itel S23+ First Impressions

itel has managed to bring a curved AMOLED screen on a phone that costs Rs 13,999. How did they manage this? We share our thoughts about the itel S23+ in our first impressions.


Remember when curved AMOLED displays were reserved for high-end phones? That changed when Realme announced the 10 Pro+ (review), as it brought a 6.72-inch curved AMOLED display under the Rs 30,000 barrier for the first time. The Lava Agni 2 (review) then popped its collars to offer such a premium feature at about 20 grand. But now itel has brought this feature to the budget segment for an asking price of just Rs 13,999. How did they manage this? Find out that and more in our first impressions.  

itel S23+ First Impressions: Pricing and Availability in India

The itel S23+ is priced at Rs 13,999 in its single 8GB RAM and 256GB configuration. It is available on Amazon in two colours: Elemental Blue and Lake Cyan, which unlike the name is a black-ish shade.  

itel S23+ First impressions: The lowdown

Some people may say that the itel S23+ takes some liberties in terms of borrowing its design. The curved display gives you a hark back to the S6 Edge days whereas the back of it clearly resembles Apple’s iPhone Pro models. These are tried and tested design silhouettes, so it makes sense to just slap them on. However, the third camera doesn’t host a camera – instead, it’s just a LED flash. 

The glitter design on the Elemental Blue colour variant looks good in real life. The phone has a plastic back but does feel premium on hand. 

Sadly, the phone misses out on a headphone jack, maybe for cost cutting. Other than that, the bottom of the phone houses a type-C port, speaker grille, a mic and a SIM slot. On the right lies a volume rocker and power button. 

Coming to the USP of the itel S23+, there’s a massive 6.78-inch 3D curved AMOLED display on the front which is set to Full HD+ resolution. The display looks appealing for a budget phone. There’s a punch-hole camera on the front and less bezels around the display. However, it has a standard 60Hz refresh rate which we felt could have been at least 90Hz, if it was meant to provide a good display experience. Surprisingly, the phone also has an in-display fingerprint scanner… at just Rs 13,999 – what!? 

The Corning Gorilla Glass 5 protection covers the display from scratches. 

The itel S23+ is powered by a Unisoc T616 processor – come on, they had to cut corners somewhere. It goes against the two to three year old SoCs such as the Snapdragon 680 and Mediatek Helio G85. Rest, it is packed with 8GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 256GB of UFS 2.2 internal storage. 

It doesn’t make a lot of sense to pit this against the Redmi 12 5G (first impressions), which has a more contemporary 4nm chipset, but we’ll let it slide given how hard the S23+ goes on the display front. But, we’ll still give our verdict on its day-to-day behaviour and gaming performance

The phone boots Android 13 based itelOS. The UI has a similar vibe to Infinix or Tecno phones, possessing tons of bloatware that require some effort and time to uninstall them. On the plus side, the UI felt smooth. 

For the optics, there’s a 50-megapixel dual camera setup that is accompanied by a 2-megapixel depth sensor. On the front, it features a 32-megapixel sensor. We haven’t tested its camera yet, but during our hands-on experience, we got to try out its camera app. It’s a simple and easy-to-use app with basic modes available. 

The battery and charging capacities are standard in this price segment – 5,000mAh with 18W charging speed. And yes, we do get a charger inside the box. 

itel S23+ First impressions: Initial Thoughts

itel seems to be starting a new journey in its India chapter and for that, it is bringing premium features like 5G connectivity and curved AMOLED display to the budget segment. That’s a commendable step but it would be interesting to see how these devices will benefit the users in the long term. 

For a consumer who’s spending Rs 13,999 on a device, a large curved AMOLED display, a 5,000mAh battery with 18W charging, 50-megapixel dual rear camera setup, NFC and in-display fingerprint is a big deal.

We will soon be putting our final thoughts in the itel S23+ review, so keep an eye out on this space.