Samsung and Apple are the most popular smartphone brands. Today, we will find out who builds the best phone on the market – we compare the brand new Galaxy S23 Ultra with the Apple flagship iPhone 14 Pro (Max).
Design and Display Comparison
Let’s take a look at the displays, comparing Samsung to Samsung. Because Samsung produces OLED screens not only for Apple but also for many other top manufacturers.
Both smartphones have OLED screens with the so-called LTPO technology, which automatically adjusts the screen refresh rate of up to 120 Hertz to what you are currently doing on your phone. For example, when you’re reading an article, the refresh rate is low. And when you’re gaming, it’s high. This ultimately saves battery life.
The display of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is larger at 6.8 inches compared to the two iPhone screens. Additionally, it has a higher resolution. However, on the iPhone 14 Pro models, you won’t be able to see individual pixels because the pixel density is high enough.
Design is a matter of personal preference – both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro are very well-crafted and high-quality. The iPhone has a completely flat frame, so the 14 Pro has a more angular look. The frame of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is slightly more rounded, making it more comfortable to hold. While the corners of the iPhone are rounded, they are sharper on the Samsung device.
Apple has been using the camera bump on the back for years. Since the S22 Ultra, Samsung has abandoned this and now places the cameras individually in the housing. It looks very elegant and stylish.
However, there is one visual change in the iPhone 14 Pro: Apple removes the classic wide notch and now uses the so-called Dynamic Island. The front camera is integrated directly into the display, similar to the S23 Ultra. However, Apple offers a cool software solution with the dynamic island to display additional app information.
A highlight of the Galaxy S23 Ultra is that Samsung finally uses a Qualcomm CPU instead of its own Exynos processor in Germany. The advantage: higher performance with less power consumption. With the brand new and exclusive Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chip, we achieve the highest score in the Antutu benchmark at the time of testing – the gaming smartphone Redmagic 8 Pro+ from Nubia currently tops the leaderboard.
The benchmark takes into account not only the CPU performance but also memory and UX.
In the Antutu ranking, the iPhone 14 Pro Max leads the list among iOS smartphone models. Unfortunately, we cannot directly compare the models in this benchmark because they are based on different platforms, as Antutu itself states.
However, it is generally noteworthy that the Apple-designed A16 chip is extremely powerful and offers peak performance in the iPhone – this highlights the advantage of everything coming from the same source and being optimally coordinated.
In everyday use, you don’t have to worry about performance with either of the two devices – there is more than enough power available in both.
The cameras in these two devices offer different capabilities: The Galaxy S23 Ultra can take photos with up to 200 megapixels, while the iPhone 14 Pro now has 48 megapixels.
The zoom on the S23 Ultra is very powerful, allowing you to zoom in digitally up to 100 times – the iPhone’s 15x zoom can’t keep up, and even the 3x optical zoom on the iPhone 14 Pro falls short compared to the 10x optical zoom on the S23 Ultra.
For comparison purposes, we used the highest resolution for each and examined which device takes better photos. You can find all the photos in the video below:
In direct comparison, it is also noticeable that the 200 megapixels on the Galaxy S23 Ultra have their advantages. Images are sharper, although textures are often blurrier. Text is more readable. However, it is generally evident how much the Samsung phone enhances colors.
When it comes to optically zoomed images, the iPhone has higher image noise, but it shows more texture. The S23 Ultra’s blur effect is too strong.
While the S23 Ultra impresses with its colors in night mode, the iPhone 14 Pro offers better sharpness.
Battery Life and Charging
In practice, the battery life of both smartphones is almost identical – you can easily get through 1.5 days with the S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro. In benchmarks, the 14 Pro has a slight advantage, but it doesn’t have a significant impact on real-world performance.
There is a bigger difference in charging speed. You can charge the S23 Ultra at a maximum of 45 watts, while the 14 Pro only charges at about half that speed. Even though the S23 Ultra has a 5000 mAh battery, which is around 700 mAh larger than the iPhone 14 Pro, it charges an hour faster. The iPhone actually takes over 2 hours and 20 minutes to fully charge.
No power adapter is included with either device, so you will need to either have one or purchase it separately.
The iPhone 14 Pro offers one of the best facial recognition systems in the smartphone industry with Face ID. However, Apple users have to do without a fingerprint sensor, which can be very useful in many situations. Speculation about when Apple will bring back Touch ID has been ongoing year after year, but there is still no information about this.
You can unlock the Galaxy S23 Ultra with either your face or your fingerprint. The fingerprint sensor is located under the display glass. Since it uses an ultrasonic sensor, the phone unlocks very quickly.
You can not only use your fingerprint to unlock the smartphone but also to avoid entering a password in certain applications such as banking apps. Biometric authentication is secure.
Apple is known for its long update guarantee. With the iPhone 14 Pro, iOS 16 was also released. It is likely that this generation will be supplied with new iOS versions for five years, so you can expect iOS 21 as well.
This means that you can use the respective device for an extremely long time without having to buy a new phone because the software is outdated or the performance noticeably declines.
Both smartphones are expensive – no question about that. The Galaxy S23 Ultra starts at an RRP of 1,399 Euros with 256GB of storage. The iPhone 14 Pro, with its 6.1-inch display, starts at 1,299 Euros – however, the storage is only half as large, at 128GB. If you want 256GB of storage, you’ll have to pay a little more – namely 1,429 Euros.
The comparably sized model, the iPhone 14 Pro Max with a 6.7-inch display and 128GB, costs 1,449 Euros. For the 256GB version, you will have to shell out 1,579 Euros.
The advantage with Samsung is that their phones tend to become cheaper faster. So, the S23 Ultra is currently already significantly reduced in price when compared in the price comparison!
So – which phone is better? Honestly, when it comes to the basic features, the devices are quite similar – battery life, performance, display, camera – everything is on a similar level.
With the S23 Ultra, you get more versatility in the camera department, as you have more options for capturing photos. The 100x zoom may not always produce printable results, but it is definitely impressive. The 200 megapixels have their advantages for fine details, although the iPhone 14 Pro is also quite good.
It depends on what you expect from the camera exactly: For snapshots, both cameras are more than sufficient. We find that Samsung helps too much with AI in our taste and edits the photos too much. Textures are often not as sharp, but the overall image looks great. And the iPhone has its disadvantages due to the low zoom range. Both are excellent camera systems, but we generally find the S23 Ultra’s to be slightly better.
The iPhone 14 Pro brings the genius advantage of the ecosystem – everything is interconnected, and file exchange, etc., is super simple. You get the same with Samsung as well. However, Android and Windows users also use devices from different manufacturers since there is much more variety. With Apple, it’s just Apple.
If you also use your phone for work or in university, you will appreciate the S Pen with the S23 Ultra – it’s essentially a unique selling point for the Samsung phone.
All in all, both smartphones are extremely powerful devices in their own way. It’s more a question of price and ecosystem for which model you choose. But you definitely get the best device with Android or iOS, respectively.