Samsung Galaxy S23: I just can't

Android figures
(Image credit: Jerry Hildenbrand / Android Central)

It's that time of year again — the time when millions of Americans get their tax refund checks and Samsung has a new Galaxy S23 to spend them on. That's not a coincidence, I'm sure. Samsung will sell a bunch of them and most people who buy the all-new galaxy will be happy about it.

I'm not going to be one of them. Maybe you aren't either, and I'll bet it's for the same reason: what you already have is fine and there is nothing there that screams out "buy me."

Reviewers will write a slew of praise about the phones, especially the Ultra, but they'll be mostly the same words that were said about the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S21. I'm sure the phone is great, just like the models before it. I hate reviewing phones but this one would be especially hard.

S23 Ultra camera at Galaxy Unpacked Feb 2023

(Image credit: Samsung)

Finding things to differentiate it from the phone you bought last was hard for Samsung, too. We got to hear far too much about the Ultra camera but the same things were said about the S22. If the S22 was good enough to make movies do you need an S23 to make your Hollywood film? No, because you're never going to shoot a feature-length film on a phone unless someone pays you to promote their product and supplies you with millions of dollars in other equipment to make it possible.

Look at the photos the phone you have now takes. The photos you would take with a newer phone would look just about the same. Phone cameras exist more as a series of buzzwords to try and convince us of something instead of a useful feature or fun social tool. It's crazy and I wish phone makers would stop doing it.

Why (and when) you should upgrade

Galaxy Note 9

(Image credit: Android Central)

I'm not saying nobody should buy this phone. I'm just saying if you have a phone you bought last year you can probably spend the money elsewhere, like rent or groceries. Heck, you might even be able to buy a whole tank of gas instead.

I'm also not saying you shouldn't buy a Samsung phone because you probably should. I used to dislike the software, and I still dislike a few things, but that goes for everything out there. A perfect product has never been built. Samsung makes the best Android phones for almost everyone and supports them after you gave the company all the money. That's the type of product you should be buying if you ask me.

Plain and simple: if you're still using something like the Note 9 or Galaxy S10 you should bite the bullet and buy an S23 Ultra or the small S23. Ditto if you're using an older Pixel phone or to replace the dead LG phone you bought right before the company ditched you. Really, any older phone, even an iPhone.

One UI 5 review

(Image credit: Harish Jonnalagadda / Android Central)

The S23 will ship with Samsung's best software, be supported for the next three years, and you will get your money's worth. The next year I'll tell you not to buy the Galaxy S24. You could get something older unlocked from Amazon but sometimes it's worth spending just a bit more if you're buying new.

If you're cheap like me and looking at a refurb or used phone, the Galaxy S22 is inexpensive and for all intents and purposes as good as the new shiny thing. You do you.

Yeah, it's a great phone. But so were the phones before it according to the manufacturer's own words, phone reviewers, and most importantly the people who use one every day.

I just don't need one until my Pixel 6 either dies or Google stops caring about it, just like I didn't need a Pixel 7. You might be in the same boat as me — if so, enjoy all the things you can spend that $1,200 on that aren't a new S23 Ultra. Like baby food or the electric bill.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.