Should I buy a Black Friday Samsung deal or wait for the Galaxy S23?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

If we find a great Black Friday deal on an iPhone 14 or a Google Pixel 7, those are easy deals to recommend because the phones are so new. We know that you won’t be disappointed tomorrow that you didn’t buy a newer, better phone. The story is much different if you’re thinking about buying one of the best Samsung phones

The phone world operates on two calendars. There is the Solar calendar of iPhone launches, in which the new year occurs every September when Apple launches its newest iPhone. Google tends to launch Pixel phones around the same time. This launch period gets phones onto store shelves in time for the holiday. 

Then there is the Lunar calendar of technology events when the season between the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January and the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in late February pulls at the ocean of the mobile industry and causes occasional tidal waves. 

This is when the Samsung Galaxy S devices usually hit shores. Thus, we expect to see the next Galaxy S23 overtake the current flagship Galaxy S22 in early February, as nine of the past thirteen Galaxy S devices have launched in that time frame. 

Should you wait for the Galaxy S23 or get a Black Friday deal? 

Samsung makes the holidays very difficult. If you buy a new iPhone, you know that there won’t be a better iPhone for almost a year. You have bragging rights secured. If you buy a Pixel 7 phone, you know that the next Pixel will likely be a Pixel 7a that will cost less than your phone and skimp on features. You’re going to feel good about that Pixel 7 for at least another year.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Galaxy S23 back may look like the Galaxy S22 Ultra (Image credit: TechRadar / Stephen Lambrechts)

If you buy a Galaxy S22 Ultra today, how will you feel in February when the Galaxy S23 Ultra shows up? If you buy a Galaxy S22, will you long for the newer colors of the Galaxy S23? Will you lament the camera bump on your phone if the rumors are true and the Galaxy S23 looks clean around back?

That depends on the Galaxy S23, and we don’t know much about the upcoming phone, but we know enough to make a recommendation on this year’s Black Friday phone deals.

What the Galaxy S23 will do better than the Galaxy S22

The Galaxy S23 will have a better camera than the Galaxy S22. You can copy and paste that statement every year from now until the end of time because every year phone photography improves. How much does it improve? Usually, the leaps are slight, but we are hearing this could be a banner year for Galaxy S photography. 

The best cameras will undoubtedly go to the most expensive Galaxy S23 Ultra. Samsung cuts costs on lower-end models by leaving out lenses and sensors, giving them lesser camera capabilities. Still, the Galaxy S23 will surely have an improved camera over the Galaxy S22 or something has gone awry. 

Google Pixel 7 Pro

The Google Pixel 7 Pro cameras (Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

How much better can the camera get? It can get smarter, for sure, as Google taught us with the Google Pixel 7. That phone uses AI features to improve and fix images, but those fixes happen mostly in Google Photos editing, not in the camera. Samsung is more likely to make camera improvements directly.

If the new Galaxy S23 is a perfect 10 out of 10 on cameras, then the Galaxy S22 was a 9 out of 10. We expect to see improvements, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra is already our pick for the best camera phone, so we’d be remiss to say that our favorite camera isn’t a worthy purchase. If you are a serious camera enthusiast you may want to wait, but you will unquestionably take great photos today with a Galaxy S22, no matter how much the camera improves in the next generation.

What the Galaxy S23 won’t do better than the Galaxy S22

If you ask us for the top improvement we want in the Samsung Galaxy, or in any future phone, we want better battery life. We won’t get it. We haven’t seen significant improvements in battery life in years. Once phones could last a whole day without charging, manufacturers gave up on making longevity a priority. 

Battery technology improves slower than any other tech inside your phone. The only way to improve battery life significantly is to either make the phone bigger or cut down on power-hungry features. Samsung is unlikely to do either. 

OnePlus 10T

The OnePlus 10T charges in minutes (Image credit: Future / Lance Ulanoff)

In lieu of a larger battery, we could also see much faster charging, but Samsung has stayed away from the superfast charging used by phones like the OnePlus 10T and other devices. Likely because of Samsung’s volatile history with battery problems, the company has stuck with reliable USB Power Delivery standards in the 35W range, much lower than the 100+ Wattage a OnePlus phone battery can handle.

There are other tricks Samsung can employ to improve battery life, but they likely would not result in hours or days more usage. The next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that every Galaxy S23 device will likely use could show us power-saving improvements, but the difference won’t be shocking.

Is there a Black Friday Samsung deal worth buying?

If you already had your eye on a current Samsung phone, the prices are good, and Samsung has deals on its own site that bring the prices down to the lowest we’ve seen. Samsung also tends to give you double the storage capacity at the same price point, which makes a huge difference when you jump from 128GB to 256GB, especially on a great camera phone that makes huge image files. 

Other retailers aren’t quite matching those low prices, but some sellers like Amazon are offering bundles with great accessories like Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro with a big discount if you buy both. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Galaxy Buds Pro are a common bundle option (Image credit: Future)

If you have a phone to trade, that’s a reason to hurry. While we don’t expect the Galaxy S22 price to drop when the new phone arrives, we do expect the value of your current trade will drop. Samsung and other retailers are offering great trade values and even a bonus if your screen is broken. Take advantage while you can and dump that broken old phone.

In the past, we’d tell you to wait until the new model arrives and expect a price cut on the older Galaxy S22 family. That hasn’t happened the way we expected this year with other phone and mobile launches. Older models have stuck around at their current, lower prices, while the new models take the top-of-the-shelf position.

If you need a new phone and you like the latest Samsung devices, keep an eye out for Black Friday deals. You can expect the next Galaxy S23 a month after the new year, but you can also expect to be happy with the phone you own as the tides of the phone launch calendar ebb and flow.

Philip Berne
US Mobiles Editor

Phil Berne is a preeminent voice in consumer electronics reviews, starting more than 20 years ago at Phil has written for Engadget, The Verge, PC Mag, Digital Trends, Slashgear, TechRadar, AndroidCentral, and was Editor-in-Chief of the sadly-defunct infoSync. Phil holds an entirely useful M.A. in Cultural Theory from Carnegie Mellon University. He sang in numerous college a cappella groups.

Phil did a stint at Samsung Mobile, leading reviews for the PR team and writing crisis communications until he left in 2017. He worked at an Apple Store near Boston, MA, at the height of iPod popularity. Phil is certified in Google AI Essentials. He has a High School English teaching license (and years of teaching experience) and is a Red Cross certified Lifeguard. His passion is the democratizing power of mobile technology. Before AI came along he was totally sure the next big thing would be something we wear on our faces.