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Everything Samsung announced at Unpacked: Galaxy S23, Galaxy Book 3, and more

Samsung’s held its first Unpacked event for 2023, where the company launched the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus, and S23 Ultra. Alongside that, Samsung powered up its ecosystem play by updating its MacBook competitor, the Galaxy Book line.

There’s quite a lot being unpacked, and nothing here is going to be cheap. Though Samsung has managed to claw its way to the top in the Android market by pushing out cheap phones like the Galaxy A14, the company’s headline-grabbing devices are often its more expensive — and more innovative  — ones.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra on a desk.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the marquee product here and leads in having the biggest everything. The biggest and brightness screen, the largest camera sensor Samsung has used so far, the biggest storage offering, and the largest battery. It’s the Ultra phone, so expect ultra things and ultra prices.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra ships with a 6.8-inch quad HD display. It’s AMOLED, as all Samsung flagships are, and it comes equipped with variable 120Hz refresh support. Design-wise, that big screen is ensconced in a chassis that looks a lot like the S22 Ultra. Samsung isn’t reinventing the wheel here. The S22 Ultra looked good, so why not follow that up with the S23 Ultra, after all?

A person using the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the S Pen.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The cameras here see a massive upgrade. Well, the main camera, that is. The tertiary cameras retain the same 10-megapixel resolution as they did last year, with the ultra-wide camera being a 12MP shooter. What Samsung is doing here is adding a new 200MP camera lens. You’ll be able to pull a lot of detail into your pictures through oversampling and take full 200MP images if you’d like. More pixels mean more data, and the S23 Ultra will be Samsung’s best phone at gathering imaging data. Samsung also throws in other features here to go with this new camera, including night mode called Nightography, Super Hgh Resolution Photo and 8K video enabled by the new sensor, and more.

All of this is powered by the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that Qualcomm just dropped. This means it should perform more than the Pixel 7 Pro, which scores lower on synthetic benchmarks and keeps the heating issues from last gen albeit still managing to barely keep pace with the iPhone 14. It doesn’t matter much, however. All these phones are plenty powerful, and that 8GB of RAM (it goes up to 12GB if you purchase either the 512GB or 1TB models) that comes in it will keep it performant over the four years of support Samsung offers (five for security updates). A large 5,000mAh battery with support for fast charging either wired or wirelessly wraps up the S23 Ultra.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is available for preorder today from $1,200. It is available in Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender — or black, white, green, and purple.

Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus

Joe Maring holding a Samsung Galaxy S23 and a Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus.
Andrew Martonik / Digital Trends

The Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus are the bread-and-butter Samsung flagship. Abandon all dreams of super high-resolution pictures, quad HD displays, massive cameras, and an S Pen. If you wanted Ultra features, you pay Ultra prices.

The S23 and S23 Plus are minor updates to last year’s S22 and S22 Plus. This means you get a comfortable and compact 6.1-inch display on the S23 and a more roomy 6.6-inch display on the Plus. Aside from the battery, both share quite a few specs in common. The S23 Plus really is a larger model of the S23 for those who want the S23 but don’t want to pay the premium for the S23 Ultra (and there might be fewer of those than we would think).

Diving into the specs, the S23 and S23 Plus ship with broadly the same camera setup as last year. There’s a 50MP main camera paired with a 12MP ultra wide-angle camera and a 10MP telephoto lens. That 50MP camera works a lot like the S23 Ultra’s 200MP ones, so most of the time, your photos should look similar. The main issue here is for those who use RAW photos resulting in the S23 Ultra having a much higher ceiling than the S23 and S23 Plus.

Wrapping things up, the S23 comes with a 3,900mAh battery with fast charging, while the S23 Plus comes with even faster charging and a larger battery. The regular S23 starts with 128GB of storage, while the S23 Plus gets base storage of 256G.

The Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus can be preordered today at $800 and $1,000, respectively, and both are available in Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender, (or black, white, green, and light purple if you prefer).

Samsung Galaxy Book and Galaxy Book Pro

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 and Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Finally, Samsung is also bringing three new laptops to the market today. These are the Galaxy Book 3 Pro, the convertible Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360, and the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra — its first laptop to be branded Ultra. The newest Galaxy Books are the company’s attempt to compete with the Macbook Pro. They are all impressive, powerful devices. All are equipped with the Intel 13th Gen processors (with the Ultra going to i9), all support up to 32GB of RAM, all come with AMOLED displays, and so on.

With these laptops, Samsung is offering a variety of features here aimed at different users. The Book 3 Pro, for example, is the standard Galaxy Book most people can afford. As such, it comes in two sizes — a 14-inch model and a 16-inch one. The Book 3 Pro 360 is a convertible-style device with S Pen support that caters to artists, while the Book 3 Ultra is a power user’s device built for those who require as much power and real estate as they can possibly get.

Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra laptop.
Samsung Galaxy Book3 Ultra Joe Maring/Digital Trends

There’s no denying that the primary reason for these laptops is to provide a MacBook competitor and build out the Samsung ecosystem. Between Google and Microsoft’s efforts, there’s a lot of interconnectivity when it comes to Windows and Android. Samsung can go the extra mile on its own devices with things like enhanced fast pair and a consistent One UI design language. It’s not quite Apple, but it is not very far behind.

“Today, we’re seeing an increasing number of people using multiple devices to perform efficiently. These new workflows are made possible thanks to our open and extensive Galaxy ecosystem,” TM Roh, President and Head of Samsung’s Mobile business said in a press release. “The latest Galaxy Book3 series further enriches our connected offerings. It is tailor-made for Galaxy enthusiasts looking for the ultra-high computing performance and seamless connected Galaxy experiences to maximize their productivity and creativity.”

The Galaxy Book 3 will be up for preorder today. The Book 3 Pro will be the cheapest one, setting you back $1,450, while the Book 3 Pro 360 and Book 3 Ultra will be available at $1,900 and $2,400, respectively.

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