Deciding whether or not it is time to improve your cellphone is not any straightforward job. That’s very true if you happen to’re eyeballing a cellphone as costly because the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which begins at $1,200 with out a low cost.

The reply largely relies on which cellphone you personal, the age and situation of it and your price range. There’s no single strategy that applies to everybody, however taking these elements into consideration may also help you with the choice. If your cellphone is simply too outdated to obtain new Android platform upgrades, that is additionally a very good signal that it is best to contemplate upgrading. (But earlier than you do, see if it can save you some cash via a trade-in deal.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung S22 Ultra

It’s price holding onto your Galaxy S22 Ultra for some time longer earlier than upgrading.

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With the Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung improved the areas that its Ultra telephones are identified for: digicam high quality and efficiency. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is Samsung’s first cellphone able to taking pictures photographs at a 200-megapixel decision. The complete Galaxy S23 lineup additionally runs on a brand new processor that is been particularly optimized for Samsung’s Galaxy units. 

However, in my testing, Samsung’s behind-the-scenes enhancements to the best way the digicam captures shade and dynamic vary felt extra impactful than the upper decision. The base degree Galaxy S23 Ultra additionally has twice as a lot storage in contrast with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which may very well be useful for storing all these photographs.

That mentioned, it is price holding onto your Galaxy S22 Ultra for some time longer earlier than upgrading. Though the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s enhancements are appreciated, they’re going to be far more noticeable when upgrading from a cellphone that is a number of years outdated. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra nonetheless have lots in widespread. Both telephones have a big 6.8-inch display screen, an included S Pen stylus, higher low mild pictures in contrast with earlier generations, a multi-lens digicam system that may zoom as much as 100x digitally, and a 5,000 mAh battery. You’ll get the identical general expertise on each telephones, however with refinements to digicam high quality and processing energy on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. 

Samsung additionally gives newer telephones with 4 generations of Android updates and 5 years of safety updates, which means the Galaxy S22 Ultra will really feel related for the subsequent few years. 

The backside line: If you’ve the Galaxy S22 Ultra, do not improve simply but. There’s nonetheless loads of life left in that cellphone. 

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra

S21 Ultra vs. Note 20 Ultra

Hold onto your S21 Ultra so long as doable to justify the cash you spent on it within the first place. 

Lexy Savvides/CNET

The Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra share many similarities, with the most important variations being the S22 Ultra’s included S Pen, newer processor and improved low mild pictures efficiency. Because of this, the identical recommendation holds true: If your Galaxy S21 Ultra is in fine condition, do not improve but. 

Photography is probably going an enormous precedence if you happen to’re within the Ultra lineup. The Galaxy S23 Ultra brings a couple of enhancements on this regard, comparable to the brand new 200-megapixel sensor, higher dynamic vary and improved low mild efficiency. 

But these adjustments aren’t important sufficient to justify springing for a brand new gadget simply but, except you’ll be able to principally get it without cost via a trade-in deal. Even then, I’d encourage you to carry onto your S21 Ultra for so long as doable to justify the cash you spent on it within the first place. 

The Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 200-megapixel digicam is simply really noticeable whenever you zoom in on the pixel degree, or if you happen to intend to print giant copies of your photographs. And if you happen to actually need the S Pen, you’ll be able to at all times purchase it individually as an alternative of upgrading your complete cellphone.

Since Samsung helps 4 generations of Android software program updates on the Galaxy S21 lineup, you may additionally proceed to get new variations of Android via Android 15. 

The backside line: If your Galaxy S21 Ultra is in fine condition, maintain onto it for a short time longer. You’ll nonetheless get a essential digicam sensor with the next decision than most telephones, in addition to the power to zoom as much as 100x digitally. You’ll miss a few of Samsung’s newer enhancements to low mild pictures and dynamic vary, however the Galaxy S21 Ultra nonetheless has a really succesful digicam. 

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra on a pink and blue background

Upgrade from the Galaxy S20 Ultra? It relies upon.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

The Galaxy S20 Ultra falls into that grey space the place it may very well be price upgrading, however it relies on the situation of your gadget. If you bought the Galaxy S20 Ultra at launch, your cellphone is now greater than 3 years outdated. That means efficiency and battery life could be beginning to degrade. 

Upgrades to the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s cameras, battery life and energy are possible noticeable to justify an improve, however you are additionally high quality to hold onto your Galaxy S20 Ultra for an additional yr if you happen to’re proud of it. Just keep in mind that the Galaxy S20 Ultra is simply eligible for 3 generations of Android platform updates, which means it is reaching the top of its run because it launched with Android 10. (That mentioned, the cellphone nonetheless receives month-to-month safety updates). 

Both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and S23 Ultra have devoted lenses for taking pictures large, ultrawide and zoomed-in photographs. But there are some notable variations in the case of the specs of these cameras. As beforehand talked about, the Galaxy S23 Ultra can shoot photographs at as much as a 200-megapixel decision, whereas the Galaxy S20 Ultra shoots as much as a 108-megapixel decision — just like the Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra. 

But there are some adjustments in the case of the telephoto lenses, too. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has two 10-megapixel telephoto cameras in contrast with the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 48-megapixel telephoto lens. Since having two zoom lenses means the S23 Ultra does not must crop as a lot to attain a zoom, it is best to see crisper outcomes when zooming at 3x and 10x. 

