itel Philippines is pushing the boundaries by revolutionizing the country’s entry-level smartphone market. They offer advanced features and specifications at an affordable price for the masses. This transformation is exemplified in the recent release of the itel S23+. This smartphone boasts a flagship-level AMOLED Curved screen and comes equipped with 16GB of RAM and a spacious 256GB storage capacity.
In a smartphone market saturated with mid-range devices featuring flagship capabilities, where does itel’s entry-level lineup stand? Do products of this nature still hold significance for the Filipino mass market? Let’s explore these questions in detail in our comprehensive #VPTechReview of the new #itelS23Plus.
Built and Aesthetics:
The itel S23+ boasts a slim design characterized by rounded curved corners, measuring a mere 7.5mm in thickness and weighing just 176.5g. Furthermore, it exudes a premium aesthetic that defies its entry-level categorization.
Offering two enticing color options, Elemental Blue and Lake Cyan, we received the Lake Cyan variant for this review. According to the itel team, this design draws inspiration from the beauty of mountains and lakes, and upon initial inspection, its vibrancy and grandeur are immediately apparent. Furthermore, the way it produces a gradient effect when exposed to sunlight, resembling a sunset, is truly captivating. It’s a design feature that I absolutely adore.
Adding to its appeal, the back of the phone feels incredibly smooth to the touch, and its lightweight construction makes it a breeze to carry around. Notably, it remains free from fingerprints and smudges. However, the smooth surface does make it somewhat slippery to hold.
Moreover, on the back, you’ll discover a camera setup that resembles the latest iPhone models. Although it may seem to feature a triple-camera configuration, it’s important to note that this unit actually comes equipped with only a dual-camera system. The remaining camera hole functions as a housing for the flash.
Additionally, on the right side, you’ll discover the power button and volume rocker, providing convenient access to essential controls. Meanwhile, the left side remains unadorned, maintaining a clean and minimalist appearance.
Furthermore, at the bottom of the device, you’ll find the dual-nano SIM card tray, a discreetly integrated mini microphone, Type-C charging port, and the speakers, ensuring a well-rounded and functional design.
Flagship-level AMOLED Curve Display:
The itel S23+ delivers flagship-level features, starting with its expansive 6.78-inch AMOLED 3D Curve Display. This remarkable screen features a 93% ultra-high screen ratio and a 59° Curved Screen Curvature, immersing you in a captivating viewing experience. Its sharp 1080 x 2400 resolution, 500 nits peak brightness, and impressive 99% DCI-P3 Color Gamut further elevate visual quality.
However, it’s worth noting that the device’s Normal Screen Refresh Rate is limited to 60Hz, which may disappoint some users. Nevertheless, given its price point, this limitation is understandable.
Furthermore, the itel S23+ incorporates Corning Gorilla Glass 5, which enhances protection against scratches and drops. This upgrade substantially improves the device’s durability, representing a significant enhancement over previous releases featuring only Corning Gorilla Glass 4. Additionally, the itel S23+ features in-display fingerprint technology, enhancing both convenience and security.
Furthermore, based on my experience with this unit, I’m delighted to share that its screen provides seamless and responsive navigation, displaying minimal glitches and delays with each touch.
This feature stands out as one of the key elements that genuinely sets the itel S23+ apart as an entry-level smartphone delivering a flagship-grade user experience.
Enhanced Performance with Ample RAM and Storage
As mentioned earlier, in my experience, this model offers seamless and responsive navigation, thanks to the flagship-level specifications that its screen incorporates. Furthermore, it accomplishes this with its generous 16GB of RAM. However, it’s important to note that this model technically includes 8GB of RAM. Nevertheless, its extended Dynamic RAM technology allows it to allocate up to 8GB of your phone’s ROM into RAM, enabling smooth transitions between as many as 20 background apps and ensuring a seamless user experience.
Furthermore, this model features a flagship-level 256GB storage, allowing users to store numerous videos, photos, and install a multitude of apps.
Additionally, its storage benefits from itel’s Atom Storage Technology. It automatically detects and organizes fragmented data on your phone, ensuring that you need not worry about deteriorating phone performance over time. This standout feature sets this model apart from other entry-level smartphones in today’s market.
Shooting Without Limits with its Super-Clear Camera
This model features a dual rear-camera system, comprising a 50MP Super-Clear Main Camera and a 0.08MP depth sensor. Moreover, the main camera boasts an f/1.6 aperture (wide) and Auto-Focus, ensuring the capture of vibrant, high-definition photos. Additionally, it offers an impressive AI scene recognition feature that automatically adjusts settings based on your surroundings. Furthermore, it is capable of up to 10x zoom, expanding your photography horizons.
Finally, the camera is equipped with several features including Beauty Mode, Portrait, Ultra HD, Panorama, Super Night Mode, and AR Shot for those who enjoy adding cute filters to their selfies. On the video side, it can record at 1080P and 30FPS. Below, you can view some sample photos.
Daylight Shot in 1x, 2x, and Portrait Mode
Shot in UltraHD 1x, 2x, and Night Shot using Super Night Mode.
Capturing Vibrant Selfies with its AI Selfie Shooter
The selfie camera in the S23+ has seen a significant upgrade, leaping from a mere 8MP in recent itel S23 series to an astonishing 32MP AI Selfie camera equipped with an f/2.0 aperture. This enhancement ensures crystal-clear selfie photos in both normal and portrait modes. On the video front, this model can record in 1080P at 30FPS. You can take a look at some sample photos below.
