The Google Pixel 7 is one of my favorite phones right now, and it’s one of the best Android phones that you can easily buy. But the Samsung Galaxy S23 is right around the corner, and it’s likely to be the Android phone that will outpace it in 2023 since Samsung set the pace.
But the current batch of rumors paints the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus looking very similar to their predecessors, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. You can expect obvious upgrades, like the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, but the rumor mill isn’t as enthusiastic about these two phones as they are with the more premium Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Ultimately, I think a lot of people will pick up the Galaxy S23 when it comes time to buy one of Samsung’s flagships, as it will be the cheapest of the three S23 models. However, it will compete with Google’s Pixel 7, which is a $599 phone.
Samsung has cut its business with the S23, even though we all know a handful of people are likely to choose the Galaxy over the Pixel. However, I think the Galaxy S23 needs to get the following right if it’s going to surpass the Pixel 7.
This may be a topic on its own, but Samsung has a long way to go to keep up with the Pixel 7 cameras. Although I have a little doubt that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will be a photographic powerhouse, I do have concerns about what to expect from the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus.
Currently, rumors suggest that the cameras for non-Ultra S23 models will still be somewhat similar. That’s disappointing, as Google has top-notch camera hardware in the Pixel 7 with 50MP and 12MP main sensors. Megapixel count isn’t everything, but Google is also leveraging its software ingenuity to make a huge impact on the Pixel 7.
Can the Galaxy S23 keep up with its 12MP main camera? We have to see. At least, Samsung will likely claim one major feature on the Pixel 7 – the telephoto lens. The Galaxy S22 is equipped with a 12MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom, and the S23 is likely to follow suit. The Pixel 7 uses digital zoom only, leaving the actual telephoto lens to the more expensive Pixel 7 Pro.
But the zoom is virtual, while the main camera does all the heavy lifting. If Samsung sticks with the Galaxy S23’s 12MP sensor, it will have to seriously tweak its post-processing algorithms to match the detail and dynamic range that Google has almost perfected.
Neither the Galaxy S22 nor the Pixel 7 amaze me with their battery life. We test phone batteries by making them constantly reload web pages over a cellular connection until they die. Just under 10 hours is the average time on smartphones, and the Pixel 7 doesn’t even come close. Nor the Galaxy S22.
With 7 hours and 54 minutes when the screen was set to an adaptive refresh rate, the Galaxy S22 wasn’t a good example starting in 2022. The Pixel 7 didn’t finish things well either, with a score of 7 hours 17 minutes.
Galaxy S23 needs to get this right. Whether it’s the more power-efficient Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, some tweaks to display efficiency, or tweaks in software, the next Galaxy S doesn’t need to do much to beat the Pixel 7 here.
However, I want to see the Galaxy S23 get very close to a 10-hour result when we run our battery test.
For more years than I reckon—maybe since the Galaxy S III—Samsung has had a good reputation for rolling out a lot of software features for you. The company has quieted down in recent years and kept most of the exterior for the Ultra and Galaxy Z phones.
I honestly wouldn’t expect any crazy software features for the Galaxy S23 or Galaxy S23 Plus. But the Pixel 7 has a lot of cool things that only a Pixel can do, like Call Screen, Direct My Call, Hold for Me, and Clear Calling. The oriented frame allows visually impaired users to take perfectly framed selfies. The Pixel Recorder app is the best you can get with precision and speaker selection.
The Galaxy S23 seriously needs to convince us. Bixby is a far cry from Google Assistant, especially the smarter assistant on the Pixel 6 and Pixel 7 series. In contrast, the Galaxy S22’s phone app and voice typing are incredibly basic.
On the software feature front, in fact, the Pixel 7 wipes the ground with the Galaxy S22. This is the area where I doubt Samsung will outperform Google. There’s a lot the Galaxy S23 needs to do here to even match the Pixel 7, let alone beat it.
Galaxy S23 Outlook
When the Galaxy S23 launches — probably in January if you believe the rumors — you can bet we’ll be comparing it to the Pixel 7 (as well as the iPhone 14, its other major competitor). I think the Samsung phone is going to be great, packed with great power and improvements. While I’m not excited about the S23 per se – that honor goes to the Galaxy S23 Ultra – it would be an important device nonetheless given the number of people likely to buy it.
Funnily enough, I think Samsung might close the gap with Google when it comes to cameras. Whether or not only the Ultra manages to be the case remains to be seen.
With the Galaxy S23 launching at the beginning of 2023, leaks have to circulate every now and then. This in turn will help us all get a better idea of what to expect for Samsung’s flagship smartphones for 2023.