Samsung has additionally improved optical picture stabilization over time, which means the S23 Ultra must be higher at taking regular photographs whereas zooming. Back in 2020, some customers additionally reported points with the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s autofocusing, although Samsung later launched a software program repair. Still, it is secure to say you’ll be able to anticipate a digicam improve if you happen to change to the S23 Ultra. 

Otherwise, you may be getting many routine upgrades with the S23 Ultra, comparable to a sooner new processor, a refreshed design that extra intently resembles the Galaxy Note and the included S Pen stylus. Newer Samsung telephones just like the S23 Ultra even have extremely wideband help, which ought to make it simpler to share recordsdata with different Samsung telephones and use your cellphone as a digital automotive key. 

But it is price remembering that you’re going to be giving up the S20 Ultra’s micro SD card slot if you happen to improve, which means you’ll be able to’t add extra storage. You’ll additionally lose the power to make use of Samsung Pay on older fee terminals that do not help tapping to pay.

The backside line: If you’ve a Galaxy S20 Ultra, the adjustments within the Galaxy S23 are noticeable sufficient to justify an improve. But the Galaxy S20 Ultra can be latest sufficient to make it price holding onto for now if you happen to’re nonetheless proud of it. 

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. Galaxy S10 5G

Samsung's Galaxy S10 5G on a striped background

Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G is now about 4 years outdated.

Angela Lang/CNET

The Galaxy S10 5G was Samsung’s top-of-the-line cellphone from 2019, which means it is now roughly 4 years outdated. And in these 4 years, Samsung has made many enhancements that actually justify an improve. Given the Galaxy S10 5G’s age, it additionally now not receives Android platform updates since Samsung assured solely three generations of updates. 

As is typical for Samsung’s high-end telephones, one of many largest advantages you may get from upgrading is cameras. In addition to the most important beneficial properties in decision, low mild efficiency, stabilization and dynamic vary, you may additionally get a a lot nearer zoom on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The Galaxy S10 5G helps solely a 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, which is a far cry from the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 10x optical zoom and 100x digital zoom.

Camera apart, you may get a considerably newer processor that ought to end in sooner efficiency and higher energy effectivity, an even bigger battery, the S Pen and a barely bigger display screen. All instructed, there’s lots to be gained from upgrading — nearly all the pieces will really feel new.

The backside line: Yes, it is best to improve  you probably have a Galaxy S10 5G. Everything from the software program to the cameras and efficiency will get an enormous enhance. 

Overall, it is price upgrading to the Galaxy S23 Ultra you probably have a Samsung cellphone that is a minimum of 3 years outdated. Take a have a look at the desk beneath to get a more in-depth have a look at how the Galaxy S23 Ultra compares with its predecessors. 

Galaxy S23 specs. vs. older Samsung telephones

Galaxy S23 Ultra Galaxy S22 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra Galaxy S20 Ultra Galaxy S10 5G
Display dimension, decision 6.8-inch AMOLED; 3,088×1,440 pixels; 120Hz adaptive refresh charge 6.8″ AMOLED; 1,440×3,088 pixels 6.8″ AMOLED; 3,200×1,440 pixels 6.9″ AMOLED; 3,200×1,440 pixels 6.7″ AMOLED; 3,040×1,440 pixels
Pixel density 500 pixels per inch 500 pixels per inch 515 pixels per inch 511 pixels per inch 505 pixels per inch
Dimensions (millimeters) 78×163.3×8.9mm 77.9×163.3×8.9mm 75.6×165.1×8.9mm 76×166.9×8.8mm 162.6×77.1×7.94mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 8.25 oz; 234 g 8.07 oz; 229 g 8.07 oz; 229 g 7.76 oz; 220 g 6.98 oz; 198 g
Mobile software program (shipped at launch) Android 13 Android 12 Android 11 Android 10 Android 9
Camera 200-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 10-megapixel (telephoto) 10-megapixel (telephoto) 108-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 10-megapixel (3x telephoto) 10-megapixel (10x telephoto) 108-megapixel (large), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 10-megapixel (3x telephoto), 10-megapixel (10x telephoto) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), time-of-flight digicam 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 16-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (telephoto), 3D depth (HQVGA)
Front-facing digicam 12-megapixel 40-megapixel 40-megapixel 40-megapixel 10-megapixel, 3D depth (HQVGA)
Video seize 8K 8K, 4K 8K, 4K 8K, 4K 4K
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM/storage 8GB + 256GB; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 512GB; 12GB + 1TB 8GB + 128GB ; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB+512GB; 12GB+ 1TB 16GB + 512GB; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 128GB 12GB + 128GB; 12GB + 256GB; 16GB + 512GB 8GB + 256GB; 8GB + 512GB
Expandable storage None None None Up to 1TB None
Battery 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,500 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-display In-display In-display In-display In-display
Headphone jack None No No No Yes
Special options 5G (mmw/Sub6), IP68 ranking, wi-fi PowerShare to cost different units, built-in S Pen, 100x Space Zoom, 10x Optical Zoom, UWB for locating different units 5G (mmw/Sub6), bundled S Pen, IP68 ranking, 120Hz show, UWB, Wireless Power Share, 100x Space Zoom (digital), 10x optical zoom, 45W charging help (offered individually) 5G (mmw/Sub6), S Pen help (not included), IP68 ranking, 120Hz show, UWB, Wireless Power Share, 100x Space Zoom (digital), 10x optical zoom 5G (mmw/Sub6); 120Hz refresh charge; 100X zoom (digital); Wireless PowerShare; IP68 ranking 5G (mmw/Sub6); Wireless PowerShare; 3D depth cameras (not for face unlock); IP68 ranking

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