Samsung Galaxy S23 price in USA - Review & Specs 2023

Samsung Galaxy S23 - I feel like a lot of people’s default answer might be this, the latest flagship, the S23, but that’s actually not the case. In fact, over the last few years, that’s not been the case. And what’s even more surprising is Samsung’s regular S series phones don’t even crack the Top 10 list of the best selling smartphones or even the Top 10 Best Selling Android devices. 

And it doesn’t matter where in the world you want to tabulate those lists or what time of the year you’re using to count up the sales numbers. There hasn’t been single point in time that I found over the last couple of years that a regular Samsung S Series phone was a top selling device. The Ultra’s seem to make those lists from time to time and Samsung A series phones including budget devices like the A03 and A13 and mid tier phones like the A53 are consistently top-sellers around the world. So why aren’t people buying this phone?

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Samsung Galaxy S23 price in USA

Why don't people buy this?

I think its a perfectly good device with a lot of great features - sure, the S series hasn’t changed a whole lot the last 2 or 3 years and the price is still pretty high and those budget and mid-tier devices I mentioned actually have a lot of similar features now to this phone. So I guess I’m starting to answer my own question, but I also want to hear from you - have you purchased a new Samsung smartphone recently? If so, which one? And if not, how come? Let me know in the comments.

In the meantime, I’m going to go over everything you need to know about this new S23 now that its been more than a month since its release. I’ll talk about the very small upgrades this phone received, what I think it does well, the things I wish were better, and hopefully this will help you decide if maybe you’ll be one of the dozens of people who end up buying the S23 this year.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Perfect size phone, no design changes

In a world of Ultra’s and Max’s, this 6.1 inch form-factor is small by today’s standards. But that I think is what makes it great. It’s compact and comfortable both in your hand and in your pocket, and one handed use - for scrolling, typing or picture taking, is easy. I actually don’t know of many other devices that are smaller than this now - the Asus Zen Phone 9 and the Pixel 6a but most everything else out there nowadays is 6.5” and above.

Samsung opted to just barely alter the look of this phone for 2023 and you’d probably be forgiven if you thought it was exactly the same, they mostly just refined the camera bump again but this is easily the simplest and cleanest look we’ve ever had. You still get the premium frosted glass back and polished aluminum frame that just barely justifies its high price point, at least with the build materials, I just wish Samsung would go back to offering some fun colors with these phones. 

This Lavender is about as interesting as it gets and honestly its closer to a whitish pink than anything else. You’ve got Army green, black and this sort of off white as your only other options - super boring. Nothing else physically has changed about the phone, same ol’ buttons, same lack of a headphone jack and no expandable storage. It has a SIM card tray though which coming from my eSIM iPhone woes, this is honestly nice to still have. Easy to setup, easy to swap out, it still has eSIM options but you aren’t forced to use it.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Brighter display

And one other quick note, the in-display fingerprint sensor on this phone really hasn’t changed the last 2 or 3 years I think, its still the same ultrasonic sensor but its fast and accurate enough and I don’t really have any complaints.

When it comes to the screen and view experience, the S23’s 6.1 inch Dynamic AMOLED panel is now brighter than ever - with auto-brightness peaking at about 1750 nits vs 1300 nits last year, and the user controlled brightness maxing out at 1200. Besides that though, the color, clarity and rest of the screen specs remain basically the same. 

Its still just a 2340 by 1080 resolution screen and I say “just” because the Ultra is the one with the QHD resolution and…uh, well the S20 from three years ago, but not important to mention that…the screen is plenty sharp especially at this size you get 425 pixels per inch and no matter how close you look, everything is crisp. It’s also a very bold and vibrant display, same as years past, and you can opt for some slightly color profiles in settings if you’d like. And of course, this is a 120hz adapt high refresh rate display which givers you that silky smooth and super responsive looks and feel.

And I feel like a lot people have mentioned this before but this phone does feel fast - whether its a most responsive or smoother display or just better performance with the internals specs, between the regular S series and the Ultra, these are certainly the snappiest Samsung phones I’ve played around with in a while. But all in all, if you’re looking to be wow’d by a brand new display or want the highest specs and best picture, this phone is fine, but there are other Android devices like the Ultra and some new gaming devices that offer a higher resolution and greater refresh rate.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Speaker test

As far as I know, the out loud listening experience on this phone remains unchanged as well. You still get a dual speaker setup with one dedicated speaker at the bottom and one secondary speaker in the earpiece. I sort of which Samsung would just commit to two full sized dedicated speakers on the top and bottom like some other smartphones have or at least go back to emphasizing audio like they used to do with AKG but for this phone there’s really nothing wrong. Ok so let’s talk specs and performance.

Samsung Galaxy S23 price in USA

Samsung Galaxy S23 price in USA $799.99 128GB.

Samsung Galaxy S23 price in USA $859.99 256 GB.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Performance & software updates

And I have a few thoughts here. First off, like I mentioned a second ago, the S23 this years feels really fast - it’s powered but the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and seems to be have been topped out at 8 gigs of RAM now for the last few release cycles, but thats been fine as well, and here are the current Geekbench 6 performance scores. In real world use, this phone has really been phenomenal. Its very quick, very responsive, and very well optimized too.

