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I’ve had the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for six months now, and while its camera system has been outstanding, there are reasons why I believe this phone may not be suitable for everyone. In this review, I’ll delve into the camera system, external design, performance, S Pen, display, and some downsides of the device.

Camera System

The standout feature of the S23 Ultra is undoubtedly its camera system. Boasting a 200-megapixel main wide camera, it excels in low-light photography and allows for high-resolution cropping. The 10x optical telephoto is a significant improvement, offering better shots and impressive video quality. However, it may struggle in close-up scenarios, as observed in capturing a gecko and a photo of a composer under stage lights.

Compared to other smartphones like the Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro, the S23 Ultra holds up well, especially with its 10x optical zoom. Samsung’s color processing has improved, providing natural skin tones, though personal preferences may favor Google’s color processing.

The HDR capabilities of the camera system shine, handling a broad spectrum of colors in scenarios like sunsets, offering a more natural look compared to competitors.

External Design

The phone’s external design is a strong point, with Samsung’s typically well-crafted hardware. The exclusive green color is attractive, and the flatter sides enhance the grip. However, the SIM card placement is a minor design flaw, with confusingly close holes for the SIM card ejection tool.

Performance and Battery Life

The performance of the S23 Ultra has been excellent, thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. It remains snappy, and the 5,000 milliamp-hour battery delivers impressive longevity, often ending the day with 40-45% battery remaining. The battery life hasn’t notably degraded over six months of use.

S Pen

The S Pen is a standout feature that alters the phone-holding experience, providing comfort and precision. While not a sole reason to purchase the phone, its note-taking abilities on the large screen and additional features, such as remote photo capture and magnification, add value.

Display

The 6.8-inch display offers vibrant colors, though slightly saturated. The adaptive refresh rate and high peak brightness make it suitable for outdoor use. However, the use of pulse-width modulation (PWM) in the display may cause discomfort for users sensitive to it, with a frequency of 240 Hz.

Downsides

Despite its strengths, the S23 Ultra has some drawbacks. Its bulkiness, likely due to accommodating the S Pen, makes it noticeably heavier than comparable phones. The presence of Bixby, Samsung’s virtual assistant, and preloaded third-party services contribute to a less-than-ideal user experience. One UI, Samsung’s version of Android, while fluid, may feel less slick than alternatives like Nothing OS.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is recommended for those seeking the best camera system and S Pen functionality. However, the bulkiness and less-than-ideal aspects of Bixby and One UI may deter some users. For those prioritizing a sleek design or a simpler Android experience, alternatives like the Pixel 7 Pro or Nothing Phone 2 may be more suitable and cost-effective.

Note: The review is based on the user’s experience and preferences. Individual needs and preferences may vary.