Samsung says it has upped it’s camera technology for the latest Galaxy S23 lineup of smartphones.

The top of the line Ultra model now has a whopping 200 megapixel camera, double from last year’s model.

The company held it’s first in person event in San Francisco to launch the phones, which can be pre-ordered right now and are available February 17.

The setting was smaller than in recent years but that reflects the changing nature of tech launch events, especially after the pandemic.

I had a chance to go hands on with the new devices, which consist of three models:

The S23 which has a 6.1 inch screen.

The S23+ which has a 6.6 inch screen.

The S23 Ultra, which has a 6.8 inch screen, stylus and the 200 megapixel camera system.

All of the phones feature more AI to help photos and videos look their best.

Samsung S23 Ultra
iPhone 14 Pro
Samsung S23 Ultra
iPhone 14 Pro
Galaxy S23 Ultra
iPhone 14 Pro

Galaxy S23 Ultra

Samsung made a big deal about how they shot their entire presentation on the new phones and even enlisted big name directors including Ridley Scott to shoot short films using the S23 Ultra.

However, this involved tons of special Hollywood equipment and no regular person would ever do this.

I’m much more interested in how the photos and videos will look off of these devices without the help of Hollywood lighting, stabilizers and special filters.

The good news is, the initial results are promising.

The new S23 Ultra has flatter edges which makes the phone so much easier to hold and should cut down on accidental screen touches. Samsung says it will also make writing with the built in stylus easier.

While the iPhone has ditched the physical SIM card tray, the latest Samsung’s still have them. Both phones support the newer eSIM technology. There isn’t a place for a memory card, though.

Base storage on the S23 is 128 gigabytes, on the S23+ and Ultra it’s 256.

Samsung says the phones will take better photos in low light and have better video stabilization.

In my initial testing, the Ultra takes low light photos faster than before and it seems that they have less noise.

Samsung S23 Ultra
Samsung S23 Ultra

The company says it worked to make sure pictures and videos look better on popular social media apps, both for posting them and watching.

The Ultra still has 100 times zoom, but anything over 30x won’t look that great.

Other new features including the ability to further customize the lock screen and even use a video clip as your lock screen wallpaper.

A new feature called Bixby text call lets Bixby answer the phone. You can type a message to the caller or ask them a pre-configured question. Handy for call screening and avoiding spam calls.

Samsung is promising four generations of operating system updates and 5 years of security updates. The company has been really efficient with software updates in recent years.

The new phones come in black, cream, green and lavender. The S23 starts at $800, the Ultra starts at $1200. You can watch my Instagram Reel on the phones here.