Two flaws and two fixes you’ll definitely notice on the Galaxy S23 Ultra


As we anticipate Samsung’s official announcement of the Galaxy S23 series on February 1st, there’s loads of speculation regarding how these phones will differ to the Galaxy S22 series we have now. While some details will remain secret until Unpacked, there are many things we can be sure of already: leaked renders, photos of prototypes, and third-party cases already available on Amazon tell us a lot about the device’s physical characteristics. So while we’ll reserve full judgment for when the phone arrives, let’s talk about some of the annoyances I’ve got (you might have them, too) from Galaxies S past we’re sure the S23 series will fix and a couple we know it won’t.

ANDROIDPOLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY

Flaw: Speaker placement


Samsung owns AKG, so it leads me to believe it knows how to do speakers right. Indeed, the drivers in its flagship devices have been exceptional and the Galaxy S22 Ultra was no exception, apart from one issue — it’s on the wrong side. The Note 20 Ultra had the S pen and speaker on the right side (when looking from the front), and the S21 Ultra had its speaker there as well. The S22 Ultra, as seen above with its predecessor, flipped that around.

At first glance, this doesn’t seem like much of an issue, but if you frequently use your phone to watch videos, it quickly becomes an annoyance. When you full-screen a video, Android’s default behavior is to orient the picture in landscape button toward the hardware buttons at the top. This places the S22 Ultra’s speakers right into the fleshy part of your palm, where your thumb attaches to the hand, muffling the sound and blocking most of the volume.

As we can see from the photos above, it appears the S23 Ultra is retaining this layout, while the regular S23 and S23+ keep the speaker where it’s meant to be.

Of course, you can always flip the phone the other way up to negate this issue, but that’s an extra piece of hand acrobatics that wouldn’t be otherwise needed, especially when we’re talking about Ultra phones being as massive as they are.

Fixed: Snapdragon worldwide

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Chip


For years now, US models have benefited from the reliable, all-around performance that Qualcomm chips provide while those of us in the international markets have played “spin the wheel” with Exynos processors. They were fine at times as with the S21 Ultra, but at other times, they’ve been an awful experience by comparison, especially with the S20 and S22 series. Our UK S22 Ultra constantly overheats and has pathetic battery life compared to the US models. There’s no excuse for that when currency conversion and taxes make these phones far more expensive in international markets than in the US.

The Galaxy S23 series looks to bring the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 on world tour and, aside from the silly name, it will be a considerable upgrade. The 8+ Gen 1 enabled the Galaxy Z Fold 4 to have better battery life than the Exynos S22 Ultra despite a more power-hungry screen and a smaller battery. A Snapdragon 8 Gen 2-powered Galaxy S23 Ultra should be even better and provide millions of users with an improved impression of Samsung phones overall. Software updates should also be even quicker with one less hardware configuration to worry about.

Flaw: Stovetop cameras


The Galaxy S21 series had a unique camera bump that wrapped around into the frame of the device. This design offered more protection to the recessed lenses, a more recognizable design, and options for fun color combinations, especially with the two smaller phones. Sadly, the S22 Ultra removed the camera bump entirely in favor of individual lens housings and it was a downgrade in almost every way. Dust loves to collect between the lenses, making it impossible to keep clean without puffs of compressed air. The lenses now make contact with table tops when placed down, making them more prone to damage. Oh, and I just think they look bad. Very bad.

While the S22 and S22+ kept the camera bump, all of the renders and early images show that the S23 and S23+ have adopted the stovetop design from their bigger brother, and they’ll inherit the flaws along with it. You can’t even boil a kettle on one of these hobs.

Fixed: flatter sides on the Ultra


Samsung’s designers had their Galaxy Note inspiration knobs turned up to eleven with the boxy design and absurdly curved frame of the S22 Ultra. Because the sides of the device were one continuous curve, the buttons were incredibly thin, making them harder to find and extremely finicky to click. Thankfully, the S23 Ultra appears to have squared off the frame somewhat. The second photo above compares CAD renderings for the S22 Ultra and S23 Ultra — the sides of the latter are much flatter and illustrations of the device show thicker buttons to go with it.

Another possible advantage could be a reduced screen curve. We think that’s likely as it was a major complaint on the S22 Ultra, but unless we get a leaked image with the display switched on, we won’t know for sure if they’ve flattened the display until launch. Otherwise, a flatter display would’ve taken top billing as a fix for me.



The Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra will be unveiled at Galaxy Unpacked on February 1st, when we’ll see these devices revealed in all their glory. As we edge closer, we’ll likely see the torrent of leaks continue. Stay with Android Police as we keep you updated on the latest intelligence.

Leave a Comment

%d bloggers like this: