The Galaxy S23 Ultra is Better Than You Think!

Last Updated on February 11, 2023 by Detective Dev

(upbeat techno music) – Matte black glass, aluminum
rails, massive specs, Quad cameras, a hidden stylus, Oh wait, wait, hang on a sec. Yeah, no, that was the wrong phone, sorry. Let's start that over. (upbeat techno music) Matte black glass, aluminum rails, Massive specs, quad
cameras, a hidden stylus. You get the plan. (upbeat techno music continues) Hey, what's up, MKBHD here, And this is the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. So, when this first came
out, when it got revealed, It was the easiest thing to do To just write it off as
an incremental upgrade, Because I mean, look at it. Aesthetically speaking, it's
basically the same phone. The side radii are squared off more, So it feels a bit better
in the hand, sure, Much more boxy like the notes of the past. They're also slightly bigger
rings around the cameras, And it's Gorilla Glass Victus
2 instead of Victus Plus, But as far as size, industrial
design, button placement, Ports, the layout, it's
basically the same phone. But there are two real
upgrades to this phone. Now keep in mind, this is
replacing the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Which was already my best
big phone of the year From last year, great battery, Great screen, great performance, All of it was rock solid across the board, So there's not a lot that I
would naturally want to change. But, there are two things, And they're two of arguably
the most important things

You can actually change in a phone, The chip that runs it all and the cameras. So you might have heard
about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It's been a really good chip In the other phones that it's been in, Excellent CPU and GPU performance And really efficient which
touches battery life. Now, this phone, actually
the whole S23 lineup, Has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, A customized version of the chip, Specifically for these Samsung phones. So if you watched the last video About how Apple's taking back the iPhone, Then you know already that optimization And customization for parts inside phones Is a good thing, generally. But the only thing that we've really seen That is customized for
this chip for Galaxy Is a slightly higher max clock
speed on the performance core And slightly higher
clock speed on the GPU. So to be exact, 3.36GHz instead of 3.2 On the performance core and
719MHz versus 680 on the GPU. So yeah, it does score
slightly better on benchmarks Than the regular Snapdragon
8 Gen 2, and that's nice For a little extra headroom
for high performance stuff, Light gaming and for future-proofing, But that's not the whole story. There's two main things that matter here, One is efficiency gains. So, obviously performance is awesome, But because efficiency is better, These phones get some
serious battery life gains That we'll talk in a second. But also too, is bye-bye Exynos,

Because they're not making an
Exynos version of this phone As far as I can tell anywhere else. They're shipping every S23
Ultra with a Qualcomm chip, So everyone gets the efficiency And performance gains
from the Qualcomm version. So lemme tell you, the
battery life on this phone Is actually, it's been incredible, Like it's really, really good. So it's the 5,000 million power cell again Shouldn't be a surprise,
but with this huge screen, I guess it kind of is actually a surprise. I had a two-day period at 120Hz but 1080P, Where the only time I charged it Was on the wireless charger in my car On the way to and from the studio For like the 40 minutes
that that drive is. I didn't charge it overnight
or anything like that. Two full packed days of high brightness, High intensity, normal use for me, Has something like eight and a
half hours of screen-on time. I'm in bed at like 11:00 PM
at the end of the second day Streaming on YouTube live Watching LeBron break Kareem's record, It's still got like 10%
left, it just won't die. So combine this excellent battery life With a pretty solid 45 watt charging That can go zero to 100 in an
hour, plus wireless charging, And you've got yourself a
battery monster, it's super good. I don't think enough people are talking About how much better the battery got. Maybe someone will do one of
those crazy long runtime demos Versus the past phone, but
yeah, it's really good, Probably better than you think. You kind of don't ever
need to switch to 1080P

