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Samsung goes large-very large

The new Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the highest-resolution camera lens of any handset yet released in South Africa, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK.

No, we didn’t hear wrong. When Samsung announced the number 200 for the main sensor on the camera array of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it sounded like an error, or a number related to the software.

Instead, it was the number of megapixels in the main camera lens, bringing it to the level of the highest-resolution smartphone cameras yet released globally, and the highest in South Africa.

First, it should be mentioned that Xiaomi, Motorola, and Infinix all released handsets with 200MP sensors last year. But the catch is this: all are using the 200MP ISOCELL HP1 sensor built by Samsung itself and unveiled more than a year ago. It is the first 200MP sensor on the market, and it is finally coming home.

On the S23 Ultra, it is a wide-angle lens with an aperture of f/1.7, 23mm and supports Laser Autofocus, PDAF (PDAF (phase detection auto focus, a high-speed autofocus tech), and optical image stabilization (OIS).

It is supported by LED flash and three additional lenses:

·      10 MP, f/4.9, 230mm (periscope telephoto), dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x optical zoom

·      10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom

·      12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), dual pixel PDAF

The cameras support 8K video at 24or 30 frames per second (FPS), 4K video at 30 or 60fps, 1080p or HD video at 30, 60 or 240fps, and 720p at 960fps for super slow-mo.

The front camera is a modest 12 MP wide angle lens with f/2.2 aperture and PDAF, shooting video in 4K at 30 or 60fps, and in 1080p HD at 30fps.

But who is going to print out building-sized images that take full advantage of that resolution? Or to put it another way, does 200MP matter?

Justin Hume, vice-president for mobile at Samsung South Africa, insists it does.

“There are a number of reasons for that. One is the quality of information that we want to get through our images, and these days we take a lot of human-related images.

“I was chatting to a colleague, and he said the fundamental problem that he’s got when people take an image of him is his beard, because it’s scraggly, and that blurs out to an unresolved, undefined mass. Suddenly, you’re bringing up a resolution like 200MP on a camera, and it’s in sharp contrast and resolution. It allows us to get a better quality of image.

“Second, you can be more creative in what type of images we take. Often I’m having to pull out the phone quickly to take the snap and then I’m zooming in and cropping, the images are blown out.”

The reality is that, in many images, we want to select only a portion of a photo to print out, reuse, post or send. The higher the resolution overall, the higher the quality of a small portion of the image. Cropping to a quarter or eighth of an image would usually result in a blurred pic or one with poor resolution. The more the MP, the better the quality of a small portion of the image.

The display of the S23 Ultra comes in at 6.8-inches, using Dynamic AMOLED 2X, a screen refresh rate of 120Hz, and 1750 units peak brightness. A 1440 x 3088 pixels resolution results in a competitive 501 PPI (pixel per inch) density.

What does all this mean in practice? We’ll let you know as soon as we’ve had a chance to try out the handset.

Samsung yesterday (1 February) unveiled the Galaxy S23 Ultra, S23 and S23+ globally. It will go on sale from 23 February 2023.

* Arthur Goldstuck is founder of World Wide Worx and editor-in-chief of Follow him on Twitter on @art2gee

Samsung provided the following information on the new S23 series:

A Camera with the Most Megapixels and Extensive Creative Controls, From Day to Night

In a Samsung Galaxy-first, Galaxy S23 Ultra boasts a massively upgraded Adaptive Pixel 200MP sensor that captures epic moments with incredible precision. It uses pixel binning to support multiple levels of high-resolution processing at once. And because selfie cameras are more important than ever to how we communicate today, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+ and Galaxy S23 introduce fast autofocus and the first Galaxy Super HDR selfie camera, jumping from 30 frames per second (fps) to 60fps, for noticeably sharper front-facing images and videos.

For users who want the ultimate creative control and versatility, the Galaxy S series offers a suite of tools that differentiate any photography experience. The Expert RAW app, available exclusively on Galaxy, enables DSLR-style image shooting and editing in RAW and JPEG — no bulky camera equipment is required. Within the app, experiment with Multi-Exposure photo art or capture a clear view of the Milky Way with Astrophoto settings. Meanwhile, the new zoom capabilities on Galaxy Watch5 series’ Camera Controller app empower users to capture a perfectly framed shot right from their wrist.

Additional camera advancements include:

  • Low-light, close-up, or in situations that would normally create a blur, images are sharp with doubled optical image stabiliser (OIS) angles in all directions, from 1.5 to 3 degrees.
  • Photo and video reflect a stunning level of detail with Galaxy’s second-generation Adaptive Pixel sensor and Samsung’s updated pixel binning technology for Galaxy S23 Ultra — now with 200MP, 50MP, and 12MP output options.
  • Videos feel more cinematic with enhanced 8K video at 30fps with a wider angle.
  • Advanced, object-based AI analyses each detail in the frame, even down to minute facial features such as hair and eyes, to carefully reflect a person’s dynamic characteristics.
  • For an even more enhanced video experience, the new 360 Audio Recording feature on Galaxy Buds2 Pro creates multi-dimensional sound.

On Galaxy S23+ and Galaxy S23, the iconic Galaxy camera also gets an upgraded look. The contour housing has been removed, marking a new era of essential Galaxy design that makes the entire series stand out.

Premium Performance Makes Way for the Future of Mobile Gaming

For creators and gamers alike, the desire to push limits and constantly reimagine what’s possible requires technology that outpaces expectations. Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 Mobile Platform for Galaxy, enables unprecedented performance while Galaxy’s most efficient 5,000mAh battery to date, lasts more than 20 percent longer than its predecessor. Mobile gaming, especially, gets a big boost with enhanced mobile graphics and sustained gaming graphics. Galaxy S23 Ultra’s graphics processing unit (GPU) is faster by more than 40 percent than the S22 and its neutral processing unit (NPU) is also optimised by more than 40 percent to balance performance and power for photography, videography, low-latency gaming and more. In anticipation of the future of ultimate digital realism, Galaxy S23 Ultra comes ready to support real-time ray tracing as it comes to the mobile gaming mainstream. Users will be able to see noticeably more lifelike renderings of scenes, thanks to technology that simulates and tracks every ray of light. Plus, Galaxy’s Vapour Cooling Chamber, now bigger and on every Galaxy S23 series model, ensures immersing in a gaming marathon won’t slow down your experience.

All this power underpins Ultra’s expansive 6.8-inch edge display with a reduced curvature to create a larger and flatter surface area for the best and brightest visual experience on a Samsung Galaxy smartphone. Samsung Galaxy’s unique Enhanced comfort feature allows users to adjust colour tones and contrast levels, lessening eye strain from screen time at night. Vision Booster now adjusts at four levels of lighting[vi] instead of two to combat brightness and glare in daylight.

Sustainability Advances the Essence of Samsung Galaxy

The Galaxy S23 series raises the bar for premium technology designed with the planet in mind. It is made using even more recycled materials than the Galaxy S22 series, including pre-consumer recycled aluminium and recycled glass, and post-consumer recycled plastics sourced from discarded fishing nets, water barrels and polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles.

The new S series is the first to market Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2, adding heightened durability for long-term use and designed with an average of 22 percent pre-consumer recycled content. Plus, every Galaxy S23 smartphone comes in redesigned packaging made with 100% recycled paper.

With the Galaxy S23 series, Galaxy is doing more to minimise its impact on the environment without compromising quality and aesthetic. Galaxy S23 series is UL ECOLOGO certified, meaning that the product has been certified for reduced environmental impact.

For users who want to extend the life of their device, Galaxy S23 series’ premium experience can be sustained through the years with four generations of OS upgrades and five years of security updates[ix]. To ensure the longevity, users can also leverage a variety of programs such as Samsung Care+, a support service for accidental damages, repairs and more.

User-Friendly Security and Privacy Enable an Open, Personalised Experience

Secure and private experiences are the foundation of the Galaxy S23 series. Every smartphone comes with Samsung’s end-to-end Samsung Knox protection. The Security and Privacy Dashboard on Galaxy gives users full visibility over who has access to their data and how it’s being used. With just a glance, it’s easy to see if personal data is at risk and receive simple prompts to change settings for a more secure experience. Users can also decide exactly which applications and programs get access to their data and how it can be used.

For an added layer of security, Knox Vault, which was first introduced on the Galaxy S22 series, protects critical information on the S series by isolating it from the rest of the device, including the OS, for added protection against vulnerabilities.

More Freedom and Flexibility for Connected Lifestyles

At the core of Galaxy S series’ premium experience is the uncompromising innovation of Ultra. But the power and creative capabilities of Samsung Galaxy Ultra don’t stop at smartphones. With the brand new, first-ever Galaxy Book3 Ultra, and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, users can now have a connected, cutting-edge Ultra ecosystem.

Across every Galaxy S series model, though, connected experiences get added benefits. Multi control, which connects mouse and keyboard functionality between a Galaxy PC and Tablet, now extends to Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+ and Galaxy S23 for the ultimate flexibility between devices. Plus, enhanced text usability makes it easy to copy and paste text, like URLs, from one device to another to pick up an activity on a new device. On Galaxy S23 Ultra, Google Meet paired with Samsung Notes and the embedded S Pen now make video calls even more collaborative. With Live Share, all participants can now simultaneously co-edit a document from each of their devices, rather than viewing a shared screen.


The Galaxy S23 series comes in four nature-inspired matte hues: Phantom Black, Cream, Green and Lavender.

Starting on 24 February 2023, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy S23+ and Galaxy S23 will be available countrywide in carriers and retailers online and Unlocked by Samsung versions on

Pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S23 series and get an upgraded memory size of 512GB HMV (High-Memory Variant) plus a Galaxy Tab S6 Lite Wi-Fi (SM-P613) when you purchase the 256GB. The offer starts on 2 February to 6 March 2023. 

The R10 000 trade-in offer allows customers to save a fair portion of the cost provided the device they want to trade in is up to standard. This offer includes the discounted Samsung Care Plus offer once-off fee of R499 across Galaxy S23 Ultra, S23+ & S23. Applicable from 2 Feb to 30 April 2023.

The recommended retail price for Galaxy S23 Ultra is R31 999, Galaxy S23 Plus is R23 999 and Galaxy S23 is R21 999.

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