 I think another element to this equation is Android 13 and Samsung’s OneUi 5.1. I honesty feel like their biggest competition is Google’s Pixel software experience, at least for performance and optimization, and the years of gimmicky bloated Samsung software are long gone. This is now just a relatively minimal and streamlined Android experience - albeit still very Samsung - and it seems to me like they’ve put almost as much emphasize on updates as Google has. Now the single biggest thing still holding this phone back I think is the support - or lack thereof - the longevity.

Samsung says they’ll give the S23’s 4 major Android updates in the coming years and an additional year of security patches beyond that. And that’s great - you at least know the $800 or more you fork over for this phone will be spread out across a greater timeframe than some other samsung phones from a couple of years ago. But when Apple still offers iOS 16 on their iPhone X which came out in the fall of 2017, its still feels like Samsung leaves its customers of yesterday with very little value. To make a fair comparison, that would be the same as Samsung updating the S8 to Android 13.

People are upgrading their phones nowadays less and less frequently, and its not uncommon to see someone have a 3 or 4 or 5 year old smartphone - these devices obviously haven’t changed much recently anyway and if the apps still work, thats all most people need. But Samsung seems to still be content on either forcing people to upgrade after a certain point or simply just ignoring customers who have older devices. And that I think is one of the bigger reasons right now that Samsung is struggling to keep its customer base and probably one of the reasons this phone has stopped selling as well. Its much easier to get a new $300 or $400 A series phone every couple of years with a similar software support timeline than forking over $800 or $900 on this when it doesn’t get updates for any longer of a timeframe.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Battery & charging

By the way, jumping back to the topic of optimization, while Samsung didn’t really change the battery size on the S23, this phone I found lasts quite a bit longer than las year’s S22. The thing about small phones is that they tend to have small batteries - this one has a 3900mah battery inside which yeah technically is a tiny bit larger but during day to day use I’ve getting 7-8 hours of screen on time, sometimes a little beyond that, with no special settings of lower refresh rate. The phone learns as you go and I think OneUi and Android have gotten better at truly optimizing battery life, so thats great, and this is a small phone thats truly an all day device.

The downside of the S23 specifically is the fact that this phone supports only up to 25w of wired charging speeds. The S23 Plus and S23 Ultra can charge with 45w of power but the average person would never know that because you dont get any charging brick in the box and most people still use some random USB A plug they’ve been carrying around for the last 5 years. 

So charging speeds at least on Samsung phones now are essentially irrelevant as harsh as that sounds - while other Android smartphones are pushing the limits on speed, Samsung is not only not even emphasizing it anymore but not even informing their customers on the best way to charge the devices or even offering them the bare minimum accessories.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Camera overview & picture samples

Finally, let’s talk cameras. Now on the one hand, there’s actually not a lot to say here simply because Samsung actually didn’t really upgrade the cameras on the S23 this year. Which is weird, in seems like camera tech is the only thing these smartphone makers have been worrying about recently. But this 23 gets essentially the same 50mp main lens, 10mp telephoto lens and 12mp ultra wide lens as last year. The selfie camera I guess has a few more megapixels to mention, 12mp shooter vs 10mp last year. But generally speaking, this is essentially the same camera hardware powered by the same software and features as last year.

Are there some improvements to the real world results? Sure. I think these pictures look really sharp - id recommend shooting in the 50mp mode if you want as much detail as possible - and with low light and night time shots, it seems to me like you get a little less noise and a more balanced looking picture - the actual action of taking a nighttime shot the shutter and processing is also faster too - I think that’s again due to the snapdragon 8 gen 1 chip. But as weird as it sounds, for the first time in a while. I can confidently say that if you have last year’s S22, you aren’t missing out on anything with this years A23 when it comes to the cameras. And its been a long time really since I’ve been able to say that.

Fake moon pics

And one last thing I want to mention - I know there’s been a lot of talk about Samsung faking their superzoom moon pictures on the S23 Ultra. And well this phone seems to do the same thing. The moon is always facing us from the same side, it always looks the same, so basically the phone recognizes the moon as the subject and puts a moon image mask over the bright blobby white light that the phone pics out. I mean this is a great picture but I think its a little too good right? 

Smartphone pictures and videos always have that extra processing to give you the best looking shot, but the difference between a regular nighttime image thats been enhanced to the best of the phone’s ability and a crystal clear shot of the moon makes its obvious that Samsung does some funky things, and I think thats a product of them advertising the super zoom moon pics so much that they backed themself into a corner and wound up overcompensating just to try and impress people.


So overall, the S23 no doubt is a solid device. Its sleek, its powerful, with a bold bright display and great camera setup. There’s just not much that’s new compared to last year, and I think that’s one of the reasons why so few people will end up buying it. With nothing really new, its also hard to justify the price point - especially when last year’s phone renewed on Amazon is like half the price - and if you wanted a new Samsung phone, you could just get an A34 or A54 instead - you’ll get the same number of Android updates anyway and you could get 2 or 3 new A series phones over the next few years for the price one S series phone. 

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