The Galaxy S23 Ultra is just a week away from its official unveiling. All leaked information so far paints a positive picture. Samsung has upgraded almost every aspect of its upcoming 2023 flagship, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra is an interesting proposition for Samsung’s flagship customers, especially those living in markets where resale value is great.
We’ve already listed plenty of reasons why the Galaxy S23 Ultra could be a worthwhile upgrade for Galaxy S20 Ultra customers. But what about Galaxy S21 Ultra users? Should they consider the Galaxy S23 Ultra as their next flagship phone? Let’s answer this by looking at all the improvements the 2023 flagship brings over the 2021 model, and the things you could lose by switching to the newer phone.
Better, brighter screen with 1-120 Hz refresh rate
Both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy S23 Ultra have 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays with similar resolutions. However, the 2023 model bumps the peak brightness from 1,500 nits to 1,750 nits, and reports indicate that Samsung has refined the color accuracy to a superior level, especially for low-light use.
Additionally, the Galaxy S23 Ultra supports a refresh rate of anywhere between 1Hz and 120Hz, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s panel can only go up to 48Hz. This means that the Galaxy S23 Ultra panel is friendlier to battery life, which may compensate for the higher brightness.
Overall, the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s screen is brighter and technologically superior.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra fully embraces the S Pen
While the Galaxy S21 Ultra was the first S-series flagship device to feature S Pen support, the phone doesn’t have a built-in holster for this iconic input device. You could argue that the 2021 model is the last pure Galaxy S Ultra flagship, and you could see that as a plus.
Nevertheless, if you’re interested in the S Pen, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a worthy upgrade from the Galaxy S21 Ultra on the S Pen holster alone. The 2023 model fully integrates the S Pen and offers better stylus technology with lower latency. You no longer need to buy an S Pen case for your device and the accessory is always within reach.
Better build quality and a newer design
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But even if you prefer the bulky camera body of the Galaxy S21 Ultra, there’s something to be said for the design consistency of the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The 2023 flagship has a squarer footprint and a much more minimalist camera setup without a traditional “bump”. It looks more current than the 2021 model and the thicker metal frame makes the phone look sturdier.
Aside from its updated aesthetics, the Galaxy S23 Ultra also uses better build materials, such as a stronger aluminum frame with improved scratch and drop resistance, along with Gorilla Glass Victus 2 instead of Glass Victus screen protection. The former should provide better protection against falls onto hard surfaces such as concrete sidewalks. Essentially, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is more suitable to use without a protective case than the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Snapdragon SoC everywhere and more (possibly faster) base storage
For the first time, Samsung will no longer divide the flagship market between Exynos and Qualcomm chipsets. The Galaxy S23 Ultra ships with a 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 globally, which means support should be better and you get to experience Qualcomm’s best SoC yet, even if you buy the Galaxy S23 Ultra in a so-called ” Exynos Market”. .”
And it goes without saying that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is a more powerful solution than the Snapdragon 888 or the Exynos 2100 SoCs. In addition, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is reportedly using an exclusive version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, which features higher frequencies for better performance.
In addition, the Galaxy S23 Ultra offers more storage as standard. The base model has 256 GB of storage, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra has 128 GB or more. On the other hand, you get 8GB of RAM with the Galaxy S23 Ultra instead of 12GB of RAM for the base model, but you can comfortably compensate with RAM Plus as the phone offers more storage.
Finally, if the rumors are true, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will ship with faster UFS 4.0 storage instead of UFS 3.1, which should make file transfers faster and improve performance for RAM Plus virtual memory.
Better cameras with a 200MP primary sensor
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is Samsung’s first smartphone with a 200 MP primary camera. The new ISOCELL HP2 offers many improvements, especially in low-light performance and autofocus.
The telephoto cameras are also better, although they offer the same zoom options. The AI processing has been improved and zoomed shots should look much better on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
A possible downgrade could be the 12MP selfie sensor, down from the S21 Ultra’s 40MP unit. However, the 12MP sensor appears to be brand new, which could mean it takes advantage of newer technologies to take better selfies with more accurate colours.
If you’re looking for a camera upgrade from the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the S23 Ultra certainly qualifies.
Faster battery charging (wired)
One of the most unusual choices Samsung made for the Galaxy S21 Ultra was to lower the charging speed to 25W. Fortunately, the Galaxy S23 Ultra has better specs. While both phones have 5,000mAh batteries, the Galaxy S23 Ultra offers 45W super fast charging.
However, Samsung has also made an unusual choice for the Galaxy S23 Ultra. While the 2023 model has faster wired charging than the 2021 flagship, it appears to have 10W wireless charging rather than the 15W wireless capability of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
So you win some, lose some. But if you’re looking for faster wired charging, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the way to go.
Newer software and support up to Android 17
While the Galaxy S21 Ultra was recently upgraded to Android 13 and One UI 5.0, Samsung ships the Galaxy S23 Ultra with the newer One UI 5.1 firmware.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra may eventually get One UI 5.1, but the 2023 model has a head start. More importantly, while both phones are eligible for Samsung’s enhanced four-year Android OS upgrade policy, support for the 2021 model will stop at Android 15. On the other hand, the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have Android by the end of this decade. 17 received. .
Reasons not to upgrade from the Galaxy S21 Ultra
The Galaxy S23 Ultra undoubtedly offers many upgrades over the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but what’s the downside? Are there any reasons why you should consider not upgrading to the 2023 model beyond the money you would have to spend?
As mentioned earlier, you may lose 5W of wireless charging speed, down to 10W, if you switch to the Galaxy S23 Ultra. If you care about wireless charging, this could be a problem.
You also lose 4GB of RAM for the base model, although you do get more (and possibly faster) storage. However, if you value more apps running in the background and don’t want to use RAM Plus, you may get a lesser experience on the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
On the software side, it’s true that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have longer support, but the Galaxy S21 Ultra is no slouch. It still has two major OS upgrades planned for the future, so it’s not like you’ll miss out on the next One UI releases if you decide to keep using the Galaxy S21 Ultra for a few more years.
And finally, a relatively smaller user base may want to know that the Galaxy S23 Ultra does not have an FM radio. This feature was already market dependent and only available for the Snapdragon powered Galaxy S21 Ultra (no FM for Exynos). But now the Galaxy S23 Ultra will probably support FM radio everywhere.
If you think the Galaxy S23 Ultra is a worthy upgrade, keep an eye out for Unpacked 2023. The event takes place on February 1, and the new flagship should be available for pre-order for about two weeks before shipping to early buyers. Until February 1, you can preorder the phone online and earn $50 in Samsung credit.
SamsungGalaxy S21 Ultra