Don’t wait for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Just buy this phone ins…

A person holding a Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is nine months old, and over the next few weeks, talk about its successor – the inevitable Galaxy S24 Ultra – will start to pick up.

I went back to the S23 Ultra to see if it’s still as exciting as it was in February this year. I also wanted to see if it would be a wise decision to wait for the sequel instead of buying it today. This is what I learned.

What makes the Galaxy S23 Ultra special?

The screen of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/

Simply using the Galaxy S23 Ultra won’t be enough. I wanted to remind myself what makes it special. What if I said I wrote the opening paragraphs on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra using the S Pen stylus? Well, I did, and although it took a while and wasn’t very intuitive to begin with, it reminded me how good the technology behind Samsung’s stylus really is.

I’ve always struggled to make much use of the S Pen because I’m no artist or prolific note-taker, but it’s one of the unique features of the S23 Ultra. It’s really well engineered and very accurate, so I wanted to find a way to fit it into my life while revisiting the Galaxy S23 Ultra as it completes nine months.

Not only that, but I’ll look for any excuse to use the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera again, especially since it also has a unique feature: 10x optical zoom. If I used both of these features and didn’t feel much for them, or were disappointed by each in some way, then holding out for the Galaxy S24 Ultra would probably be the right course of action.

writing with s pen

A person using the S Pen stylus on a Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/

Yes, I’m actually writing these words on the S23 Ultra’s screen with an S Pen. Sadly, my options for writing anything using it are limited, especially when I wanted to use the S Pen’s handwriting-to-text feature. This doesn’t work in Google Docs, so I had to use Samsung Notes. Once I got used to it it turned out to be really accurate, but it is quite slow.

Writing a thousand words using just the S Pen and Notes will take longer than using a keyboard, and editing it will be even more time-consuming. In order not to confuse conversions in text, it is best to write only a few words at a time, and add punctuation using the keyboard, while moving between paragraphs and words can mean messing everything up.

Using the S Pen to write a note on the lock screen of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/

It’s great for writing short notes – it was surprisingly accurate at converting even my worst scribbles into correct text – but not so much for longer messages. At this point I’m going to switch to my trusty computer to write the rest. Sorry about this, but I to do There is more work to do today.

There’s no other phone on sale today that has the capability of the Galaxy S23 Ultra with a stylus integrated into the body, and the S Pen sets the benchmark for performance at an extremely high level. I don’t really have a reason to use it very often, but when I do, I’m constantly impressed by what Samsung has achieved. It really is like a pen when writing on the screen, right down to the sound effect that comes with scratching, and even though it’s quite thin, I didn’t find it uncomfortable to hold. This is what makes the S23 Ultra special, and in the right hands, it’s actually a big advantage.

Zoom in and edit

Camera lens of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/

The S Pen isn’t the only feature that makes the Galaxy S23 Ultra unique on the market. It is still the only top smartphone to use a telephoto camera capable of 10x optical zoom. It’s much more up my street than the S Pen, and I always get plenty of use out of the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s versatile telephoto camera.

For some time now I’ve been using the S23 Ultra again, placing the camera against the Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max. Even though the Pro Max features 2x and 5x optical zoom, it’s not as full as the zoom on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and lacks the same level of detail and sharpness. Just as the S Pen sets the S23 Ultra apart from other phones, so does the telephoto camera. It won’t be for everyone all the time, but once you get used to it, it’s always pretty impressive.

It’s not just fun taking photos with the Galaxy S23 Ultra – it’s fun editing them too. While Google is emphasizing the use of AI with the Magic Editor to change the look of your photos, I think the Lightroom for Samsung app is the better choice. It’s worth subscribing, as you can produce more realistic, better-looking photos that suit your tastes and not just leave everything up to luck and AI. The two photos above are a before and after view of what’s possible in Lightroom, even for an amateur like me who has only a general understanding of the app’s capabilities.

Worth buying in late 2023?

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/

It won’t be long before we hear more about the Galaxy S24 Ultra, which will inevitably arrive in early 2024. But what if you want a new phone now and are eyeing the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but know it will be replaced early next year? Knowing when to wait for a new piece of hardware is always difficult, and while to some extent it’s always advisable to hold back and get the latest product, I’m not convinced you need that with the S23 Ultra. Is.

It hasn’t “aged” at all in the last nine months. It’s still as great as it was when I first reviewed it. Every time I’ve been back to the phone this year, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and this time too is no different. Apart from the sheer power and capability – the processor and screen are still the best – unique features like the S Pen and telephoto camera make it truly special and unmatched by other expensive devices.

I chose the Galaxy Z Flip 5 over the Galaxy Z Fold 5 this year, and I would also recommend the Galaxy S23 Ultra over the Galaxy Z Fold 5. Big-screen foldables may have had the initial wow factor, but the S23 Ultra represents the pinnacle of non-folding big-screen flagship phones in 2023, while the Z Fold 5 has now got a pair of real rivals in the Google Pixel Fold . OnePlus Open. Using the Galaxy S23 Ultra reminded me again why it’s still unmatched and still an absolute recommendation, even with the S24 Ultra potentially only a few months away.

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