[REVIEW] Samsung Galaxy S23 5G – Might Compact Champ

Most Android flagship smartphones are either huge or heavy. The Samsung Galaxy S23 5G is probably the best compact flagship smartphone that you can get now. It’s a great alternative to the small-hand-friendly Apple iPhone 14 if you are not into Apple Ecosystem.

Samsung Galaxy S23 5G

The Samsung Galaxy S23 5G now offers better battery life than its predecessor while packed with the most powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor.

Samsung Galaxy S23 5G Specs

  • CPU: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
  • GPU: Qualcomm Adreno 740
  • Memory: 8GB LPDDR5x
  • Storage: 128GB/256GB UFS 3.1
  • Display: 6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, Adaptive 120Hz, 2,340 x 1,080, HDR10+
  • Glass Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2
  • Rear Camera: 50MP f/1.8 OIS, 12MP f/2.2 Ultrawide, 10MP f/2.4 3x Optical Zoom OIS
  • Front Camera: 12MP f/2.2 with Auto Focus
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Samsung Wallet)
  • OS: One UI 5.1 (Android 13)
  • Battery: 3,900mAh @ 25W Wired Fast Charge (PD 3.0) | 15W Wireless Fast Charge | Wireless Power Share
  • Color: Green, Phantom Black, Lavender, Cream | Graphite, Lime (Online Exclusive)
  • Dimension: 146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6mm @ 168g
  • PriceRM 3,899 (8GB+128GB) / RM 4,199 (8GB+256GB)

Design

While receiving a battery capacity bump compare to its predecessor, the Galaxy S23 5G maintain its size and weight. Measures 146.3mm by 70.9mm with a thickness of 7.6mm and shy of 170 grams.

Despite being the most affordable among the Galaxy S23 series, it still has the same premium design and built. Features Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the front and back, Samsung’s Armor Aluminium chassis, and carries an IP68 water dust resistance.

Rounded corners with a matte finish on the back. It also adopted the Galaxy S22 Ultra/S23 Ultra’s camera design with an individual lens that looks cleaner.

The volume rocker and power button are on the right. A SIM card slot, a USB C, and one of the two speakers are at the bottom. It’s exactly a scaled-down version of the Galaxy S23+ 5G.

Offered in six color options; Green, Phantom Black, Lavender, and Cream, and two online exclusive colors; Graphite and Lime.

Display

While sporting the same 6.1″ Adaptive 120Hz AMOLED 2X with a resolution of 2,340 x 1,080. The screen is a lot brighter that matches the Galaxy S23+ 5G and Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G with 1,200 nits typical and 1,750 nits max peak brightness.

It has great color reproduction and good viewing angles as expected from Samsung’s own flagship panel.

Samsung offers a variable refresh rate that dynamically scales between 24Hz and 120Hz based on what you’re doing. This enabled smooth scrolling and gameplay while providing better battery efficiency.

Performance

Don’t be deceived by its tiny compact design, under the hood is the stellar Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy that was found on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G that I recently reviewed.

It offers only 8GB memory with two storage options; 128GB or 256GB. Worth noting, the 128GB has a slower UFS 3.1 storage technology over the 256GB UFS 4.0 storage technology which has almost twice the speeds.

Playing Genshin Impact is smooth even at the highest graphics settings with no throttling after one hour of gameplay. The only shortfall is the display is not huge enough for a more immersive gaming experience.

Although the Galaxy S23 5G doesn’t have 12GB of memory as the Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G and has a slower 128GB of UFS 3.1, this doesn’t cause much of a difference in real-world performance.

Below are the performance result compared to its more powerful sibling, the Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G.

Camera

The camera offering is good, with a 50-megapixels primary camera f/1.8 aperture lens that features Optical Image Stabilisation, a 10-megapixels f/2.4 3x optical telephoto camera with OIS, and a 12-megapixels f/2.2 ultrawide.

Photos and videos taken on the primary camera are pleasing in just about every lighting condition with clean detail. Having the scene optimizing switched on, the Galaxy S23 5G boosts colors and creates vibrant images that some would prefer to have for social media sharing.

It is worth mentioning that the 12-megapixels ultrawide doesn’t do autofocus, hence no macro or close-up function on the Galaxy S23 5G. That’s a bummer!

Here are some photo samples taken with the Samsung Galaxy S23 5G

All the images above have been scale-down, you can view full-resolution images on Google Drive.

One UI 5.1

The Galaxy S23 5G ships with Samsung’s One UI 5.1 on top of Android 13. The company promises four major Android OS upgrades (to Android 17) and five years of security updates. This is an industry-leading update policy, in comparison, Google only offers one less OS upgrade for its Google Pixel phones.

Battery Life & Charging

Typically, one of the major downsides of a compact smartphone is battery life. Samsung managed to pack a 3,900mAh battery while keeping the same compactness as the Galaxy S22 5G which only has a 3,700mAh battery.

To test the battery life, I set its display brightness to manual at 50% and run the PCMark Work 3.0 battery life test until its battery dropped to 20%. I get an impressive 15 hours and 4 minutes and I even have the adaptive refresh enabled. Why you would disable a feature that comes with it?

The Galaxy S23 5G doesn’t charge as fast as its larger siblings. It charges at a slower rate of 25W. Good thing, it supports 15W Wireless Fast Charge and 10W wireless reverse charge.

Samsung Malaysia Electronic is still offering up to RM 600 instant discount when you trade in your current phone and also receive a complimentary Samsung Galaxy Watch5 (40mm) smartwatch with every purchase of the Samsung Galaxy S23 from the Samsung E-Store.

Facebook Comments
Samsung Galaxy S23 5G Review
  • Design
  • Build
  • Display
  • Performance
  • Camera
  • Battery
4.7

Verdict

Not everyone wants a large smartphone without compromising its performance and battery life. You left not many options besides the Samsung Galaxy S23 5G, Google Pixel 7, and Apple iPhone 14. The Pixel 7 is great but it isn’t nearly as powerful yet it’s not officially available here in Malaysia. The Apple iPhone 14 would be the closest competitor with the trade-off of switching to the Apple ecosystem.