Samsung Galaxy S23
The little one
Small, but powerful
The Samsung Galaxy S23 offers the same power and performance that the larger S23+ does in a more compact package, making it easier to use with just one hand. It’s more affordable, but it has less storage and slightly worse charging performance.Pros
- Better for one-hand use
- Same performance as the 23+
- Less expensive
- Smaller display
- Slower charging
- Less storage
Samsung Galaxy S23+
Same power, but bigger in multiple ways
The bigger battery and screen, faster charging, and high storage are all solid reasons to choose the Galaxy S23+ over its smaller brother; however, at $1,000, it doesn’t offer any difference in performance over the standard S23.Pros
- Larger display
- Bigger battery
- More storage
- More expensive
- Less manageable for one-hand use
Samsung’s newest Galaxy S-series phone features three different models — the Samsung Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra. Of course, all the phones are super powerful with excellent displays, but how does this year’s base model stack up against its slightly bigger brother?
Much like their predecessors, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ don’t differ from each other too much, with the most significant change between the models being the larger screen and form factor. However, if you look at the spec sheet, you’ll notice a few minor differences that help set the S23+ apart.
Price, availability, and specs
Samsung’s Galaxy S-series devices have always been widely available, meaning regardless of what carrier you’re with, you should have no problem using your Galaxy S23 or S23+. Plus, both phones have sub-6 and mmWave 5G compatibility, making them to be some of the best 5G phones, just like their predecessors were. Looking at the spec sheets, you can see that 5G compatibility isn’t the only way these two phones are the same.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Samsung Galaxy S23+ SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy Display 6.1″ FHD+ AMOLED, 48~120Hz refresh, 240Hz touch sampling 6.6″ FHD+ AMOLED, 48~120Hz refresh, 240Hz touch sampling RAM 8GB 8GB Storage 128GB or 256GB 256GB or 512GB Battery 3,900mAh 4,700mAh Ports USB-C USB-C Operating System One UI 5.1 w/ Android 13 Android 13 (OneUI 5.1.1) Front camera 12MP f/2.2 12MP f/2.2 Rear cameras 50MP f/1.8 OIS main, 12MP f/2.2 wide (120°), 10MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto (3x) 50MP f/1.8 OIS main; 12MP f2.2 ultrawide (120°); 10MP f/2.4 OIS telephoto (3x) Connectivity 4G, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC 5G (inc mmWave), LTE, UWB, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC Dimensions 146.3 × 70.9 × 7.6mm 163.3 × 78 × 8.9mm Colors Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender + Samsung.com exclusive Lime, Graphite Phantom, Cream, Green, Lavender + Samsung.com exclusive Lime, Graphite Weight 168g 196g Charging 25W wired (Quick Charge 2, Samsung AFC), 15W wireless (Samsung Fast Wireless Charging 2.0/WPC), Wireless PowerShare 45W wired (Quick Charge 2.0, Samsung Adaptive Fast Charging), 15W wireless (Samsung Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, WPC), Wireless PowerShare IP Rating IP68 IP68 Price From $800 From $1,000 Micro SD card support No No Security Fingerprint (Ultrasonic, under-display), Facial Fingerprint (Ultrasonic, under-display)
Storage options have changed slightly on the bigger Samsung Galaxy S23+ as the minimum storage is now 256GB — twice that of the S23, which starts at 128GB — but can go as high as 512GB if you want. The S23 only goes up to 256GB.
The pricing has stayed the same as last year; the starting price for the Galaxy S23 is $800, while the S23+ is $1,000 for the model with the base storage. Both phones also have the same color options: Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender. Although, if you seek out some of the best Samsung Galaxy phone deals, you’ll likely be able to find them just a little cheaper as the holiday season approaches.
Hardware and design
Well, it’s no big surprise that the major difference between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23+ is the size, not the design — that’s exactly what happened with last year’s Galaxy S22+. The bigger phone has a bigger display, with the Galaxy S23+ sporting a 6.6-inch screen, while the base model only has a 6.1-inch screen. Still, 6.1 inches isn’t too small by any means; you may have trouble touching the top corners without using more than one hand, but it is much more manageable than a 6.6-inch screen.
When it comes to screen technology, both devices have an AMOLED FHD+ display with an adaptive refresh rate that can reach 120Hz when it needs to (like when you’re gaming). Both screens have a 19:5:9 aspect ratio, but due to the smaller size of the display on the Galaxy S23, it has a slightly higher pixel density at 425ppi, while the Galaxy S23+ only has 393ppi. In practice, this difference will not be noticeable to most people as Samsung has a knack for making amazing-looking displays for its flagship phones. Both screens also get equally bright with a max brightness of 1,750nits, an upgrade for the base S23 model over last year’s S22.
