Compared: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (2023)

Almost everyone planning to buy a premium phone this year will stick with what they know: iOS or Android.

Phone buyers rarely flip between iOS and Android. Nine time out of ten, people will pick one, learn how to make the most of their choice and stay in their lane.

If you are considering moving out of your phone comfort zone, this will help. If you’re not, treat this comparison as an opportunity to learn if the grass is greener on the other side of the iOS-Android fence.

Sky high prices

Inflation, currency movements and more features mean premium phone prices continue to rise. These are the two most expensive non-folding phones available.

Prices and the relative price differences between phone models can change considerably from country to country.

This comparison is written in New Zealand where the two phones are close in price.

Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at NZ$2200 for a phone with 128GB of storage. A phone with 256GB costs $2400 and the 512GB model is $2800. At the top of the range $3200 will buy an iPhone Pro Max with a terabyte of storage.

Samsung skips the 128GB model. Its Galaxy S23 Ultra range starts at NZ$2300 for a phone with 256GB and 8GB of Ram. There’s a version with 512GB and 12GB of Ram for $2650 while $3100 will buy you a phone with a terabyte of storage and 12GB of Ram.

Price and storage comparisoniPhone 14 Pro MaxGalaxy S23 Ultra
128 GB$2200-
256 GB$2400$2300
512 GB$2800$2650
1 TB$3200$3100

Apple doesn’t talk about the amount of Ram in its phones. The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with less Ram: 6GB, but don’t get get hung up on this, unless you run a lot of multitasking apps on your phone, 6GB is plenty.

(Video) Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max - Which is the Flagship KING?

Compared: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (1)

First impressions

From the outside, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference between Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra and the earlier S22 model. Both have a super-bright full screen display that shows crisp text and lush photos or movies. There’s the same aluminium case with smooth edges.

While Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max looks a lot like iPhone 13 models, there’s a different selection of case covers, the review model is ‘deep purple’. The rear camera cluster is different, but few casual observers would be able to tell which is which.

Display comparisoniPhone 14 Pro MaxGalaxy S23 Ultra
Screen size6.7 in6.8 in
Pixels1290 x 27961440 x 3088

Despite the S32 Ultra having a marginally larger screen and more pixels, Apple’s display looks better although this is, up to a point, a subjective comparison.

The iPhone Pro Max display has a peak brightness of 2000 nits, which is a huge increase on the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s display brightness. It is noticeably brighter than the Samsung display and does a better job of showing highlights. See the recent news story about how and why phone screens are getting brighter. A bright screen is important when you are outside on a sunny day.

Apple’s supports Dolby Vision, HDR10 and HLG formats of HDR. It can chew power, more about that later. There’s an always-on screen feature where the refresh rate drops to keep power consumption to a minimum. Always on means you can always see the clock and any on screen notifications even when the phone is locked.

In isolation the S23 Ultra screen appears to be first rate. It is bright and has great contrast. However, when placed next to the iPhone Pro Max display, it is obvious the S23 Ultra fails to meet Apple’s quality in every noticeable department. The Pro Max colours are more natural, the picture balance is better and, although there are fewer pixels, it manages to do a better job showing fine detail. Videos appear crisper on the Apple phone.

Dynamic Island

One area where this year’s iPhone differs from its predecessors and from the competition is the Dynamic Island at the top of the display. This replaces the notch that has been on iPhones since the iPhone X.

The Dynamic Island is less in-your-face than the notch. The camera is there. Apple uses it to show alerts, which means things that might otherwise get lost are easy to notice. For instance, you’ll get an indication there when your AirPods are connected. There are third-party apps that use Dynamic Island.

Samsung has taken a different approach, there’s what amounts to a hole punched through the display behind the glass covering the front of the phone. It’s smaller than Apple’s Dynamic Island. In practice you quickly get used to either approach and they aren’t a deal breaker.

(Video) #Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Samsung S23 Ultra

Initial feel

Both phones are an all screen front with a solid back containing a cluster of lenses. Both have Sim card slots. Apple uses the Lightning power connector, Samsung has a USB-C port.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max has an on-off button and two more buttons that work to raise and lower the volume. Apple’s silent mode switch is on the left.

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra has an on-off button, a rocker button to control volume and a push-then-pull-out S Pen stylus. This feature is popular with long-time Samsung fans but otherwise is an acquired taste. Not everyone will use it. The phone includes productivity apps to make use of the styles.

