What I wish I knew before buying the Galaxy S23 Ultra

The back of the green Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

If there's one thing you should know about me, it's that I'm probably one of the most indecisive people you could ever meet. Well, at least when it comes to the tech that I use on a regular basis. 

I carry at least two phones with me every time I leave the house, and my home office setup is comprised using three different systems. Depending on my mood at any given time, I'm using my custom-built Windows desktop, a docked MacBook Pro, and a Chromebook

But even after hearing Samsung talk about its new cameras for half of the Galaxy S23 launch event, I came away feeling rather, meh. Reading all of the subsequent reviews didn't really move the needle much, but considering that I write about tech for a living, I still felt the need to pick up the Galaxy S23 Ultra

It reignited my infatuation with Android

Battery and Weather widgets on Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Andrew Myrick / Android Central)

Since the iPhone 14 Pro Max was released, that has been the phone that houses my primary SIM. Much of that can be attributed to the woes associated with getting an eSIM moved to a different device. And in fact, it's where my SIM card still resides. 

But now that I've had the Galaxy S23 Ultra for a few weeks, my iPhone usage has dropped dramatically. If I need to respond to an email or want to search for something, I'm now reaching for my Galaxy S23 Ultra instead.

One night, I even did something that I haven't done in who knows how long. I went through the Play Store and started just downloading a bunch of new Android apps that I haven't tried or even seen before. It's something that I used to do at least once a week, but there was just a desire to see what apps are out there. 

This has expanded into the world of FOSS or open-source apps thanks to F-Droid and the never-ending list of neat apps on GitHub. Unlike my iPhone, I don't have to wait for a Testflight release to become available, and can just download the APK straight to my phone. And with the help of F-Droid, this provides a Play Store-like interface for me to peruse when I want. 

The camera is great, when it works

Taking a photo with the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Going back to the Galaxy Unpacked event, it really did blow my mind that Samsung spent so much time talking about the cameras. I really thought the Galaxy S23 Ultra was going to be the first phone that allowed me to ditch my trusty Canon 70D. Even the iPhone with its upgraded camera system and ProRAW format still hasn't produced images that I enjoy looking at.

So with a 200MP camera, paired with Samsung's Expert RAW app, and improvements via One UI 5.1, it looked like a match made in heaven. In a lot of instances and scenarios, it is. You have all of the granular controls you could want, and using RAW allows for better editing results. 

But if you move in the slightest, or are trying to take a picture of your nephew who can't stop running around for five seconds, good luck. And Samsung's "fix" for the crappy shutter lag, doesn't do anything or make the experience better. 

I love the fact that I have a smartphone that can take a beautiful picture of the night sky, and zoom in on the moon using some kind of magic. I hate the fact that I can't take a good picture using the same phone if there's anything that's moving. 

As I mentioned recently on the Android Central Podcast, I'm messing around with a GCam mod, and will hopefully be able to report back on if it's a viable alternative. I just need the weather and life to cooperate a bit. 

Give me the Galaxy Z Fold 5 already

A Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 with wallpaper from the Backdrops app

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Something else that completely blew me away with the Galaxy S23 Ultra is whatever black-magic Qualcomm and Samsung have done with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy. Unnecessarily-long name aside, the S23 Ultra has continued to impress on the battery front. 

I'm not using this every waking moment of the day, that's where the home office comes in, but am using it for everything that I was using my iPhone for. And instead of charging the S23 Ultra every night as I do with my 14 Pro Max, I'm just throwing it on my nightstand and charging it the next day when it gets below 15%. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a pretty good indication of why you should be excited for the Galaxy Z Fold 5.

I say this to say that if the battery life on the Galaxy S23 Ultra is this good, it's making me even more excited for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. I don't care about an S Pen that's housed in the chassis, anymore at least. I also could go either way about a wider Cover Screen. 

As someone who absolutely loves and adores foldable phones, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 could be my "end-game" device. It seems as though Samsung is slowly getting back to a place where it introduces features or new hardware for the Galaxy S phones, then making them available in the Galaxy Z lineup. 

Barring anything catastrophic happening between now and the expected launch at the end of the summer, I'm more excited about what the next Galaxy Z Fold will have in store. 

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks, tablets, and wearables

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.