2023 has been a good year for Samsung fans who care about getting the best possible performance from their phone. 2023 is also unique in that it is the first time Samsung has used only a Snapdragon chip for all of its flagship phones.
The Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, Galaxy S23 Ultra, Galaxy Z Flip 5, and Galaxy Z Fold 5 are all powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset. Samsung didn't release a flagship Exynos chip this year, no doubt because it finally realized that it had to do away with the tradition of yearly upgrades to make the kind of comeback Exynos chips desperately need.
All five phones mentioned above are fast, fluid, and can handle anything you throw at them. They are also quite efficient, and it's all thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. But despite using the same chip, these phones are not created equal, and for those who want the absolute best, there are only two choices here: the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 5.
While all of these phones perform extremely well, the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23+, and Galaxy Z Flip 5 are prone to the occasional performance dip. The Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 5, on the other hand, can keep things running smooth virtually all the time.
It's unclear why the S23 Ultra and Z Fold 5 are better than the others, but it's probably down to a number of factors. One of them could be better thermal management because of their larger dimensions, which allows the processor to sustain high clock speeds for longer.
In fact, as far as the Galaxy Z Flip 5 is concerned, poorer heat dissipation is the reason why it can throttle when pushed to its limit and doesn't support Samsung DeX, as confirmed by Samsung itself. The S23 Ultra and Z Fold 5 can throttle, too, but only when gaming for long durations or running benchmark apps that stress a phone's hardware to its limit.
The 12 gigs of RAM probably helps as well, though the 8GB variant of the Galaxy S23 Ultra seems to perform the same so we're a little doubtful about this one. Finally, it's possible Samsung simply spent extra time on optimizing the S23 Ultra and Z Fold 5 because they are the priciest of the bunch and are supposed to represent the best of what the company has to offer in both the candybar and foldable form factors.
Whatever the case may be, our point stands. The Galaxy S23 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 5 are the fastest and smoothest Samsung phones in 2023. The Galaxy S23, S23+, and Z Flip 5 are all great in their own right, and you should pick one of them if you want a smaller and/or cheaper phone with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset.
But if you don't care about the phone's dimensions and price is no bar, buy a Galaxy S23 Ultra or a Galaxy Z Fold 5.