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Best 0% APR Credit Cards for February 2023 - CNET

CNET News - 13 min 59 sec ago
These credit cards can help you avoid interest charges.

NASA Traces Webb Space Telescope Glitch to Galactic Cosmic Ray - CNET

CNET News - 23 min 26 sec ago
High-energy radiation from far away caused a hiccup in a Webb instrument.

Rivian is laying off another six percent of its workforce

Engadget - 28 min 24 sec ago

Electric vehicle maker Rivian is laying off another six percent of its workforce. The company reduced its headcount by the same proportion of workers back in July. The automaker has around 14,000 employees, according to Reuters, so it will be letting go around 840 people this time.

As with the previous round of layoffs, Rivian says it's focusing resources on increasing production and becoming a profitable company."While this doesn’t impact manufacturing jobs in Normal, teams across the company will be losing passionate collaborators — teammates who stretched themselves daily and have given their all to help us execute on our mission," CEO RJ Scaringe wrote in an email to employees. The company shared a copy of the memo with Engadget.

As part of its push toward profitability, Rivian is attempting to ramp up production of its R1T and R1S vehicles, as well as the delivery vans it's making for Amazon. It had to slash its production target for 2022 due to supply chain issues. Reuters notes that Rivian fell just short of its goal of making 25,000 vehicles last year.

The company is also working on more affordable R2 electric trucks, which it plans to produce at high-volume, but it doesn't expect to start shipping them until 2026. Rivian will build that truck at a $5 billion factory it's constructing in Georgia.

"Continuing to improve our operating efficiency on our path to profitability is a core objective and requires us to concentrate our investments and resources on the highest impact parts of our business," Scaringe wrote. "The changes we are announcing today reflect this focused roadmap." 

We'll get a clearer picture of the state of Rivian's business when it reports quarterly earnings on February 28th. The company announced its latest layoffs soon after Tesla and Ford cut prices of their EVs, making it more difficult for newer players like Rivian to compete. Earlier this week, EV startup Arrival said it would cut around half of its workforce.

Google Begins Testing Its Own ChatGPT-Style AI

SlashDot - 29 min 11 sec ago
Google is rushing to release its own artificial intelligence products in the wake of OpenAI's ChatGPT. From a report: The search engine pioneer is working hard and fast on a "code red" effort to respond to ChatGPT with a large language chatbot and testing new ways to incorporate that AI-powered bot into search, according to a report from CNBC. The new report backs up earlier news from the New York Times and elsewhere, which outlined a rapid re-alignment in Google's priorities in direct response to the rise of ChatGPT. CEO Sundar Pichai reportedly re-assigned employees and "upended" meetings to boost the amount of resources going towards the company's AI development. CNBC's Tuesday account offers further details. Google's new chatbot, reportedly named "Apprentice Bard," is based on the company's pre-existing LaMDA (Language Model for Dialogue Applications) technology. The application looks and functions similarly to ChatGPT: Users input a question in natural language and receive a generated text response as an answer. But Apprentice Bard seemingly has a couple of important skills beyond what ChatGPT can do. For one, it can draw on recent events and information, according to CNBC, unlike ChatGPT which is limited to online information from before 2021. And it may be better at achieving that elusive AI accuracy. For instance, LaMDA correctly responded to a math riddle that ChatGPT failed to grasp, as recorded in company documents viewed by CNBC.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Sony will stop offering the PlayStation Plus Collection after May 9th

Engadget - 35 min 51 sec ago

All good things must come to an end. Since September 2020, Sony has offered the PlayStation Plus Collection to PlayStation 5 owners with an active PS Plus membership. That bundle comes with some of the PlayStation 4’s best games, including Bloodborne, God of War, The Last of Us Remastered, Batman: Arkham Knight, Fallout 4 and Resident Evil 7: Biohazard. Come May 9th, however, Sony will no offer the PlayStation Plus Collection, the company announced today.

If you haven’t claimed any of the 19 titles included in the bundle, you have until May 9th to do so. Once those games are associated with your account, you’ll continue to have access to them as long as you maintain an active PlayStation Plus subscription. Sony says it plans to focus its efforts on growing the PS Plus library of monthly games and its Games Catalog, which PlayStation owners can access by subscribing to either PlayStation Plus Extra or Premium.

On that note, the company also revealed February’s slate of PlayStation Plus games. This month’s lineup features Evil Dead: The Game, OlliOlliWorld, Destiny 2:Beyond Light and Mafia: The Definitive Edition. You can download all four games starting on February 7th, and they’ll be available until March 6th. Of the titles on offer, you should definitely give OlliOlliWorld a try. It was one of Engadget’s favorite games of 2022.