Weight, size

Strictly speaking, Apple’s phone is heavier at 240g compared to Samsung’s 234g. You won’t notice this three per cent difference in use.

While you might, at a pinch notice the size difference, there’s equally little in it. At 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm, the S23 Ultra is a tad longer and thicker than Apple’s 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9.

Both phones have exceptional build quality. They look and feel like premium devices. Both are large and heavy by modern phone standards: that’s the price of a big display. You need deep pockets in both sense to own one of these.

If you find the iPhone 14 Pro Max too much, there is always the smaller and lighter iPhone 14 Pro. You will sacrifice a few features. Likewise the Samsung Galaxy S23.


Apple uses an A16 Bionic chip on the iPhone Pro Max. It’s the fastest iPhone chip in Apple’s stable and another thoroughbred. Apple’s marketing material says the A16 is 20 per cent more power efficient than the A15. It is almost certainly more powerful than the processor in your laptop.

In practice there’s nothing you can throw at the A16 to cause the phone any problem. There’s plenty of headroom for every imaginable task.

(Video) Samsung S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max Long Term User Comparison!

The processor in the S23 Ultra is no slouch. Samsung uses a custom modified Qualcomm processor: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2.

You can find comparison benchmarks elsewhere online. Suffice to say there that both phones feel fast, performance-wise they are worthy 2023 flagships for their ranges.


There’s not much in it. Apple’s iPhone Pro Max can run for more than three whole working days on a single charge. The marketing material claims 29 hours video playback, which, without sitting next to the phone with a stopwatch feels about right.

Samsung says its phone battery will last about 26 hours. In testing it didn’t quite make it to the end of the third day. Apple has the edge, but few users will worry about the battery performance difference between the two phones.


The iPhone 14 Pro Max speakers are loud. During testing the iPhone 14 Max accidentally started playing music during the middle of a function with a couple of hundred people in the room as the MC started speaking. Every single member of the audience would have been able to hear the sound.

Likewise, you can hear an incoming call from the bottom of the garden, 30 metres away, even when the phone is indoors. If you forget to turn the volume down and the phone rings when working at a desk, it’s a shock to the system.

Getting this much sound out of a small package is an impressive achievement. The sound is crisp and clean. Samsung’s speakers offer better sound quality, but you can’t crank them up to 11, they are noticeably quieter than the iPhone.

Apple has the edge over the S23 Ultra when it comes to listening to sound through earbuds. Coupled with AirPods, the iPhone offers a warm, rich detailed sound. Spatial audio works if you want it. It could be that the S23 Ultra doesn’t pair as well with AirPods, but the iPhone sounds noticeably nicer through third party over-ear headphones.


On paper Samsung’s 200 megapixel camera beats Apple’s 48 megapixel main camera by a fair distance. In use, Samsung remains the winner, but the gap isn’t what you might expect from looking at the specifications.

(Video) iPhone 14 Pro Max vs S23 Ultra vs Pixel 7 Pro - Speed, Battery & Thermal Tests

When you have that many pixels to play with, you capture far more detail, but unless you plan to show ultra-high resolution pictures on a big display, a lot of that detail is lost. On the other hand, there’s a lot of scope for zooming in and cropping those large images.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra can shoot at 12, 50 or 200 megapixels. You’ll see a far better dynamic range with the lower pixel counts as the phone uses the extra pixels to improve the images.

Samsung has added a special mode for shooting the sky at night, otherwise, there are huge improvements in night time photography. Both phones use a lot of artificial intelligence techniques to massage and improve shots.

Apple’s 48 megapixel main camera has optical image stabilisation, which means better results in low light. There’s a 12 MP ultra wide camera and two 12 MP telephotos, again with optical image stabilisation.

This is all backed up by Apple’s computational photography engine. You can delve into this and get impressive, professional results, but it requires patience, there’s a learning curve.

The more sophisticated photography software on both phones takes some getting used to. If that’s not what you want from a phone camera, Apple has a range of modes that do the hard work for you. Samsung does the same. Even if you consider yourself a camera dunce, you’ll be able to get stunning results with a little practice from either phone.