Regarding the build quality of the devices, the Galaxy S23 and S23+ feature an IP68 rating, meaning they can survive being fully submerged in water and are very sealed against dirt and dust.
Battery life and charging
Samsung was kind enough to give the Galaxy S23 and S23+ a slight bump in battery size this year, which hopefully should mean a little more juice to get you through your day. The S23+ holds a 4,500mAh battery, while the standard S23 now has a 3,700mAh battery.
Our Galaxy S22+ review last year noted that the battery life was a little worse than the S21+ due to higher CPU demands and a reduction in battery size. Hopefully, this increase will alleviate that pain point for heavy users. With pretty normal day-to-day use, a 4,700mAh battery should get you through your whole day with no problem and will have you running for a charger later than the 3,700mAh battery in the smaller S23 will. If battery life is one of your top priorities when purchasing a smartphone, the Galaxy S23+ is the clear winner in that department.
When it comes to charging, the Galaxy S23+ does have a bit of an advantage as it can receive 45W of charging power (wired) rather than the 25W the smaller S23 is stuck with. This should mean you have less downtime when juicing up your S23+, even with the bigger battery. Both phones still get the 15W wireless charging speeds and feature reverse charging too, so if you want to top up your Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro on the go by using some of your phone’s battery, you can.
Regardless of which phone you choose, the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ have the same cameras on the back and front of the phone — unlike the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which saw a big bump in MP count in its primary camera this year.
The 50MP primary shooter on the S23 and S23+ is the same camera that Samsung used on its 2022 S-series lineup, and in our testing, we found it generally provided pretty great results in most lighting conditions. The 12MP ultrawide camera on both phones should be fine for casual photo takers and social media enthusiasts, even if the detail isn’t so great when you zoom in and scrutinize the photos. Those two cameras are paired with a 10MP telephoto that will help you get closer to your subject by offering a 3X optical zoom like last year.
Those rear cameras can record some serious video on both phones, as the S23 and S23+ can capture 8K video at 30fps, which is pretty impressive. If you’re recording in 4K, the phones can capture 60fps; if you go down to just 1080p, you’ll have 120fps to work with. Plus, both phones have Super Slow-Mo, which records 960fps to give you some incredibly smooth slow-motion video.
On the front, both phones feature a 12MP f2.4 camera that is decent for capturing selfies when you want and can also record 4K video at 60fps. Overall, the cameras on the S23 and S23+ are pretty versatile and should offer a solid experience to anyone looking to carry a decent set of cameras in their pocket.
Software and performance
Whether gaming, video chatting, or doing day-to-day tasks, you shouldn’t notice any difference in power or speed as the Galaxy S23 and S23+ features the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, and both have 8GB of RAM. Both phones will offer incredible performance that should see you through even the most intensive tasks with relative ease. Samsung’s S-series phones have always come with enough power to satisfy anyone, and it’s nice to see that hasn’t changed.
The software experience should also be nearly identical, as Samsung will ship these phones with One UI 5.1 (its take on Android 13). Once again, Samsung is offering four OS updates and five years of security updates, so the S23 and S23+ will have some decent support in the future.
Which should you buy?
It’s hard not to point to the Galaxy S23+ as the Goldilocks phone out of the S23 lineup. However, its bigger battery and faster charging should result in you spending a little less time plugged in than the smaller S23, which is always something most smartphone owners will appreciate. Plus, the upgraded storage on the S23+ is an excellent addition, netting you 256GB with the option for 512 if you so choose. If the $1,000 price point isn’t too much to swallow, it’s the top choice for most people.
Samsung Galaxy S23+
$800 $1000 Save $200
If the $1,000 price tag doesn’t scare you, the Samsung Galaxy S23+ is a fantastic phone for most people. The bigger battery and faster charging will keep the phone in your hands and away from the charger more often, and the increased storage capacity over the normal S23 is a welcomed addition this year.
That doesn’t mean that the smaller Samsung Galaxy S23 has no advantages; both phones make our best Android phones list for a good reason. Smaller phones are a little more portable and tend to fit smaller hands much better, not to mention it’s easier to find pockets that you can stuff you’re S23 into. In addition, it has the same power and performance. It sports the same camera array as its bigger brother, all for $200 less if you don’t mind the smaller battery because you use your phone only moderately or if you want to save as much money as you can on one of the most powerful phones of the year than the Samsung Galaxy S23 is a solid option.
Samsung Galaxy S23
The little one
$750 $800 Save $50
If you can handle a smaller battery, the Samsung Galaxy S23 offers the same power and performance that the larger S23+ does in a smaller, more compact package.