Samsung Galaxy S23 in hand

theBit gets a hands-on first look at the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, and they come with a subtle design shake-up that makes them more stylish than ever.

It comes as little surprise Samsung announced its next flagship smartphone lineup, as Galaxy S23 leaks and rumours already pointed fans in the right direction. This doesn’t take away from the excitement, though, as our brief time with the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus showed us how they stand out against their predecessor: the Samsung Galaxy S22. Namely, in design and power.

Check out our first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, along with a rundown of the specs you can expect.

Samsung Galaxy S23 hands-on impressions

Right off the bat, the first design feature you’ll notice is the lack of a raised camera array. Samsung decided to ditch the camera island housing the vertically aligned triple camera array in favour of a sleeker, flat look.

Samsung Galaxy S23

While the camera bump gave previous flagships more of a “that’s a Samsung Galaxy phone” look, I’m a fan of this soft design revamp. It gives the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus a more modern, premium appearance, and the flat back cover with rounded edges gives them (dare I say it) an iPhone-esque quality. That doesn’t mean these competitors are indistinguishable; the Galaxy S23 lineup is still undeniably a Samsung smartphone.

Besides that, the S23 dishes out the same design specs as the S22. The Galaxy S23 comes with a 6.1-inch display size that’s easy to navigate with one hand, and it’s as light as a feather without feeling like it will blow away with the wind. The Galaxy S23 Plus also comes with the same 6.6-inch panel as the S22 Plus, which caters for those who want to make the most out of Samsung’s AMOLED 2X screens (great for watching Netflix shows).

Samsung Galaxy S23

What I like most about the Galaxy S23 lineup are the colours. The phones I saw come in Phantom Black, Phantom White, dark green, and light violet. If there’s one feature that will make me switch to Samsung, it’s that beautiful chic dark green. It’s worth noting that when picking up my favoured-colour option, I didn’t notice any fingerprints or smudges on the rear. That goes a long way when showing off a smartphone you admire, but seeing how everyone should be using a phone case, it’s likely to go overlooked.

Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus specs

Here’s a look at what to expect from the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus under the hood.

Samsung Galaxy S23Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus
Display6.1-inch AMOLED display6.6-inch AMOLED display
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 2Snapdragon 8 Gen 2
RAM8GB8GB
Storage128GB / 256GB / 512GB256GB / 512GB
Rear Cameras50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP 3x telephoto50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP 3x telephoto
Front Camera12MP12MP
Battery3,900mAh4,700mAh
OSOne UIOne UI

Spot many differences? Like its predecessors, the only real difference between the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus is the display size and battery. The S23 Plus also has a starting storage option of 256GB, while the S23’s 128GB option makes the standard model more affordable.

Samsung Galaxy S23

More interestingly, the first set of Android phones kicking off in 2023 will come with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. This is set to add several improvements, including a 35% boost to CPU speeds, 25% faster GPU performance, and 40% more energy efficiency. That last one is most important for the S23, as we weren’t impressed with the battery life of the Galaxy S22, which lasted about a day without performing intensive tasks. This boost in efficiency will hopefully make a strong impact on the same 3,700mAh battery capacity the S23 brings over from the S22.

You can also expect the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 to bring huge strides in AI performance. 4.35x faster than the Gen 1, to be exact. Ray tracing in mobile gaming is also set to arrive, which is good news for those who dabble in demanding titles like Genshin Impact, Minecraft, or possibly even Fortnite. However, we won’t know the full list of games until later in 2023.

Final words

The Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus may not bring sweeping changes compared to their predecessors, but I’m keen on the subtle revamp. The flat back cover paired with the alluring colour options is stylish (did I mention how good the green model looks?), yet it keeps a lot of what we loved about the S22 and S22 Plus, including that lightweight, compact feel.

Samsung Galaxy S23
Samsung Galaxy S23 (left), Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus (right)

As usual, the displays look great, and during my time scrolling through different apps, the 120Hz refresh rate and snappiness felt smooth (as you might expect). It will be interesting to see the performance gains the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 offers, especially if it boosts battery life.

We’re still waiting on an official price for the S23 and S23 Plus, along with an official release date. Will it be worth an upgrade over the S22? We’ll have to wait for a review. The Galaxy S23 looks to start 2023 on a strong note, but in the meantime, check out the best phones you can get right now.