Main camera comparisoniPhone 14 Pro MaxGalaxy S23 Ultra
48 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.28", 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS200 MP, f/1.7, 24mm (wide), 1/1.3", 0.6µm, multi-directional PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
12 MP, f/2.8, 77mm (telephoto), 1/3.5", PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom10 MP, f/4.9, 230mm (periscope telephoto), 1/3.52", 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x optical zoom
12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.55", 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), 1/3.52", 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
TOF 3D LiDAR scanner (depth)12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.55", 1.4µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, Super Steady video

Verdict: iPhone 14 Pro Max, Galaxy S23 Ultra

There’s no question the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S23 Ultra are the two best phones available today. They are expensive, but there’s a lot in these phones and buyers can expect both will be usable for years to come.

Samsung’s Galaxy S23 Ultra has the edge when it comes to photography, there are areas where it is either a tie or down to subjective taste, but beyond photography the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the winner in the majority of areas. It would be my choice, but that has much to do with being comfortable in iOS’s embrace. If I had spent most of the last seven years living with Android, I would have chosen the S23 Ultra.

There’s nothing compelling to win Android fans over to iOS or Apple fans over to Samsung. The iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Galaxy S23 Ultra are two different approaches to delivering a first class phone. As it says at the top of the story, few people move between Android and iOS. These models are not going to change that.

(Video) I Dumped My iPhone 14 Pro For This Galaxy S23 Ultra!


Compared: Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra? ›

Though the iPhone 14 Pro has a 12MP telephoto and the Galaxy S23 only has a 10MP telephoto, the S23 is capable of up to 30x digital zoom, whereas the iPhone only goes up to 15x. However, the iPhone 14 Pro looks bad at its maximum 15x output, and the 20x and 30x zoom options on the S23 aren't great either.

Is Samsung S23 better than iPhone 14? ›

Though the iPhone 14 Pro has a 12MP telephoto and the Galaxy S23 only has a 10MP telephoto, the S23 is capable of up to 30x digital zoom, whereas the iPhone only goes up to 15x. However, the iPhone 14 Pro looks bad at its maximum 15x output, and the 20x and 30x zoom options on the S23 aren't great either.

Which is better iPhone 14 Pro Max or Samsung Ultra 22? ›

Silicon. The iPhone wins this one, hands down. The Apple A16 Bionic is a more powerful and efficient chip than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200. No matter the type of test — benchmark apps, video exporting speed test, machine learning tasks — the iPhone 14 Pro Max is more capable.

What phone can beat iPhone 14 Pro Max? ›

Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra is the top dog though, offering a big battery, an S Pen with an integrated slot, and a 10x hybrid zoom camera that isn't matched by Apple. All three models also have 8GB or 12GB of RAM, compared to the 6GB you get even in the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

Is Samsung S22 Ultra better than iPhone 13 Max? ›

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery and the iPhone 13 Pro Max a smaller 4,352mAh, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max does seem to last longer in most tests. Both should get you well into a second day of average use but if battery life is a major issue for you the Pro Max seems to come out better.

Is Samsung Galaxy S23 worth buying? ›

Verdict. While the Samsung A23 5G is a decent device offering some great features such as a 120Hz display, even at a low price tag of $299, this phone has several drawbacks, such as poor performance and an average camera.

Which phone can beat Samsung S23 Ultra? ›

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is going to have its work cut out for it if Apple wants to overtake the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra as the best phone you can buy. Yes, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a stellar handset, but as you'll see in our Galaxy S23 Ultra review, Samsung's flagship is now the one to beat.

Which Samsung is equivalent to iPhone 14 Pro Max? ›

It would potentially help you understand how Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max stands against Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G and which one should you buy The current lowest price found for Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max is ₹1,27,999 and for Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G is ₹97,999.

Which is best Samsung or iPhone? ›

iPhones handle core functionalities like calling, video recording, system navigation, and web browsing more reliably. In contrast, if you are a little more adventurous and want a template on top of which you can personalize and customize your device, Samsung phones are the way to go.

Should i buy S22 Ultra or iPhone? ›

Galaxy S22 Ultra face-off, Apple widened the gap again. Based on this comparison I'd say the iPhone 13 Pro Max has an edge because of its significantly longer battery life, faster performance and better image quality in a number of comparisons. Samsung's cameras are getting better, but they're not quite iPhone beaters.

