Every Winter, we look forward to the release of a new mainline Galaxy S series from Samsung. Thanks to Samsung's simpler, modern naming scheme for the series, we know that the Next Big Thing will be called the Galaxy S23, and it'll likely be announced sometime after the New Year in 2023.
Until then, though, there are plenty of things we can think of that we'd love to see on the best Samsung phones (opens in new tab) in 2023, including changes, additions, and even subtractions. We've already seen plenty of rumors swirling around Samsung's next big phones, and even some potential leaks that point us in the direction Samsung will be taking its flagship phones in 2023.
This year might have already brought us great releases like the Note-worthy Galaxy S22 Ultra (opens in new tab) and the ever-productive Galaxy Z Fold 4 (opens in new tab), but Samsung's 2023 phones look like they could bring even more bang for our collective bucks. What will we see? What could we see? Here's our wishlist for the Galaxy S23.
A real Fan Edition
The Samsung Galaxy S20 FE (opens in new tab) was a product of a strange year in tech that was both affected by higher retail prices and a fast-growing pandemic that shut workers out of their jobs. The big $300 price gap made the product make sense. Having nearly the same specs as the same mainline Galaxy S20 phone only helped matters further.
But the Galaxy S21 FE (opens in new tab) was also a product of the pandemic, and not in the positive way that the Galaxy S20 FE was. It was delayed, often thought canceled, and eventually debuted at nearly the exact same time as the Galaxy S22, nearly 18 months after the S20 FE came out.
To make matters worse, it was only $100 less than the Galaxy S22 — despite using 2021's processor, cameras, and horrible haptic motors — and phones like the Google Pixel 6 were $100 less than it.
So far, we haven't seen hide nor hair of a Galaxy S22 FE, and Samsung should keep it that way. Instead, Samsung should be focusing on making the Galaxy S and Galaxy A series phones the best in their respective classes. There's really just no room for a Galaxy S FE series if Samsung isn't willing to significantly slash the price.
Bigger battery in the baby
Small phones don't see a lot of love on Android these days, and while Samsung's smallest Galaxy S22 packs a lot of value in a relatively small package, the battery life can leave a lot to be desired. Sure, keeping the phone small means Samsung has to sacrifice some battery capacity, but we've got one suggestion for Samsung here: thin phones are not worth the trade-off.
For a long time, phone manufacturers were obsessed with making phones as thin as possible. While this looks cool when you take it out of the box, the truth is that most people stick their phones in a case and hide those svelte looks. Furthermore, polls show (opens in new tab) that people would rather have better battery life on their phones than anything else these days.
Over the past two or three years, we've seen an uptick in the number of phones that use protruding camera lenses — or a camera "island" that keeps the raised portions of the phone more level — but I have a suggestion for Samsung. Instead of making the rest of the phone thinner than the camera hump — which puts the phone off-balance and makes it wobbly, anyway — how about keeping the phone a uniform thickness and make the battery bigger?
There haven't been too many rumors around battery size changes or a major design change that would rid us of protruding camera humps, but it feels like such an obvious choice when people continue to request better battery life.
Earlier this year, I waxed poetic about the possibility of Samsung bringing the Exynos processor to all its phones (opens in new tab). After all, Samsung had just completed a multi-year redesign with none other than AMD, the kings of performance-per-watt on the X86 side of things. They even touted ray-tracing as a major feature of the new Exynos 2200 line, getting our hopes up for one beast of a processor.
Turns out, not even AMD could save Exynos from itself. Over the years, the International Exynos-powered models of Samsung phones were often the worst model to buy, while comparable Qualcomm-powered models often performed better, ran cooler, and had better battery life.
This year, it's time for Exynos to go the way of the Dodo. You've tried again and again, Samsung, and I think it's about high time you gave up the ghost.
Thankfully, rumors and leaks are saying that Samsung is looking to ditch Exynos for the entire Galaxy S23 series, instead providing customers with either a Qualcomm chipset — most likely the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 — or a MediaTek chipset for regions or models where it makes more sense.
Better yet, next year's Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will be manufactured on the same 4nm process (opens in new tab) from TSMC as the excellent Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, and is said to be focusing on battery efficiency as the core tenet of the chipset. Considering how fast and cool the Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 runs — not to mention that it delivers hours of additional use with the same size battery — it's great to see Samsung opting to pick the very best for its next flagships.
Improved motion capture
Every year, we hear about one camera improvement or another. Whether it's better low-light photography and video, the ability to zoom up to 100x away, or silky smooth stabilization to keep even the wildest of events clean and easy to see, there's always something to improve on a smartphone's tiny camera.
But what about capturing motion itself? Last year, Google launched a new smart algorithm on its Pixel 6 line called Face Unblur (opens in new tab), which uses the AI smarts built into the Tensor processor to identify faces of people and pets and keep them as sharp and clear as possible, even when the people or pets attached to those lovable faces won't hold still.