Samsung is making 'extended reality' wearable devices

Engadget - 49 min 52 sec ago

Samsung's Unpacked event isn't just focused on the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy Book 3. The company has revealed to The Washington Post that it's working on "extended reality" (that is, augmented, mixed and virtual reality) wearable devices. While there aren't many details, the hardware will run a new, Google-designed version of Android designed with wearable displays in mind — this isn't Meta's heavily customized take on Android from the Quest line. Qualcomm will provide the chipset.

The "XR" hardware will also entail partnerships with Meta and Microsoft, although Samsung isn't elaborating further. In an interview with The Post, mobile president TM Roh says the ecosystem has to be "somewhat ready" before launch. The tech giant wants to avoid the missteps of rivals who debuted comparable hardware without robust support.

Samsung is no stranger to wearable screens. The company leapt into the market with 2015's Gear VR, which used the smartphone as both the display and computing power. In 2017, the firm jumped into PC-oriented mixed reality headsets with the HMD Odyssey. Samsung largely left the market to rivals like Meta and HTC after 2018, however.

Developing...

Samsung Galaxy S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra vs. the competition: All about those cameras

Engadget - 54 min 3 sec ago

Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S23 series, and the formula will seem familiar if you've seen the company's phones from the past few years: one 'small' 6.1-inch handset, a larger 6.6-inch version and a range-topping 6.8-inch Ultra that steals the show. They're all faster and take better photos. The competitive landscape is very different this year, however. The S23 line is competing against not just an expanded Apple lineup with two large-screen iPhones, but a Pixel family that finally lives up to some of Google's loftier promises. Check out the specs below to see how they compare, and be sure to look at our hands-on sessions with the S23, S23+ and S23 Ultra.

What's Changed

The centerpiece upgrade, as you may have guessed, is the Galaxy S23 Ultra's 200-megapixel main camera. It makes the S22 Ultra's 108MP sensor seem modest, and Samsung claims strong low-light photography as well as 8K video at 30 frames per second. You can also expect an improved 12MP selfie camera on the S23 and S23+ models (up from 10MP) with 60FPS HDR, and those phones can shoot Expert RAW photos at their primary camera's full 50MP resolution.

After that, the Galaxy S23 series revolves around incremental (if welcome) updates. They all use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, which promises ray-traced graphics and big boosts for AI performance and power efficiency. Batteries are ever-so-slightly larger, and there's greater use of recycled components. Memory and storage are largely unchanged, although that still delivers up to 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage on the S23 Ultra. You'll still want the highest-end device if you crave more than 8GB of RAM and a 1080p display. Simply speaking, there's no rush to upgrade from the S22 if you're still happy with its capabilities.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max

Galaxy S23 Ultra

iPhone 14 Pro Max

Pricing

Starts at $1,200

Starts at $1,099

Dimensions

163.3 x 78 x 8.9 mm (6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 in)

160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85 mm (6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 in)

Weight

233.9g (8.25oz)

240g (8.47oz)

Screen size

6.8in (173mm)

6.7in (170mm)

Screen resolution

3,088 x 1,440 (501PPI)

2,778 x 1,284 (458PPI)

Screen type

AMOLED (120Hz, always on)

Super Retina XDR (120Hz, always on)

Battery

5,000mAh

4,323mAh

Internal storage

128 / 256 / 512 GB / 1 TB

128 / 256 / 512 GB / 1 TB

External storage

None

None

Rear camera(s)

Four cameras:

Wide, 200MP, f/1.7

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.2

Right telephoto, 10MP, f/2.4

Left telephoto, 10MP, f/4.9

Three cameras:

Wide, 48MP f/1.78

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.2

Telephoto, 12MP, f/2.8

Front camera(s)

12MP, f/2.2

12MP, f/1.9

Video capture

8K at 30FPS

4K at 60FPS

SoC

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Apple A16 Bionic

CPU

3.2GHz octa-core

3.46GHz hexa-core

GPU

Adreno 740

Apple penta-core GPU

RAM

8 / 12 GB

6 GB

WiFi

WiFi 6e

WiFi 6

Bluetooth

v.5.3

v.5.3

NFC

Yes

Yes

Operating system

Android 13

iOS 16

Other features

USB-C, Qi wireless charging, reverse charging

Lightning, Qi wireless charging, MagSafe charging

Galaxy S23+ vs. Pixel 7 Pro and iPhone 14 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S23 PlusSamsung

Galaxy S23+

Pixel 7 Pro

iPhone 14 Plus

Pricing

Starts at $1,000

Starts at $899

Starts at $899

Dimensions

157.7 x 76.2 x 7.6 mm (6.21 x 3 x 0.3 in)

162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9 mm (6.4 x 3 x 0.35 in)

160.8 x 78.1 x 7.8 mm (6.33 x 3.07 x 0.31 in)

Weight

195.9g (6.9oz)

212g (7.5oz)

203g (7.16oz)

Screen size

6.6in (167.6mm)

6.7in (170.2mm)

6.7in (170.2mm)

Screen resolution

2,340 x 1,080 (422PPI)

