On February 1, Samsung will hold its first in-person smartphone launch since the Galaxy S20 way back in February 2020. The company is expected to announce its new flagship smartphone range, namely the Galaxy S23 series, at the event. But as usual, Samsung will almost certainly add some additional product announcements. Here’s a rundown of everything we expect at the event, which kicks off at 1pm ET / 10am PT / 6pm GMT on Wednesday.
Let’s start with some context, as past events often provide clues to what’s to come. Samsung held a very similar launch event last year in February 2022 when it announced the Galaxy S22 lineup consisting of the S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra. In addition, the company also launched new tablets, the Galaxy Tab S8, Tab S8 Plus and Tab S8 Ultra.
This year, rumors suggest that Samsung could shake things up a bit. It will apparently still be announcing a new lineup of smartphones, but instead of tablets it is expected to have new laptops. The sharp-sighted saw that Samsung’s reservation page A new “Galaxy Book” is specifically mentioned for the upcoming launch alongside the new smartphone, and rumors suggest that it will be a range of Galaxy Book 3 devices.
Here’s everything we think we know about what’s to come:
The Galaxy S23 series
This one is easy, and not just because Samsung has been announcing a new flagship smartphone range at the start of every year for a decade like clockwork. No, it’s also easy because Samsung’s upcoming smartphones have already more or less fully leaked, meaning we’ve got a pretty good idea of their looks and specs, even if we’re not quite sure yet how this will translate into real-world world performance.
Like last year, the line-up appears to be three-piece. There’s the standard Galaxy S23, the slightly larger S23 Plus and finally the high-end Galaxy S23 Ultra. Rumors suggest that the first two will have similar designs and specs, while the third will be visually more distinctive with at least one significant unique feature.
We’re talking, of course, about the S23 Ultra’s main camera, which has constant rumours to use a high-resolution 200-megapixel main sensor. That’s almost double the 108-megapixel sensor found in the Galaxy S22 Ultra last year. As my colleague Allison Johnson wrote last August, higher-resolution sensors like these matter because they mean phones can pack more pixels together to collect more light and produce brighter, more detailed shots. The exact sensor is expected to be Samsung’s ISOCELL HP2, which Samsung announced a few weeks ago.
In addition to this 200 megapixel sensor, a leaked specification sheet suggests the Galaxy S23 Ultra will have three additional cameras, a 12-megapixel ultrawide, a 10-megapixel telephoto with a 3x optical zoom and another 10-megapixel telephoto with a 10x optical zoom. It adds up to a significantly better camera system than both the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, whose own leaked spec sheets suggest both will have triple camera systems consisting of 50-megapixel main sensors, 12-megapixel ultrawides and 10-megapixel telephotos.
Leaked images suggest that it’s not just the camera systems that differentiate the S23 and S23 Plus from the S23 Ultra, but also their designs. The Galaxy S23 Ultra will have ostensibly squared corners and an accompanying S Pen stylus, reiterating its status as the spiritual successor to Samsung’s discontinued Galaxy Note phones. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus have much softer rounded corners, even though they ditch the camera bump that distinguished the S22 and S22 Plus from the S22 Ultra last year.
Next, screens. As the name suggests, the Galaxy S23 is the smallest of the three phones, sporting a 6.1-inch 1080p 120Hz OLED display. The S23 Plus is slightly larger at 6.6 inches, although the screen specifications are otherwise largely the same. Finally, the S23 Ultra still has a larger screen at 6.8 inches, and more importantly, it boosts the resolution to 1440p. It’s still OLED and still 120Hz.
Those same leaked spec sheets we mentioned earlier suggest that all three phones will be powered by Qualcomm’s flagship Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor in Europe, and historical precedent suggests we’ll see the same processor used in North America as well. What’s interesting is that there’s no sign of Samsung’s own Exynos processors in the Galaxy S23 range, which the company has traditionally used to power its phones in certain regions around the world, such as Europe and India. Qualcomm suggested so much in one income call last year when chief financial officer Akash Palkhiwala said Qualcomm’s processor share would increase from “75 percent in G S22” to “global share in G S23”.