To save batteries, matter of fact, When you take it out of the box, Immediately just go in
and switch it to 1440P, 'cause you spent 1200 bucks on this phone, And it lasts forever, treat yourself. Okay anyway, that's the chips,
that's what that enables, But there's also a new set of cameras, Hardware and software across the board That also is better than you think. Now, the fundamentals are mostly the same, Which is why this
probably gets written off So quickly a lot. The layout, the aesthetics,
the focal lengths, The arrangement, it's
all practically the same, But we have a new
200-megapixel primary camera With double the optical image
stabilization range as before. That's hugely important. And then new sensors
across the ultra wide, The 3X telephoto, and the
10X periscope cameras. This new primary sensor setup though, I know we keep saying
cameras are mostly software, And as far as the look
and style of the photos, It absolutely still
is, but the improvement To the stabilization is so important here. So when you go from a normal sensor To a super-high resolution
200-megapixel sensor, The fact is, in these
tiny smartphone cameras, The individual pixels are
so small that individually, They physically can't
bring in that much light. So the camera does this
thing called binning, Where it combines the information From a bunch of adjacent pixels To form larger more accurate
pixels in your image. So you're not shooting
200 megapixels by default,

It's actually binning 16 pixels into one, So you end up taking a 12.5 megapixel shot For normal photos, but each photo Is theoretically more
accurate thanks to its makeup. And then like I said, the
stabilization performance On this new primary camera has doubled. (phone rattles) Still rattles a little bit,
but that means it'll correct Up to three degrees of shake
now versus the 1.5 from before, So here's an example of what's happening. If you get a lens With really good optical
image stabilization, (lens rattles) like this one, That means it can
correct from the movement In your hand much more, Which means you can hold the
camera stable for much longer, So it can leave the shutter open To collect more light and
still get a sharp photo. So, all of this is to say
Galaxy S23 Ultra photos, Most of the time, in most lighting, Look pretty similar to last year. So if that's all you're looking at, Just normal side by sides,
this is mostly gonna come down To the different software tuning, And there's a little bit more
dynamic range than last year, But yeah, still top of the line While mostly avoiding looking to HDR-y. Photos are typically pretty
warm from these Samsung phones, And they have a slightly punchier, More contrasty look than before, Still very much up the Samsung alley Of colorful and saturated,
but it's an aesthetic That I can get behind, I really like. But, on top of that,
having this new sensor

And optical stabilization means one, You can shoot literally
200-megapixel photos now If you really want to. Now, this does accomplish
the intended purpose Of capturing much more of the finer detail In things like landscapes, So if you plan on zooming
in on the shot later, Or if you're one of the
three people on earth Who will actually print
a smartphone photo, This should work, but
you should also be aware That it's only really able To give you these types of
results in excellent lighting Where a ton of light Is hitting every individual little pixel. Anything short of that, And you're gonna get a
lot of noise really quick. And there's also a
really solid shutter lag As it turns out these massive
40, 50 megabyte files, Granted this mode is mostly
for things sitting still, Like a landscape or a photo
shoot but worth noting. I think the better compromise Is you actually also
get a 50-megapixel mode, Which kicks out still very detailed images That hang right with the iPhone's
48-megapixel ProRAW shots In a variety of light, but now
the files are five megabytes, And there's a lot of less shutter lag. But there's still that improved detail Over the normal binge shots
and not as much noise. It's all about flexibility. The standard mode is gonna be the best For most shots most of the time, But you can always turn
it up if you want to, And that's very much the
same thing with the zoom. You see all the cameras on the back.

Any phone with two
different telephoto cameras Is gonna have the biggest
range of good zoom performance. On this phone, anything past 10X Is where it really shines
compared to others. And you might have even
seen my recent clip Of taking a photo of
the full moon recently, Which seems to blow people's
minds every time they see it. Wow, but you also can't
forget about video too. This is improved video across the board With better processing, the new sensors, And the much better stabilization,
thanks to the better OIS. So this might be the
best super steady mode I've ever seen in smartphone video, And the beauty of it being
from optical stabilization Is it works great in
a variety of lighting, Unlike some electronic
image stabilization, Which relies on having a ton of light. And on top of all of that, The 8K video on this
smartphone is very usable. There are previous phones
that have had 8K video, It's not the first, But I remember when they
first got that capability, They'd always be at like 24 FPS, 'cause that's the most
that they could churn out, Which is not the right frame
rate, so 8K/30 really good. And if you put it
side-by-side with the 4K, You can actually see
the sharpness difference If you really punch in. If you want a sample of this, The latest Auto Focus
video I shot in my car Is in 8K from this phone, And you can actually go watch
it 8K on YouTube right now From the link below, hit that
like button if you want to. Oh yeah, and also,