In fact, this particular trait has been Samsung's weakest link for as long as I've been reviewing Android smartphones (that's well over a decade, now). It's only with the Galaxy Z Flip 4 and Z Fold 4 cameras (opens in new tab) where I've seen any improvement in this area. Just ask anyone with a Samsung phone — and either has kids or pets — how often they take a photo and it ends up a blurry mess, and you'll know this is a problem Samsung really needs to get right with the Galaxy S23.
Given the AI smarts that Qualcomm has packed into its latest chips — not to mention the inevitable increase in processing power that'll come with the chips that power the Galaxy S23 — there's no reason we shouldn't see something similar to Google's Face Unblur feature appear on Samsung's next flagship phones.
Even better zoom
Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra shipped with a 108MP main sensor, but rumor has it that Samsung is going to outdo itself by shipping the Galaxy S23 with a 200MP camera sensor (opens in new tab). 200MP might sound a little ridiculous on the surface, but there are several reasons for a company like Samsung to continue to push these kinds of numbers.
First up, many of these camera sensors are physically bigger than their predecessors. While that creates a larger camera hump — if Samsung doesn't follow our previous advice on phone size — it also makes for more natural-looking photos. Typically, larger camera sensors create a higher-quality depth of field, also known as bokeh, which delivers a better picture in the end, regardless of the number of pixels on board.
Depending on which of the two new 200MP Samsung camera sensors (opens in new tab) are used, each pixel will occupy either 0.64μm or 0.56μm of physical space on the sensor. That's a paltry size when compared to even the tiny 1.0μm pixels on the 50MP sensor in the regular Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, but Samsung can utilize a secret weapon to make those pixels substantially bigger.
This 200MP sensor is able to "bin" up to 16 adjacent pixels into one physical pixel, making them a whopping 2.56μm in size. Larger pixels are a huge boon for low-light photography, in particular, as they are physically able to bring more light into the sensor and create brighter images. During the day, this often results in images with wider dynamic range.
But a 200MP sensor isn't just good for regular old photos. It's also great for further enhancing Samsung's highly-respected Space Zoom feature.
Since its debut on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Space Zoom (opens in new tab) has gotten better and better thanks to a combination of improved hardware and software. While the Galaxy S23 Ultra is reportedly sticking with the 10MP sensor behind its 10x optical zoom lens, a more pixel-dense 200MP main sensor would help it deliver even more detailed photos at maximum zoom levels.
That's because Samsung uses an incredibly smart algorithm that combines image data from both the telephoto sensors and the main sensor. When one of those sensors doubles in resolution, you should absolutely expect the Galaxy S23 Ultra, in particular, to deliver even better zoom than we saw with the S22 Ultra.
More comfortable Ultra
Look, the Galaxy S22 Ultra might be the best mainline flagship phone Samsung has ever made — including all those Galaxy Note features that fans have loved for years — but Samsung's increasingly boxy design for the Note series was never a comfortable trend. Given the S22 Ultra looks almost identical to the Note 20 Ultra, it's no surprise that the phone wasn't the most comfortable to use without a case wrapped around it.
While Samsung rounds the left and right edges of the S22 Ultra, I'd like to see some more rounding of the corners on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. When I'm holding the S22 Ultra in my palm and just trying to scroll through Twitter or one-hand swipe type a message, those hard, sharp corners dig right into my palm and get very irritating, very quickly.
Phones like the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and even the giant Galaxy Z Fold 4 feature rounded corners that are far, far more comfortable to hold. I know you've got to put an S Pen somewhere, Samsung, but making those corners sharp 90-degree angles just isn't the nicest way to go about it.
While we're at it, please ditch the waterfall display for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung. While waterfall displays were cute for a while and looked nice, the design has gotten very long in the tooth. It's not great for protecting the display with a screen protector since the glass itself is curved and, worse yet, it's impossible to write all the way to the edge with the S Pen because of those curves.
In summation: Flat display, curvy corners. Thanks, Samsung.
Better fingerprint sensor placement
Samsung's in-display fingerprint scanners have long been some of the best in the business, but there's still no getting around the odd and sometimes uncomfortable placement. A front-mounted, bottom-aligned fingerprint scanner was bad when the iPhone did it and it's still bad these days, no matter what technology is used to do the actual "scanning" of fingerprints.
Over 42% of our readers (opens in new tab) said they liked rear-mounted fingerprint sensors far better than any other style or position, and another 10% said they would prefer side-mounted fingerprint sensors as found in the Galaxy Z Flip and Fold series, instead. Only 27% of respondents said they liked in-display fingerprint sensors, and the staff at Android Central largely agrees with these positions.
Personally, I prefer the side-mounted fingerprint sensor in the power button. It makes it easy to wake the device up and unlock it in one motion, and it's located where you're already holding the phone, anyway. Not only that but side and rear-mounted fingerprint sensors are nearly always faster and more accurate than in-display sensors. While it looks cool to have them in the display, it's largely a less desirable design.
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