Apple’s iPhone 14 now has a new competitor, the Samsung Galaxy 23. Announced at the company’s recent Unpacked event alongside the new Galaxy Books, the S23 series is available for pre-order starting this week on February 17th. The new phones come with faster performance, bigger batteries and updated selfie cameras, with the Ultra offering a higher resolution camera than its predecessor.
But before you plunk down that $799 pre-order, you might want to know how Samsung’s upcoming smartphones stack up against Apple’s latest and greatest. While both the lineups include phones with impressive specs, there are some key differences to be aware of.
Perhaps the most obvious is the fact that Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup consists of four phones: the iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. In comparison, Samsung only offers three: the Galaxy S23, Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Each model varies in price and offers something a little different from their respective competitors. The iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 both start around $799, but Samsung’s higher-end phones are more expensive. The S23 Plus costs $999.99, which is $100 more than Apple’s iPhone 14 Plus, while the S23 Ultra has an MSRP of $1,199.99, $200 more than the iPhone 14 Pro and 100 dollars more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
However, these are some of the superficial differences. When you delve deeper into their respective displays, designs and camera arrays, the phones become even more different. To make choosing between the two series a little easier, we’ve compared some of the more relevant features to show how they stack up against each other on paper.
At first glance, the differences between the two lineups seem minor. Each model in Apple’s iPhone 14 series and its respective Samsung competitor have roughly the same dimensions and screen sizes. Overall, though, Samsung’s phones weigh a bit less, even if the Galaxy S23 Ultra is taller and heavier than the iPhone 14 Pro.
Design-wise, the iPhone 14 lineup notably lacks the Galaxy S23’s physical SIM card tray. That’s because Apple’s new phones rely on eSIM technology (at least in the US), which in theory is supposed to make it easier to switch between devices and plans. In practice, however, we’ve found this to be tricky if you’re switching between Android and iOS, and while major US cell phone networks support eSIM, not all do.
Display technology is another area where the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 differ. While both share OLED panels, each S23 device has a 120Hz refresh rate, allowing for smoother scrolling and more immersive graphics. In contrast, only the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro models offer a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, while the rest of the lineup is 60Hz. Both Samsung and Apple also feature always-on displays; However, only the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have the technology. However, it’s not a new feature for Android phones, so it’s no surprise that every phone in the S23 series offers an always-on display. The S23 Ultra is also the only phone in the two series to offer stylus support and has a built-in S Pen.
In terms of performance, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus are powered by Apple’s in-house A15 Bionic chip, while the Pro and Pro Max use the A16. Meanwhile, Samsung’s entire lineup is powered by a specialized version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. We’ll have to wait to see how Qualcomm’s Galaxy-optimized processors perform when we review the new devices, but they should be very fast and offer the best. – a level of performance similar to Apple’s A15 and A16 Bionic chips.
On the camera front, Apple’s primary camera sensors aren’t as high resolution as Samsung’s. Apple’s lower-end iPhone 14 models only offer a 12MP sensor for their main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide shooter. Only when you opt for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max do you get a 48MP main shooter and a 12MP ultra-wide, as well as a 12MP telephoto lens for capturing more detail. The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, on the other hand, have 50MP primary, 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP telephoto lenses. If you spend extra for the S23 Ultra, you’ll also get a 200MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide camera, and a 10MP telephoto lens.
However, it’s important to note that more megapixels don’t translate into better photos, as we pointed out last year when we compared pictures taken with the S22 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro. Samsung’s camera sensor often stitches pixels together to improve light, which actually results in a more manageable 12-megapixel photo. If you want, it is possible to take a photo of 200 or 50 megapixels, but such a resolution is too large for an average size 4×6 print.
After all, you can’t compare Apple and Samsung phones without some mention of their respective operating systems. Samsung’s S23 phones ship with Android 13, while Apple’s iPhone 14 comes with iOS 16. Both are solid operating systems, and which you should choose often comes down to preference. Apple’s mobile operating system is known for its simplicity, while Android is particularly good at flexibility and customization. Then there’s the ecosystem of devices you’d choose.
That said, the two share many of the same features, such as the ability to edit and undo sent messages and a Live Text feature that can extract text from videos and photos. Some other differences are minor. Despite many customization options, for example, Android phones do not have the ability to add widgets to the lock screen. They also don’t come with Apple’s new drag-and-drop Visual Look Up tool, which lets you take something out of a photo and drag it into another app as a standalone object.
Here’s a look at some of the key differences between the iPhone 14 and Samsung’s Galaxy S23 lineup. If you want to take a closer look at connectivity, storage options, and all the raw specs, we’ve rounded them up in the chart below.