How to get a free Galaxy S23 (that’s not exactly free)
We’re seeing the same sort of deals around the Galaxy S23 launch that we saw around the iPhone 14 launch, as well as Black Friday. Carriers like AT&T and Verizon in the US are offering a free Galaxy S23 and even Galaxy S23 Plus. You can get a Galaxy S23 Ultra cheap, if you qualify, and there are a lot of qualifications.
First, you’ll need to have a phone to trade. Carriers can be lenient on which phones they’ll take, though. AT&T has a massive list of phones that will get you a $1000 off the price of your new Galaxy. If your phone is a Galaxy Note, Galaxy S, or Galaxy Z phone, it doesn’t even have to work, AT&T will still take it.
Second, you’ll need to agree to a contract, or rather a couple of contracts. You’ll be signing up for a payment plan for your new phone, and also a new service contract. As long as you have service, the carrier makes the payments on the payment plan for the phone. If you cancel, you owe the rest.
Carriers have been stretching these deals out into three-year terms, previously unheard of in the US. If you get a free Galaxy S23 Plus today on AT&T, you’re on the hook for 36 payments around $28 each. If you quit AT&T and switch phones after a year, you still owe the remainder of those payments.
Finally, you can’t get this deal with any ordinary line of service. You’ll be signing up for one of the expensive plans with the fast mmWave data that you’ll never encounter, or some streaming services you’ll probably enjoy. Expect to pay into the triple-digits for your monthly service, if you want the best discount on your new Galaxy phone.
Adobe Lightroom is powering the RAW photo work
We got word from Adobe that Lightroom would be handling the RAW image processing in the Expert RAW app available for the Galaxy S23 phones. We were curious what that meant, so we got clarification, and the deal isn’t as great as it seems.
Basically, if you want to use all of the feature of Adobe Lightroom, you have to pay for it. It’s a great app, I personally pay for it. Samsung buyers will get two months free, then you need to pay.
If you don’t pay, you get very limited editing options. You don’t get the amazing healing brush and selective adjustment tools. It’s better than nothing, but it isn’t the Lightroom experience that I’d hope was bundled with such a premium phone.
In any case, it’s worth using Lightroom if you’re shooting in RAW, and we’re excited to try all of the new photo tools available on the Galaxy S23 family.
It’s easy to find the difference between the Galaxy S23 and the Plus
It may seem like the Galaxy S23 Plus is just a slightly larger version of the Galaxy S23. It’s got a bigger screen, more storage and a bigger battery and that’s it, right? The cameras are the same, the processor is the same, and it gets the same amount of RAM. It doesn’t get the S Pen or the megazoom camera like the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Not so! In fact, there’s an important difference to the Galaxy S23 Plus. It offers ultra-wideband technology (UWB). This is the same technology that Apple includes in its AirTags. It makes accessories easy to find with pinpoint accuracy.
If you’ve ever used an AirTag to find your missing keys or track your luggage at the airport, you know how invaluable this techology can be. It may not seem like a huge upgrade over the Galaxy S23, but having UWB on board makes the Plus a device worth considering.
That XR announcement feels like a stab at Apple
Of course we’re most excited about the new products we can actually use, but that final announcement about XR, bringing Google and Qualcomm to the stage, feels like a dig at Apple. The iPhone maker was expected to announce a head-mounted wearable this year, likely an AR product called Apple Glasses.
Rumors now suggest the glasses have been put on hold indefinitely. The speculation at the time was that the technology simply wasn’t ready, and Apple would not release an inferior product.
The big three companies we saw today don’t have a product, either, but they certainly have technology to talk about. Samsung doesn’t get enough credit for sparking the current consumer VR trend with its Gear VR headset. It’s fascinating to see the company is still working hard within the space, now with more support than it ever had before.
Every camera will get a little bit better thanks to Snapdragon
With all of the leaks in the lead-up to the big Galaxy Unpacked event, were there any surprises left today? We knew about much of the hardware, but we weren’t really sure what it could do when you put it all together. The answer seems to be photography, as that’s the name of the game across the new phones and laptops.
We weren’t exactly sure what improvements the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus would see in the cameras. We knew all about the new 200MP sensor in the Galaxy S23 Ultra; Samsung Semiconductor announced that sensor months ago. We just weren’t sure if the more affordable models would get left behind.
The new phones will indeed get improved camera sensors and image processing. Some of that comes from the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, where much of the sensor data is turned into a photo. That chip also gives every phone better video recording capabilities, up to 4K HDR recording at 60fps.
