CEO Carl Pei has reviewed the Samsung S23 Ultra

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CEO Carl Pei has reviewed the Samsung S23 Ultra in comparison to a phone, which has not been specified.

Carl Pei, the CEO of Nothing, has posted a YouTube video in which he reviews the Samsung S23 Ultra, similar to his past reviews of the OnePlus 11 and the iPhone 14 Pro. In the review, he discusses the design, software, and pricing of Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone, and also compares these features to those of his own company’s Nothing Phone (1).

As seen in his earlier smartphone review videos, Nothing CEO Carl Pei adopted the familiar interview format to discuss his admiration for Samsung in the early days. He reminisced about being the first among his friends to own the Samsung Galaxy S2 and S3. For this review, Pei had the S23 Ultra in his possession for over a month to give it a thorough test drive. He acknowledged that balancing his “Youtube career” with his CEO responsibilities has been challenging, and had intended to release his review during the embargo period like other influencers. However, his hectic schedule delayed the release of his review until now.

In his earlier smartphone critiques, like his review of the OnePlus 11, Carl Pei emphasized the significance of having a unique brand identity and physical characteristics that distinguish the phone from others and make it identifiable. During his assessment of Samsung’s S23 Ultra, when questioned if Samsung had succeeded in achieving this, Carl acknowledged that the design was well-crafted and akin to a “straight-A student” in terms of its scientific purity but lacked creativity.

Found anything uncommon in the S23 and S22 Ultra?

Earlier, he further elaborated on his opinion, stating that differentiating the latest S23 Ultra model from the previous S22 Ultra model is challenging. The only noticeable distinctions he identified were a reduction in curvature at the bottom corners of the device and a slightly wider bezel around the cameras.

Carl Pei shared a humorous meme to emphasize that the design of the S23 Ultra is so similar to its predecessor that it is hard to distinguish between the two. He acknowledged that this may not be a major concern for the average consumer, as Samsung primarily aimed to cater to their needs.

Regarding the camera, Carl Pei expressed his belief that the number of megapixels in a smartphone camera is not as important as the physical size of the camera and its sensor. He explained that a larger sensor allows more light to enter and produces better photos. According to him, the physical component of mobile photography is crucial because software-wise, the formula for photo post-processing has already been mastered by most manufacturers.

More context about what “moon photos”?

Carl Pei also spoke about the controversy surrounding the 100x Space Zoom feature of the Samsung S23 Ultra, which combines optical zoom and computational processing to produce highly detailed images of the moon. He acknowledged that all smartphone cameras rely on some level of computational photography, and that Samsung has simply used this feature to enhance moon images. However, he noted that this debate is not new and tends to resurface every few years.

The software and pre-installed applications on Samsung devices were also discussed by Carl Pei in his review.

Carl Pei expressed his opinion on the user interface (UI) of Samsung and mentioned that he finds some of the interaction logic to be outdated. However, he emphasized that what bothers him more than the outdated UI is the significant amount of pre-installed apps that come with a Samsung device. He counted up to 35 apps that were pre-installed on the Samsung phone he had in his hand, whereas the Nothing Phone only has three or four. He attributed this to the large size of Samsung as a company, which means that many smaller teams are all vying for space on the phone screen, resulting in cluttered screens.

What is the significance of the S-Pen according to Carl’s review?

Carl expressed that although he understands the potential usefulness of the S-Pen in specific scenarios such as signing digital documents, he is not personally a fan of using a stylus with a phone. He even stated that he finds the S-Pen to be somewhat pointless for his own needs, and that he still prefers traditional pen and paper when it comes to jotting down his thoughts.

In what way is this related to the “Nothing” brand?

According to Carl, Samsung caters to the general public, whereas Nothing’s target audience is still in its early stages and includes only a small group of individuals who have a keen interest in either technology or design. As Nothing grows and its products evolve, this group of consumers will become more refined and defined.

Carl acknowledged Samsung’s long-standing history and contribution to the Android ecosystem, emphasizing that the company deserves respect. However, he still maintained his opinion that there was not enough significant progress made between the S22 and the S23 Ultra to make it a worthwhile upgrade for most users. Additionally, the high price point of $1199 USD for the S23 Ultra was also a factor, especially when compared to the more affordable Nothing Phone (1). Nonetheless, Carl acknowledged that Samsung’s large user base and brand recognition makes it a formidable competitor in the smartphone market.

Carl was intentionally keeping things under wraps when asked about the features of the upcoming Nothing Phone (2), after having reviewed all the competitor phones. While he mentioned that the camera software experience has been a major source of inspiration for the next-generation device, he did not reveal any specific details. However, he did give a hint that the Nothing Phone (2) will be unlike anything we have seen so far. We will have to wait and see what this innovative device has in store when it launches later this year.

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