Apple’s iPhone 14 now has a new competitor: the Samsung Galaxy 23. Announced during the company’s latest Unpacked event along with a slate of new Galaxy books, the S23 series is available for pre-order starting this week on February 17th. The new phones come with faster performance, larger batteries, and updated selfie cameras, with the Ultra offering a camera with a higher resolution than its predecessor.
But before you shell out over $799 for pre-order, you might want to see how Samsung’s upcoming smartphones measure up to Apple’s latest and greatest. Although both series include phones with great specs, there are some key differences that you should be aware of.
Perhaps most telling is the fact that the Apple iPhone 14 lineup consists of four phones: iPhone 14, iPhone 14 Plus, iPhone 14 Pro, and iPhone 14 Pro Max. By 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 its competitors. iPhone 14 and The Galaxy S23 starts at around $799, but Samsung’s high-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 more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
These are just a few of the superficial differences, though. When you dig deeper into displays, design, and camera arrays, the phones get even more unique. To make choosing between both lineups a little easier, we’ve compared some of the most relevant features to show you how they stack up against each other on paper.
At first glance, the differences between the two lineups seem slight. Each model in Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup and its corresponding Samsung competitor measures roughly the same in terms of dimensions and screen size. However, Samsung phones generally 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 is notably lacking 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 should theoretically make it easier to switch between devices and plans. In practice, we’ve found it complicated if you’re switching between Android and iOS, and while most US mobile networks support eSIM, not all do.
Display technology is another area where the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 differ. While they both share OLED panels, each S23 features a 120Hz refresh rate, allowing for smoother scrolling and more immersive graphics. In contrast, the iPhone 14 Pro models only offer a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, while the rest of the range ends at 60Hz. Samsung and Apple also make devices with always-on displays; However, only the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max feature this technology. This isn’t a new feature in Android phones, so it’s not surprising that every phone in the S23 lineup offers an always-on display. The S23 Ultra is also the only phone in either line that offers stylus support and comes with a built-in S Pen.
When it comes to performance, the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Plus models are powered by Apple’s in-house A15 Bionic chipset, while the Pro and Pro Max use the A16 chip. Meanwhile, the entire Samsung range is powered by a specialized version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. We’ll have to wait and see how Qualcomm’s Galaxy-optimized processors fare when we review the new devices, but they should be very fast and offer better-above performance similar to that of Apple’s A15 chips. and A16 Bionic.
On the camera front, Apple’s main camera sensors aren’t as high-resolution as Samsung’s. Apple’s lower-end iPhone 14 models only offer a 12MP sensor for the main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide camera. Only when you choose the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, you get a 48MP main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide lens, along with a 12MP telephoto lens to capture more details. On the other hand, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus feature a 50MP main lens, a 12MP ultra-wide lens, and a 10MP telephoto lens. If you buy the S23 Ultra, you also get a 200MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 10MP telephoto lens.
However, it’s important to note that more megapixels don’t translate into better photos — something we pointed out last year when comparing photos taken with the S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro. Samsung’s camera sensor often groups pixels together to improve lighting, which actually results in a more manageable 12MP image. It’s possible to take a 200- or 50-megapixel photo if you’d like, but that kind of resolution is overkill for an average 4×6 print.
Finally, you cannot compare Apple and Samsung phones without mentioning their operating systems. Samsung’s S23 phones come with Android 13, while Apple’s iPhone 14 comes with iOS 16. Both are powerful operating systems, which you have to choose often comes down to a matter of preference. Apple’s mobile operating system is known for its simplicity, while Android is particularly good when it comes to flexibility and customization. Then there’s the hardware ecosystem you’ll choose to consider.
However, 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 grab text from videos and photos. Some other differences are minor. Despite the abundance of customization options, for example, Android phones lack the ability to add widgets to the lock screen. It also doesn’t come with Apple’s new drag-and-drop Visual Look Up tool, which lets you drag something from an image and drag it into another app as a standalone object.
By the numbers
This is just an overview of some of the key differences between the iPhone 14 and Samsung Galaxy S23 lineup. If you’d like to explore connectivity, storage options, and all the raw specs in more detail, we’ve rounded them up in the chart below.
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