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iGBEditorialiPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra - Which flagship...

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra – Which flagship wins? 

The ongoing rivalry between iPhone and Samsung has been reignited with the launch of Apple’s iPhone 15 series. Both top-of-the-line devices, the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, offer high-end features. So, you may wonder which one is superior. Below, we’ll compare the specs of the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra to know which flagship is better.

Specs – iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra 

Here’s an overview of the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung S23 Ultra specs:

 iPhone 15 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Dimensios159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3 mm 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm 
Weight221g234g
BodyCorning Ceramic shield front and glass back with grade 5 titanium frameCorning Gorilla Glass Victus 2 front and back with armor aluminum frame
SIMDual SIM (nano-SIM and eSIM) and dual e-SIM supportDual SIM with e-SIM support  
Display6.7 inches, Super Retina XDR OLED display, 2796 x 1290 pixel at 460 ppi6.8 inches Dynamic AMOLED 2x display, 3088 x 1440 (Quad HD+)
Refresh rate120Hz120Hz
240Hz touch sampling rate in gaming mode
Brightness1000 nits (typical) 2000 nits (peak when sunny)1200 (HBM) 1750 (peak)
ChipsetApple A17 Pro with 6-core CPU and 6-core GPUQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2  with Octa-core CPU and Adreno 740 GPU
OSiOS 17Android 13
RAM8GB8GB, 12GB
Capacity256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB UFS 4.0
CameraRear: 48MP Main, 12MP Ultra Wide, and 12MP 2x Telephoto
Front: 12MP
Rear: 200MP Main, 12MP Ultra Wide, 10MP telephoto
Front: 12MP
ZoomOptical zoom: 5x in 2x out
10 optical zoom range
Digital zoom up to 25x
Optical zoom: 10x (3x for portraits)
Digital zoom up to 100x
Video4K @ 24/25/30/60fps
1080p @ 25/30/60fps
720p @ 30fps
Dolby Vision HDR 4K@ 60fps
Pro Res up to 4K@60fps
Slo-mo 1080p @120/240fps
8K @ 24/30fps
4K @ 30/60fps
1080p @ 30/60/240fps
Slo-mo FHD @ 240/960fps
SensorsFace ID, LiDAR Scanner, Barometer, High dynamic range gyro, High-g accelerometer, Proximity sensory, Dual ambient light sensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor
BiometricsFace IDUltrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor and Face Recognition
Battery Li-Ion 4852 mAh, non-removableLi-Ion 5000 mAh, non-removable
Audio and Video PlaybackUp to 29 hours of video playback
Up to 95 hours of audio playback
Up to 26 hours of video playback
Up to 99 hours of audio playback
Charging speed20W wired, 15W MagSafe wireless45W
Splash, Water, and Dust ResistanceIP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 min)IP68 (max of 6 meters up to 30 minutes)
ColorsBlack Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, Natural TitaniumGreen, Cream, Phantom Black, Lavender
Warranty1-year manufacturer warranty1-year manufacturer warranty
Price$1199.00$1199.99

Design – iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra

First, let’s go with the external design; the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Samsung S23 Galaxy have distinct features. The S23 Ultra has squared-off edges compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s rounded-off edges. However, they have nearly similar screen sizes and dimensions. 

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra Design

What’s different with the S23 regarding external design is its built-in stylus and SIM card tray at the bottom. The S Pen stylus is a significant advantage for the Samsung Galaxy S3 for note-taking and interacting with files and PDFs. Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro Max retained most of its predecessor’s features, except for the lightweight aerospace-titanium body.

Also, Apple has finally given up on the lightning port. So, both the S23 Ultra and the 15 Pro Max now sport a USB-C port. Aside from the port change, the iPhone Pro series has ditched the old ring/silent switch and replaced it with a customizable Action button. However, Samsung also has a functional power button.

Display – iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra

Let’s now address Samsung  S23 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max regarding display. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch OLED display, just a tad smaller than S23’s 6.8-inch AMOLED display. Besides, the resolution of the Apple device is 2796 x 1290 pixels at 460 ppi, while Samsung’s flagship product boasts 3058 x 1440 pixels at 500 ppi.

