Apple’s iPhone 14 now has a new rival: the Samsung Galaxy 23. Announced at the company’s recent Unpacked event alongside a range of new Galaxy Books, the S23 series is available for pre-order starting this week with a street date of February 17. The new phones come with faster performance, bigger batteries and updated selfie cameras, with the Ultra offering an even higher resolution camera than its predecessor.
But before you shell out more than $799 on a pre-order, you might want to know how Samsung’s upcoming smartphones stack up against Apple’s latest and greatest handsets. While both lineups feature phones with impressive specs, there are some key differences to keep in mind.
Perhaps 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, the Galaxy S23 Plus and the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Each model varies in price and offers something different than their respective rivals. The iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 both start at around $799, but Samsung’s more expensive 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.
However, those are just some of the surface differences. When you delve deeper into their respective screens, design and camera arrays, the phones become even more obvious. To make choosing between both lineups a little easier, we’ve compared some of the more relevant features to show you how they compare on paper.
At first glance, the differences between the two lineups seem minor. Every model in Apple’s iPhone 14 series and its Samsung rival measure roughly the same in terms of dimensions and screen size. In general, Samsung’s phones weigh a little less, even though the Galaxy S23 Ultra is larger and heavier than the iPhone 14 Pro.
In terms of design, the iPhone 14 series notably lacks the physical SIM card tray of the Galaxy S23. 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, however, we found that switching between Android and iOS is complicated, and while most major US cellular networks support eSIM, not all do.
Screen technology is another area where the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 phones differ. While both share OLED panels, each S23 device has a 120Hz refresh rate, making for smoother scrolling and more immersive graphics. In contrast, only the more expensive iPhone 14 Pro models offer a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, while the rest of the lineup tops out at 60Hz. Both Samsung and Apple also make devices with always-on displays; however, only the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have the technology. That’s not a new feature for Android phones though, so it’s no surprise that every phone in the S23 range offers an always-on display. The S23 Ultra is also the only phone in both series to offer 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 internal A15 Bionic chips, while the Pro and Pro Max use the A16. Samsung’s entire lineup, meanwhile, 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 plenty fast and offer top-tier performance comparable to that of Apple’s A15 and A16 Bionic chips.
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 their main camera and a 12MP ultrawide shooter. Only if you opt for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max do you get a 48MP main shooter and a 12MP ultra-wide lens, along with a 12MP telephoto lens to capture more detail. The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, on the other hand, have a 50MP main lens, a 12MP ultrawide and a 10MP telephoto lens. Spending extra for the S23 Ultra also gets you a 200MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide shooter 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 blends pixels together to enhance light, essentially resulting in a more manageable 12-megapixel photo. It’s possible to get a 200- or 50-megapixel photo if you want, but that sort of resolution is overkill for the average 4×6 print.
Finally, 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 ships with iOS 16. Both are solid operating systems, and which one to choose often comes down to a matter of preference. Apple’s mobile operating system is known for its simplicity, while Android is especially good when it comes to flexibility and customization. Then there’s the ecosystem of devices you’d choose to consider.
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 of the other differences are minor. For example, despite the plethora of customization options, Android phones lack the ability to add widgets to the lock screen. They also don’t come with Apple’s new Visual Look Up tool, which lets you extract something from a photo and drag it into another app as a standalone object.
That’s just a rundown of some of the key differences between the iPhone 14 and Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series. If you’d like to explore connectivity, storage options and all the raw specs in more detail, we’ve rounded them up in the table below.