether Samsung is up to the challenge posed by the competition or is "riding on past glory." The Korean magnate, however, has also put users in a difficult position: which phone to choose from the three offered.

Those with high needs and slightly deeper pockets will, without a doubt, opt for the S23 Ultra. On the other hand, users who are not fans of phones with such dimensions, curved screens or simply don't have the need, can choose between the smallest S23 and the middle S23 Plus sibling. Again, the question still lingers whether the middle S23 Plus model justifies its price, which is slightly lower than the strongest, the S23 Ultra’s, or it will be "overwhelmed" by the market?

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samsung galaxy s23 review

Illustration: Lenka T

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra seems to have cast a shadow over the other two models in the S23 series. Moreover, it put the S23 Plus model in a very difficult situation and gave it an arduous task – to assert itself on users. If it fails to do so, this may be the last Plus model we’ll see on the market. 

Nevertheless, as long as there are users who are not huge fans of huge phones with curved screens, there will be hope for the Plus series. Provided, of course, that they don’t lag significantly in terms of performance and specifications compared to the Ultra models. So let’s see how the S23 Plus fares. 


The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus comes in a simple and elegant box that at first glance resembles leather. And the surface shows an illustration of the phone waiting for you inside. The slim design of the box and the material from which it’s made suggest right from the start that you can expect a sleek and elegant phone. 

It also hints that you won’t find a charger inside – a trend that Apple started with its iPhone 11 model and Samsung faithfully continues. Therefore, if you haven’t used previous models of Samsung phones, you don’t have much choice but to get a new charger. 


When you open the box and pick up the phone in your hands, at first glance, it will remind you of the newer generation iPhones (starting from the iPhone 12). This is not necessarily a bad thing – it’s a great compromise for those who like Apple models but aren’t ready to make the switch from Android to iOS just yet. Due to its design, the S23 Plus is also an excellent choice for those who would like to switch from iPhone to Android. 

After a few minutes of use, you will notice that the similarity with the iPhone fades away. The aluminum frame that adorns the S23 Plus is not as flat as Apple’s phone models. Additionally, the gentle curvature contributes to additional comfort when using the phone.

samsung review

Source: Samsung

The phone comes in matte black, green, cream and lavender. It is made of recycled Gorilla Glass Victus 2 glass and colored with natural pigments. Thanks to the matte finish, fingerprints won’t be as visible as the older S10 model – assuming you’re brave enough to use the phone without a protective case. The only shiny elements on the S23 Plus model are the aluminum frame and the rings around the cameras. 

Let’s not to forget the dimensions, the S23 Plus model sits right in the middle between the basic S23 and S23 Ultra models. The phone measures 157.8 x 76.2 x 7.6 mm (6.21 x 3.00 x 0.30 in) and weighs 196 g. The power button, volume controls, and SIM card tray are located on the right side. 


As expected, the S23 Plus model features a 6.6-inch display. As for the screen itself, there is not much to comment on. Samsung is known for its display quality, after all. 

This model boasts a Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen, a resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. Such a refresh rate is truly refreshing, particularly if you’ve been using phones with a 90 Hz or even 60 Hz refresh rate before. The brightness is also fantastic, reaching up to 1750 nits, the same as the S23 Ultra model. 

To protect the screen, the company used Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which promises protection against scratches and drops from up to 1m in height. But as the devil never sleeps, it’s not a bad idea to apply a protective glass, especially since the screen is now flat. 

A possible drawback, specifically for more demanding users, is the resolution of 2340 x 1080 pixels. Namely, for a 6.6-inch display, this can be insufficient at certain moments – notably when it comes to more dynamic and demanding games. A slightly higher resolution of 1440 pixels would be ideal. 

Of course, the average user whose phone usage revolves around YouTube, social media, taking photos and videos, and playing games like NoNo Crossing won’t even notice this. 

Processor and memory 

The biggest innovation of the Korean giant that will delight all Samsung phone lovers is the Snapdragon processor. With the S23 models, the company decided to bid farewell to the notrious Exynos processor, which was the main culprit for poor camera quality and excessive battery consumption. Finally, we, like the rest of Europe and the world outside the US and China, have got the opportunity to enjoy the charms of Snapdragon processors. 

The S23 Plus model features with the second-generation Snapdragon 8, which is, simply put, a marvel of a processor. He is able to perform all tasks without any pauses, stutters and lags. What you may complain about, though, is the heating of the phone. It is not as noticeable during normal use and gaming. However, during more demanding operations such as system updates, it can become quite intense. 

Samsung also bid farewell to the memory card slot two years ago with the release of the Galaxy S21, so users only have 256GB or 512GB of internal storage available. While some people found it difficult to let go of the SD slot, the internal memory of this size is generally sufficient. As a last resort, users can always upload photos, videos, and documents to the cloud or transfer them to their computer. 

Unlike the Ultra model and its RAM of 12 GB, the S23 Plus model has a RAM of “only” 8 GB. For some users it will be quite enough, for some not quite, but it is worth noting that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor is capable of fully compensating for the RAM memory. 


Samsung has always been notorious for battery life, at least when it comes to, ironically, flagship phones. Now that Exynos is gone, the battery is expected to last longer, as promised by the company itself. But is it the case? 

Well, it is indeed. Depending on the intensity of use, the 4700 mAh battery can last a day, a day and a half. If you are not a demanding user, you can even go two days without charging. 

