Samsung Electronics is preparing to unveil its first flagship smartphones for 2023, and the buzz around them is growing bigger by the day.
The world's largest mobile phone manufacturer is set to introduce the Galaxy S23 series next month, the first major smartphone event for the new year.
There have been plenty of leaks and speculation about what to expect. In any case, we expect Samsung to make a big splash and kick off another interesting year for the most popular device in the consumer electronics category.
When and where will Samsung introduce its new smartphones?
Samsung has traditionally held two Unpacked events per year, the first for the Galaxy S series in February.
The company will unveil the Galaxy S23 series on February 1, reliable tipster Ice Universe has previously said, without providing further details.
Before that, the Korea JoongAng Daily, an English newspaper, reported that an anonymous Samsung executive said that Unpacked will indeed be held in February, but without giving a specific day. Speculation is it will happen between February 1 and February 7. The devices would become available during the second week of the month at the earliest.
The same executive said the launch will be held in the US, also without specifying in which city, though local media outlets have reported that it will be held in San Francisco. It was earlier rumoured that Samsung will unveil the S23 phones at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, which starts on January 5.
The second Unpacked event is expected in August, in which Samsung will reveal its new Galaxy Fold line-up. As this is still far off, it is understandable that details for this are very scarce at the moment, given that all eyes are on the Galaxy S23 for now.
How many Galaxy S23 phones will be launched?
Multiple outlets have reported that three Galaxy S23 devices will be launched — the base S23, the bigger S23+ and the high-end S23+ Ultra. This would match the same number of devices on the S22 line-up. The S21 and S20 had four models, with the addition of an FE, or “fan edition” option, while the S10 had five.
Galaxy S23 base storage to be bumped up
One significant expectation on the Galaxy S23 is that Samsung will offer 256GB as the base storage, which gives double the capacity for entry-level users, Ahmed Qwaider, another active Samsung tipster, tweeted on New Year's Day.
However, his tweet seems to indicate that Samsung will offer only one variant — 8GB of RAM plus 256GB of storage — for both the S23 and S23+. The Galaxy S22 and S22+ had 128GB and 256GB storage options, so it is unclear whether Samsung would also offer a 512GB version for these phones.
The S23 Ultra, meanwhile, will purportedly come with 12GB of RAM across its 256GB, 512GB and 1TB options, Mr Qwaider said.
If the base storage comes to fruition, Samsung would one-up Apple, which continues to offer 128GB as its base storage on its iPhones. Apple, however, would have enough time to respond and match (maybe even surpass?) Samsung as it is expected to unveil the iPhone 15 in September.
'Night vision' on a whopping 200MP camera
Cameras have been one of the most important selling points on smartphones, particularly with the highest-end devices. Multiple reports said that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will come with a 200MP main sensor — almost double that of the 108MP found in the Ultra versions of the S20, S21 and S22. That's part of a quad-camera set-up.
There's also speculation that the S23 Ultra will be able to shoot 8K video in 30fps, compared to the 24fps on its predecessor. This means that videos would be smoother.
And as with every new iteration, night photography is expected to be improved. This time, however, Samsung is said to be adding what Ice Universe has called “night vision” on the S23 Ultra.
Night vision is most popular in the military, where it is used to detect targets in dark conditions, even in moonless situations. The top-of-the-line night vision equipment allows users to see objects up to more than 910 metres away.
It is unclear what kind of technology Samsung would be using for its night vision. In any case, and given how it's being termed, it could be a serious upgrade.
Samsung has always promoted its “nightography” capabilities; the night mode on its devices are already very good, so using night vision should, by definition, result in significantly clearer and brighter images at night — even without any light at all.
A 'cooling system' to beat the heat
Samsung drew fire last year for throttling some apps on Galaxy S22 devices to prevent overheating, which led to performance downgrades. The debacle led to its chief executive apologising.
This time, the company wants to play it safer by adding what has been called a “cooling system” in the Galaxy S23 series. The system that will be used on the S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra would be 1.6 times, 2.8 times and 2.3 times better than those on its predecessors, respectively.
The S23 devices will be using the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 system-on-chip, which has been designed to generate less heat, creating a win-win scenario.
Additionally, Qualcomm's latest processor will help the S23 series improve its CPU, graphics and neural processing by 36 per cent, 48 per cent and 60 per cent, respectively, according to Mr Qwaider.
What about the next foldable devices?
It's too early to tell, but details on the next Fold and Flip phones are few and far between.
The only major detail that has circulated is one from tipster Ross Young, who claimed the Flip 5 will have 3-inch cover display, bigger than the present Flip's 1.9 inches.
For the Fold 5, there have been no significant reports, but it is expected that Samsung will try to improve on battery life. Another thing to look for is whether Samsung will bring the Fold's cameras to the levels of the S series. That, however, may not bode well for its price, which is already expensive.