3,120 x 1,440

2,778 x 1,284

Screen type

AMOLED (120Hz, always on)

AMOLED (120Hz, always on)

AMOLED (60Hz)

Battery

4,700mAh

5,000mAh

4,323mAh

Internal storage

256 / 512 GB

128 / 256 GB

128 / 256 / 512 GB

External storage

None

None

None

Rear camera(s)

Three cameras:

Wide, 50MP, f/1.8

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.2

Telephoto, 10MP, f/2.4

Three cameras:

Wide, 50MP, f/1.85

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.2

Telephoto, 48MP, f/3.5

Two cameras:

Wide, 12MP, f/1.5

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.4

Front camera(s)

12MP, f/2.2

10.8MP, f/2.2

12MP, f/1.9

Video capture

8K at 30FPS

4K at 60FPS

4K at 60FPS

SoC

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Google Tensor G2

Apple A15 Bionic

CPU

3.2GHz octa-core

2.85GHz octa-core

3.24GHz hexa-core

GPU

Adreno 740

Mali-G710 MP07

Apple penta-core GPU

RAM

8GB

12GB

6GB

WiFi

WiFi 6e

WiFi 6e

WiFi 6

Bluetooth

v.5.3

v.5.2

v.5.3

NFC

Yes

Yes

Yes

Operating system

Android 13

Android 13

iOS 16

Other features

USB-C, Qi wireless charging, reverse charging

USB-C, Qi wireless charging, reverse charging

Lightning, Qi wireless charging, MagSafe charging

Galaxy S23 vs. Pixel 7 and iPhone 14

Samsung Galaxy S23Samsung

Galaxy S23

Pixel 7

iPhone 14

Pricing

Starts at $800

Starts at $599

Starts at $799

Dimensions

146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6 mm (5.76 x 2.8 x 0.3 in)

155.6 x 73.2 x 8.7 mm (6.1 x 2.9 x 0.34 in)

146.7 x 71.5 x 7.8 mm (5.8 x 2.8 x 0.31 in)

Weight

168.1g (5.93oz)

197g (6.95oz)

172g (6.07oz)

Screen size

6.1in (154.94mm)

6.3in (160.5mm)

6.1in (154.94mm)

Screen resolution

2,340 x 1,080 (422PPI)

2,400 x 1,080 (416PPI)

2,532 x 1,170 (460PPI)

Screen type

AMOLED (120Hz, always on)

AMOLED (90Hz, always on)

AMOLED (60Hz)

Battery

3,900mAh

4,355mAh

3,279mAh

Internal storage

128 / 256 GB

128 / 256 GB

128 / 256 / 512 GB

External storage

None

None

None

Rear camera(s)

Three cameras:

Wide, 50MP, f/1.8

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.2

Telephoto, 10MP, f/2.4

Two cameras:

Wide, 50MP, f/1.85

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.2

Two cameras:

Wide, 12MP, f/1.5

Ultra-wide, 12MP, f/2.4

Front camera(s)

12MP, f/2.2

10.8MP, f/2.2

12MP, f/1.9

Video capture

8K at 30FPS

4K at 60FPS

4K at 60FPS

SoC

Snapdragon 8 Gen 2

Google Tensor G2

Apple A15 Bionic

CPU

3.2GHz octa-core

2.85GHz octa-core

3.24GHz hexa-core

GPU

Adreno 740

Mali-G710 MP07

Apple penta-core GPU

RAM

8GB

8GB

6GB

WiFi

WiFi 6e

WiFi 6e

WiFi 6

Bluetooth

v.5.3

v.5.2

v.5.3

NFC

Yes

Yes

Yes

Operating system

Android 13

Android 13

iOS 16

Other features

USB-C, Qi wireless charging, reverse charging

USB-C, Qi wireless charging, reverse charging

Lightning, Qi wireless charging, MagSafe charging

OpenAI Launches ChatGPT Plus, Starting at $20 Per Month

SlashDot - 55 min 11 sec ago
Aiming to monetize what's become a viral phenomenon, OpenAI today launched a new pilot subscription plan for ChatGPT, its text-generating AI that can write convincingly human-like essays, poems, emails, lyrics and more. From a report: Called ChatGPT Plus and starting at $20 per month, ChatGPT Pro delivers a number of benefits over the base-level ChatGPT, OpenAI says, including general access to ChatGPT even during peak times, faster response times and priority access to new features and improvements.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ hands-on: Flagship phones that play it safe

Engadget - 1 hour 8 min ago

While the Galaxy S23 Ultra might be the 200-megapixel camera-toting showstopper, Samsung is also unveiling two more premium smartphones. The Galaxy S23 and S23+ feature a minor redesign, some useful software tricks and, this time, almost spec parity across the two devices.

