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iGBEditorialiPhone 14 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: A fight to be...

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

Apple vs. Samsung is a love-hate relationship that has been happening for over a decade. While both bring one of the best devices to the market every year, there’s always been a debate on which lineup is the best: iPhone or Galaxy?  

Here’s another year when we pit the top guns from Apple and Samsung against each other and see who’s superior. Don’t worry! I’ll keep my bias aside and look for an answer for this Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max clash and give you an exciting insight into how Apple can influence even its competitors. 

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max Design

Appearance of Samsung Galaxy S23 ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max

While it’s true that most of us will get a new case for our device within the first month of purchase, the design is among the top factors when purchasing a smartphone. The 14 Pro Max has a slight change in the dimensions, but Samsung literally made no changes to 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) 6.8  6.7 
Weight (gram) 234 206 

As for iPhone, Apple reimagined the dot/pill notch and replaced it with Notch to welcome Dynamic Island. Indeed, it awestruck all the Android OEMs to shame as they had been carrying the same design for a long and hadn’t unleashed its full potential.

The design choice is always subjective and varies from person to person. If you ask me which has the best design, I will give the win to Apple, thanks to Dynamic Island and better weight management.  

It seems like Samsung designers were on vacation while designing the S23 Ultra. It’s tough to point out the design differences apart from the change in the antenna’s position and the slightly raised camera bump.  

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max 

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max Display

You’ll look at the display all day, so keeping it the top priority only makes sense. Last year in our comparison of the S22 Ultra against the iPhone 13 Pro Max, Samsung knocked Apple out with its impressive display. So, Apple has a year to hit back with better screens, right?  

Well, look at these specs before I say anything: 

 Galaxy S23 Ultra iPhone 14 Pro Max 
Type Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1750 nits (peak) LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED, 120Hz, HDR10, Dolby Vision, 1000 nits (typ), 2000 nits (HBM) 
Resolution 1440 x 3088 pixels (~501ppi density) 1290 x 2796 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio (~460ppi density) 
Protection Corning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 Ceramic Shield glass 

Samsung continues to be the better display supplier, and they have ensured no one can better their display. So, despite having a brighter display with support for Dolby Vision, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra beat iPhone 14 Pro Max to become the best display for watching multimedia content.  

Winner: Galaxy S23 Ultra 

Specs – Battle of the Gods ⚡️ 

Chipsets Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max

When Apple gets defeated by Samsung in the display department, Apple counters the same with performance. Whenever you compare the S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max in terms of benchmark, or raw performance, the A16 bionic combined with the iOS optimization tames Samsung.  

 Galaxy S23 Ultra iPhone 14 Pro Max 
Chipset Qualcomm SM8550-AC Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (4 nm) Apple A16 Bionic (4 nm) 
CPU Octa-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) 
GPU Adreno 740 Apple GPU (5-core graphics) 
Geekbench 5 Single 1583 1884 
Geekbench 5 Multi 4937 5491 
3DMark Extreme (High) 3828 3382 
3DMark Extreme (Low) 1951 2327 
Source: PhoneArena

These processors are one of the best you can get in the market. For the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip for Galaxy, Samsung has further collaborated with the makers Qualcomm to strengthen the processor. Still, it fails to keep up with Apple Silicon.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max camera

The battle of cameras is never ending as both brands focus on enhancing their capabilities. Last year, Apple stunned everyone by upgrading the traditional 12MP camera to a 48MP sensor. To beat this, Samsung has taken a step further and introduced a 200MP primary camera.

But can these extra pixels in the camera make any noticeable difference? We’ll have to practically test the cameras to know the actual difference, but here’s a breakdown of the shooters 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@24/30fps
4K@30/60fps
1080p@30/60/240fps
720p@960fps (Super Slow-Mo)
HDR10+, stereo sound rec., gyro-EIS
4K@24/25/30/60fps
1080p@25/30/60/120/240fps
10-bit HDR, Dolby Vision HDR (up to 60fps), ProRes, Cinematic mode, stereo sound rec.
Source: GSMArena

Photography comparison

Samsung has custom-made a 200MP ISOCELL HP2 sensor for the primary camera. You can capture at 50MP resolution typically or 12.5MP in low light mode. Also, the 200x space-zoomed or 10x optical-zoomed and nighttime photos will leap thanks to 0.6-micron pixels. Shots taken at full 200MP mode will produce detailed backgrounds. However, this much resolution is excessive for a 9:16 frame.

While Samsung invested in the hardware, Apple played an intelligent game in software. The iPhone 14 Pro Max redefines mobile photography with advanced Photonic Engine, ProRAW format, Dual-LED dual-tone flash, etc. So, it’s able to deliver more presentable images. Besides, the larger ultrawide sensor allows for different framing of shots. 

Additionally, it was shocking that Samsung replaced the 40MP selfie camera with a 12MP sensor. According to the brand, this downgrade will not affect the quality as there are faster autofocus and enhanced portrait frames. Besides, Apple sticks to the old auto-focusing 12MP front shooter for iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Though Samsung says the Galaxy S23 incorporates an astrophotography mode with advanced AI-powered algorithms, we need to test it for assurance. But I think Samsung needs to further work on its auto HDR photo processors to avoid over-saturation and extreme smoothening.

Winner: Galaxy S23 Ultra

Video shooting features

You may have heard many directors use iPhone cameras to shoot their movies. It boasts Apple’s ultimate video definition and smart Cinematic mode. Besides, the ProRes mode in both the rear and front cameras offers higher color fidelity with less compression. 

To surpass the superiority, Samsung has added support for 8K video recording. Also, you will get dual HDR 4K and 1080p modes. The dual HDR will blend three exposures to deliver accurate colors and detailing. Like Apple’s Action mode, Samsung opted for a Super Steady mode with gyro-ESI. Both allow for all-axis stabilization for better-looking videos.

Now, if you ask me who is the winner in the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max camera battle, I would say iPhone 14 Pro Max because of its better image processing and management. I would like to test Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra before passing judgment. So, keep an eye out for our camera tests.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Software – Customization or security?

Who doesn’t love the Apple ecosystem? It provides extreme security, long-term support, and continuous updates to enhance user experience. As of writing this, iPhone 14 Pro Max runs iOS 16.3. As Android users always have touted customization, Apple has leveled up its software. 

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.  

Besides, Samsung has infused Android 13 with One UI 5.1. The One UI is famous for its simplicity and less bloatware. So, if you want better flexibility and customization, Android will suit you. But remember, the LockScreen widgets and Visual Look Up tool is absent in Android 13. Moreover, Samsung will only provide 4+1 years of software and security updates. 

Since I use Apple devices daily, iPhone 14 Pro Max will be my preference. Also, Galaxy S23 Ultra will give you a great experience if you are more accommodating to Android.

Winner: iPhone 14 Pro Max

Features – Minor differences

Both iPhone 14 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra possess an accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, and Ultra Wideband support. So, the only difference is their security key. Apple used the TrueDepth sensor for Face ID, whereas Samsung added an ultrasonic fingerprint under the display. 

Interestingly, Apple introduced Emergency SOS via the Satellite feature. The dual-band GPS further improves the location services. On the other hand, Samsung stands out with its Samsung Wireless Dex feature that offers desktop experience support and S-pen integration.

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
Charging speed45 Watts27 Watts

Big screens equal more battery consumption, so it’s crucial to pick one with better battery management. S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max are equipped with a 5000mAh and 4323mAh battery, respectively. While S23 has sustained nearly 18 hours 57 mins in a 120Hz browsing test, iPhone drained after 19 hours 5 mins. 

How’s that possible, you may ask? The answer is Apple’s software optimization and better heat management. Samsung tried hard to outrun Apple with 20% more battery endurance but failed. Therefore, the new 4nm-based Snapdragon needs to utilize the efficiency of the advanced LTPO OLED panel. 

Only the higher charging speed gives S23 Ultra an edge. With wired 45W speed (PD3.0), it can juice 65% in 30 mins and may take one hour for a full charge. Also, the wireless PowerShare feature allows you to charge your other devices at 4.5W speed. Samsung also claims to support Qi wireless charging, but the speed is not mentioned.

Though Apple has been working on battery optimization, the 27W (PD2.0) wired charging speed is on the lower side. It takes 30 minutes to reach 50% and around two hours for a full charge. Please note that Apple doesn’t reveal battery specs, so the above are approximations. Besides, I liked its 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
128GBNA$1,099
256GB$1,199$1,199
512GB$1,3799$1,399
1TB$1,619$1,599
As of writing this article, the S23 Ultra is still under pre-order.

I hope the differences are apparent at the end of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max battle. The 14 Pro Max will easily blend into your workflow if you already use Apple devices. The S23 Ultra stands out with its ergonomic design, stylus integration, crisp display, and sharp images. Now it’s totally up to your needs and preferences.

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

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  • Ava

    Ava is a die-hard Apple aficionado and seasoned writer with a knack for breaking down complex tech concepts into easily digestible content. Having honed her writing and editing skills over 3 years at renowned media houses like TechBurner, Ava crafts informative and engaging articles including troubleshooting guides, product reviews, editorials at iGeeksBlog. When not typing, you can find her exploring the latest Apple releases or pondering the future of tech innovation.

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