Galaxy S23 Ultra gaming with Samsung Dex is the best of both worlds

Adam Birney / Android Authority

As someone who’s never been a huge mobile gamer, I never thought I’d find myself praising a smartphone for its gaming capabilities. I’ve always preferred using my phone for simple puzzle games like Tetris and Sudoku, or card games like Marvel Snap. For graphics-intensive experiences, I’ve traditionally turned to consoles, and I still think the PS5 or Xbox Series X offer an unparalleled gaming experience on the big screen. However, my view changed when I got my hands on the Galaxy S23 Ultra and discovered its gaming potential.

Before diving into my experience, I should mention the powerhouse driving this device: the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. The device inside the Galaxy S23 series is an enhanced version of the regular chip, featuring faster CPU and GPU clock speeds than its predecessors and topping Android benchmark schemes. As a result, it slides through the latest and greatest in mobile games.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy processor is designed for gaming.

When you pair the phone with the often overlooked Samsung Dex feature, it opens up a whole new horizon for gaming. Dex has been around for a long time, allowing users to turn their Samsung phones into a desktop experience with a screen. However, I didn’t find much use for it because I often had a powerful laptop to run the programs I needed. But one thing I can’t do well with my laptop is run games on it, because it lacks a dedicated GPU. And then this happened to me; I can play a lot of great games on my Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and connect it to a gaming monitor or TV.

How to use Samsung Dex for games

My Samsung Dex desk gaming setup

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Although Samsung Dex can work wirelessly with a Windows PC or a Miracast- or Chromecast-equipped display, I recommend a wired connection to reduce screen latency to the device. Wireless connections are limited to 30fps as well, while cable can take you up to 60fps. Additionally, instead of a cable, you can use an adapter with an Ethernet port, such as the Steam Deck dock, to eliminate latency from your wireless network if you don’t have a fast Wi-Fi router.

All you need is a Galaxy Phone, an HDMI adapter, and a wireless controller, and you’re set.

For my monitor, I used the Agon Pro, a QHD mini-LED gaming monitor, which may have been a bit overkill with the 240Hz refresh rate. But you don’t need a top-of-the-line gaming monitor to enjoy playing games on your phone.

For a wireless controller, you can use any Bluetooth controller, such as an Xbox One controller, but I’d recommend using Sony’s DualSense instead. This is because you can use the touchpad in the center of the controller as a mouse trackpad, which can be very useful if you need to quickly select something on the screen.

What it’s like to use the Galaxy S23 for gaming on the big screen

S23 Ultra on keyboard showing game menu

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Samsung Dex excels in the gaming department, supporting native Android games, cloud games, and emulators with solid performance. Let’s look at some examples from each category.

Not all games directly from the Google Play Store support wireless controllers, which can make it difficult to play touch-only games. But popular titles like Call of Duty Mobile do just that, and it’s incredibly fun. If this is your first time playing, one of the downsides is that you cannot use a wireless controller to complete the tutorial stage. But once you get past that, pair a controller, and can get into multiplayer matches, it becomes a pleasure to be the best at aiming and shooting with a touch screen. The game runs smoothly and looks great on a larger screen, and you can adjust all the settings to your liking, including the sensitivity of the appearance and the layout of the buttons.

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Whether you’re playing pin games or streaming from the cloud, Dex can do it all.

If you don’t want to play games locally on the device, Samsung DeX works well with cloud gaming services like Xbox Game Pass, which allows users to stream full console games. I tried playing Forza Horizon, a next-generation Xbox Game Pass game, which ran smoothly with no noticeable latency issues. There were a few occasional framerate stutters and occasional choppiness with the display, but nothing that would make it unplayable. But action-adventure games with 2D art styles like Tunic or Hades look as good as they do on Xbox Series X. And if you haven’t got a PS5 or Xbox Series X yet, the experience here is on par with last-gen hardware.

Dolphin emulator on S23 Ultra

Adam Birney / Android Authority

S23 Ultra is also an incredibly powerful gaming emulator. Most games from the previous generation, portable or not, are not a problem with the Snapdragon Gen 2 processor. Games ran on the Game Boy Advance emulator and PlayStation One emulator without issues. Meanwhile, Dolphin Emulator, a GameCube and Wii emulator, worked very well running games like Super Mario Sunshine and Simpsons Hit & Run. I can’t stress enough how mind-boggling it is that something I can carry around in my pocket is perfectly capable of matching the gaming hardware I played growing up.

It amazes me that something I carry around in my pocket can reproduce the performance of previous game consoles.

Dex is great for work and play

Lightroom on Dex

Adam Birney / Android Authority

Besides games, Samsung Dex allows users to run multiple apps simultaneously. It supports resolutions up to 1440p, which makes it an excellent solution for various use cases, including work, photo and video editing. Apps like Adobe Lightroom support Dex mode with full mouse functionality and gesture controls where you can double-click to right-click, for example, making it easy to edit photos on the go. Although if you’re using it for long-term editing, consider investing in a good keyboard and reliable mouse.

Have you ever used Samsung Dex for gaming?

83 votes

Galaxy S23 Ultra with Samsung Dex delivers a powerful and versatile experience that caters to different users’ needs. From work and productivity to gaming and media consumption, Samsung Dex has you covered. While the experience of some next-gen games isn’t quite on par with next-gen consoles, it’s still satisfying to pick up where I left off in a game while traveling with a spare monitor or tablet. If you have a Galaxy S23 Ultra, do yourself a favor and choose a cable or adapter, a controller, and connect your monitor to have some fun with your phone for an excellent gaming experience.

$69.00 at Amazon

Sony DualSense controller

Sony DualSense controller

The official PS5 controller
Lots of colors
Broad compatibility

$1,169.99 at Amazon

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

15%on

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

New main camera with a resolution of 200 megapixels
nice offer
S Pen functionality

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