Even more so than last year’s Galaxy S22 series, the 6.1-inch S23 and 6.6-inch S23+ are very, very similar. The main differences are the screen size, battery capacity and price. Although, the S23+ also has ultrawideband support, which could help with precision location hunting of any compatible Bluetooth trackers. Besides that, these are the same phone.

What’s new for 2023? Well, a mild redesign. The company has removed the camera cutout on the back of both devices, even though it’s another trio of cameras. The S23 series, regardless of which phone you choose, will launch in a range of colors: black, off-white, green and lavender. I like the muted green.

The Galaxy S23’s AMOLED FHD+ screen is capable of 120Hz refresh rates and now has a peak brightness of 1,750 nits – one of the notable upgrades from last year’s S22, which topped out at 1,300 nits. Beyond the bigger size, the 6.6-inch Galaxy S23+ has an identical screen and both are bright, vivid and smooth. Screens are what Samsung, always, does well on the Galaxy S series.

Galaxy S23 and S23+ stood upright on a wooden table, showing the homescreens. Engadget, Mat Smith

The entire S23 series doubles the number of components made from recycled materials, up to twelve. That includes “pre-consumer” recycled glass for the front screen and back cover. In addition, Samsung used recycled aluminum for the SIM tray and volume keys. It also sourced recycled plastic from water barrels, discarded fishing nets and PET bottles for the speaker modules and in the construction of the back glass.

The camera specifications are recycled too: a combination of 50-megapixel wide, 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP telephoto sensor. In Samsung’s defense, last year’s S22 series beefed up cameras substantially. This year’s update is more of the same. The cameras seemed responsive and capable enough during our brief hands-on, but we’ll have to wait and see if they perform better than their predecessors in real life.

At least there are some imaging software advances. You can now capture full 50MP images in Samsung’s Expert RAW format, which used to be limited to 12MP. Video capture also picks up upgraded video stabilization. The S23 analyzes movements and compensates for your shakiness at up to two times wider angles than its predecessor. Rounding out the camera hardware, both the S23 and S23+ have an upgraded 12-megapixel selfie camera, which features a Super HDR mode that captures 60 frames per second in higher dynamic range.

While the cameras may not be pushing the boundaries of smartphone photography (that’s the S23 Ultra’s job) there are bigger batteries in both phones year. The Galaxy S23 has a 3,900mAh battery (up from the 3,700mAh cell in the S22), while the Galaxy S23+ has a 4,700mAh battery, 200mAh bigger than the S22+.

This year One UI update also throws in a few new useful features. Typically, Google’s Android updates dominate a “what’s changed” list between S-series phones. But this year there are some Samsung-made additions worth highlighting. Let's start with the improved comfort mode. The S23 will now adjust contrast levels and colors to reduce the screen’s harshness later in the day. The S23 series also has a new image clipper – no S-Pen needed – replicating the addictive sticker feature that Apple introduced on iPhones in iOS 16.

Galaxy S23+ propped up in the middle of a conveyor belt with food.Engadget, Mat Smith

Our first impressions: it’s not a particularly exciting year for Samsung’s smaller flagships. This year especially, The Galaxy S23 Ultra is clearly the company’s favorite child – check out our impressions on Samsung’s most expensive phone here. While these are still premium smartphones, we'd wait for our full review if you’re using an S22 and considering an upgrade. The Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S23+ are available to preorder now. The S23+ starts at $1,000 with 256GB of storage, while the S23 starts at $800 with 128GB of storage.

How to pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the rest of the S23 series

Engadget - 1 hour 8 min ago

Samsung announced the latest cohort of Galaxy phones today at its annual Unpacked event, following it up with new laptop news as well. This year’s flagship is the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which sports a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, a 200-megapixel camera sensor, S Pen integration and more. As in years past, Samsung also has the standard Galaxy S23 and S23+, which have the same processor as in the Ultra and similarly capable camera arrays. On the notebook side of things, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has 13th-gen Intel processor plus NVIDIA graphics, while the Galaxy Book 3 Pro series come in standard clamshell and 2-in-1 designs. Here’s everything you need to know about how to pre-order the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and all of the other devices announced at Unpacked 2023.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is available for pre-order today and starts at $1,199. Those who pre-order between today and February 16th on Samsung's website are eligible for a free storage upgrade and up to a $100 Samsung credit. If you pre-order through Amazon, you'll get a $100 gift card along with the same free storage upgrade. In addition, specific carriers including Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have their own pre-order specials.

Samsung didn't deviate too much from last year's Galaxy S22 Ultra with this year's flagship. The Galaxy S23 Ultra looks much the same, although it does have a slightly flatter design that presumably address complaints about its predecessor's curved screen edges. This year's phone has a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2x Infinity-O QHD+ touchscreen with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1,750 nits. Beneath it lies an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor for biometric authentication, although you will still be able to access your info and apps with face recognition as well. The S Pen integration has carried over again, with the Ultra sporting an embedded stylus that you can use to doodle, take notes and more.

