Galaxy S23 Ultra Durability Test – Close Your Eyes…

Today on my desk, we have a brand new, top-of-the-line Galaxy S23 Ultra, Samsung’s current best offering to the masses. No time to waste, let’s get started.

This latest and greatest smartphone comes tucked inside a 100% recycled paper box. Super cool of Samsung to cut out the plastic packaging. Samsung is quick to point out all of their new environmentally friendly initiatives on their website, like using natural dyes in their Earth Tone smartphone lineup. The one in front of us is an Eco Green color – not too shabby. Natural color dyes that are completely down to earth sound epically awesome at first glance. I’m as big of a tree hugger as the next guy, but when we scroll down a bit on the website and see the fine print, only 10% of this down-to-earth dye is natural. According to my math, that leaves about 90% of the dye being unnatural, which is a rather weird thing to brag about. The word for this kind of thing is called greenwashing, and Samsung does it again right here on their website, saying that the phone has recycled glass on the screen and recycled rear glass panels without any asterisks or caveats. 

We know that glass can be 100% recyclable, so Samsung using totally recycled glass isn’t out of the question. But if we look into the Corning Gorilla Glass recipe, Victus 2 is only using 22% pre-consumer recycled content – not even post-consumer. And of course, we still see scratches at a level 6 with deeper grooves at a level 7.

Any amount of recycling is good recycling, but as the largest manufacturer of smartphones on the planet, Samsung shouldn’t be patting themselves on the back for doing the bare minimum for the planet. At the top of the screen, protected under the glass, we find the 12-megapixel hole punch selfie camera. Just for kicks and giggles, we’ll snap a quick selfie and compare it to a selfie from my personal three-and-a-half-year-old Note 10 Plus. Feel free to take a look, admire for a second, and be honest with yourself – you’re not even sure which picture came from which phone. Samsung has had three and a half years to give me a reason to upgrade, and I haven’t seen it yet.

The sides of the phone are covered with a thin layer of plastic. Not my favorite, but cardboard can be abrasive to a pristine finish, so I can see why Samsung would want to be careful. The sides of the S23 Ultra are made from armor aluminum. You can see the 90% unnatural dye scrape off, leaving bare metal behind. The side buttons are made of metal and can still be removed. The top of the phone has a microphone hole and an antenna line. Not much happening on the metal left side of the phone. The bottom, however, is where everything’s happening. We have our loudspeaker grille, the USB-C charging port that can charge at 45 watts, and a SIM card tray right next to the microphone hole. The SIM card tray has a great rubber ring to help with the S23 Ultra’s IP68 water resistance. And of course, our good friend the S Pen – probably my favorite part of the Ultra lineup. The S Pen is useful for a lot of things. The tip can be detected by the screen using a coil of copper wires. The S Pen can also act as a remote control for the camera using the button, a Bluetooth chip, and an internal capacitor at the back end that can wirelessly charge up in seconds. We’ll check out the internal wireless S Pen charging during the teardown video.

The phone itself has its own separate wireless charging capabilities underneath the back glass panel – 15 watts of wireless charging under the glass with 4.5 watts of reverse wireless charging. The whole thing is covered with glass, just like we’ve seen for the past eight years. The only real difference between this S23 Ultra and last year’s S22 Ultra is the camera setup – well, actually just one of the cameras. We have the normal 12-megapixel ultrawide camera up top, but this guy here in the middle is a whopping 200 megapixels and legitimately does some cool stuff like take pictures of the Moon and has twice the normal optical image stabilization, which will be awesome to take a look at during the teardown. We have a 10-megapixel 10x telephoto zoom camera and another 10-megapixel 3x zoom over on the side. I’m not gonna lie, that 200-megapixel camera is pretty cool, but not twelve hundred dollars cool.

Flipping around to the screen side of things, we once again have a 6.8-inch 1440p Dynamic AMOLED with a variable refresh rate to help prolong battery life. If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the same exact screen Samsung used last year. You might be asking, “Hey Jerry, what happened to all the smartphone innovations we used to see from Samsung?” Well, you might have noticed that Samsung is spending a lot of money making it seem like everyone is buying new tech every single year – billions of dollars, in fact. But the truth is, even with all those billions spent, a refreshing ninety percent of people still do not upgrade every year. Even polling among super nerds, more than 60 percent of you wait more than three years to upgrade your phone, which I think is awesome. As my mom would say, “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.”

Even though Samsung is spending billions to make you think upgrading yearly is normal or that buying a phone with 10% natural dye is environmentally friendly, if Samsung really wanted people to upgrade, my suggestion would be to take some of those tens of billions of dollars worth of marketing and plop it back into the innovation budget and let the phones sell themselves with features – kind of like Tesla does with cars. Got a little carried away there. The screen actually handled the heat pretty well – all 60 seconds of it. I hope Samsung handles the heat. And just to add a little insult to injury, let me know down in the comments if you got a Samsung advertisement on this video. I mean, as far as durability goes, Samsung has never had any issues – besides the model that exploded, everything else has been pretty great. And this S23 Ultra is no exception. Bending from the front, we get no flex. Flipping over the Ultra to the back, it’s rigid as a rock.

For anyone who does buy this model, whether it’s this year for full price or next year for half price, the S23 Ultra is indeed still structurally sound, even though the marketing team is pulling far more weight than the innovation team. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t want to be manipulated by billions of dollars worth of advertising and only wants to be manipulated by regular dollars worth of advertising, I’d love to introduce you to dbrand. The only reason my phone has lasted three and a half years is because I have a case on it – the Grip Case from dbrand, to be specific. And you might have surmised from this video that I’m not that nice to phones, even my own phone. But my personal dbrand Grip Case has held up extremely well over the years. The buttons are still clicky even after all this time, and my teardown skin, which allows me to see the insides from the outside, is also still very much intact – mostly. Three and a half years is a long time. dbrand stocks the Grip Case for over 50 different models of phones, so they have you covered – quite literally. The best protection, though, is that just for three pennies a day, this case has protected me from having to buy a brand new twelve hundred dollar phone that isn’t all that exciting. You can grab your own dbrand Grip Case down in the video description, because from the looks of things, it might be a while before Samsung starts innovating again.

Hit that subscribe button if you haven’t already. This video is tearing Samsung apart. The next video is taking Samsung apart – very different. Thanks a ton for watching. I’ll see you around.

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