Samsung takes mobile photography to 200 megapixels with Galaxy S23 Ultra
Samsung has held its first in-person Galaxy Unpacked event since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, launching new premium smartphones and a trio of 2-in-1 laptops – though the Galaxy S23 Ultra stole the limelight with its 200-MP camera.
The new premium smartphones shape up as the Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra – and it's the last one in that short list that we'll focus on here. That's mainly due to the wide camera module in the quad array around back, which is built around a 200-MP image sensor.
Though full resolution imagery is possible, much of the time the sensor will combine 16 pixels together for improved light capture at an image resolution of 12.5 megapixels (though binning four pixels will yield a 50-MP image). The main camera has a F1.7 aperture and 85-degree field of view. It's joined by a 12-MP F2.2 ultra-wide, a 10-MP F2.4 telephoto with 3x optical zoom and a 10-MP F2.4 telephoto with 10x optical zoom.
Users can look forward to 8K video recording at up to 30 frames per second, optical image stabilization for run-and-gun shooting, and 360-degree audio recording with the help of a pair of Galaxy Buds2 Pro earphones. Samsung even tapped award-winning movie director Ridley Scott to produce a short video titled Behold to show off the Ultra's camera chops.
An Expert RAW app offers users more control of key camera settings, including light sensitivity, aperture and white balance, and an Astrophoto mode puts heavenly imagery at your fingertips.
An algorithm-based multi-frame mode combines multiple images to reduce noise in low-light situations while enhancing object details and color tone, and an AI engine combines with a stereo depth map for improved portrait photography. Remote capture is also possible via a Camera Controller app running on the Galaxy Watch5.
Moving around to the front, there's a 12-MP Super HDR selfiecam with fast autofocus hole-punched in the 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. The screen boasts a 120-Hz refresh rate and 240-Hz touch sampling for responsive visuals, and is topped by durable Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2.
Samsung has partnered with Qualcomm for a Galaxy flavor of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 mobile platform for a processing boost of 34% compared to the S22 series handsets, plus a 41% faster GPU and more optimized neural processing.
There's support for real-time ray tracing for upcoming mobile gaming, with a larger vapor chamber helping to keep things cool when the action heats up. The Ultra can be had with up to 12 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage.
It runs Android 13 with Samsung's One UI 5.1, and comes with the promise of at least four OS upgrades and five years of security updates for extended use. The 5,000-mAh battery supports 45-W wired charging plus fast wireless charging. And the phone is supplied with a S Pen that can be stowed within the phone's body between uses.
The S23 features a 6.1-inch FHD+ display, a camera array comprising a 50-MP main, 12-MP ultra-wide and a 10-MP telephoto, there's a 3,900-mAh battery and it's available with up to 8 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage. The S23+ model bumps the display size to 6.6 inches and the battery to 4,700 mAh, but is otherwise pretty much the same as the standard S23.
The Galaxy S23 series handsets will be available from February 17. The Ultra has a starting price of US$1,199.99, the S23+ starts at $999.99 and the S23 at $799.99.
An Ultra edition also led the Unpacked charge for the new Galaxy Book3 series 2-in-1 laptops. It sports a timeless aluminum frame for a premium look and feel, and boasts 3K (2,880 x 1,800) visuals thanks to a 16-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a snappy 120-Hz refresh rate.
The Ultra comes with H-series Intel Core-i7 or Core-i9 processor options, and can be had with a Nvidia GeForce RTX 4070 Laptop GPU for "studio-grade graphics." System support is provided by up to 32 GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.
Connectivity shapes up as Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1, HDMI 2.1, Thunderbolt 4 and USB Type A. Immersive Dolby Atmos sound is available via an AKG quad speaker system comprising two 5-W woofers and two 2-W tweeters, and a 1080p webcam and dual microphones with AI noise cancellation are cooked in for those all-important video chats. A 76-Wh battery promises up to 17.5 hours of per-charge use.
Also on sale from February 17, the Book3 Ultra starts at $2,399.99, the Pro at $1,449.99 and the Pro 360 at $1,899.99.
Product pages: Galaxy S23 Ultra, S23/S23+, Galaxy Book3 series
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