Aside from the small design change, the biggest difference between this year's Ultra and last year's is the upgraded rear camera array. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a whopping 200MP Adaptive Pixel sensor, along with a 12MP ultra wide shooter and a 10MP telephoto lens. The system is capable of shooting 8K video at 30fps, 4K video at 60fps or FHD video at 120fps and 960fps, the latter of which is dubbed Super Slow-Mo. Plus, it can shoot 4K/60fps video from its 12MP selfie camera, too.

When it comes to specs, the Galaxy S23 Ultra runs on a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor and supports up to 12GB of RAM, up to 1TB of storage and 5G connectivity. It has a 5,000mAh battery inside and supports fast charging and wireless PowerShare.

Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+

Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 and S23+ are available for pre-order today and they start at $799 and $999, respectively. Those who pre-order between today and February 16th on Samsung's website are eligible for a free storage upgrade and up to a $100 Samsung credit. If you pre-order through Amazon, you'll get up to a $100 gift card along with the same free storage upgrade. In addition, specific carriers including Verizon, T-Mobile and AT&T have their own pre-order specials.

Much like last year, the S23 and the S23+ do have some similarities between them. Both run on Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipsets and their rear camera setups are the same: a 50MP wide shooter, a 12MP ultra wide camera and a 10MP telephoto lens. With that, you'll be able to shoot 8K video at 30fps, 4k video at 60fps and FHD video at 120fps or even 960fps with Super Slow-Mo.

While their designs are cut from the same cloth, the Galaxy S23+ has a 6.6-inch Dynamic FHD+ AMOLED screen while the Galaxy S23's display measures 6.1-inches. Both, however, have an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1,750. In addition to the larger screen, the S23+ includes a larger battery, "Super Fast Charging 2.0" with a wired connection and UWB support, plus the option to get up to 512GB of storage (as opposed to only 256GB on the standard model).

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra

The new Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra starts at $2,199 and will be widely available on February 17th.

The most advanced model in Samsung’s notebook lineup, the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra has a 16-inch Dynamic AMOLED x2 display with a 16:10 aspect ratio and a refresh rate of 120Hz. It sports a full aluminum frame and parts made from recycled plastics. It maintains a sleek and slim design we've come to expect from Galaxy Books, while much of the upgrades are in its interior. The notebook runs on 13th-gen Intel Core i9 processors and NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4070 graphics, and it can be specced out with up to 32GB of RAM and up to a 1TB SSD. There’s even an expansion slot that you can use if you need even more storage in the future.

You’re also getting an FHD webcam on this laptop that offers improvements like light correction and auto framing using Samsung’s Studio Mode. That’s paired with AI noise-cancelling microphones to provide a better video conferencing experience. Standout new features include Multi Control, which lets you control your laptop, tablet and Galaxy phone from one keyboard and trackpad, copying and pasting content between devices seamlessly; and Second Screen, which lets you use your Galaxy Tab as another monitor when you need extra screen space.

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro and Pro 360

The Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro in 14-inch and 16-inch sizes are available for pre-order today starting at $1,250. The Samsung Galaxy Book Pro 360 (16-inch only) is also available for pre-order now starting at $1,900. All of the new laptops will be widely available on February 17th.

If you’re just on the market for a regular laptop, you’ll get to pick from the 14-inch or 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Pro. The 2-in-1 version only comes with a 16-inch display, and all three of these laptops have minor differences when compared to the Book 3 Ultra. The Pros support 13th-gen Core i7 CPUs and Intel Iris X GPUs, but they can be configured to have up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage (albeit that’s your cap there, as there’s no expansion slot on these). You do, however, get the same 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED 2x display on the Pro laptops, so you won’t have to sacrifice there — and the 360 model supports touch input as well. The other noteworthy difference to call out is that both the 16-inch standard and 2-in-1 models have a larger battery than the 14-inch Book 3 Pro laptop, which is to be expected.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra hands-on: A 200MP camera is the biggest update

Engadget - 1 hour 8 min ago

It’s February and the first major flagship phone launch of 2023 is here. Samsung is launching the new Galaxy S23 series at its Unpacked event in San Francisco today, and this year’s trio of phones are no surprise. While last year’s focus was on the addition of an S Pen slot to the Ultra variant and saying hello to the Note replacement, this time around things feel less monumental.

Most of the changes to the standard S23 and S23 Plus models feel incremental, while the biggest update to the S23 Ultra is a new 200-megapixel rear camera, enhanced selfie shooter and a few software updates. Some other improvements are less obvious, like a tweak in the curvature of the phone’s screen, different materials used in the case and the latest Qualcomm processors. There are also new colors and storage options available, but that’s pretty much it. If you want the details on the regular S23 and S23 Plus, check out what my colleague Mat Smith thought in his hands-on. I am focusing on the S23 Ultra here.