Don't forget about the better selfies too. There's a new 12 megapixel selfie camera In all these S23 phones. And while that number is lower on paper Than the 40 megapixel selfie camera That came before it, it's better. It's just better, rock solid proof That the megapixels don't matter. This selfie camera, with the
better software processing, Is very sharp, detailed, has nice color, Doesn't flare too much, and
also has a decently wide angle. It's not ultra-wide but not bad. So across the board, this is significant, An extensive improvement to the camera, Especially the primary camera. That feels overlooked to me When people have been reviewing the phone. The one thing I still will complain about Is there is still shutter lag, Which is different from
slow shutter speed. So the time gap between
hitting the shutter button And actually capturing the
photo, it's still real, And it can still be kind of annoying, Even if you capture a crisp
photo of the wrong moment. So, like I said, it's more pronounced When you take the ultra
high resolution 50-megapixel Or 200-megapixel photos. You can't exactly do those in rapid fire. But if the question is, "Did they make a meaningful improvement "to last year's phone to end up here?" I would say between the new chip And the better overall performance, And much better efficiency,

Which gets you huge
battery life improvement, And the new cameras
with the better sensors, Better processing, but also
much better stabilization, I would say yes, not upgrade
from last year's phone, yes, But they've actually
made a real improvement. And then, I don't really need
to say too much about the rest Because it's the same as before, Which, in the case of the
best big phone of last year, Is kind of a good thing. All the other things that
made this the best big phone Are still here, and they're
not minor things either. I haven't even talked
about the A+ display, 1440P, 120Hz LTPO, 1,750
nits peak brightness, It's still awesome,
still has great speakers, Still has very reliable software With a pretty good track record now Of delivering software updates In a timely fashion for a while. The base storage has
also actually jumped up From 128 to 256 gigs, and it's
faster UFS 4.0 storage now. It still has the best stylus
in a smartphone in the world, Which might mean a lot more
to you than it does to me, But, honestly, if I ever use it, It's nice knowing I can at any time Mark up a screenshot or sign a PDF. And the list goes on, great haptic motor, Nice clicky buttons, it's all still here. This thing sets the standard pretty high. My analogy that I was making Is that it feels like the
portion 9/11 of smartphones. If you're gonna charge
1200 bucks for a phone, It better set high marks all
the way across the board, But it does, and it's pretty underrated, Kind of boring, but it does.

Now, if you want the S23 Ultra To look as improved as it actually is, I would recommend a skin from
channel sponsored, dbrand, Maybe something like this Damascus skin, Which adds a lot of character, Where it would ordinarily be pretty blank. My favorite one is the Triple Black. It is actually included for free When you pick up any of
the holographic colorways, So you can check 'em
out at the link below. I say this phone is boring, And I think maybe understated
is the better word. Are there gonna be other
phones that come out this year That do one up this phone in
certain single categories? Yeah, 100%, there's probably gonna be A phone with 120X zoom. There's probably gonna be a
phone with crazy fast charging. This is only 45 watt charging.
Do I wish this was better? A little bit, sometimes. Is there gonna be a phone probably With a much bigger, better,
faster fingerprint reader? (soft bright music)
Yeah, probably. But as far as just nailing all
the marks across the board, Yeah, this does it. Just as far as overall package, Samsung's software is settled,
the screen is sublime, It's still the sickest stylus, And it's snaps significantly
smoother shots, sick. Thanks for watching, catch you
guys in the next one, peace. (bright music continues)

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