iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Galaxy S23 Ultra: A competition to be the best

For more than ten years, there has been a love-hate relationship between Apple and Samsung. Every year, both companies release some of the greatest gadgets on the market, but there has always been disagreement over whose lineup is superior: the Galaxy or the iPhone?

Let’s compare the best from Apple and Samsung this year without any favoritism. In the battle between the Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max, I’ll share an interesting perspective on how Apple’s influence extends to its rivals.

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Galaxy S23 Ultra Design

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Galaxy S23 Ultra

Even though many of us buy a new case soon after getting a device, the look of a smartphone matters a lot when we’re choosing one. The 14 Pro Max has slightly different dimensions, but Samsung didn’t change anything about the body, at least on the outside.

Here are the dimensions of the S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max:

Galaxy S23 Ultra iPhone 14 Pro Max
Dimensions (inch) 6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 5.81 x 2.81 x 0.31
Screen size (inch) 6.86.7
Weight (gram) 234 206

For the iPhone, Apple redesigned the dot/pill notch and introduced Notch, embracing Dynamic Island. This move left Android OEMs amazed, as they had stuck with the same design for a while without fully exploring its possibilities.

Design preferences are personal, and they differ from one person to another. If you ask me, Apple takes the win in the design department, mainly because of Dynamic Island and superior weight management.

It looks like Samsung’s designers took a break when working on the S23 Ultra. It’s hard to spot design differences, except for the antenna’s new position and a slightly raised camera bump.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max Display

Since you’ll be staring at the display all day, making it a top priority is only logical. In the last comparison between the S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max, Samsung won with its impressive display. Now, Apple has had a year to come back with even better screens, hasn’t it?

Well, look at these specs before I say anything:

Galaxy S23 UltraiPhone 14 Pro Max
TypeDynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1750 nits (peak) LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 1000 nits (typ), 2000 nits (HBM)
Resolution1440 x 3088 pixels (~501ppi density) 1290 x 2796 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~460ppi density)
ProtectionCorning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 Ceramic Shield glass

Samsung remains the superior display provider, making it hard for anyone to surpass them. Despite the iPhone 14 Pro Max having a brighter display with Dolby Vision support, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra outshines it as the best display for watching multimedia content.

Winner: Galaxy S23 Ultra

Specs – Battle of the Gods ⚡️

When Apple falls short to Samsung in the display category, they strike back with performance. Whether you’re looking at benchmarks or raw performance in the S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max comparison, the A16 Bionic chip, coupled with iOS optimization, outpaces Samsung.

Galaxy S23 Ultra iPhone 14 Pro Max
ChipsetQualcomm SM8550-AC Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm) Apple A16 Bionic (4 nm)
CPUOcta-core (1×3.36 GHz Cortex-X3 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A710 & 3×2.0 GHz Cortex-A510) Hexa-core (2×3.46 GHz Everest + 4×2.02 GHz Sawtooth)
GPUAdreno 740Apple GPU (5-core graphics)
Geekbench 5 Single 15831884
Geekbench 5 Multi 4937 5491
3DMark Extreme (High) 38283382
3DMark Extreme (Low) 19512327

The processors in these phones are among the best available. Despite Samsung teaming up with Qualcomm to enhance the Galaxy’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, it still falls behind Apple Silicon in terms of performance.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max camera

The camera competition between these brands is ongoing, with both striving to improve. Apple surprised everyone last year by upgrading from a 12MP to a 48MP sensor. In response, Samsung went a step further, introducing a 200MP primary camera to outdo Apple.

Whether the extra pixels in the camera really make a difference will become clear after practical testing. For now, here’s a breakdown of the cameras for your reference:

Galaxy S23 UltraiPhone 14 Pro Max
Main camera200 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide), 1/1.3″, 0.6µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS48 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.28″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS
Ultra-wide camera12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120″, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, Super Steady video12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚, 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF
Telephoto camera10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm, 1/3.52″, 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom12 MP, f/2.8, 77mm, 1/3.5″, PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
Additional camera10 MP, f/4.9, 230mm (periscope telephoto), 1/3.52″, 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x optical zoomTOF 3D LiDAR scanner (depth)
Front Camera12 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide), Dual Pixel PDAF12 MP, f/1.9, 23mm, 1/3.6″, PDAF, OIS (unconfirmed)
Video captures8K@24/30fps4K@30/60fps1080p@30/60/240fps720p@960fps (Super Slow-Mo)HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS4K@24/25/30/60fps1080p@25/30/60/120/240fps10-bit HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), ProRes, Cinematic mode, stereo sound rec.

Photography comparison

Samsung crafted a special 200MP ISOCELL HP2 sensor for the main camera. You can normally capture at 50MP or 12.5MP in low light. The 200x space-zoom or 10x optical-zoom and nighttime photos benefit from 0.6-micron pixels. Shots in full 200MP mode offer detailed backgrounds, but it might be too much for a 9:16 frame.