Besides the camera bump, everything about the S23 Ultra feels like a negligible improvement. But that’s not a bad thing and it does mean those who bought last year’s model won’t feel like they’re missing out by not jumping on the new phone.

Design and display

At first glance, unless you have one of the newer colors like green or lavender, the S23 Ultra looks nearly identical to its predecessor. It retains the same boxy shape, though Samsung says it’s reduced the screen edges’ curvature to make it easier to use with the S Pen. The display can also hit up to 1,750 nits of outdoor peak brightness now, though I couldn’t really tell the difference, especially without an S22 Ultra on hand to do a side by side comparison. And even though I continue to struggle using a 6.8-inch screen with just one hand, I was able to reach across the display to hit far-off elements. It just took some effort.

One of Samsung’s focal points for the S23 Ultra is sustainability. Materials like pre-consumer recycled aluminum and glass, as well as post-consumer plastics from discarded fishing nets went into the handset. The S23 Ultra is also the first phone to use Gorilla Glass Victus 2, which the company says offers “heightened durability for long-term use and [was] designed with an average of 22 percent pre-consumer recycled content.” Honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference simply by touch. All I can say is the S23 Ultra felt well-made and wasn’t noticeably heavier or lighter than before.

Cameras

The most significant update to the S23 Ultra is its new 200-megapixel “Adaptive Pixel” rear sensor that Samsung says is a first for its Galaxy family of products. While you will have the option to shoot at 200MP, by default the system uses pixel-binning to deliver brighter, clearer pictures at 12MP. When I used the S23 Ultra to shoot a bowl of lemons at the available options of 200mp, 50MP and the default level, the latter resulted in the best picture. I zoomed in on the peel of the fruit on all three images, and was surprised to see individual pits and fine hairs on the 12MP photo. On the other two, there was barely enough detail to see the skin texture.

An off-angle view of the Galaxy S23 Ultra's side, showing its slightly curved screen edge.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Samsung says it also improved its Nightography mode for better images in low light, thanks to a new “AI-powered image signal processing (ISP) algorithm.” Our demo area was very brightly lit and I wasn’t able to access any dark corners to put this claim to the test, so we’ll have to wait till we can run a real-world test to verify how well this works. And though I did capture a quick 8K video at 30 frames per second (up from 24fps before), it’s hard to judge the quality just by playing that footage back on the phone. You’ll likely want to shell out for the new 1TB storage model if you plan on filming a lot of 8K video.

There are some additional improvements to the S23 Ultra’s cameras that I couldn’t test during the hands-on event. The optical image stabilization (OIS)’s range has been doubled, meaning it can compensate for twice the amount of movement in all directions. The processing algorithms have also been updated to, as Samsung says, “carefully reflect a person’s dynamic characteristics” based on details “even down to minute facial features such as hair and eyes.” I don’t really get what that last one means practically and couldn’t see a difference in the few photos I snapped.

I also checked out the S23 Ultra’s new 12-mp selfie camera, which is the same across this year’s lineup. Though the bump in resolution seems like a step up for the two standard models, going to 12-mp might feel like a drop from the S22 Ultra’s 40-mp sensor. But a Samsung rep told me the new sensor is bigger and more advanced, featuring dual-pixel autofocus. They also support Super HDR and can now shoot clips at 60 fps, up from 30 fps before. The few selfies I snapped at the demo came out clear and autofocused quickly, but without a side by side comparison I can’t judge how much better the S23 Ultra is than its predecessor and competitors.

The Galaxy S23 held in mid-air with a picture of a woman in the Gallery app on the screen.The Galaxy S23, which has the same front camera as the S23 Ultra, showing a selfie snapped with it.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

The rest of the Ultra’s rear camera array is the same as last year. In addition to the new 200MP sensor, you’ll find a pair of 10MP telephoto cameras and an ultrawide 12MP option. The Ultra also has a laser autofocus that the regular S23s don’t.

Processor, battery and S Pen

Just like last year, the Ultra is the only model that has an S Pen that tucks away inside the onboard slot. There are no changes to the stylus this year, and making the few sketches and notes I did during my preview felt as smooth as before.

As always, there are loads of things we will need to wait till we can run our full barrage of tests before we can say for sure. For example, all the new S23s are powered by a custom version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, featuring higher clock speeds than the standard version. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy will hit up to 3.3Ghz, which is a whole 100Mhz faster than the standard. But Qualcomm said the improvements include “accelerated performance… in both CPU and GPU frequencies,” and that the chipset is “the fastest Snapdragon ever.” You’ll still get the benefits of the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, like hardware-accelerated ray-tracing for better lighting effects in games.

The S23 line also has a larger vapor cooling chamber to keep the phone from overheating during a gaming marathon, while Samsung says the S23 Ultra’s 5,000mAh battery can last more than 20 percent longer than last year’s model.