The Galaxy S23 could ship worldwide with Snapdragon
The rest of the lineup’s specs appear to be broadly consistent with previous flagships from Samsung and the industry as a whole. We’re looking at between 8 and 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB to 1 TB of storage in the Ultra, while the other two models are said to only come with 8 GB of RAM and between 128 and 512 GB of storage. Battery capacity ranges from 3,900mAh to 5,000mAh for the three phones, with 45W fast charging on the Plus and Ultra and 25W on the base S23.
As for pricing, Verizon internal documents posted on Reddit suggest we’re looking at a starting price of $799.99 for the Galaxy S23, $999.99 for the Galaxy S23 Plus, and $1,199.99 for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is in line with last year’s models. European buyers may not be so lucky. In countries like Spain and Germany, leaked prices suggest that starting prices for certain models have increased by around €100.
Galaxy Book 3
If Samsung’s reservation page If anything, this year’s launch of the Galaxy S smartphone will be accompanied by a new line of Galaxy Book laptops. Rumors suggest we could see as many as five laptops announced, what MySlimPrice reports will be called the Galaxy Book 3, Book 3 360, Book 3 Pro, Book 3 Pro 360 and Book 3 Ultra. Last year, Samsung announced its laptops a little later in February at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
As you’d expect from its name, the Book 3 Ultra is said to be the most advanced model. According to leak Ishan Agarwal, it will have a 16-inch 1800p OLED display, an Intel i9-13900H CPU, an Nvidia RTX 4070 discrete GPU, 32GB of RAM, 1TB of storage, and will be compatible with Samsung’s S Pen stylus. The touchscreen could also be thinner and lighter than usual thanks to the touch sensors integrated directly into the panel.
The rest of the lineup is said to be split between 360 laptops, with screens that can rotate all the way around to be used tablet-style, and standard clamshell laptops. MySlimPrice reports that the Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 will also be available with a 16-inch 1800p OLED display, with a choice of an Intel i5-1340P or i7-1360 CPU, integrated Intel graphics, 16GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, and stylus support. The non-360 Galaxy Book 3 Pro will reportedly be available with a 14-inch display in addition to the 16-inch version.
Images of the Galaxy Book 3 Pro, 3 Pro 360 and 3 Ultra were leaked last year The Tech Outletwith the USB-C ports, headphone jacks and charging ports of the laptops.
There’s not much concrete information on what to expect from the non-Pro Galaxy Book 3 laptops. MySlimPrice reports that both come with only one screen size – 15 inches – but their exact specs are less clear. However, judging by the rest of the lineup, we’d expect both to feature 13th Gen Intel processors.
But probably not tablets, earbuds or smartwatches
It seems unlikely that Samsung will announce a new range of Android tablets, true wireless earbuds or smartwatches alongside this year’s Galaxy S23 smartphones. The best evidence we have, honestly, is that if an announcement were to come, it would probably have leaked by now.
Samsung announced a new lineup of Tab S8 tablets alongside the Galaxy S22 last year. But according to a report by South Korean outlet The Electric, the company has delayed the release of its upcoming tablets (presumably the Tab S9) from its original December 2022 release date due to reduced demand for consumer technology. According to the electricity, however, we should still expect a new generation of tablets to be released this year, meaning they may still launch alongside Samsung’s anticipated Galaxy Z Fold 5 and Z Flip 5 foldables during the company’s traditional summer launch. Just don’t hold your breath for a performance in February.
Expect more later this year
It’s a similar story with Samsung’s true wireless earbuds. The company currently has two or three ranges of earbuds, depending on whether you think it will ever release a follow-up to the (in my opinion, excellent) Galaxy Buds Live. The company last updated its Galaxy Buds Pro range in August last year with the Pro 2 and released the non-Pro Galaxy Buds 2 in August 2021. That suggests the latter will get an upgrade this year, but maybe not yet over a few months.
Finally, there are smartwatches, which last saw an update with the Galaxy Watch 5 series from last August. Samsung’s smartwatches have been on a 12-month release cadence for the past few years, meaning the most likely time we’ll see a Galaxy Watch 6 announced is August 2023.
Samsung’s Unpacked event will be streamed live on his YouTube channel on Wednesday, February 1 from 1pm ET / 10am PT / 6pm GMT.