8 Reasons Not to Buy the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is finally here, and we couldn’t be more excited. Given the success of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, we’re eager to see how its successor improves on its best qualities.
However, before you press the buy button, note that the device does have some drawbacks that you should consider to make a more informed purchase decision. Here are the top eight reasons you shouldn’t buy the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
1. Price Hike Outside the US
The Galaxy S23 Ultra costs the same as its predecessor in the US, starting at $1199. However, the device is more expensive than last time in other regions—presumably due to inflation and an increase in the cost of manufacturing.
We think the reason Samsung hasn’t increased the price in the US is to avoid having buyers think that the device is overpriced against the iPhone 14 Pro Max which starts at $1099. After all, the US is Samsung’s primary market.
If you live elsewhere, you’ll have to pay more for the same product. Some regions don’t even get pre-order gifts such as free Galaxy Buds or Galaxy Watch which adds insult to injury.
In Samsung’s defense, the device comes with 256GB of base storage instead of 128GB, so it’s not technically a price hike since you’re getting more storage for the higher price. Still, not having the option to choose a cheaper model sucks.
Find out how much to spend on a smartphone if you need help deciding.
2. It’s Almost Identical in Design to the S22 Ultra
The Galaxy S23 Ultra looks almost identical to its predecessor which is both a good and a bad thing. It’s a good thing because the design is indeed beautiful, but it’s a bad thing because there’s nothing new or unique to appreciate about the newer model.
You could argue that iPhones all look the same too, so it’s not really a big deal. While that’s true, we can’t help but outline the fact that having the same design does hurt the device’s notability and brag factor, especially for people who care about that sort of stuff. Thankfully, the new color options do soften the blow a bit.
3. Battery Life Might Not Be the Best
When comparing Galaxy S and Galaxy A series, we found that the former doesn’t offer significantly better battery life despite costing a lot more. Part of the reason for that is the S Pen silo inside the S23 Ultra that takes up a considerable amount of room that could otherwise be used to fit a bigger battery.
If having more battery life is your main priority, consider the iPhone 14 Pro Max, Red Magic 8 Pro, or even a mid-range Galaxy A series phone, at least until we’ve got battery test results for the S23 Ultra.
4. The S Pen Is Not Necessary for Most People
Last year, Samsung decided to merge the Galaxy Note series and the Galaxy S series given the increasing similarities between the two. This made the Galaxy S22 Ultra the first Galaxy S phone with a built-in S Pen stylus.
Although the S Pen has some nifty features and is cool to have, it’s not necessary for most people. At its core, your phone is simply a portal to your favorite apps, and most apps aren’t designed to take advantage of a stylus.
Having a built-in stylus only makes sense for people who create artwork, sign documents, or take notes on their phones regularly. If that’s not you, consider buying the regular Galaxy S23 instead since it’s a lot cheaper.
5. It’s Big and Boxy
The Galaxy S22 Ultra was already uncomfortable to hold due to its big size and boxy design, and the S23 Ultra is no different. We use our phones every day, and over time, the inconvenience of having to hold and carry a phone this big becomes increasingly apparent.
Also, let’s not forget that most people put a case and screen protector on their phone which increases the thickness even more. If you have smaller hands, that’s another reason to consider getting the base Galaxy S23 or S23+ instead.
6. Some Flagship Features are Overhyped
Part of what you’re paying for when you buy an expensive flagship is the novelty of being able to use premium features. But a lot of these features are overhyped and don’t really improve your user experience in any meaningful way.
For instance, Samsung loves bragging about its 8K video recording capability, but it’s frankly unnecessary because most people can’t tell the difference between 4K video and 8K video.
Similarly, using the 200MP resolution not only takes up a lot more storage space but also greatly increases shutter lag, so you can’t capture moving objects easily. And don’t forget that social media and messaging apps compress your photos, so the other person won’t be able to appreciate your high-res shots anyway.
7. It Has Identical Charging Speeds to the S22 Ultra
While the battery life may see a slight improvement due to the new chip, the Galaxy S23 Ultra still supports the same charging speed of 45W. In a time when other Android manufacturers are offering 100W charging or higher, Samsung remains infuriatingly conservative.
You also don’t get a charger in the box just like last time. Bummer.
8. Samsung Phones Don’t Retain Value as Well as iPhones
The unfortunate consequence of buying a Samsung phone, mid-range or flagship, is that it will lose almost a third of its market value within a few months of you owning it. In comparison, iPhones retain their value really well and are therefore more economical if you’re planning to sell your phone after a few years.
To give Samsung some credit, the company does offer good value when you trade in your old Galaxy phone.
The S23 Ultra Is Great, but Not Perfect
Now that you have a clearer idea of the drawbacks of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, you can decide if the device still seems worth it. In any case, you will get a better deal if you live in the US and had already reserved the phone before launch and received a $50 in-store credit. If you can get a free pre-order offer such as extra storage or Galaxy Buds, that’s even better.
In our opinion, if you already own the S22 Ultra, you should probably skip the S23 Ultra. Granted, it has a better chip and an improved camera system, but the device is more of a refinement rather than a revolution. But if you own a much older model, the S23 Ultra should definitely be on your radar.