Short of installing benchmarks on the demo units at the hands-on, which is kind of a no go, there wasn’t much I could do to test the S23 Ultra’s performance. I installed Survivor.iO and ran through the tutorial and first round, and the phone ran as quickly and smoothly as expected. I did encounter some lag when trying out new OneUI features like picking system-generated themes and switching modes and routines, though.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra held in a hand in mid-air showing the Samsung Notes app. On the canvas is a cutout of a woman on the top left and the handwritten words Cherlynn Low / EngadgetNew OneUI 5.1 features

All three new S23s ship with OneUI 5.1, which brings intriguing new features that are at once Android 13-like and iOS 16-esque. In addition to new color palette options generated from your choice of wallpaper, Samsung’s software now offers lock screen customization options that are strongly reminiscent of Apple’s. You can choose your clock widget’s color, font and style, pick what system indicator symbols sit below it, as well as your wallpaper and more. But the S23 Ultra has a field for you to include a message on your lock screen in case you leave your phone somewhere and have enough faith in humanity to leave your contact information for someone to return it.

Samsung is also adding new Modes and Routines to OneUI 5.1, and the former is basically the company’s take on Apple’s Focus modes. Both give you the ability to create profiles for activities you might start like sleeping, gaming, exercising or driving, and dictate which apps to silence or whitelist. OneUI’s Routines feature, however, is a little more fun. It’s basically “if this then that” conditional programming, offering more granular triggers and action. At the demo, a Samsung rep set the Ultra to change its wallpaper when Airplane mode is activated. There was some lag when we first tried to turn Airplane mode on before the wallpaper changed, but subsequently the transition was quicker.

I’m not someone who needs my phone background to be different when I’m on a plane, but I do like the variety of combinations that Routines allows. I also appreciate that Samsung went a step further than Apple here, rather than purely mimicking the iPhone.

A medium shot of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, showing the weather widget selected and a menu hovering above it with options for Cherlynn Low / Engadget

Other new OneUI features are still very similar to their iOS versions, like the new widget stacks and Smart Suggestions widget. There’s also a new Image Clipper tool that lets you long press on a photo and grab just the subject without its background to share in other apps — just like Apple’s updated visual lookup. Samsung’s offering is slightly different because its interface supports split screen, so you can more easily drag and drop your stickers between apps and then resize them in Notes, for example. During my brief time with the phone, Image Clipper seemed about as accurate as the iOS version, which is to say it’s mostly effective but sometimes doesn’t recognize objects. It identified people well, but failed to separate a phone from the table it was on.

Of course, OneUI 5.1 will most likely roll out to older Galaxy phones, so you don’t necessarily need to get an S23 to use these new tools. But if you’re already convinced you want the new flagships, you can pre-order them today. The S23 Ultra starts at $1,200 and will be available on February 17th. If you’re not yet sure if these phones are worth the upgrade, make sure to wait for our full review, so we can tell you more about performance, battery life and how well the S23s stack up against the competition in the real world. 

Samsung's Galaxy Book 3 Ultra laptop includes AMOLED screen tech borrowed from phones

Engadget - 1 hour 8 min ago

True to the rumors, Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy Book 3 line — including the company's first-ever Ultra laptop model. The Galaxy Book 3 Pro, Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 convertible and Galaxy Book 3 Ultra all center around 120Hz, 2,880 x 1,800 "Dynamic AMOLED 2X" displays with technology lifted directly from Samsung's higher-end smartphones. You'll only find touch input on the Pro 360, but this still promises rich colors (120 percent of the DCI-P3 gamut), smooth responses and DisplayHDR True Black 500 support.

The 16-inch Galaxy Book 3 Ultra (pictured above) is, unsurprisingly, billed as a performance powerhouse. It comes with up to a 13th-gen Intel Core i9 and NVIDIA's GeForce RTX 4070 graphics — this is very much a gaming machine. You can also expect up to 32GB of RAM, a 1TB SSD (with an expansion slot), a 1080p webcam and an AKG-tuned quad speaker array with Dolby Atmos surround. Two Thunderbolt 4 ports, one USB-A port, a microSD slot, a headphone jack and HDMI round out connectivity. The Ultra is an easy-to-carry system despite the specs, weighing 3.9lbs and measuring 0.65in thick thanks to a "full" aluminum frame that you'll also find in other models.

Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360Samsung

The Galaxy Book 3 Pro and Pro 360 (middle) are more conventional thin-and-light portables. Both support up to a 13th-gen Core i7 and lean on integrated Iris Xe graphics. They support up to 32GB of RAM a 1TB SSD and the ports of the Ultra, but don't have the Ultra's expansion or HDMI 2.0 compatibility (only HDMI 1.4). The Pro is available in a very light (2.42lbs) 14-inch model as well as a 16-inch (3.4lbs) configuration, while the Pro 360 is only available in a 16-inch (3.7lbs) variant. The touchscreen laptop does have optional 5G, however.

