On Wednesday, Samsung held its semiannual Unpacked event in San Francisco, where a variety of new smartphones and laptops made their debut. Samsung debuted the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra as an update to its flagship Galaxy S line of smartphones. The company also unveiled its upgraded Galaxy Book Pro laptops, the Book 3 Pro and Book 3 Pro 360, as well as the Book 3 Ultra, a new high-end member of the family.
Samsung, Google, and Qualcomm announced a cooperation to develop a mixed-reality platform with the new gadgets. However, it was wordy while lacking in specifics.
If you’d prefer to read a play-by-play account of the event, you can also access our archived live blog.
All of the new phones are equipped with the latest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip “for Galaxy” — a custom version of the processor that has been theoretically optimised for faster performance, better graphics with ray tracing, and faster AI processing.
The chip enables further improvements to the computational photography capabilities of mobile devices, such as enhanced low-light performance and more intelligent selfie processing. This front-facing camera’s resolution has been standardised across the model line, up from 10 megapixels on the S22 and S22 Plus but down from 40 megapixels on the S22 Ultra. The improved speed also enables 120 frames-per-second recording of 1080p for slow motion, up from 60 frames-per-second, which should yield superior results.
This generation also features synchronisation between Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Samsung PCs.
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Since the design of the flagship S23 Ultra remains relatively unchanged, the biggest (literal) upgrade is the 200-megapixel camera with Isocell HP2 sensor — roughly double the resolution of its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It can also pixel-bin in four- or sixteen-pixel blocks for smaller images with improved tonal quality and other, lower resolutions for files that are easier to manage.
Additionally, the improved sensor is accountable for improvements. It has larger wells in the pixels, allowing them to absorb more light, which can improve photos and videos in general.
Other camera improvements include improved optical image stabilisation, wider-angle video capture, and 8K at 30 frames per second (up from 24fps). Samsung’s proprietary camera software integrates more effectively with the native camera app.
Now available in black, cream, green, and lavender, among other hues. Samsung also claims to have boosted its use of plastics destined for the ocean and pre-consumer waste.
The phone’s price starts at $1,200 (£1,249, AU$1,949). The release date is February 17; preorders have already begun.
Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus
The exteriors of the base model and the bigger variant are virtually unchanged.
The battery capacity of both phones increases by 200 mAh, to 3,900 mAh for the S23 and 4,700 mAh for the S23 Plus. The base storage capacity of the Plus is now 256GB.
The Galaxy S23 begins at $800 (£849, AU$1,349), whereas the S23 Plus starts at $1,000 (£1,049, AU$1,649). They are available for preorder now and are scheduled to ship on February 17.
Galaxy Book 3 Ultra
Without discrete graphics or a high-end processor, Samsung’s Pro laptops did not feel particularly “professional.” The new Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, equipped with an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 or 4070 GPU and up to a 13th-generation Core i9 CPU, adds the choice to Samsung’s lineup.
Other features include a 16:10, 2,880×1,800-pixel OLED display with 120Hz refresh rate, a 1080p webcam, a quad-speaker audio system, and more ports than the Galaxy Book 2 Pro, with an additional USB-A port and HDMI 2.0 output joining its two Thunderbolt USB-C ports, microSD card slot, and headphone jack. With a thickness of 16.5 mm and a weight of 4 pounds, it is on the heavier half of its family.
The Core i7/RTX 4050 configuration begins at $2,400, while the Core i9/RTX 4070 configuration costs $3,000. UK and Australian prices were unavailable immediately.
Galaxy Book 3 Pro and Pro 360
The 16-inch, 16:10 displays and upgraded camera, audio, and port configurations are also available on the clamshell and convertible models. The Ultra is 4mm thinner and 8 ounces lighter than the Galaxy Book 3 Pro. It is also available in a 14-inch model weighing 2.6 pounds (1.2 kilograms).
The 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 convertible comes with one of Samsung’s excellent S Pens and is the only model with optional 5G wireless connectivity.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, Pro, and Pro 360 laptops are currently available for preorder on Samsung’s website, and the Pro models are anticipated to begin arriving on February 17.