How to Preorder Samsung’s Galaxy S23—and Which Model to Buy

Samsung has three new flagship smartphones to mark 2023—the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra. They’re available for preorder right now and officially go on sale starting February 17. But should you upgrade? If you need a new phone, which Galaxy S23 model is best for you? We break down what’s different between each model, what’s new, and which one is right for you. We’ve also featured a few of the best Galaxy S23 promotions from Samsung and mobile carriers so you can get the most out of your purchase.

Be sure to check out our Best Android Phones and Best Cheap Phones guides for more recommendations. If you’re snagging last year’s Galaxy S22 instead for cheap, well, we’ve got accessory recommendations as well.

The New Tech in All 3 Phones

The Galaxy S23 series have a similar design philosophy throughout all three , though the Ultra stands out for its squared edges. They all have the same bright AMOLED screens, feature 120-Hz screen refresh rates, and have the basics like wireless charging, robust 5G and Wi-Fi 6E support, in-display fingerprint sensors, and IP68 water resistance. They’re made of aluminum, and the glass protecting the screen and the rear is Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2. You can get them all in Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender, and you’ll find Lime, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red color options if you buy them directly at

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These phones are powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip with 8 GB of RAM—not just in the US, but globally. The “for Galaxy” moniker indicates that the chips have a slightly higher clock speed than the base Snapdragon chips, so they’re a bit faster, and there are additional optimizations to make them more efficient. The lineup also features a redesigned cooling chamber that’s two times larger, which should keep the phone cooler when gaming for extended sessions. Camera-wise, all three models share the same 12-megapixel ultrawide, a similar 3X optical telephoto camera, and a new 12-megapixel selfie cam.

All three S23 phones will receive five years of security updates and four Android OS upgrades (they launch with Android 13), which is the best software policy you’ll find with Android phones. That’s just about where the similarities end. Here’s how they’re all different.

Samsung Galaxy S23 ($800)

Samsung Galaxy S23

The Galaxy S23 is the smallest of the lineup with its 6.1-inch screen, so if you’re after a phone you can comfortably use in one hand, this one’s the way to go. It’s also the cheapest, though by no means is it “cheap.” It’s the only S23 model that starts with 128 GB of internal storage—the other two now start at 256 GB—but Samsung has upped the battery capacity by 200 mAh over the Galaxy S22 to 3,900 mAh. This phone is the only one in the group that’s limited to 25-watt charging speeds, so it’s not as fast at recharging when you plug it in. (Remember, there’s no more charging adapter in the box, so you’ll have to supply one yourself.) The big change is the primary camera, which uses a new 50-megapixel sensor for improved dynamic color range.

Samsung Galaxy S23+ ($1,000)

Samsung Galaxy S23
The S23+ is the awkward middle child that’s not as feature-filled as the Ultra, but not as distinctive from the standard S23 to warrant a $200 bump in price. Still, this phone is larger at 6.6 inches and has a bigger 4,700-mAh battery capacity than its predecessor. The internal storage starts at 256 GB, which is important since Samsung stopped including microSD card slots in its high-end phones in 2021. Since the S23+ has the same exact camera setup as the S23, the only main difference is charging speed—it supports 45-watt charging (charger not included) so it will juice up a little faster than the S23. In our prior experience, the charging speed isn’t drastically different, so this really shouldn’t factor into your decision. Get it if you want more battery or a slightly bigger screen.

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Like the S23+, it features 45-watt charging and the base model comes with 256 GB of internal storage, but the big change here is the primary 200-megapixel camera. It’s the highest megapixel count we’ve ever seen on a Samsung phone, and it should mean higher-resolution photos, more details, and potentially brighter low-light images.

Should you upgrade? If you have the Galaxy S22 or S21 series, there’s no reason to upgrade. The phones are quite similar, so unless you’re having issues with your phone and you can’t get it fixed, save your cash and wait another year or two. Anyone with an older Samsung phone should feel welcome to upgrade, just know that these are not your only options. You can wait a few weeks to grab a Galaxy S22 at a killer price (ideally for around $600) or go for a cheaper phone. Samsung phones also routinely go on sale, so it might be worth waiting for the next big holiday event to see how low prices drop.

Where to Buy the Galaxy S23 Series Unlocked

Samsung Galaxy S23 phones arranged on a wooden desk

We recommend unlocked smartphones over buying a phone directly from a wireless carrier. Why? Carriers sell locked phones, meaning if you suddenly want to switch from AT&T to Verizon, you’ll have to jump through hoops to unlock the device and access it on the new network (there are also certain restrictions on how long you’ll need to be on a plan before you can unlock a device). You can easily use unlocked phones in other countries without having to pay exorbitant prices for international data, and unlocked phones are less likely to include bloatware apps. They’ll also receive software updates faster.

Make sure you take advantage of the preorder bonus. For a few years now, Samsung has been offering a special bonus that gets you a higher storage version of the phone when you preorder the device. That means you can get the 256-GB version of the Galaxy S23 for the same price as the 128-GB model, or the 512-GB S23 Ultra for the same price as the 256 GB. If storage space is important to you, it’s worth trying to snag it. It’s available at most carriers and retailers, and we’ve indicated as such below. Here’s where to buy the Galaxy S23 range unlocked.

Get the Galaxy S23 Range From (Unlocked)

Samsung is offering a free storage upgrade for the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra when you buy directly from the company’s website, and you’re also able to choose from more online-exclusive colors in case the Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender don’t strike your fancy. Anyone who preorders will also get an additional $100 in Samsung store credit, meaning you can spend that on to kit out your phone.

Amazon is offering the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra for the same prices as Samsung, and you can choose the 256-GB model for the S23 and the 512-GB model for the S23+ and S23 Ultra without paying anything extra.

  • Best Buy has the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy S23 Ultra for the same prices and is also offering a free storage upgrade. The retailer is also throwing in up to a $100 Best Buy gift card as a cherry on top.

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Wireless Carrier Deals for the Galaxy S23 Series

These models will likely come to the wireless carriers locked, so it will be a hassle to use them on other networks. Purchasing on a payment plan can also quickly add up to much higher recurring expenses.

  • Verizon: If you switch to Verizon or upgrade your existing device, you can get up to $800 off any Galaxy S23 device with a qualifying trade-in device on a 5G unlimited plan (including the S23+ and S23 Ultra). Amazingly, Verizon is throwing in a free Galaxy Watch5 smartwatch and Galaxy Tab S7 FE 5G tablet for free with your purchase too. Anyone who switches to Verizon will also receive a $200 Verizon eCard to use at the carrier. Verizon is offering the free memory storage upgrade, and it also has various discounts on , like 20 percent off S23 cases and screen protectors as well as 30 percent off Samsung cases when bought online.
  • AT&T: New and existing customers can get up to $1,000 off on the Galaxy S23, S23+, and S23 Ultra with an eligible trade-in. (AT&T’s footnotes say that this applies to “well-qualified customers only” and the device needs to be a Galaxy Note, Galaxy S or Z series, or a Google Pixel. It also requires an installment plan and an eligible unlimited plan. The savings come in the form of monthly bill credits.) AT&T is also offering the free memory storage upgrade.
  • T-Mobile: T-Mobile is offering up to $1,000 off the Galaxy S23+ for new and existing customers when you trade in an eligible device on the Magenta Max plan. You can also get up to $800 off the Galaxy S23 when you add a line on Magenta Max, though you’ll see the savings in bill credits over 24 months. If you don’t have that plan, you can trade in an eligible device on almost any plan to get up to $500 off instead. T-Mobile is offering a free storage upgrade when you preorder any of the new .

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