Nobody pays full price for a Samsung phone
Now that the phones are available and Samsung is taking money, let’s talk about deals! We’ve got the best Galaxy S23 preorder deals lined up in one spot. Samsung phones can be very expensive at launch. The company likes to beat its competitors on specs, and it doesn’t shy away from charging more than you’ll pay for a similar iPhone 14 or Pixel 7.
That’s why we love to find deals on Samsung phones. The best deals come when you can trade in your old phone, and we’ve seen carriers offering bonuses for trade in devices. If you don’t have a phone to trade, your best bet is signing up for a new line of service. Otherwise, you may be stuck.
We’re also seeing bonuses like a free Galaxy Watch 5 if you buy your phone with Verizon in the US, or a Best Buy gift card when you trade in your phone to buy there. We expect many more deals to appear as the launch unfolds.
That’s a wrap, let’s check out the new goodies!
The Galaxy Unpacked 2023 event has ended, with no solid news about what sort of XR project Samsung, Google and Qualcomm are working toward. No matter, we have our hands on the new devices, and we’re ready to share our initial impressions.
We still haven’t had these phones and laptops long enough for a formal review, but you can check out our first impressions of all the new gear. We’ve had a look at the Galaxy S23 Ultra, the Galaxy S23 Plus, and the humble but potent Galaxy S23.
Now that the phones have been announced, we expect to hear more about deals, accessories, and special offers. Keep refreshing and we will keep updating with more coverage of the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy Book 3 launch.
Hold on, we’ve got one more thing: Extended Reality!?
The Head of Mobile Experience Business TM Roh has taken the stage to announce a surprising new project: a new XR initiative. Samsung is working together with Google and Qualcomm to make some sort of new ‘Extended Reality’ technology, and we’re hearing about it now for the first time.
Samsung has brought Cristiano Amon, CEO of Qualcomm, and Hiroshi Lockheimer, the Google SVP who helped found Android, on stage to talk about the new project. So far, details are very, very light. We only know the companies are working together.
Pre-sales starting now, phones in hands on February 17
All of the new phones are available for pre-order starting today. The phones will arrive in hand and in stores on February 17. The Galaxy Book 3 has a more complicated pre-sale schedule, depending on which model you buy. We have all of the sales details in our hands-on look at the new devices.
Samsung is also talking up its pledge for net zero carbon emissions by 2030. The new devices will include recycled materials, though I must be forgiven for thinking Samsung is overhyping what it’s actually doing.
Only a small percentage of a few specific components of the phones are made of recycled materials. I love to see Samsung making strides, but we are far from seeing a fully recycled phone at the flagship level.
Minor changes to the software, if you look closely
Samsung has made some improvements to its One UI interface that it slaps on top of Google’s Android 13. It’s not the major redesign that I’d like to see, and Samsung’s phones have fallen far behind both Google Pixel and Apple iPhone in terms of modern design.
While Google and Apple are using gestures and intelligent shortcuts, Samsung is updating its Notes app for more editing and sharing. Whenever Samsung has nothing new to add, it always over-complicates the Notes app to add professional layout features nobody needs in a Notes app.
Laptops aimed at creative types
The new Galaxy Book 3 family will come with Samsung’s Expert Raw software for RAW image processing. Adobe reached out to let us know that Expert RAW will use its Lightroom software for editing and enhancing images. It seems that the processing will be available on both the new phones and laptops.
In fact, when you shoot in RAW format with the new Galaxy S23 cameras, your Galaxy Book 3 will get those photos automatically in the library to edit and process. We’re looking for more synergy between the new laptops and phones, especially those that share the Ultra name.
The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is the first PC with real Ultra inside
We’ve had a Galaxy S Ultra phone, and a Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra tablet, but we’ve been missing the Ultra in Samsung’s laptops, apparently. The company hinted that Ultra would be coming to more products, and now Samsung has introduced a Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, in addition to a Pro and Pro 360 version of the new laptop.
We’ve gotten hands-on with the new Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, but of key interest is the AMOLED display on the new machines. Samsung is well-known for its eye-popping screen technology, so we’re always excited to see improvements in that area.
Are we gonna talk about anything besides the camera?
Samsung has finally moved on and started to talk about battery power. We have all of the specs in our hands-on review of the new devices, but the batteries are just as big or bigger than last year, depending on which phone you buy.
Samsung is also talking up the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, saying it’s the fastest Snapdragon ever. Samsung told us in our hands-on time that Qualcomm overclocked its main processor, the fastest of the CPU cores, to make it faster than other Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 devices that you’ll see.
The graphics have also gotten a nice boost on the new mobile platform, but we’ll have to put these devices to the test to see how our games really feel in person.
But seriously, it takes great videos in the dark
Getting a director like Na Hong-jin to record spooky footage is effective, but Samsung is continuing to drive the point home, spotlighting its optical image stabilization. New OIS hardware has twice the adaptive range of travel to help it adjust more to shaking.
Samsung is also saying that some sort of AI features will reduce noise in videos as well. The company is sticking with its ‘nightography’ branding for night-time shooting, and low-light is the name of the game today.
We expected to hear more about pixels and huge sensors, but Samsung is smart to stick with problems that everyone has, and solutions that everyone gets, no matter which model of Galaxy S23 you buy.
Wait, is it GIF or JIF?
Sorry, I’m just distracted for a moment because Samsung’s Jacs Wyatt has taken a hard stance on the soft-G pronunciation of GIF. Anyway, the new phones will be able to make GIFs better than ever before. Or JIFs. Depends on whom you ask.
Samsung is playing up movies and video recording performance in a big way. The company passed the Galaxy S23 Ultra to a few directors to buy some premiere sample footage to show off at this Unpacked event.
Professional-grade cameras on every model
Samsung says that every camera gets an upgrade, not just the big sensor on the Galaxy S23 Ultra (which hasn’t been mentioned, yet). Every model will be able to record 4K Super HDR video at 60fps on rear and front camera.
Still photographs will see a similar HDR benefit as well, and Samsung is not explaining how its pixel-binning technology works on the various camera sensors. Basically, the sensors will combine four pixels into one, reducing the resolution of the image but also adding more information to help process the images.
Ultra is up first
Up first is my old friend Drew Blackard, VP of Product Management at Samsung. The new colors have all been shown off in the context of their namesakes, so we see green in a Botanic environment, and beige in a field of Cotton Flowers.
Blackard is directly comparing the new design of the base model Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus to the Ultra, and Samsung started by shaving off, literally, the camera contour from the old phone in a bit of CGI wizardry.
Now the focus is on cameras, and Samsung has turned over its new Ultra device to Ridley Scott to make some movies for promotion.
Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2023 has begun
You can check out the event live from the Samsung YouTube (opens in new tab) page. We haven’t seen any new device yet, but Samsung has already teased a new Ultra laptop, and the new phones are on the way!
Samsung Galaxy S23: the bundles and promos
With about 20 minutes to go until Unpacked kicks off, we’re getting some hints about possible promos and bundles.
In the UK, for example, it appears that Very (opens in new tab) will be offering a tempting bundle that includes the Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy Watch 5. Naturally, it isn’t cheap though…
If you’re looking for a rough hint about pricing for all three models, we’ve listed the latest rumors below. And we’ll be rounding up the best Samsung Galaxy S23 deals as they land.
- Likely prices
- Galaxy S23: $799 / £769 / AU$1,249
- Galaxy S23 Plus: $999 / £949 / $1,549
- Galaxy S23 Ultra: $1,249 / £1,199 / AU$1,950
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: the big camera improvements
A lot of Samsung’s pre-launch hype (like its ‘Epic nights are coming’ promo) has been around the phone’s potential for Moon photography.
But as impressive (and sometimes controversial) as that AI-powered mode is, the bigger quality-of-life upgrade for most people will likely be the S23 Ultra’s improved zoom at more modest focal lengths like 15x zoom.
It seems that the 30x of S23 Ultra is better than S22 Ultra，The clarity is comparable to that of S22 Ultra’s 20x. pic.twitter.com/KlqJVChfsiJanuary 23, 2023
According to a Tweet from the leaker Ice Universe (above), the quality of the S23 Ultra’s 30x zoom will be on a similar level to the S22 Ultra’s 20x zoom.
That’s a big deal, as is the prospect of an improved zoom in the 10x-15x zoom range. In theory, the latter could get close to the quality offered by the folded optics of the S23 Ultra’s 10x zoom lens.
This is the space where Samsung is really opening up a lead on the iPhone. And the prospect of having a slim smartphone with that kind of zoom quality is still an amazing one to me – it wasn’t long ago that Samsung could only get to 10x zoom on a phone by slapping a compact camera on the back of the Galaxy Camera (below). Remember that?
