Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus review: Packs quite a punch in slender form factor
Premium smartphones with Ultra and Pro monikers bring the best of technology, but most of them are thick and broad in form factor and heavy in weight. This brings us to the Plus models, which are not maxed out on all fronts, like the Ultras and Pros, yet pack a punch in slender form factor. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus.
Samsung has named it a plus, and not a pro, because the smartphone is similar to the vanilla model but with a larger screen and a bigger capacity battery. This helps in setting the expectations right because next up in the line is none other than the mighty Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and the Plus model is not its trimmed down version. That said, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus is in a class of its own.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus is a lightweight smartphone made of aluminium and glass. It comes in four colour options – cream, phantom black, green, and lavender. The lavender colour variant (review unit) has a frosted glass cover on the back. The texture here is smooth and it remains so because the cover does not attract fingerprints and smudges. Like the back, the front view is minimal with a flat screen dominating the profile. That said, the phone looks uniform from all sides. It is sturdy too with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back glass for protection against accidental drops and scratches, and IP68 protection to block water and dust ingress.
Display and audio
The Galaxy S23 Plus sports a 6.6-inch fullHD+ AMOLED screen of 120Hz adaptive refresh rate (48Hz – 120Hz). The screen has minimal and symmetrical bezels on the sides. It is an HDR10+ compliant screen with ample brightness to stay legible even in most demanding environments such as under direct sunlight.
Among the new screen-related upgrades in the Galaxy S23 Plus over the predecessor are ‘Enhanced Comfort’ and ‘Vision Booster’. Enhanced comfort feature is part of ‘Eye comfort shield’ in the display settings. When enabled, the screen auto adjusts colour tones and contrasts to lessen the strain on eyes – especially at night time. The Vision booster feature lets the screen auto adjusts the colours and temperature at three levels, based on ambient lighting conditions, to combat brightness and glare in daylight. The value-added features, old and new, makes the screen one of the best in its segment.
Complementing the capable screen is the stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos. The speakers are loud and clear. With Dolby Atmos enabled, the speakers deliver a wide soundstage for an immersive audio experience. For gamers, there is a dedicated ‘Dolby Atmos for Gaming’ audio profile in sound settings; it amplifies the speakers’ performance in select game titles.
The Galaxy S23 Plus has a 50-megapixel primary camera sensor with optical image stabilisations, paired with a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera sensor and a 10MP telephoto lens. On paper, the camera system is similar to that of the predecessor.
But, there have been notable changes in the performance especially in low-light, portraits, and video recordings. Moreover, there is a new 12MP camera sensor on the front to lift the experience.
The primary camera sensor on the Galaxy S23 Plus is a versatile performer. It delivers consistent results irrespective of lighting conditions. The ultra-wide-angle and telephoto cameras are good too. The strengths of all three camera sensors come to notice in Expert RAW mode, which is now part of the camera interface. First thing first, the Expert RAW mode now supports 50MP capture from the primary sensor. It essentially means uncompressed pictures at native camera resolution. Besides, there are two new additions in the Expert RAW – ‘Astrophoto’ mode and multiple exposure settings. These two are focused on power users and professionals, but opens new imaging options for amateurs to explore and experiment.
Coming to the front camera, it is a good performer with regard to both stills and videos. Samsung has worked on optimising low-light performance here and the results are apparent. The sensor is fast in terms of shutter speed, but the phone takes some time in processing the image. Therefore, there is a slight delay in the whole process. But it is worth the wait because the processed image is rich in details and with better colours and contrast.
Overall, the camera system in the Galaxy S23 Plus is versatile, feature-rich, and easy to use.
This is one area where the Galaxy S23 Plus is related to the Ultra model. It is because it is powered by the same processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy – and boots the same operating system – OneUI 5.1 based on Android 13 operating system.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus is an all-round performer. Be it regular daily operations or processor- and graphic-intensive tasks, the Galaxy S23 Plus handles everything with ease. Importantly, the performance is consistent with no drops or throttle even after extended use.
Moreover, the Galaxy S23 Plus has a battery life to match. Powered by a 4,700 mAH battery, the phone is good for a day’s use on a full charge. The phone supports 45W fast-charging, but there is no supporting adaptor in the accessories that come in the box. The phone supports wireless and reverse wireless charging features.
Priced at Rs 94,999 for the base model with 8GB RAM and 256GB on-board storage, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus is on the expensive side of the price spectrum. The smartphone, however, cuts no corners anywhere and delivers a holistic experience. It further elevates the experience, if used as a connected device in Samsung products ecosystem.