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Samsung Unpacked Recap: Galaxy S23, Galaxy Book 3 Ultra and More

Samsung's February Unpacked event was filled with their new phones and computers.

Lori Grunin Senior Editor / Advice
I've been reviewing hardware and software, devising testing methodology and handed out buying advice for what seems like forever; I'm currently absorbed by computers and gaming hardware, but previously spent many years concentrating on cameras. I've also volunteered with a cat rescue for over 15 years doing adoptions, designing marketing materials, managing volunteers and, of course, photographing cats.
Expertise Photography | PCs and laptops | Gaming and gaming accessories
Lori Grunin
4 min read

A collection of new phones and laptops made their debut at Samsung's semiannual Unpacked event in San Francisco last week. Samsung 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 laptops, the 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 partnership to develop a mixed-reality platform. It was heavy on words but light on details, however. 

You can also check out our archived live blog from the event if you feel more like reading a play-by-play.

Watch this: Samsung's Galaxy S23 Lineup Is Here With Big Camera Upgrades

Galaxy phones

All the new phones have been upgraded to the latest generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip "for Galaxy" -- a custom version of the processor that the companies have theoretically optimized for faster performance, better graphics with ray tracing and faster AI processing.

The chip enables more enhancements to the phones' computational photography capabilities, such as improved low-light performance and more intelligent processing for selfies. That front camera has been normalized across the product line as well, a resolution increase from the S22 and S22 Plus' 10 megapixels but a drop from the S22 Ultra's 40 megapixels. Improved speed also allows for 120 frames-per-second recording of 1080p for slow motion, up from 60fps, which should produce better results.

Samsung has also introduced syncing between Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Samsung PCs with this generation.


Samsung's all-new Galaxy S23 flagship lineup is now available to preorder, with devices shipping on Feb. 17. You can save on the latest devices with several Galaxy S23 preorder deals already available at Samsung, Best Buy, all the major phone carriers and more.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

Galaxy S23 Ultra

Since the design remains 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 -- roughly double the resolution of its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It can also pixel-bin in four- or 16-pixel blocks for smaller images with better tonal quality or other, lower resolutions for easier-to-handle file sizes. 

The new sensor is also responsible for improvements. Most notably, it has larger wells in the pixels to be able to absorb more light, which can make photos and video better across the board.

Other camera improvements include better optical image stabilization, and video gains wider-angle shooting and 8K at 30fps (up from 24fps). Samsung's own camera software integrates better with the native camera app as well.

See Samsung's Galaxy S23 Lineup

See all photos

New colors abound: Now it's available in black, cream, green and lavender. Samsung also says it has increased the use of ocean-bound plastics and preconsumer waste, too.

Pricing for the phone begins at $1,200 (£1,249, AU$1,949). It's shipping Feb. 17; preorders have already begun.

Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus

The outsides of the base model and larger step-up model are largely unchanged. 

Both phones get a 200-mAh boost for the battery, upping to 3,900 mAh for the S23 and 4,700 mAh 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 begins at $1,000 (£1,049, AU$1,649). You can preorder them now, and they're slated to ship on Feb. 17.

Top down view of the keyboard of the Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra laptop sitting on a white table.

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 an 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, 2,880x1,800-pixel OLED display that supports 120Hz refresh rate; a 1080p webcam; a quad-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's a bit on the heftier side for its family at 16.5 mm thick and 4 pounds (1.8kg).

Watch this: Samsung's Galaxy Book 3 Ultra Fixes Two Things I Didn't Like About Last Year's Galaxy Books

The Core i7 and RTX 4050 configuration starts at $2,400; the Core i9/RTX 4070 model is going for $3,000. UK and Australian prices weren't immediately available.

Galaxy Book 3 Pro and Pro 360

The 16-inch, 16:10 screens and upgraded camera, audio and port configurations also come to the clamshell and two-in-one down-line models. The Galaxy Book 3 Pro is 4mm thinner and about 8 ounces 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 5G wireless. 

The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra and Pro and Pro 360 laptops are available to preorder now through Samsung's site and the Pro models are expected to start shipping on Feb. 17.