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How 3 Galaxy S23 Ultra camera features completely changed my vacation

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the most versatile set of cameras on any phone, and it’s the phone I took with me to the Mobile World Congress (MWC) event in Barcelona, Spain, last month.

After my work at MWC 2023 was done, I had some free time to explore the beauty of Spain, and in doing so, the Galaxy S23 Ultra helped me capture some amazing shots that wouldn’t be possible on any other device. Here are the three Galaxy S23 Ultra camera features that I used extensively and which helped me make my trip memorable.

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The clarity in 10x zoom is mind-blowing

The Galaxy S23 Ultra has made me use 10x zoom more than ever. While the wide-angle camera is more useful to capture scenic shots, I used the telephoto camera to focus on and shoot extremely gorgeous wallpaper material, like the pictures of waves hitting rocks above.

No other smartphone camera can shoot pictures at 10x zoom with such detail. Did you notice how you can see water splashing as if I used the pro mode to play around with the shutter speed? I didn’t. These are all shot in 10x zoom without any edits or special settings.

My iPhone 14 Pro Max can shoot amazing 3x zoom photos, and so can the Xiaomi 13 Pro. But going up to 10x and getting that clarity is mind-blowing — and something I’ve only found possible with the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Using the S Pen to take selfies

The Galaxy S23 Ultra's S Pen on the Sky Blue version.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

If you are traveling alone to a new place, you are likely to want to take as many pictures of yourself there as possible. At least I did because the beach side of Costa Brava was soothing and serene.

But I didn’t want to hold a big phone in my hand and click selfies that seem underwhelming due to the focus on my face and the lack of numerous background details. To capture the scenery with you in it, you either need someone to take a photo for you or set the camera with a timer while you stand there posing stupidly. I didn’t have to do either because I had the S Pen.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra lets you click selfies with the S Pen – like previous S Pen-clad Galaxy phones. I never knew I needed this feature until I went on a solo trip. I used a bench stand to hold the phone, took out the S Pen, posed, and snapped photos — which seem to be clicked by another person. This is the only way I use the S Pen, and it justifies the existence of the stylus in my book.

Thanks to the S Pen, I now have a new profile photo on WhatsApp.

Super-steady video

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra super steady video mode in Costa Brava, Spain

I usually have an iPhone with me to shoot videos whenever I need to. It is my go-to device for everything videos. But that changed during this trip with the S23 Ultra.

From shooting images of the exhilarating rollable Motorola Rizr phone at MWC to going around the streets of Costa Brava, super-steady video mode made things easier for me. While walking down the streets, I used it to shoot the streets and capture my experience of my first time in Spain. It works on both wide-angle and primary cameras, and I used the wide lens to capture walking shots.

I shot in Quad HD at 60 frames per second (fps), and the results I got are amazing. The videos seem as though I used a gimbal. My hands are naturally shaky, and getting this result from a smartphone is a one-of-a-kind experience for me. The videos are detailed with good colors. I should probably make a Reel using those clips. We’ll see.

All of this comes with superb endurance

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra in Sky Blue, seen from the back.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

My experience with Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered phones has been positive. All of these devices — including the OnePlus 11, Xiaomi 13 Pro, iQOO 11, and the Galaxy S23 Plus — have lasted at least a day for me. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is no different. I used the cameras extensively, but it still gave me all-day battery life on a single charge in Spain. And this was when the screen was set to maximum resolution, and no battery-saver mode was toggled on.

The new Samsung flagship is an all-rounder. As our review says, it is the best, most complete Android smartphone you can buy right now. If you are in the market for a smartphone whose cameras offer new perspectives, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the way to go.

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