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Semi-annual from Samsung Unpacked event was held in San Francisco on Wednesday and a collection of new phones and laptops made its debut. Samsung launched the refresh of its flagship Galaxy S phone line – the Galaxy S23, S23 Plus and S23 Ultra. The company also revealed its upgraded Galaxy Book Pro laptopsthe Book 3 Pro and Book 3 Pro 360, along with a new high-end sibling for the family, the Book 3 Ultra.
Along with the new products, Samsung, Google and Qualcomm announced a collaboration to develop a mixed reality platform. It was heavy on words, but light on details.
You can also check out our archived live blog of the event if you’re more into reading a play-by-play.
All the new phones have been upgraded to the latest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip “for Galaxy” – a modified version of the processor that the companies have theoretically optimized for faster performance, better ray-traced graphics, and faster AI processing.
The chip enables more improvements to the computational photography capabilities of the phones, such as improved low-light performance and more intelligent selfie processing. That front camera has also been normalized across the product line, a resolution increase over the 10 megapixels of the S22 and S22 Plus, but a drop from the S22 Ultras 40 megapixels. The improved speed also allows for 120 frames per second 1080p recording for slow motion, rather than 60fps, which should yield better results.
Samsung has also introduced synchronization between Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Samsung PCs with this generation.
With the design remaining relatively unchanged, the biggest (literally) update to the top-of-the-line S23 Ultra is the new 200 megapixel camera using the Isocell HP2 sensor — about double the resolution of its predecessor, the Galaxy S22Ultra. It’s possible 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 improvements. Most notably, it has larger pits in the pixels to absorb more light, improving photos and videos across the board.
Other improvements to the camera include better optical image stabilization and video gains when shooting at wider angles and 8K at 30fps (up from 24fps). Samsung’s own camera software also integrates better with the native camera app.
New colors galore: now it’s available in black, cream, green and lavender. Samsung also says it has increased its use of ocean-bound plastic and pre-consumer waste.
Pricing for the phone starts at $1,200 (£1,249, AU$1,949). It will ship on February 17; preorders have already started.
Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus
The exterior of the base model and larger step-up model are largely unchanged.
Both phones get a 200mAh battery boost, rising to 3,900mAh for the S23 and 4,700mAh for the S23 Plus. The Plus has a higher entry-level storage capacity, now 256 GB.
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 will 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 one Nvidia GeForce RTX 4050 or 4070 GPU and up to a 13th Gen Core i9 CPU to at least add the option to Samsung’s offerings.
Other features include a 16:10, 2,880×1,800-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 connecting its two Thunderbolt USB-C ports, microSD card slot, and headphone jack. It is a bit on the heavier side for its family at 16.5mm thick and weighing 1.8kg.
The Core i7 and RTX 4050 configuration starts at $2,400; the Core i9/RTX 4070 model costs $3,000. UK and Australian pricing was not immediately available.
Galaxy Book 3 Pro and Pro 360
The 16-inch, 16:10 displays and improved camera, audio and port configurations also come to the clamshell and two-in-one downline models. The Galaxy Book 3 Pro is 4mm thinner and about 8g lighter than the Ultra. It also comes in a 14-inch model that weighs 2.6 pounds (1.2 kilograms).
The 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 two-in-one comes with one of Samsung’s excellent S Pens, and it’s also the only model to come with optional wireless 5G.
The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra and Pro and Pro 360 laptops are available for pre-order now through Samsung’s website, and the Pro models are expected to ship on February 17.