My Experience with the Samsung Galaxy S23: A Worthy Daily Driver (Almost a Year Later)

Alan Diggs
5 min readDec 5, 2023


I was daily driving the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra for a couple of months when it launched in February this year. While I was incredibly impressed by many aspects of the phone, it was a very mixed bag overall. Now that it’s almost a year later from launch, I decided to pick up my trusty S23 and give it another go to see if it’s a worthy daily driver, especially after the One UI 6 update.

Design that holds up:

First off, the design of the S23 is still fantastic. I love the green color option — it’s not overly vibrant, but it has a classy depth to it. Samsung’s decision to expose the camera bumps was a great call, and while it’s unfortunate that they’ve chosen to share this design with their lower-tier devices, it doesn’t detract from the beauty of the S23 itself.

One UI 6: A major improvement:

One UI 6 is a massive improvement over what was on the S23 at launch. The redesigned quick panel is so much more user-friendly, with larger top-locked controls for WiFi and Bluetooth that actually function as a menu when you tap them. And the improved space for custom tiles in the middle section makes it so much easier to personalize your quick settings experience.

Of course, there are still a few quirks, like the “Device control” button inexplicably switching sides when you expand the full quick panel. But overall, One UI 6 is a major win for the S23.

Camera: Great, but not perfect:

No surprise here, the S23’s camera takes great photos most of the time. You can easily capture important moments without having to think too much about settings.

For those who do want to fiddle with it though, Pro controls in the camera are not restricted to just the S23 Ultra… but are present on the S23 and S23+ as well. This is absolutely fantastic and cannot be said for phones like the Pixel 8 Pro, and similarly some features on iPhone are restricted purely by software to the Pro models despite the standard hardware being capable of making use of them. — Adding onto this, the Pro mode in the Samsung camera does offer an extensive level of control over everything from the basics like white balance and ISO to even the option to adjust color science itself such as contrast, shadows, saturation, etc. all before you even take the shot.

There are other great features, too. While configuring all of your settings in the camera is a disorganized experience without a proper global control, it’s nice to see that there’s an option to switch to high efficiency format for both photo and video. The same can’t be said about Pixel, which captures images only as JPEG, wasting unnecessary amounts of space and costing users more in the long run. The ability to scan documents with the camera is also now independent of the scene optimizer toggle, which means users that prefer photos without scene optimizer’s creative impositions can disable that without sacrificing their ability to scan things in.

But there are a couple areas where Samsung could learn from the competition:

  • Live photos: These are disabled by default on the S23, and for good reason. They’re kind of janky, only showing a very short and choppy snippet of the motion before cutting to the still image. It’s a huge bummer for someone who loves live photos like me.
  • Video: It’s good, but it can’t compete with the iPhone’s video prowess. Enabling HDR often results in blocky artifacts, and you have to jump through hoops to get high-resolution, high bitrate HDR video that you can actually rely on.

Classic Samsung-isms:

There’s always a bit more setup and configuration required with a Samsung phone, and the S23 is no exception. I had to plug it into my Mac and manually remove a bunch of pre-installed third-party apps (like Facebook, a few different Microsoft apps, and McAfee!) that I didn’t want. This is something I’ve always found frustrating about Samsung phones, and it contributes to the narrative that they’re bloated.

But once you get past that initial hurdle, there’s a lot to love about Samsung’s software. The Gallery app groups similar photos together for a cleaner view, and Quick Share lets you share links or QR codes of content with people who don’t have Samsung devices (though Android’s native Nearby Share is a more universal solution and generally better for everyone, it still lacks link sharing). And let’s not forget about Bixby text call, which can screen calls and transcribe the caller’s words for you — a lifesaver for those of us who are tired of spam calls!

Small but mighty:

The size of the S23 is one of its biggest selling points for me. It’s not tiny, but it’s much more comfortable to handle than most phones on the market, especially compared to the behemoth that is the S23 Ultra. And despite its small stature, it packs a punch. The flagship processor ensures smooth performance, and the battery life is excellent. Plus, Samsung’s Deep Sleep feature effectively puts attention-grabbing apps to sleep, preventing them from draining your battery and hogging resources in the background.

Final thoughts:

We’re just a couple of months away from Samsung’s next big phone launch, but a fresh install of One UI 6 on my nearly year-old S23 has made it feel brand new. It’s a testament to the quality of engineering and design that went into this phone, and to the maturity and competence of the Android platform itself. I can’t wait to see what Samsung has in store for us next!

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S23 is a worthy daily driver, especially after the One UI 6 update. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great option for those who want a powerful, compact phone with a good camera and a ton of useful features.

I hope you enjoyed my experience with the Samsung Galaxy S23! Let me know if you have any questions.