Samsung focused on hardware, but Apple played smart with software. The iPhone 14 Pro Max revolutionizes mobile photography with features like the advanced Photonic Engine, ProRAW format, and Dual-LED dual-tone flash. This combination allows it to produce more polished images. Additionally, the larger ultrawide sensor opens up new possibilities for framing shots.

Surprisingly, Samsung switched the 40MP selfie camera with a 12MP sensor. Despite the downgrade, Samsung promises no quality loss due to faster autofocus and improved portrait frames. On the other hand, Apple maintains the traditional 12MP front shooter with autofocus for the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Samsung claims the Galaxy S23 has an astrophotography mode with advanced AI algorithms, but testing is needed for confirmation. There’s room for improvement, especially in the auto HDR photo processors, to prevent over-saturation and excessive smoothing.

Winner: Galaxy S23 Ultra

Video shooting features

Directors often use iPhone cameras for movie shooting due to Apple’s top-notch video capabilities and the smart Cinematic mode. Additionally, the ProRes mode, available for both rear and front cameras, ensures higher color fidelity with minimal compression.

To compete with this, Samsung introduced support for 8K video recording. There are also dual HDR modes for 4K and 1080p. The dual HDR combines three exposures for precise colors and detailing. Similar to Apple’s Action mode, Samsung includes a Super Steady mode with gyro-ESI, providing all-axis stabilization for more polished videos.

In the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max camera showdown, I’d pick the iPhone 14 Pro Max due to its superior image processing and management. However, I’d reserve final judgment until I test the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s camera. Stay tuned for our camera tests.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Software – Customization or security?

The Apple ecosystem is widely appreciated for its strong security, long-term support, and regular updates to improve the user experience. Currently, the iPhone 14 Pro Max operates on iOS 16.3. While Android users often highlight customization, Apple has stepped up its software game.

The iOS 16 features offer many customizing options, an innovative Lock Screen, Live Activities, improved Focus filters, etc. Also, you can remove the background of images using Visual Look Up and get Live Text from videos. Also, the integration with hardware and other external Apple devices is better optimized on the iPhone.

Samsung has integrated Android 13 with One UI 5.1, known for its simplicity and minimal bloatware. If you prefer more flexibility and customization, Android is a good fit. However, note that Android 13 lacks LockScreen widgets and the Visual Look Up tool. Additionally, Samsung guarantees 4+1 years of software and security updates.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Features – Minor differences

The iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra share common features like accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, and Ultra Wideband support. The key difference lies in their security methods: Apple utilizes the TrueDepth sensor for Face ID, while Samsung incorporates an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display.

Apple brought a unique touch with the Emergency SOS via Satellite feature and enhanced location services with dual-band GPS. Meanwhile, Samsung distinguishes itself with the Samsung Wireless Dex feature, providing support for a desktop experience and integration with the S Pen.

In this aspect, I can’t really decide if S23 Ultra is better than iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max battery

Galaxy S23 UltraiPhone 14 Pro Max
Battery capacity5,000mAh4,323mAh
45 Watts27 Watts

Considering bigger screens often mean more battery consumption, choosing a device with efficient battery management is important. The S23 Ultra boasts a 5000mAh battery, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a 4323mAh battery. In a 120Hz browsing test, the S23 Ultra lasted nearly 18 hours and 57 minutes, slightly behind the iPhone, which drained after 19 hours and 5 minutes.

The secret lies in Apple’s software optimization and superior heat management. Despite Samsung’s efforts to surpass Apple with a 20% increase in battery endurance, they fell short. To make the most of the new 4nm-based Snapdragon, efficiency from the advanced LTPO OLED panel is crucial.

The S23 Ultra gains an advantage with its faster charging speed. With a wired 45W speed (PD3.0), it can reach 65% in 30 minutes and fully charge in about an hour. The wireless PowerShare feature lets you charge other devices at a speed of 4.5W. While Samsung claims support for Qi wireless charging, the speed is not specified.

Despite Apple’s focus on battery optimization, the 27W (PD2.0) wired charging speed is relatively slower. It takes about 30 minutes to reach 50% and approximately two hours for a full charge. It’s worth noting that Apple doesn’t disclose battery specifications, so these are estimates. On a positive note, I appreciate the support for 15W MagSafe and 7.5W Qi wireless charging.

Considering better battery management, I choose iPhone 14 Pro Max. If charging speed matters to you more, go for Galaxy S23 Ultra.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Which flagship smartphone should you buy?

StorageGalaxy S23 UltraiPhone 14 Pro Max

The distinctions between the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max are clear in this battle. The 14 Pro Max seamlessly integrates into your Apple-centric workflow, while the S23 Ultra shines with its ergonomic design, stylus integration, vibrant display, and sharp images. The choice ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.

Which one will you choose? Let me know in the comments below.

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