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: what cameras will they have?
As TechRadar’s former Cameras editor, I’m most interested in the photography upgrades we’re going to hear about later – particularly on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra.
These are the likely camera setups we’ll see on each phone according to the leaks.
Samsung Unpacked 2023 is kicking off in an hour – here’s a final reminder of that livestream so you can watch along with us.
When are Samsung’s new phones actually launching?
In terms of when you can physically get your hands on Samsung’s shiny new devices, the latest intelligence suggests that the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus and S23 Ultra will all begin shipping online and in stores from February 17.
As we’ve mentioned, Galaxy S23 preorders are still live (but only for a few more minutes!), and it’s worth flagging again that you’ll get a nice little $50 store credit should you commit to purchasing one of the brand’s new phones. Go! Go! Go!
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: specs
It’s not just the chipset being used by Samsung’s hardware that’s been leaked, their other specs might have been revealed early too.
Firstly, in terms of digital storage space, we might see every Samsung Galaxy S23 model will abandon their smallest 128GB variant; that would mean you’d only be able to buy a model with 256GB at a minimum. If these new smallest models adopt prices that are similar to their respective 128GB Galaxy S22 counterparts then we won’t be complaining, but if the change means Samsung’s base models end up being more expensive than before we’ll be disappointed.
That said, those after a budget option may not be out of luck; another rumor has suggested the regular Galaxy S23 will retain its 128GB version, so we’ll have to see which leak is true.
Another note on storage is that some versions of the phones might be exclusive to the Samsung store. This includes some colors but also the rumored 1TB storage / 12GB RAM model of the Samsung Galaxy S23.
Speaking of RAM; the Samsung Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus are expected to only boast 8GB of it, while the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is rumored to offer only 8GB of RAM in its 256GB storage model, but its 512GB and 1TB storage models will deliver 12GB of RAM.
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: performance
If the leaks are to be believed, then Samsung’s Galaxy S23 lineup could be its best-performing smartphones yet.
A big part of that will be down to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a chipset that Samsung hasn’t admitted it will be using but leaks and comments from Qualcomm itself hint that this is indeed what the S23 mobiles will rely on.
Leaked Galaxy S23 benchmark scores suggest that the Galaxy S23 (and its Plus and Ultra models) will be the fastest Android phone on the market, with scores that put the device close to the Apple A16 chip used in the iPhone 14 Pro.
These claims are backed up by another source that says all three S23 models will see an increase in processor speed by 36%, an increase in graphics performance by 48%, and an increase in neural processing of 60% compared to Samsung’s S22 phones.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 also claims to give mobile games a bump in performance, with its Adreno GPU promising 25% faster performance and better visuals thanks to its ray-tracing capabilities. We’ll have to wait and see what Samsung announces, but if its new hardware includes the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 then we could be in for a treat.
Samsung Unpacked 2023: how can you watch?
There’s now just ten minutes to go until the Samsung Galaxy S23 launch. If you’re still wondering how to tune in, you have a few potential options.
Samsung will be streaming Galaxy Unpacked 2023 on the Samsung website (opens in new tab), and the event will also be livestreamed across the company’s usual channels.
That gives us a good idea of where else you’ll be able to watch it. Samsung’s YouTube page (opens in new tab)will definitely host a livestream, for one, and we’ve embedded that below.
The Samsung News site (opens in new tab)is also likely to host the stream, and it’s very possible the video will be viewable elsewhere, too.
Samsung Galaxy S23 series price: how much will they cost?
Given the amount of leaks we’ve digested over the past few weeks, we’re fairly confident about what we expect to see unveiled at this year’s Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event – but just how much the company’s new Galaxy S23 phones will cost is still up for debate.
Based on recent rumors, we suspect Galaxy S23 prices to stay the same as their S22 counterparts in the US (i.e. $799.99, $999.99 and $1,199.99), but the news is less promising for European customers, who could be facing price increases of up to €300 (which would mark the biggest generational increase in Galaxy history!).
One leaker has even suggested that Galaxy S23 prices in Turkey will be equivalent to around $2,660 / £2,145 / AU$3,740 – which would probably be enough to get you two of the company’s new phones in the US and UK. Here’s hoping Samsung doesn’t vary its prices quite so wildly across the globe…
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: the all-important ringtone
Looking for a bit of light relief in the last 15 minutes before Samsung Unpacked kicks off? Check out the series’ new retro ringtone below.
