At a time when smartphones have become more iterative and harder to stand out from the crowd, Samsung Electronics has defied all stereotypes by unveiling its newest flagship Galaxy S23 series at a live Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco. The keynote event — the first in-person Unpacked event since the pandemic — also introduced a slew of new laptops, all of which are badged with the new Galaxy Book3 nomenclature.
But first, a quick lowdown on the tentpole devices: Users can pick from the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+ and the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which sports a 200-megapixel camera, a first in the Galaxy family. These new offerings seem to follow closely in the footsteps of the S22 series, but eagle-eyed tech enthusiasts will be able to point out a salient difference in the camera layout. The S23 and S23+ lost the “Contour Cut” housing introduced last year, and they have been given a “floating” camera look that matches the design of their pricier sibling.
Screen sizes remain fairly standard among the trio, with a pocket-friendly S23 (6.1in), perfect-in-your-palm S23+ (6.6in) and the jumbo S23 Ultra (6.8in). The S23 Ultra is just as massive as its predecessors but one welcome change is that the curvature of the glass edge around the screen has been reduced, making it more comfortable in your grip. A flatter surface also means more room for you to doodle when you whip out the S Pen that pops out of the bottom of the handset.
Camera aptitude has always been the flagship’s main selling point and Samsung does not disappoint. Prior to the global launch, journalists and tech experts were given the opportunity to put the Ultra’s 200-megapixel camera (an up from 108 megapixels last year) to the test. A feature with such high resolution may not be too noticeable at first glance but the proof of this new technology is in the result — the boom in pixels allows the camera to capture more light, giving better definition to videos and photos taken at night. Each of them is rendered in so high resolution that you can zoom in, and crop every element, face or detail into individual shots.
The rest of Ultra’s stablemates do not lag behind as well. Both S23 and S23+ share the same camera setup, with 50-megapixel wide-angle main shooter (which supposedly offers four times more dynamic colour range than the older version), a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor. All three models — powered by a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, with a Dynamic AMOLED 2x display and refresh rate of up to 120Hz — are equipped with a 12-megapixel hole-punch selfie camera with “Super HDR” and enhanced Night Portraits.
Avid camera users who want absolute creative control and customisation will be pleased with the Expert RAW app, which enables DSLR-style image shooting and editing in RAW and JPEG, without having to lug their bulky equipment around. Experiment with Multiple exposures photo art or capture a clear view of the Milky Way with Astrophoto settings. Additional boons in the photography department include a doubled optical image stabiliser for low-light situations, enhanced 8K video at 30 frames per second with a wider angle, and enhanced object-based AI to analyse each detail in the frame down to facial features such as hair and eyes.
While raising the bar for premium technology, Samsung is mindful of its environmental impact and ways it can contribute to a healthier planet. The S23 series uses a wider variety of recycled materials than any other Galaxy smartphones, including pre-consumer recycled aluminium, glass and post-consumer recycled plastics sourced from distracted fishing nets, PET bottles and water barrels. Moreover, the new S series is the first to feature Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 (made of 22% pre-consumer recycled materials on average) that will improve drop resistance on harsh surfaces.
The S23 series is available in four matte colours: Green, Lavender, Cream and Phantom Black. Pricing as follows:
Samsung Galaxy S23 128GB — RM3,899
Samsung Galaxy S23 256GB — RM4,199
Samsung Galaxy S23+ 256GB — RM4,699
Samsung Galaxy S23+ 512GB — RM5,199
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 256GB — RM5,699
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 512GB — RM6,199
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 1TB — RM7,199
Samsung Malaysia is also offering exclusive giveaways when you pre-order online from today until Feb 23. Get a double storage upgrade worth RM500; a RM400 eVoucher; rebate of up to 30% on PWP offers for Samsung accessories, Samsung Care+, Galaxy Tablets, Watch and Buds; as well as trade-in specials with an additional RM600 discount.
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This article first appeared on Feb 2 in The Edge Markets.