Selfie Shot in Beauty Mode, Portrait, and Night Shot using Super Night Mode.
Thoughts on the camera
Having previously marketed entry-level phones in my former job, I didn’t have high expectations for the main camera, considering its price point. This market segment demands specificity, targeting the mass market with an understandable approach. However, I was pleasantly surprised by the significant improvements itel has made in this model.
The rear camera is capable of capturing high-quality and vibrant photos, especially in well-lit conditions. Similarly, the selfie camera delivers vibrant selfie photos, particularly in good lighting. The beauty mode is also commendable, although itel could fine-tune it further to achieve a more natural appearance.
In low-light conditions, noise becomes noticeable, especially in night shots, even when using the Super Night mode. However, considering its price once again, it’s understandable. Nonetheless, this represents a significant camera improvement in smartphones priced under P10,000. it’s undeniably capable of capturing stunning and color-accurate photos with its 50MP rear camera and 32MP selfie camera. Kudos to itel!
High Performance at a Budget-Friendly Price Point
The itel S23+ runs on Android 13 with itel OS 13 and features an Octa-Core CPU, comprising (2×2.0 GHz Cortex-A75 & 6×1.8 GHz Cortex-A55), all powered by the Unisoc Tiger T616 chipset. Many entry-level smartphones commonly use this chipset. While it may not deliver top-tier gaming performance, it can efficiently handle multitasking and light gaming simultaneously.
Additionally, it boasts a sizable 5000mAh battery, complemented by itel’s AI Power Master intelligent battery management system, ensuring a prolonged battery life for the itel S23+. This functionality alleviates any concerns, allowing you to capture photos, enjoy your favorite shows, or engage in various games without the constant worry of the battery depleting.
Futhermore, this model includes an 18W Type-C Flash Charge feature, promising a full charge in 2 hours. Importantly, the 18W Flash Charger is not included in the packaging but comes as a complimentary item with your purchase.
Lastly, after several days of use, I found that this model can last up to 2 days with continuous social media activity, prolonged Netflix streaming, and frequent photography sessions.
Meet itel’s AI Assitant, Aivana GPT
Aivana GPT is itel’s AI voice assistant, offering support for a range of functions. It aims to enhance the overall user experience by enabling you to efficiently accomplish tasks through voice commands, thereby saving valuable time and effort.
Moreover, these functions encompass voice-operated phone calls, WhatsApp integration, music control, SMS management, real-time weather updates, map navigation, customizable alarm clock settings, efficient search capabilities, seamless translation tasks, and flexible phone settings adjustments, among others.
Say Hello to itel’s Dynamic Bar
Introducing itel’s Dynamic Bar, a premium feature designed for more convenient and seamless access to crucial notifications, including battery status, incoming calls, reminders, and unlock status. It’s akin to realme’s mini capsule, enhancing accessibility. However, it’s important to note that this feature will be available in a future update for the itel S23+. You’ll have to wait a bit for it to become accessible.
To gauge the performance of the entry-level itel S23+ among today’s market of entry-level phones, we conducted various benchmarking tests using apps such as AnTuTu, Geekbench 6, 3DMark, and CPDT.
Here are the benchmark results for the itel S23+:
- AnTuTu: 273,484
- Geekbench 6: 7444 (single-core), 1,581 (multi-core)
- 3DMark Wild Life: 480 with an average of 2.88 fps
- CPDT: Sequential write speeds of 228.66 MB/s, sequential read speeds of 278.29 MB/s
The itel S23+ marks a significant leap in the entry-level smartphone market. Itel Philippines is revolutionizing this segment by offering budget-friendly smartphones packed with flagship features for the Filipino mass market.
While most brands are engaged in fierce competition in the mid-range to flagship market, I applaud itel for rising to the top in the entry-level smartphone segment, which I believe still holds a substantial market share in the Philippines.
One of the standout features of the itel S23+ is its AMOLED Curve display, coupled with smooth and responsive navigation—an impressive feat for a smartphone priced under P10,000. Additionally, its flagship-level 256GB storage provides users with ample space to store countless memories and apps.
Furthermore, the most notable aspect of this phone is its price point—just P7,499, with freebies such as the itel ISW-31 Smartwatch or itel N75 OpenAir Air Conduction Earphones included. All the mentioned specifications and flagship features are present in this device, making it a major win for consumers on a budget who seek an enhanced mobile experience.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The itel S23+ is available for Php 7,499 through itel’s Shopee store, as well as at their physical stores and partner outlets nationwide. You can also seize the opportunity to acquire this model at a discounted Sale Price of up to Php 5,699 exclusively on itel’s Shopee store.
Moreover, orders placed on Shopee (https://tinyurl.com/itelS23Plus) come with a bundle that includes the itel ICH-61 Power Brick and an I678 Glass Screen Protector. Additionally, customers will receive official freebies, which can be either the itel ISW-31 Smartwatch or the itel N75 OpenAir Air Conduction Earphones. Keep an eye on itel’s Facebook and Instagram pages for updates.
Known by many as INYI, he boasts a decade-long career in marketing. With a specific focus on the consumer electronics sector, he previously held the role of Marketing Manager at MyPhone, a prominent local mobile phone company. Beyond this role, he is a co-owner and president of the Tech & Lifestyle brand FLEEK and remains highly engaged in crafting captivating social media content.