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Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra First Impressions and Camera Samples!

We got an early look at the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. These are our thoughts and first impressions of the new flagship!
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra First Impressions and Camera Samples!
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra with S-Pen

After months of speculation, Samsung has finally officially launched the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It has a massive 6.8-inch Edge QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display in front. Inside is the new 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 5G octa-core processor, 12GB RAM, 256GB/512GB/1TB of storage. There is no microSD card slot. Powering the device is a large 5,000mAh battery with up to 45W fast charging support thru USB-C.

At the back of the phone are the 200MP f/1.7 main camera, 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, 10MP 3x optical telephoto, and 10MP 10x optical zoom telephoto with an LED flash. While in front is the 12MP f/2.2 selfie camera.

In the Philippines, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at PHP 82,990 for the 256GB model.

If you pre-order, you get a storage space upgrade.

Is it worth it? Let's dive in!

See also: Samsung Galaxy S23/S23+ First Impressions and Camera Samples

Build Quality/Design

For the materials used, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is made of Armor Aluminum which was seen in the previous generation. Back then, Samsung claimed that it is lighter and stronger than other aluminum.
Lavender colorway
Lavender colorway

The metal frame in between the glass back panel and the glass front panel feels solid, weighty and premium.

Armor Aluminum + Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2

Samsung says that the exterior lens of the cameras is made of Super Clear Glass with Gorilla Glass DX which reduces reflection and glare as well.

Meanwhile, the display is now protected by the new Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2. This is the biggest change in the build materials.

Like most modern flagships, the device comes with an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.
SIM Tray
SIM Tray

At first glance, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra looks more like a refined version of the S22 Ultra 5G. It even comes with the S-Pen but now comes in a dual-tone colorway.

The phone continues the jewellery-like feel of the metal while the glass feels tougher than it looks. The phone will arrive in Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender colorways.

The back panel is made of tempered glass back that is resistant to fingerprint smudges. The texture also makes it less slippery to hold.
Massive display
Massive display

In front, it is equipped with the massive 6.8-inch Edge QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display with a 120Hz refresh rate, 240Hz touch sampling rate, Vision Booster, and 1,750 nits peak brightness. On the upper part of the display is the punch hole that carries the 12MP f/2.2 80-degree wide selfie camera. Above the display is the super slim earpiece that doubles as the first half of the stereo speakers.

Around the panel are super slim bezels. Although the chin bezel is slightly thicker than the top and side bezels. 
Top and bottom
Top and bottom

On top of the S23 Ultra are an antenna line and a microphone port while at the bottom are the S Pen and the S Pen silo, antenna lines, speaker grille, USB-C port, and the SIM tray.

The SIM tray can carry two nanoSIM cards and has a weather-resistant gasket.
Left and right
Left and right

On the left side of the S23 Ultra are antenna lines while on the right are the metal volume rocker and the metal power button. The buttons have a satisfying tactile feedback when pressed.

The S23 Ultra measures 78.1 x 163.4 x 8.9 mm and weighs 234 grams. At first, you would think that the size would make it heavy but it is surprisingly lighter than it looks.

Even though the phone is wider than most, it still fits in our hands. The 'boxier' sides make it so much easier to hold.
Rear cameras
Rear cameras

For cameras, It features a 12MP f/2.2 selfie camera while at the back is a quad-camera array made up of a 200MP f/1.7 main camera, 12MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-angle camera, 10MP f/2.4 3x optical telephoto camera, and a 10MP f/4.9 10x optical zoom telephoto with an LED flash. The main 108MP shooter features OIS and PDAF while the rest feature Dual Pixel AF. 

First Camera Samples

Rear camera 1x

Rear camera telephoto
Rear camera telephoto
Rear camera ultra-wide
Rear camera ultra-wide
Selfie camera
Selfie camera
Portrait selfie
Portrait selfie

Out of the gate, the cameras are sharp and detailed. Even if you zoom into the files, there is plenty of detail with minimal noise and artefacts. 

These were shot with pre-production hardware and software so these may not be a true representation of the final product.

Once we get a review unit we will do more intensive camera shots.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Specs

Display: 6.8-inch Gorilla Glass Victus 2 protected Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen w/ 120Hz refresh rate, QHD+ 3080 x 1440 resolution at 500 ppi
CPU: 3.2GHz 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 octa-core processor
GPU: New Adreno
ROM: 256GB/512GB/1TB
Back Camera: 200MP f/1.7, 85-degree 23mm, OIS + 12MP f/2.2 120-degree ultra-wide-angle + 10MP f/2.4 36-degree, 69mm telephoto OIS, 10MP f/4.9 telephoto, 230mm, 11-degrees, OIS, 10x optical, 100x zoom + LED flash
Selfie Camera: 12MP f/2.2 80-degree, 25mm
Battery: 5,000mAh w/ 45W fast charging, 10W wireless
OS: Android 13 w/ Samsung One UI 5.1
Connectivity: WiFi 6E, 5G, 4G LTE, Bluetooth 5.3, OTG, NFC GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo, dual SIM (nano), E-SIM
Sensors: Accelerometer, light, orientation, proximity, gyroscope, sound, magnetic
Others: In-Display fingerprint sensor, IP68 rating, 2x Dolby Atmos stereo speakers, USB-C, Colors: Black, Cream, Green, Violet
Dimensions: 163.4x 78.1 x 8.9 mm
Weight: 195 g
Price: PHP 81,990 (12GB/256GB), PHP 89,990 (12GB/512GB), PHP 103,990 (12GB/1TB)

As of the moment

More prominent rear cameras
More prominent rear cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra retains the solid and lightweight build materials from the previous generation but now with an upgraded Gorilla Glass Victus 2. The phone is IP68 rated as well. Of course, it has powerful specs overall too.

The new S23 Ultra comes with a 5,000mAh battery with 45W Super Fast Charging 2.0. Samsung claims that 30 minutes of charge with the 45W travel charger and the 5A USB-C cable can charge the phone's battery to 65 percent in 30 minutes.

The S20 Ultra and S22 Ultra also had 45W charging but were not this fast.

What sets the S23 Ultra apart from the previous generation is the Gorilla Glass Victus 2, the 200MP primary camera, the custom Qualcomm chip and the base configuration of 12GB/256GB.

We have to mention that the S22 Ultra had a 40MP selfie camera but the new S23 Ultra has a 12MP. Has Samsung improved this sensor that makes it better than the previous 40MP?

As mentioned earlier, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will arrive in the Philippines in either 12GB/256GB, 12GB/512GB or 12GB/1TB variants. 

The S23 Ultra starts at PHP 81,990 for the 12GB/256GB version. The 12GB/1TB model is only available online and will cost you a whopping PHP 103,990.

Stay tuned for our full review once we get our hands on a review unit.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ series First Impressions and Camera Samples

What do you guys think?

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