Why iPhone is better than S22 Ultra? ›

It essentially comes down to the cameras. While the Galaxy S22 Ultra has some key strengths in this area, such as its longer zoom, the iPhone 14 Pro Max generally delivered better image quality. The same thing goes for video.

Why is Samsung S22 better than iPhone? ›

The Galaxy S22 offers faster 25W wired charging compared to iPhone 14's 20W charging speed. Both phones also support wireless charging though only the Galaxy S22 offers reverse wireless charging.

How many years will iPhone 14 Pro Max be supported? ›

Apple will support iPhones (and all devices it makes) for seven years from the last time it sold that particular model. So as long as your iPhone was still being sold by Apple up to seven years ago the company will still service it – in other words: help you fix it (for a price).

Is iPhone 14 Pro Max not worth it? ›

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the iPhone I'd recommend to power users. Why? Well, you get the best cameras in a phone based on my testing, a new always-on on display and a clever Dynamic Island that replaces the notch with a smaller area that delivers alerts and live activities on the fly.

Will iPhone 14 Pro Max break if dropped? ›

“That said, the heavier iPhone 14 Pro Max is still easily damaged when dropped and expensive to repair. Which is why we always recommend owners add a case, screen protector, and consider a protection plan.”

Which is the best phone to buy in 2023? ›

Our favorite phones of 2023
  • Apple iPhone 14 Pro. Best Overall. ...
  • OnePlus 11. Best Affordable Flagship. ...
  • Google Pixel 7. Best Affordable Almost Flagship. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy A54 5G. Best Mid-ranger. ...
  • OnePlus Nord N20 5G. Best Budget. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Best Foldable. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 4. Best Small Foldable. ...
  • Oppo Find N2 Flip.
Apr 5, 2023

What is the #1 best phone? ›

Our Best Cell Phones of 2023 Rating
  • #1 Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3.
  • #1 Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3.
  • #3 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
  • #3 Apple iPhone 13.

Why Samsung is better than iPhone? ›

For the most part, Samsung Galaxy phones have better hardware, cameras, battery life, and display for the price than the iPhone offers. But despite the tech in your hand being of better quality, a Samsung phone may depreciate in value faster than an iPhone.

Is it worth it to wait for S23 Ultra? ›

If you are purchasing an Android flagship for the first time and would want to experience the most sophisticated option, waiting for the S23 Ultra is worth it. You are treating yourself to the most advanced processor, a massive front camera, and longer support for updates.

Is S23 Ultra worth the wait? ›

The bottom line: Yes, if you have a Galaxy S10 it's worth upgrading to the Galaxy S23. You'll get 5G support, access to new versions of Android, longer battery life, a faster new processor and a much-improved camera.

What is the price of Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra? ›

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G price in India starts from ₹1,24,999. It is available at lowest price on Samsung in India as on May 03, 2023. Take a look at Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra 5G detailed specifications and features. Out of budget?

Which Galaxy S23 has the best camera? ›

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is one of the best camera phones you can buy, with a whopping 200-megapixel main camera, up to 100x zoom and a ton of useful software features for fine-tuning your shots.

Does the S23 Ultra have wireless charging? ›

The S23 Ultra and S22 Ultra have 5000 mAh batteries and 15 W wireless charging, but even with the official chargers, the new phone came out much slower. The S22 Ultra took 1 hour and 58 minutes to charge to full via the wireless charger, while the S23 took 33 percent longer: 2 hours and 37 minutes.

Does the S23 Ultra have a headphone jack? ›

The Samsung Galaxy S23 does not have a headphone jack

Whether you get the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, or S23 Ultra, none of the phones have a 3.5mm headphone jack. If you like to use wired headphones that still use a 3.5mm audio jack, you're out of luck with the Samsung Galaxy S23.

Why is iPhone camera better than Samsung? ›

However, the iPhone has a faster shutter speed which helps freeze motion and avoid blur. A fast shutter speed is also useful when taking continuous shots (aka Burst Mode). Samsung's phones have a noticeable shutter lag, especially when you switch to a higher resolution mode.

What does the iPhone 14 Pro Max do differently? ›

What does the iPhone 14 Pro Max bring to the table and how is it different from the already excellent iPhone 13 Pro Max? There are two big new features worth considering: a higher resolution main camera and the new Dynamic Island feature that replaces the notch.