The trademark tune has been around since 2011’s Galaxy S II and this year’s take on it comes courtesy of Yaeji, a Korean-American DJ and producer who straddles the worlds of pop, house music and hip hop. I like its Nintendo-style charm, but as expected it’s divided opinion in the YouTube comments.
Expect to hear this song on a train near you very soon – or perhaps on the music festival circuit, as Yaeji’s booked to play the likes of Coachella later in 2023.
Samsung Galaxy S23 pre-orders: hurry!
If Samsung Galaxy S23 prices do rise, then you’ll want to save every cent you can on the new phones. That’s particularly true if you have your eye on the Galaxy S23 Ultra, because that phone is unlikely to be cheap wherever you are.
The good news is that you can save money on the devices if you act quickly (within the next 20 minutes or so). Galaxy S23 preorders are still live, and the official Samsung site is running a unique pre-registration promo which could save you $50 on one of the phones.
Simply head on over to this page and fill out the ‘register your interest’ form (opens in new tab) to reserve a device. Not only will you secure a firm place in line in doing this, but you’ll also receive $50 of store credit should you commit to a preorder once they go live later today.
But act quickly: the pre-orders will close an hour before the event starts, so you have around 20 minutes to register.
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: price
Regardless of how many leaks there have been around the Galaxy S23 – and seriously, this thing has leaked like a sieve – we don’t know everything about it yet.
For one, we don’t yet know for sure how much it will cost.
The smart money (pun intended) says that in the US at least, all three models will keep the prices from the S22. If true, that would mean prices of $799.99, $999.99 and $1,199.99 respectively, for the base variants.
However, earlier this week we heard rumors that Galaxy S23 prices could go up in some countries – and considerably so. Fingers crossed that isn’t the case.
Samsung Galaxy S23 series: Design
As Samsung fans will already be well aware, we’re expecting three members of the Galaxy S23 series to arrive in just over an hour: the Galaxy S23, the Galaxy S23 Plus and the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The leaked image of dummy units you see below (credit: Sonny Dickson) echoes other leaks and rumors around the design direction Samsung is taking with this generation. Each device looks strikingly similar in form to the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The standard and Plus models of the S23 this year appear to shrug off the Contour Cut camera module of the previous two generations of Galaxy S phone, in favor of something a little more sleek and sharp.
TechRadar’s Editor in Chief, Marc McLaren has done a deep-dive on the difference between the three expected models in our Samsung Galaxy S23 vs S23 Plus vs S23 Ultra comparison feature.
What we expect to see at Samsung Unpacked
There have been a lot of rumors flying around, but what exactly are we expecting to see at Unpacked? The main news will be the S23 series, but here’s a broad overview of everything that’s likely en route.
Samsung Galaxy S23: The S23 looks like a relatively minor upgrade on the Samsung Galaxy S22, with the same 6.1-inch FHD+ screen, the same 120Hz refresh rate, and the same rear camera setup. But a new chipset – most likely the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 – looks a cert, and the design should be brought more in line with the S23 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: As with the S23, the Galaxy S23 Plus is likely to be an evolution rather than revolution. Expect a bigger 6.6-inch FHD+ screen and a larger battery than on the vanilla model, but not many other differences.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: The standout reveal at Galaxy Unpacked should be the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. As well as getting a powerful new chipset it’s tipped to get a whopping 200MP sensor on the rear camera. Elsewhere, a 6.8-inch QHD+ screen, up to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and a 5,000mAh battery should give it the specs to compete with the best phones.
Samsung Galaxy Book 3 family: Rumors suggest that there will be several Galaxy Book 3 models debuting at Unpacked, including the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro, the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360, and the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra.
One UI 5.1: The only software reveal at the event is likely to be the latest version of Samsung’s One UI. This is unlikely to be a huge release, with bigger changes likely held back for the arrival of Android 14 later this year.
Good afternoon and welcome to our Samsung Galaxy S23 live blog.
The Galaxy Unpacked 2023 event has ended, though you can still catch the show on YouTube if you want to see Samsung speak for itself. The company showed off plenty of dramatic footage from Ridley Scott and Na Hong-jin to show off the low-light and improved video recording capabilities.
We’ve also got a hands-on look at each new device, including the Samsung Galaxy S23, Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus, and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. We haven’t had time for a full review, but we snapped plenty of hands-on photos and got great first impressions of each device.