Two big players, Samsung and Apple, are always in the spotlight, battling it out for your attention. This year, they unleashed their best: the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But which one’s the real champ? In this article, we’re putting them head-to-head, comparing the Samsung S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max in every way possible, from the price tag to how they perform, take photos, hold their charge and more. We’re also checking out what experts and regular folks are saying and telling you which one’s the winner in our book.
|Specification||Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra||iPhone 15 Pro Max|
|Body||Glass front and back, aluminum frame, IP68 dust/water resistant, built-in S Pen stylus||Glass front and back, titanium frame, IP68 dust/water resistant, Dynamic Island notch|
|Display||6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 1440 x 3088 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+, Gorilla Glass Victus 2||6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, 2796 x 1290 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+, Ceramic Shield|
|Platform||Android 13, One UI 5.1, Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset, octa-core CPU, Adreno 740 GPU||iOS 17, A17 Pro chipset, hexa-core CPU, Apple GPU|
|Memory||256GB/512GB/1TB storage, 8GB/12GB RAM, no card slot||256GB/512GB/1TB storage, unknown RAM, no card slot|
|Main Camera||Quad-camera setup: 200 MP main, 12 MP ultra-wide, 10 MP 3x telephoto, 10 MP 10x periscope, LED flash, auto-HDR, panorama, 8K video||Triple-camera setup: 48 MP main, 12 MP ultra-wide, 12 MP 5x periscope, sensor-shift OIS, dual-LED flash, HDR, panorama, 4K video|
|Selfie Camera||12 MP, Dual Pixel PDAF, HDR10+, 4K video||12 MP, Dual Pixel PDAF, HDR, 4K video|
|Sound||Stereo speakers, 3.5 mm headphone jack, 32-bit/384kHz audio, tuned by AKG||Stereo speakers, no headphone jack|
|Comms||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, Bluetooth 5.3, GPS, NFC, USB Type-C 3.2, OTG||Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e, Bluetooth 5.3, GPS, NFC, USB 2.0, Lightning|
|Features||iOS 17, A17 Pro chipset, Hexa-core CPU, Apple GPU||Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer, Siri|
|Battery||5000 mAh, 45W fast charging, 15W wireless charging, reverse wireless charging||4852 mAh, 20W fast charging, 7.5W Qi wireless charging, 15W MagSafe wireless charging|
|Misc||Available in black, white, blue, and natural colors, released on February 17, 2023||Available in black, white, blue, and natural colors, released on September 22, 2023|
Price and Availability
The Samsung S23 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max are top-tier phones, and they don’t come cheap. The Galaxy S23 Ultra is released at $1,199.99 / £1,249 / AU$1,949 for the 256GB version and goes all the way up to $1,619.99 / £1,599 / AU$2,649 if you want the massive 1TB storage. As for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it kicks off at $1,199 / £1,199 / AU$2,199 for the 256GB model and maxes out at $1,599 / £1,599 / AU$2,899 for the 1TB version. Both also offer a 512GB storage option and support dual SIM cards, either a nano-SIM and eSIM combo or dual eSIM.
Samsung dropped the Galaxy S23 Ultra on February 17, 2023, and you can snag it worldwide, whether from Samsung’s website, your local carrier, or the nearest tech store. Apple, on the other hand, announced the iPhone 15 Pro Max on September 12, 2023, and it’s set to hit the market on September 22, 2023. You can grab it straight from Apple’s online store, hit up your favorite carrier, or head to the electronics store down the road.
Design and Display
When it comes to looks, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max have their own styles. The Galaxy S23 Ultra rocks a glass front and back, hugged by an aluminum frame. It struts its stuff in four colors: black, white, blue, and natural. Its shape is a bit boxy with square corners and a curved edge screen. It sizes up at 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm and tips the scales at 234 g. The display is a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED with a crisp 3088 x 1440 pixels resolution and can go as fast as 120Hz. Plus, it’s got a slick trick up its sleeve with a built-in S Pen for writing, drawing, and controlling the phone.
Now, shifting gears to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it flaunts a glass front and back, snuggled in a titanium frame. It’s also available in four colors: black, white, blue, and natural. Its lines are sleek with rounded corners and a flat edge screen. This one measures 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3 mm and weighs in at 221 g. Its 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display rocks a resolution of 2796 x 1290 pixels and a swift 120Hz refresh rate. There’s a Dynamic Island up top, which is basically a notch that houses the front camera and Face ID gizmos. And hey, it even boasts a customizable Action button for some extra function flexibility.
Both of these beauties can handle some splashes with their IP68 ratings, meaning they can survive in dust and water down to 6 meters for 30 minutes. They also belt out sound in stereo, support USB-C, and do the wireless charging dance, including reverse wireless charging. But here’s a kicker: the Samsung S23 Ultra comes with a 3.5 mm headphone jack, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max says goodbye to that. Plus, the S23 Ultra keeps your data safe with an under-display fingerprint sensor, while the iPhone banks on Face ID for security.