Also, the punch-hole design of the S23 Ultra provides more space. In contrast, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has adopted the Dynamic Island, which is interactive and useful. Also, Apple has made record-breaking thin bezels, adding more usable screen space.

The S23 Galaxy Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max have a 120Hz refresh rate that adjusts based on your screen activity. However, if you love playing graphics-intense games, S23 Ultra’s 240Hz refresh rate will make a difference. Besides, the iPhone has a slight edge with Face ID. You can unlock your device from multiple angles without physically touching it.

Performance – iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra

Apple has again pushed the envelope with its latest Apple silicon, the A17 Pro. This SoC is designed specifically for the iPhone 15 Pro Max using TSMC’s cutting-edge 3nm node. It boasts an impressive 19 billion transistors, a 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU, and a 2x faster 16-core Neural Engine.

So, it delivers up to 10% swifter performance than A16 Bionic. Also, the chip incorporates a USB controller, elevating transfer speeds to an astounding 10GB per second. Besides, it’s capable of 4x faster ray tracing for better rendering while running graphics-heavy tasks. Because of this powerful GPU, it’s the first in the smartphone industry to run full versions of console games like Resident Evil 4.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra Chipset

Meanwhile, S23 is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 and is built on TSMC’s 4nm node. But in contrast to the iPhone, Samsung offers users two RAM options (8 and 12GB). It is the fastest mobile CPU for Android smartphones.

Here’s a GeekBench score comparison between the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S23 Ultra:

 iPhone 15 Pro MaxGalaxy S23 Ultra
Single-core28461964
Multi-core70245215

Camera – iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

When comparing the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung S23 Ultra, the camera is a significant factor in deciding which is better. Regarding these flagships, Samsung heavily beats Apple despite the significant upgrades. A 200MP primary camera and a 10MP telephoto with 10x optical zoom make S23 Ultra a formidable opponent. 

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung S23 Ultra Camera

Meanwhile, Apple has introduced a 5x optical zoom in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But it doesn’t quite match the S23’s zoom capabilities, especially considering the S23’s specialized 3x zoom for those perfect portrait shots. And if we’re talking digital zoom, the S23 Ultra zooms in up to a whopping 100x, making the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 25x seem a tad modest.

Despite this, Apple says that the Pro camera system is equivalent to “seven camera lenses,” thanks to the advanced Photonic Engine. Conversely, the iPhone still has the upper hand on Samsung regarding video performance’s efficiency, consistency, and reliability.

Battery and charging

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max don’t heavily differ in battery life.

The iPhone impresses with up to 29 hours for video playback, while the S23 follows closely at 26 hours. As for audio playback, the iPhone delivers up to 95 hours, slightly overshadowed by the S23’s commendable 99 hours. However, the iPhone might have a slight edge in conserving battery life, given the A17 Pro chip’s efficiency.

On the other hand, when it comes to charging speeds, the S23 holds a distinct advantage. It offers a notably faster 45W charging than the iPhone, which takes an additional 40 minutes. Sadly, Apple’s Lightning connector caps the charging at 20W, even after transitioning to USB-C.

Price

The iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are closely matched in terms of pricing. Remarkably, their base models, each with 256GB of storage, are nearly identically priced. However, the S23 tends to be slightly more expensive as storage capacity increases. 

For a more transparent comparison, see the table below:

Storage options iPhone 15 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 
256 GB$1199$1199.99
512 GB$1399$1379.99
1 TB$1599$1619.99

Verdict – Which one is the best between iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung S23 Ultra?

In all honesty, both flagships bring their own set of pros and cons to the table. Ultimately, the best choice hinges on individual preferences. If top-tier photography and customization are your cup of tea, the Samsung Galaxy S23 might be your best bet. However, the iPhone 15 Pro Max could be the way to go if you’re in the market for efficiency and security.

So, which one catches your eye? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Rachel

    Rachel, an experienced Apple technology writer since 2021 and a long-time user since 2003, began her journey with a silver iPod Classic. Currently, she owns an array of modern Apple gadgets. At iGeeksBlog, her expertise shines through in the crafting of comprehensive how-to articles, informative guides, and well-curated roundups.

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