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Samsung’s biannual Unpacked event took place in San Francisco on Wednesday, and a collection of new phones and laptops debuted. Samsung has launched the refresh of its flagship Galaxy S line of phones – the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus and S23 Ultra. The company also unveiled its upgraded galaxy book pro laptopsthe Book 3 Pro and Book 3 Pro 360, plus a new high-end sibling for the family, the Book 3 Ultra.
Along with new products, Samsung, Google and Qualcomm announced a partnership to develop a mixed reality platform. It was heavy on words but light on detail, however.
You can also check out our archived live blog from the event if you feel like reading a play-by-play instead.
All new phones have been upgraded to the latest generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 “for Galaxy” chips – a custom version of the processor that the companies have theoretically optimized for faster performance, better ray-traced graphics and faster AI processing.
The chip enables further enhancements to the phones’ computational photography capabilities, such as improved low-light performance and smarter processing for selfies. That front camera has also been standardized across the product line, an increase in resolution from the 10-megapixels of the S22 and S22 Plus, but a drop from the S22 Ultra 40 megapixels. The improved speed also allows 120fps recording at 1080p for slow motion, rather than 60fps, which should produce better results.
Samsung also presented synchronization between Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Samsung PCs with this generation.
Galaxy S23 Ultra
Since the design remains relatively unchanged, the biggest update (literally) to the high-end S23 Ultra is the new 200 megapixel camera using the Isocell HP2 sensor – approximately twice the resolution of its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It can also pixel bin in blocks of four or 16 pixels for smaller images with better tonal quality or other lower resolutions for more manageable file sizes.
The new sensor is also responsible for the improvements. Most notably, it has larger wells in the pixels to be able to absorb more light, which can improve photos and videos across the board.
Other camera improvements include better optical image stabilization and video gains in wider angle shooting and 8K at 30fps (up from 24fps). Samsung’s camera software also integrates better with the native camera app.
New colors abound: it’s now available in black, cream, green and lavender. Samsung also claims to have increased the use of ocean-related plastics and pre-consumer waste.
Pricing for the phone starts at $1,200 (£1,249, AU$1,949). It ships February 17; pre-orders have already started.
Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus
The exteriors of the base model and the larger Evolution model are largely unchanged.
Both phones get a 200mAh battery boost, up to 3,900mAh for the S23 and 4,700mAh for the S23 Plus. The Plus has a higher entry storage capacity, now 256GB.
The Galaxy S23 starts at $800 (£849, AU$1,349), while the S23 Plus starts at $1,000 (£1,049, AU$1,649). You can pre-order them now and they should ship on February 17.
Galaxy Book 3 Ultra
Without discrete graphics or a high-end processor, Samsung’s Pro models of its laptops didn’t really feel “pro”. So now there’s the new Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, with either a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 or 4070 graphics card and up to a 13th Gen Core i9 processor to at least add the option to Samsung’s offerings.
Other specs include a 16:10, 2880 x 1800 pixel OLED display that supports a 120Hz refresh rate; a 1080p webcam; a four-speaker audio system; and more ports than the Galaxy Book 2 Pro, with a USB-A port and HDMI 2.0 output joining its two Thunderbolt USB-C ports, microSD card slot, and headphone jack. It is a little heavier for its family at 16.5mm thick and 4 pounds (1.8 kg).
The Core i7 and RTX 4050 configuration starts at $2,400; the Core i9/RTX 4070 model costs $3,000. UK and Australian prices were not immediately available.
Galaxy Book 3 Pro and Pro 360
16-inch, 16:10 screens and improved camera, audio and port configurations are also available on clamshell and two-in-one downstream models. The Galaxy Book 3 Pro is 4mm thinner and about 8 ounces lighter than the Ultra. It is also available in a 14-inch model that weighs 2.6 pounds (1.2 kilograms).
The 16-inch two-in-one Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 comes with one of Samsung’s excellent S Pens, and it’s also the only model to come with optional 5G wireless.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra and Pro and Pro 360 laptops are available for pre-order now on Samsung’s site and the Pro models are expected to start shipping on February 17.