As already mentioned, the Galaxy S23+ is pretty iterative inside and out compared to the S22+. The only thing that sets the two designs apart is the absence of a camera island on the S23+. Instead, each of the three snappers protrudes from the back o the phone - each on their own. This shared design brings the S23 and S23+ closer to the S22 Ultra and S23 Ultra.
Other than that, the S23+ still has a familiar silhouette with nicely rounded corners and no sharp lines. Its overall look still has that distinct "Samsung" aesthetic going. We can't quite put our finger on what exactly makes it look this way, but its nothing short of a testament to the excellent design work the Korean giant is doing.
Around the front side, the S23+ sports a familiar flat display, just like its predecessor. One that is ever so slightly larger this generation but imperceivably so to the naked eye. Its diagonal still measures 6.6 inches, and the 19.5:9 aspect ratio is preserved as well.
The same goes for the punch-hole camera, which is here to stay. Samsung did swap in a bigger 12MP sensor in this generation but decided to play it safe and not go with anything extravagant like an under-display camera. After all, those still come with major compromises to camera quality, and the primary objective of the Galaxy S family has always been to appeal to as many people as possible, which means playing it safe.
The Galaxy S23+ has a tall bar to clear when it comes to durability. On paper, the phone sounds quite impressive. Both its back and front are made from Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which is the next iteration after last year's Gorilla Glass Victus+. Corning claims that its latest generation of glass improves drop performance on rougher surfaces like concrete while preserving the scratch resistance of Gorilla Glass Victus.
Not only is this material tough, but it is also made from an average of 22% pre-consumer recycled materials. In fact, Samsung boasts that the S23 family has more recycled materials in their construction than ever before.
The S23+ still employs a familiar "sandwich" build with the two glass panels fastened to a rigid middle frame. That frame is still made of a proprietary metal blend Samsung calls "Armor Aluminum". In practice, it is very sturdy and has little to no flex.
In fact, that is true for the S23+ as a whole. It feels very well made with practically no flex to the chassis.
Of course, we can't forget to praise the S23+ for having an IP68 ingress protection rating, which promises the phone will withstand up to 1.5 meters of fresh water for up to 30 minutes. This is another extra we have grown accustomed to expecting from Samsung's Galaxy S family, but one that still deserves mention.
There is nothing particularly new or different about the controls on the S23+ and their layout. Starting from the basics, you get a volume rocker and power button on the right-hand side. These are well-positioned in terms of height, and the buttons themselves feel great - clicky and responsive.
There is nothing on the left frame except for two antenna lines. That's one less than last year's S22+ model, so there might be some internal differences in antenna design and placement this year.
The top is mostly empty as well. There is just a single hole for the secondary noise-canceling microphone here.
The bottom of the S23+ is a bit busier. The Type-C USB port has USB HOST support and can charge at up to 45W using Samsung's standard PD+PPS charging. Next to that - are the main microphone and the dual nanoSIM card tray. There is no expandable storage on the Galaxy S23 family, which is unfortunate. There is a bottom-firing speaker on this side of the S23+ too. It is part of a hybrid stereo setup with the earpiece.
Speaking of the earpiece, it is well hidden and practically invisible, with just a small slit, barely noticeable above the display on the front side. Despite its diminutive size, it still gets quite loud.
The selfie camera punch hole is quite small in typical Samsung flagship fashion. There are at least a couple of sensors hidden away near it as well under the display - notably a light and proximity sensor. These are invisible even when shining a light directly at the area, but that is hardly a surprise since Samsung has pretty much perfected under-display sensors.
The S23+ uses an under-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader - another long-standing staple on Samsung flagships.
These sensors have been getting bigger and better from generation to generation. The one inside the S23+ is about as good as ultrasonic tech currently gets. Still, these ultrasonic units can sometimes be a bit wonkier than modern capacitive readers. During our testing, the reader on the S23+ was very accurate and reasonably quick. Only long-term testing can tell if this behavior holds up, though.
The Galaxy S23 family marks a pivotal change in Samsung's chip strategy. There is no Samsung Exynos chipset variant in this generation. Instead, every unit, including the European ones, gets the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy mobile platform. As its name suggests, it has been specifically customized by Qualcomm for Samsung. Skip on over to the performance section for more info on that end.
Regarding network connectivity, the S23+ supports dual SIM and dual Standby SA/NSA/Sub6 5G. There is also integrated eSIM support, but you can't have three-way simultaneous standby. A single-SIM version of the S23+ exists in some markets as well, but it is not the norm. mmWave is a whole other variant with different internal antennas. Expect to only see it at supported carriers.
In terms of local connectivity, the S23+ gets Bluetooth 5.3 with LE support, NFC and triple-band Wi-Fi 6e. For positioning, there is a dual-band (L1+L5) GPS receivers and A-GPS, GLONASS, BDS, GALILEO support. The S23+ has Ultra Wide Band (UWB) support just like the Ultra, which is missing from the vanilla S23.
You also get a full set of sensors on the S23+, including an accelerometer (lsm6dso), gyro (lsm6dso), proximity (Samsung V2), light (STK33915), compass (AK09918), magnetometer (AK09918) and barometer (lps22hh). In terms of missing things, in case you were wondering, the S23+ lacks ANT support and Samsung's MST. Neither is a new omission, though. There is no notification LED nor a 3.5mm audio jack either - hardly a surprise.
The Type-C USB port on the S22+ is advertised as supporting a USB 3.2 data connection. Unfortunately, with the current state of the USB specification, this means little in terms of actual max speed. We tried testing the speed with an external thunderbolt drive and a PC with a Thunderbolt 3 port and a certified cable and got around 5 GBps. Make of that what you will. On a more positive note, you can get both video and audio output over the Type-C port with Samsung's excellent DeX interface as an optional extra.