Since the S23+ has the same exact camera setup as the S23, the only difference outside of size is charging speed—it supports 45-watt charging (charger not included), so it will juice up a little faster than the S23. In our prior experience, the charging speed isn’t drastically different, so this really shouldn’t factor into your decision. Get it if you want more battery or a slightly bigger screen, but we think you’re better off spending a bit extra for the feature-rich S23 Ultra.
Best for Camera and Stylus Lovers
The Galaxy S23 Ultra (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is the crème de la crème of Samsung’s lineup. It retains the same great 10X optical zoom camera as its predecessor that lets you take sharp photos of subjects far away. It also has a 3X optical zoom, and who doesn’t love options? If you’re an S Pen fan, this is the only Samsung phone with a built-in stylus that’s accessible from the bottom edge of the device. It’s the largest phone of the trio at 6.8 inches (and the heaviest), and while it has an adaptive refresh rate like the other two, it can shift between 1 and 120 Hz when needed, meaning it’s a little more battery-efficient. It has a 5,000-mAh battery, and in our testing, it frequently lasted well into a second day on a single charge.
Like the S23+, it features 45-watt charging, and the base model comes with 256 GB of internal storage, but the big change here is the primary 200-megapixel camera. It’s the highest megapixel count we’ve ever seen on a Samsung phone, offering higher-resolution photos, more details, and brighter low-light images than its predecessor.
There are other great phones. If you’re alarmed at these prices, well, you should be. Phones are unnecessarily expensive these days. You absolutely don’t need to spend anywhere near $800 to get a great smartphone. Check out our Best Android Phones and Best Cheap Phones guides for additional recommendations at stomachable prices.
Should you upgrade? If you have the Galaxy S22 or S21 series, there’s no reason to upgrade. The phones are quite similar, so unless you’re having issues with your phone and you can’t get it fixed, save your cash and wait another year or two. Anyone with an older Samsung phone should feel welcome to upgrade; just know that these are not your only options. You can wait a few weeks to grab a Galaxy S22 at a killer price (ideally for around $600) or go for a cheaper phone. Samsung phones also routinely go on sale, so it’s worth waiting for the next big holiday event to see how low prices drop for the S23 range.
Where to Buy the Galaxy S23 Series Unlocked
We recommend unlocked smartphones over buying a phone directly from a wireless carrier. Why? Carriers sell locked phones, meaning if you suddenly want to switch from AT&T to Verizon, you’ll have to jump through hoops to unlock the device and access it on the new network. (There are also certain restrictions on how long you’ll need to be on a plan before you can unlock a device.) You can easily use unlocked phones in other countries without having to pay exorbitant prices for international data, and unlocked phones are less likely to include bloatware apps. They often also receive software updates faster.
Samsung has some exclusive color options for these phones when you buy directly from its site, whether you go for the Galaxy S23 or Galaxy S23+, though the Galaxy S23 Ultra only comes in the four main colors. In the Exclusive Offers section, you can currently get a discount if you bundle your phone purchase with the Galaxy Watch5 Pro smartwatch and Galaxy Buds2 Pro earbuds. Samsung is also throwing in $100 in instant Samsung.com store credit, which you can use for accessories like cases and chargers.
Amazon is offering the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra for the same prices as Samsung, though it doesn’t include any special offers. If you’re waiting for a discount, you’ll most likely see it here first.
Best Buy has the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra for the same prices, but you can save up to $600 by trading in a similar device. You can use its tool to see an estimate of how much you’ll knock off the retail price. It’s worth noting that you can likely get more money for your current phone by selling it yourself, depending on the condition it’s in. Best Buy is also offering three months of Google One’s 100-GB plan and a four-month free trial of Amazon Music for new subscribers only.
Wireless Carrier Deals for the Galaxy S23 Series
These models will likely come to the wireless carriers locked, so it will be a hassle to use them on other networks. Purchasing on a payment plan can also quickly add up to much higher recurring expenses.
- Verizon: If you switch to Verizon or upgrade your existing device, you can get up to $800 off any Galaxy S23 device with a qualifying trade-in device on a 5G unlimited plan (up to $1,000 off for the S23+ and S23 Ultra). Verizon is throwing in a Galaxy Watch5 smartwatch and Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G tablet for free with your purchase too, though this requires a new line activation and service plan for the watch and tablet. If that’s not your jam, you can get a $200 Verizon eCard to use at the carrier if you switch from another network.
- AT&T: New and existing customers can get up to $800 off on the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra with an eligible trade-in, an eligible unlimited plan, and a qualifying installment agreement. (AT&T’s footnotes say that a zero downpayment applies to “well-qualified customers only.”) The savings come in the form of monthly bill credits. If you don’t want this promotion, you can instead get 50 percent off any Samsung accessory—just add the accessory you want to your cart and you’ll see the savings at checkout.
- T-Mobile: T-Mobile is offering up to $800 off the Galaxy S23+ and S23 Ultra when you trade in an eligible device on the Magenta Max plan (or start a new line). You can also get the Galaxy S23 for free with the same promotion—though, for all of these, you’ll see savings in bill credits over 24 months. If you don’t have that plan, you can trade in an eligible device to get up to $400 off with a qualifying plan.
- Mint Mobile: Our favorite cheap phone plan is offering $50 off the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra for any of its 12-month plans. These plans include unlimited talk and text, plus 5G support, and the “unlimited” plan adds 35 GB of 5G and 4G LTE data (so yes, it’s not unlimited).