Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Samsung Galaxy S23 leak suggests a hugely disappointing upgrade


Samsung is just a few months away from introducing the Galaxy S23 series at its next Unpacked event. We’ve already seen a few purported renders depicting the phone’s design, which appears to be a blend of the Galaxy S22 and the floating camera lens aesthetics of the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

It’s a welcome design change, but it appears that the visual refinement will come at the cost of a rather modest upgrade under the hood. Leaker Yogesh Brar has shared the rumored key specifications of the standard Galaxy S23, and things don’t look particularly appealing.

Onleaks / SmartPrix

The only key upgrade is the new SoC (system on chip), as Samsung is said to swap the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 inside the Galaxy S22 with the upcoming Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 silicon for the Galaxy S23. The next-gen Qualcomm chip will be clubbed with 8GB of RAM and 128/256GB of onboard storage.

Google will happily eat Samsung’s lunch.

The only other upgrade happens in the battery department. The Galaxy S23 will reportedly come armed with a 3,900mAh battery under the hood, up from the small-ish 3,700mAh unit fitted inside its predecessor. Battery life was one of the biggest weaknesses of the Galaxy S22, and even though the upgrade for the Galaxy S23 isn’t huge, it’s still a welcome improvement.

Samsung Galaxy S23(rumoured)

– 6.1" FHD+ sAMOLED, 120Hz– Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 SoC– Rear Cam: 50MP (OIS) + 12MP (UW) + 10MP (Tele)– Front Cam: 10MP– 8GB RAM– 128/256GB storage– Android 13, OneUI 5– 3,900mAh battery, 25W wired, 15W wireless charging

— Yogesh Brar (@heyitsyogesh) October 18, 2022

However, it looks like the charging speeds will remain abysmally slow, yet again, especially when compared to fellow Android phone makers that are already crossing the 100W mark. Wireless charging wattage is also capped at 15W, which is again far behind what OnePlus and other Chinese brands have to offer.

The camera department also carries forward the Galaxy S22’s imaging heritage. The latest leak predicts a 50-megapixel primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide-angle snapper, and a 10MP telephoto zoom shooter. Selfie and video calling duties will be handled by a 10MP lens.

Better than Apple, yet faces a Google-sized boss

Samsung’s reported chip upgrade, battery capacity bump, and fresh design are still generous when compared to the iPhone 14, which barely got any upgrade love from Apple. However, Apple’s not the best brand to emulate, especially when the real competition in the Android world is innovating at a breakneck pace with each generation.

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The biggest threat, however, comes from Google. The company’s smartphone strategy in the past couple of years has really been impressive. With the Pixel 7 series starting at just $599, Google is aggressively shrinking the breathing space for any entry-point Android flagship —  especially the likes of Samsung.

Assuming Samsung keeps the asking price of its base flagship intact at $800, the Galaxy S23 will face an uphill battle against the Pixel 7. The only saving grace is the extra telephoto camera, but buyers will really have to convince themselves that a zoom camera is worth an extra $200 for them.

For an extra $100, the Pixel 7 Pro will cast its giant shadow over the Galaxy S23, especially with a larger battery, bigger screen, and well-received camera chops. Samsung will have a chance at undercutting the iPhone 14 on the specs sheet, but that likely won’t translate into bombastic sales.

Plus, market trends suggest that Apple — despite its criminally lazy upgrades — is eating into Samsung’s market share, and not the other way around. Meaningful upgrades have been the key selling point of Samsung phones, especially when weighed against iPhones, but the Galaxy S23 doesn’t seem to offer that luxury.

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