The charging speed is identical to the S23 Ultra model. It takes about an hour and a half to charge the phone with a 45W cable charger. However, if you opt for wireless charging, which is not highly recommended, it will take much longer as the charging capacity is limited to 15W. 

If you need to quickly charge your headphones or watch, the S23 Plus model has the option of 4.5W reverse wireless charging. It’s not particularly powerful, but it comes in handy in emergency situations. 


If you were hoping for the long-awaited incredible 200 MP cameras on this model, we have to disappoint you – they are reserved exclusively for the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. This certainly does not mean that the cameras on the S23 Plus model are unusable. Quite the contrary, in addition to the phenomenal display, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, the cameras are one of the biggest advantages of this model. 

The S23 Plus model is equipped with a slightly more modest but excellent ISOCELL GN5 50 MP main camera sensor. The telephoto and ultrawide cameras are, as expected, significantly weaker, at 10 MP and 12 MP each. There is no periscope telephoto camera, as it is reserved only for the S23 Ultra model. 

Yet, you will not notice these figures in practice – in a positive sense, of course. The AI that Samsung uses to process the sensor data does a more than excellent job. The photos are exceptional and portray reality as it is – except when it needs to be embellished.  

In daylight, the main camera takes superb photos in terms of color and dynamic range. The ultrawide and telephoto cameras are also great. Night photos are satisfactory, depending on the amount of light. But you can forget about the telephoto camera in low light conditions. The quality is disappointing, as the f/2.4 aperture can’t do much more. 


For those who love recording videos, the S23 Plus supports 8K with up to 30 frames per second, 4K with up to 60, and full HD with up to 240 frames per second. You can also record a short Full HD slow-motion video with up to 960 frames per second. In practice, you won’t need to shoot in 8K, as 4K will be more than enough. 

Stabilization is excellent both in day and at night, although in low-light conditions (quite expected) the presence of noise can be noticed. 

In the era of selfies, we must not forget the front camera. It has a 12 MP and Samsung ISOCELL S5K3LU sensor. It takes great photos with plenty of detail and excellent color reproduction. Although this applies to daylight, at night all the disadvantages of a small aperture come to the fore. 

Software and platform 

The software based on the Android 13 operating system is suitable for both experienced users and those new to this OS. Samsung’s One UI 5.1 interface is a league of its own – those who have used Samsung before know how attractive and intuitive it is. To be perfectly honest, none of the competitors from the Android world have managed to make a better UI so far. 

Thanks to operating system updates and security patches, you won’t need to buy a new phone for the next several years, unless you’re a die-hard fan and must have the latest models at all costs. 

Namely, the Samsung company promised four years of OS updates and five years of security patches. Simply put, the phone will get new features on a regular basis, and users will also be protected from software holes that hackers can exploit to gain access to private data. 

Overall impressions 

The answer to the question of whether the Samsung Galaxy Plus models are necessary, or only two, the basic and the Ultra models are enough, is yes, it is. 

Though not as glamorous as the S23 Ultra, and lacking a stylus pen and a 200 MP camera, as well as a periscope telephoto camera, the S23 Plus is there for a reason – in the middle, between the two models. It is smaller, more intuitive, and easier to handle compared to the massive 6.8-inch, 234g S23 Ultra, but it’s also just big enough in comparison with the 6.1-inch S23. 

The only problem is the price compared to other S23 models (it is only €200 cheaper than the S23 Ultra) and also the competition that seriously threatens to shake its throne. However, not everyone wants the dimensions and curved screen of the Ultra version, so the S23 Plus is ready to jump in. 


  • Phenomenal Dynamic AMOLED screen 
  • Fantastic camera and photo quality 
  • Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and top-notch performance 
  • Elegant design 
  • Long-term software upgrades 


  • Absence of a charger 
  • Price 
  • Resolution 


  • Size and weight: 157.8 x 76.2 x 7.6 mm (6.21 x 3.00 x 0.30 in); 196 
  • Colors: Phantom black, cream, green, lavender 
  • Material: Gorilla Glass Victus 2 (screen and back), Armor Aluminum frame with greater r drop and scratch resistance 
  • Display: 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display 
  • Resolution: 1080 x 2340 pixels  
  • Refresh rate: dynamic screen refresh from 10 to 120 Hz, brightness up to 1,750 nits 
  • Processor: Qualcomm Octa-core Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy (4 nm), 
  • GPU: Adreno 740 
  • Memory: 8 GB RAM, 256/512 GB internal memory 
  • Software: Android 13, One UI 5.1 UI 
  • Main camera: ISOCELL GN3- 50 MP, OIS, f/1.8, 1.0 µm, 1/1.56 inch, PDAF; 
  • Telephoto camera: ISOCELL S5K3K1 – 10 MP, 3x zoom, OIS, f/2.4, 1.00 µm, 1/3.94 inch, PDAF; 
  • Ultra wide-angle camera: IMX564 – 12 MP, 120°, f/2.55, 1.4 µm 
  • Selfie camera: ISOCELL S5K3LU – 12 MP, f/2.2, autofocus 
  • Video recording: Rear camera: 8K@24/30 fps, 4K@30/60 fps, 1080p@30/60/240 fps, 720p@960 fps, HDR10+; Front camera: 4K@30/60 fps 
  • Battery: 4,700mAh Li-ion, 45W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging 
  • Additional: IP68, 5G, NFC, Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, Bluetooth 5.3, Fingerprint sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyroscope, Geomagnetic sensor, Proximity sensor, Light sensor, Samsung Knox, Samsung Knox Vault, Dual-SIM, eSIM 

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