Which Samsung phone competes with iPhone? ›

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Specs
Row 0 - Cell 0iPhone 14Samsung Galaxy S22
Starting price$799$699
Screen size6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)6.1-inch AMOLED (2340 x 1080)
Refresh rate60Hz48Hz - 120Hz
CPUA15 BionicSnapdragon 8 Gen 1
10 more rows
Feb 13, 2023

Do Samsung phones last longer than iPhones? ›

Average lifespan of a smartphone: A smartphone has an average life span of 2.58 years. According to reports, iPhones last 4-10 years, while Samsung phones last 3-6 years. Many factors affect a smartphone's lifespan, including the condition of the screen, the hardware, and the battery's health.

Why should I switch from iPhone to Samsung? ›

Samsung loyalists have long placed multitasking capabilities at the top of the list of reasons they prefer Galaxy devices. Galaxy devices leverage crisp, expansive screens to give users a variety of options for working across multiple apps.

What sells more iPhone or Samsung? ›

US smartphone market share breakdown

Apple has a strong lead over its closest rival, Samsung. Its market share of 29.47% is 27.34 percentage points lower than Apple's. Apple and Samsung have a huge lead over other brands in the US. Their total smartphone market shares amount to 86.28%.

Will iPhone 14 be better than Samsung S22? ›

Even without a dedicated telephoto lens or an adaptive refresh rate, the iPhone 14 edges ahead of the Galaxy S22. It's got a better chipset than Samsung's phone, and its photo-processing software produces better images. It also lasts longer on a charge and you can expect lengthier software support.

Is Apple better than Samsung 2023? ›

Taken at face value, we'd say the Galaxy is definitely the better deal here — you have a 120 Hz screen (which should be standard in 2022-2023) and you have a triple camera module with a telephoto lens. The iPhone 14, in comparison, feels basic when it lacks those specs, yet costs the same price.

Is iPhone 14 faster than Samsung? ›

The Samsung flagship achieved a score of 4584 while the iPhone 14 Pro scored 5384. This means, in multi core performance, the Apple flagship is about 14.86 percent faster.

Is Samsung better than iPhone now? ›

Apple's iPhone and Samsungs's Galaxy have different strengths and weaknesses, so which one is better depends on your needs. Samsung phones tend to have better cameras, battery life, and display quality, even on budget models. However, iPhones do offer better software support and data security.

Why do people choose Apple over Samsung? ›

It all comes down to what you want out of your software. Android is more customizable and has more features and complex options, while iOS is more straightforward, easy to use and has a higher level of security. Most apps are available on either operating system, but more Android apps are available than iOS apps.

Why do people buy Apple instead of Samsung? ›

Information security companies unanimously agree that Apple devices are more secure than Android devices. According to a report by Forbes, 97 percent of smartphone malware targets Android phones. Android phones get malware and viruses particularly from app stores.

Do more people prefer Samsung or Apple? ›

Android is the leading mobile operating system with 72% global market share compared to 28% for iOS. In terms of handset manufacturers, Samsung is the global leader with 32% market share, followed by Apple with 28%.

What will I miss switching from Android to iPhone? ›

While always-on displays and customizable lock screens are available on the iPhone, there are plenty of aspects on this platform that might drive you crazy.
  • Notification management is annoying. ...
  • Some Google apps aren't as intuitive on iOS. ...
  • Layout customization is limited on iOS. ...
  • You're locked to the App Store.
Jan 29, 2023

What is the price of iPhone 14 vs S23? ›

It would potentially help you understand how Samsung Galaxy S23 5G stands against Apple iPhone 14 and which one should you buy The current lowest price found for Samsung Galaxy S23 5G is ₹74,998 and for Apple iPhone 14 is ₹68,999. The details of both of these products were last updated on Mar 30, 2023.

Who won Apple vs Samsung lawsuit? ›

On August 24, 2012, the jury returned a verdict largely favorable to Apple. It found that Samsung had willfully infringed on Apple's design and utility patents and had also diluted Apple's trade dresses related to the iPhone. The jury awarded Apple $1.049 billion in damages and Samsung zero damages in its counter suit.

Are Samsung cameras better than iPhone? ›

iPhone's video looks slightly less grainy, especially at nighttime, but Samsung's videos have better dynamic range. This difference shrinks when you switch to selfie video, though. Samsung has 8K video capability, but it's one of those features you'll probably never need.


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