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The newest Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphones boast better cameras, new processors

The new Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphones start at $799.99 for the Galaxy S23 with 128GB of storage (you can also get 256GB). The Galaxy S23+ starts at $999.99 with 256GB (there's a 512GB option). And the top-of-the-line S23 Ultra, in the center, starts at $1,199.99 (256GB; you can get up to 1 terabyte).
The new Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphones start at $799.99 for the Galaxy S23 with 128GB of storage (you can also get 256GB). The Galaxy S23+ starts at $999.99 with 256GB (there's a 512GB option). And the top-of-the-line S23 Ultra, in the center, starts at $1,199.99 (256GB; you can get up to 1 terabyte).

Samsung officially unveiled its latest line of Galaxy smartphones Wednesday and the tech giant hit the mark on all of the expected numbers and specifications.

What about the price? The new Galaxy S23 line, which is available for preorder now and will launch on Feb. 17 through various retailers and carriers, is priced the same as the Galaxy S22 line.

The phones start at $799.99 for the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23 with 128GB of storage (you can also get 256GB). The 6.6-inch Galaxy S23+ starts at $999.99 with 256GB (there's a 512GB option). And the top-of-the-line 6.8-inch S23 Ultra starts at $1,199.99 (256GB; you can get up to 1 terabyte).

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Improved camera? Check. The S23 and S23+ models each have improved 12MP front selfie cameras and the top-of-the-line S23 Ultra has a massive 200-megapixel sensor, for higher-res shots and improved low-light images. That's nearly double the capacity of the S22 Ultra's 108MP sensor.

Better battery? Check. Both the S23 and S23+ have slightly larger batteries, while the S23 Ultra has the same size, but maintains battery life thanks to the improved processor.

Power? All of the new S23 devices use Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform, which completes processes about 30% faster than the Galaxy S22 series, Samsung says. Graphics processing is improved by 41% too.

Displays? Each has tougher Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 displays.

Samsung vs. Apple's iPhone Pro Max: Can the S23 Ultra deliver the 'best pictures and video in the world'?

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The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone, available on Feb. 17, starts at $1,199.99 (256GB; you can get up to 1 terabyte). It comes with an embedded S Pen.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone, available on Feb. 17, starts at $1,199.99 (256GB; you can get up to 1 terabyte). It comes with an embedded S Pen.

Why might I want to buy a new Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphone?

Smartphone camera buffs will be enticed by the new bigger low-light 200MP sensor and the Nightography capabilities on the S23 Ultra. And the new phone will also incorporate Adobe's Lightroom editing program, which handles even uncompressed RAW photo files giving smartphone users the potential for professional-level imagery.

"Enormous camera sensors require additional software and silicon to produce good results, but in the brief hands-on time I got ahead of launch, I saw impressive low-light performance and got a superb portrait shot," Techsponential analyst Avi Greengart said. "With its extensive zoom options, Samsung’s camera system on the Galaxy S23 Ultra is extremely versatile."

And the improved processing capabilities will help Samsung phones stand out, said David McQueen, research director at ABI Research. "While the move will provide unparalleled performance, power, and advanced AI improvements, the expected speed increase will also give Samsung a definitive, early lead among competing Android smartphones in 2023," he said in a research note.

Those who preorder an S23 smartphone are eligible for a free storage upgrade; those who pre-order and purchase on Samsung.com are also eligible to receive a Samsung Credit up to $100.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone, available on Feb. 17, starts at $1,199.99 (256GB; you can get up to 1 terabyte). It has a massive 200MP sensor, for higher-res shots and improved low-light images.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone, available on Feb. 17, starts at $1,199.99 (256GB; you can get up to 1 terabyte). It has a massive 200MP sensor, for higher-res shots and improved low-light images.

What are experts saying about the new Samsung Galaxy S23 devices?

The most expensive of the new devices, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, with its 200-megapixel main camera, "should take the image quality capabilities to the next level," said Sareena Dayaram, senior editor at CNET.

Nabila Popal, IDC's research director for worldwide consumer devices, tweeted that the 200MP camera "likely won’t tip consumers’ purchase decision, faster processing/AI in (the) camera will def push the edge at photo quality – a feature that’s very important to social media frenzy consumers of today."

The new Galaxy S23 devices are missing one "nice to have" feature that the latest iPhone 14 models have: the ability to send SOS emergency texts if you are outside of cellular and Wi-Fi networks, she told CNET.

But the S23 line's use of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip "promises ray-traced graphics and big boosts for AI performance and power efficiency," said Engadget's Jon Fingas. "Batteries are ever-so-slightly larger, and there's greater use of recycled components."

However, if you are a Galaxy S22 owner, "there's no rush to upgrade from the S22 if you're still happy with its capabilities," Fingas said.

What colors are the new Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphones available in?

Each of the new Galaxy S23 smartphones is available in Phantom Black, Cream, Green and Lavender. Shoppers who buy on Samsung.com can also opt for four additional colors: lime, graphite, sky blue, and red.

How much will a new Samsung Galaxy S23 smartphone really cost?

Consumers may be able to get deals. That's because the industry saw a decline in smartphone shipments of about 18% from 2021, according to preliminary figures from research firm IDC.

"What (Q4 2022) tells us is that rising inflation and growing macro concerns continue to stunt consumer spending even more than expected and push out any possible recover to the very end of 2023," said IDC's Popal in a report last week.

Samsung is the global leader in smartphones with a 21.6% market share in 2022, up from 20%, Apple holds about 19%, up from 17% in 2021, according to IDC.

"It is certainly a challenging economic environment to sell premium devices, but the new Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra are all priced the same as last year, despite inflation," Greengart said. "And in the U.S., carriers will do their best to mitigate the cost with deep discounts and effectively free financing."

Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Smartphone with 200MP camera leads lineup