Performance and Software
When it comes to power, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max don’t mess around. The S23 Ultra boasts the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, a real speed demon built on a 4 nm octa-core processor that can hit up to 3.2 GHz. It’s got an Adreno 730 GPU to handle graphics and comes in either 8 GB or 12 GB RAM flavors.
Now, on the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s side of the ring, it packs the Apple A17 Pro chipset, a 3 nm hexa-core beast that can go as fast as 3.7 GHz. It’s got an Apple GPU, and though the exact RAM amount isn’t officially confirmed, it’s likely to be around 8 GB or more.
Both these phones sport the latest versions of their respective operating systems. The Samsung S23 Ultra struts its stuff with Android 13, dressed up in Samsung’s One UI 4.0. Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro Max marches to the iOS 17 beat, with Apple’s own interface.
Camera and Battery
When it comes to capturing moments, both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max have some serious camera games. Let’s break it down:
The S23 Ultra struts its stuff with a quad-camera setup on the back. Picture this: a whopping 200 MP main camera, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, a 10 MP 3x telephoto camera, and another 10 MP 10x periscope camera. Selfies? Covered with a 12 MP front camera.
On the other side of the ring, the iPhone 15 Pro Max shows off a triple-camera setup. It’s got a 48 MP main camera, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, and a 12 MP 5x periscope camera. Selfies? Also a 12 MP front camera.
Both of these champs can capture stunning photos and videos. They bring the heat with high resolution, epic dynamic range, spot-on colors, and super fine details. Plus, they come with a load of modes like night mode, portrait mode, panorama, HDR, slow motion, and time-lapse.
But here’s where they start to differentiate. The S23 Ultra throws a few extra punches with its higher megapixels, a broader field of view, a telephoto camera that can zoom even further, and it can shoot video in eye-popping 8K.
Now, the iPhone 15 Pro Max doesn’t back down. It’s got some ace moves of its own, like sensor-shift optical image stabilization, and lightning-fast autofocus, and it consistently delivers in the performance department.
Let’s talk battery life. Both these big hitters bring large batteries to the game. The S23 Ultra packs a 5000 mAh battery that can go on for up to 24 hours of video playback or 14 hours of internet use. The iPhone 15 Pro Max isn’t far behind with its 4852 mAh battery, rocking up to 29 hours of video playback or 15 hours of internet action.
Charging? Yep, they’ve got it. Both can fast charge, wirelessly charge, and even give your other gadgets some juice. But the Samsung S23 Ultra has a slight edge with its speed. It goes up to 45 W for wired charging while the iPhone 15 Pro Max lingers around 20 W for Wireless charging. S23 Ultra zips ahead with 15 W, while the iPhone does 7.5 W with regular wireless chargers or 15 W with MagSafe chargers.
Reviews and Benchmarks
Critics and users have given both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max a thumbs-up for their good looks, performance, camera skills, and battery life. However, they’ve also thrown some shade, mentioning the high price tags, camera quirks, the absence of a fingerprint sensor, and somewhat slow charging as downers.
They didn’t just get praise; these phones went head-to-head in benchmarks. PhoneArena put them to the test. The iPhone 15 Pro Max mostly came out on top in benchmarks like Geekbench 6, AnTuTu, GFXBench, and JetStream 2. But, the S23 Ultra fought back, taking the lead in some, like 3DMark and PCMark. When it came to battery life, the iPhone 15 Pro Max held the crown, according to Tom’s Guide’s battery test.
|Smartphones||Battery size||Battery life (hrs: mins)|
|Battery life (hrs: mins)|
|Galaxy S23 Ultra||5,000 mAh||13:09 (60Hz) / 12:22 (adaptive)|
|Galaxy S22 Ultra||5,000 mAh||10:18 (60Hz) / 9:50 (adaptive)|
|iPhone 14 Pro Max||4,323 mAh||13:39|
|Pixel 7 Pro||5,000 mAh||9:21|
|Asus ROG Phone 6 Pro||6,000 mAh||16:27 (60Hz) /15:30 (adaptive)|
|Moto G Power||5,000 mAH||13:15|
|iPhone 14 Plus||4,325 mAh||11:57|
|OnePlus 10T||4,800 mAh||11:22|
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max are both top-notch smartphones, offering great value and quality. However, they cater to different preferences.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra is ideal for those who want a larger screen, enjoy using a stylus, value a fingerprint sensor, desire higher camera megapixels, need a more extensive optical zoom, prefer superior video quality, faster charging, and the flexibility of Android OS.
On the other hand, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is a better fit for those who prefer a lighter phone and desire impeccable image stabilization, snappy autofocus, consistent camera performance, a faster processor, longer battery life, and the security and simplicity of iOS.
In the end, your choice depends on your personal taste and the ecosystem you’re comfortable with. Both phones are excellent and capable of meeting the needs of most users. If we had to choose, the iPhone 15 Pro Max slightly edges out the Samsung S23 Ultra in performance, camera, and battery life. But remember, the best phone for you is the one that suits your preferences.