Integration with Samsung's phones is tighter than before, too. Multi Control now lets you steer your handset (not just your tablet) using the Galaxy Book 3's keyboard and trackpad — you can drag-and-drop content between devices. You can automatically upload the phones' Expert RAW photos and edit them in Adobe Lightroom, too. The company is also eager to note support for Microsoft Phone Link, including new productivity features. You can quickly continue web browsing on your computer, or quickly connect to your phone's hotspot.

Prices start at $1,249 for the Galaxy Book 3 Pro, $1,399 for the Pro 360 and $2,199 for the Ultra. Pre-orders begin today. They'll ship on February 17th, starting with the Pro and Pro 360 notebooks. It's evident that the Ultra is the headliner, though, as it's one of the few truly portable laptops that can still deliver the performance needed for games and heavy-duty media editing.

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Samsung Galaxy Book 3 Ultra hands-on: NVIDIA RTX 4070 power in a super slim frame

Engadget - 1 hour 8 min ago

Samsung is ready to take its Ultra branding to the final frontier — at least, as far as its mobile products go. After introducing an Ultra variant of its tablets last year, the company is launching a similarly high-specced model of its Galaxy Book laptops in 2023. Alongside the new S23 series of flagship phones, Samsung launched the Galaxy Book 3 Pro, Galaxy Book 3 Pro 360 and Galaxy Book 3 Ultra at its Unpacked event in San Francisco today.

The Ultra and the Pro 360 are only available in 16 inches, while the clamshell Galaxy Book 3 Pro comes in 14- and 16-inch sizes. I was able to check out a few of them at a recent hands-on event, though Samsung didn’t have every single model available. Rather than detail every configuration, I’m going to focus on my impressions of the Book 3 Ultra here. For the complete breakdown of the six other laptops, check out our news post for the full specs.

In general, the Galaxy Book 3 lineup is pretty straightforward. They’re powered by 13th-gen Intel Core i5 or i7 processors, with Iris X graphics and up to 32GB of DDR5 RAM. The Pro 360 is the only touch-enabled model, and Samsung has redesigned its display to remove a layer in the panel while still supporting touch. All models have 3K Dynamic AMOLED screens that run at 120Hz and can get as bright as 400 nits.

The star of the show, however, is the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra, and it’s a beast of a machine. It uses Intel’s Core i7 and i9 processors, and those are paired with NVIDIA’s RTX 4050 and 4070 graphics cards respectively. The i7 model comes with 16GB of DDR5 RAM while the i9 configuration has 32GB.

Despite packing such powerful guts, the Book 3 Ultra is an impressively thin and light laptop, weighing 1.79kg (3.9 pounds) and measuring 16.5mm (0.64 inches) thin. It’s not as light as the LG Gram Style I saw at CES, which is just 1.2kg, but the latter doesn't offer RTX 30 series graphics. Samsung’s laptop also felt more premium and sturdy than the Gram, which might be thanks to its aluminum frame, though I have to say LG’s machines at least have a distinctive style. The Galaxy Books are starting to look boring, with the same MacBook-esque design they’ve come in for years. Like the Galaxy S23 phones, parts of the Book 3 series were built from recycled plastics from discarded fishing nets.

The Book Ultra is heftier than the other Book 3s, but it also offers a generous array of ports including HDMI, microSD, two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C sockets, a USB-A slot and a 3.5mm audio jack. Like most laptops with a 16-inch screen, the Ultra also sports a roomy keyboard and its trackpad is positively enormous. I wish the buttons had a bit more travel, but typing on the Book Ultra was comfortable enough. It’s no ThinkPad, but it’ll do the job.

A close up of the side view of the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra. In view are the USB-A port and a headphone jack, as well as the keyboard's buttons that have minimal depth.Cherlynn Low / Engadget

I didn’t get to try out much else on the Galaxy Book 3, since we had a limited amount of time to check out a ton of devices. The few apps I opened, like Notepad and Control Panel, launched quickly, but I can’t say that’s a good measure of performance.

I also wish I had been able to check out the 1080p webcam or new features like the updated quad speaker system and PC-smartphone connectivity tools like Recent Websites and Instant Hotspot via Microsoft’s Phone Link. In theory, though, signing into your Samsung account on the Book Ultra and your Galaxy smartphone should allow you to seamlessly move a web page from your phone to your PC. Samsung’s Multi Control now supports Galaxy smartphones so you can use your laptop, tablet and phone with a keyboard and trackpad

Computer makers have been building software that makes connecting your phone and PC less of a hassle for years. While tools like this are getting better over time, it’ll be interesting to see just how useful Samsung’s offering will be in the real world. Frankly, the most intriguing thing about the Galaxy Book 3 Ultra is what Samsung has been able to squeeze into such a svelte frame. The Galaxy Book 3 Ultra will be available on February 17th from $2,400, but you should wait till we can get one in for testing to determine how it stacks up against the competition on performance and battery life before dropping your money.

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