Between its impressive 200MP camera, longer battery life, and killer display, Samsung’s new flagship is nearly perfect after experiencing the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
More impressive cameras, including 100x zoom
When I first heard that the Galaxy S23 Ultra had a 200MP camera, I thought it was just a marketing gimmick. But then I tested it, and I was blown away by the image clarity it produced. The beauty is that you can recompose after the fact and still get detailed photos.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max can take 48MP Pro RAW photos which is also very impressive but you can’t crop that far and while the iPhone does win out in some photo scenarios this low-light photo of the fireplace also left me deeply impressed. I love how warm the S23 Ultra’s image looks.
On paper, the Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max are a pretty good match for their displays. Samsung has a 6.8-inch OLED (3088 x 1440) screen, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a slightly smaller 6.7-inch OLED (2796 x 1290) panel, both supporting a 120Hz refresh rate. Lab test results show that Samsung’s screen is better at color reproduction. In Natural mode, the S23 Ultra covers 112% of the DCI-P3 color space, compared to 83.2% for the iPhone 14 Pro Max. If you choose Vivid mode, you can get even more colors.
- HDR Brightness (average) 1225 nits 1275 nits
- DCI-P3 color 112.2% (natural) / 193% (vivid) 83.2%
- Delta-E (the lower the better) 0.3 (natural) / 0 (vibrant) 0.26
The brightness of the two phones is almost identical, with the S23 Ultra averaging 1,225 nits when viewing HDR content, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max averaged 1,275 nits. But when I watched the Galaxy 3’s Guardians of the Galaxy trailer side-by-side on the two phones, I noticed that the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s panel was a bit washed out.
More powerful graphics performance
It’s a bit odd to say that given how long Apple has dominated phone performance, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip actually beat the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s A16 Bionic in key graphics benchmarks.
3D Mark running points
Galaxy S23 Ultra – 79.320.9
iPhone 14 Pro – 74.20
On 3D Mark, which measures graphics performance, the Samsung S23 Ultra scored 79.3 frames per second in the Wild Life Unlimited portion of the test and 20.9 fps in the Extreme Unlimited test. The iPhone 14 Pro Max isn’t far behind at 74 fps and 20 fps, but a win is a win. The iPhone 14 Pro Max wins other benchmarks, including Geekbench and the Adobe Premiere Rush video transcoding test. But gamers will be very happy with the S23 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra charges via USB-C. This is a case where Apple’s insistence on using Lightning will hurt the iPhone, despite rumors that the iPhone 15 series will eventually introduce USB-C connectivity. The Galaxy S23 Ultra supports 45W charging, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max supports 20W charging. In our charging test, the S23 Ultra reached 57 percent in 30 minutes using a 45W charger, which is less than Samsung’s claim of 65 percent. When using a 20W charger, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is only 42% charged.
Taking notes with the S Pen on the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
I don’t think having the S Pen is a game-changer for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, but if you like the idea of using the built-in stylus for taking notes, drawing, and sketching, it’s certainly a good thing to have. Samsung made the display flatter to make using the S Pen more comfortable. Even if you’re not an artist, there’s an S Pen for scrolling through large galleries or doing fancy photo editing without using your fingers.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is still one of the best phones out there, and if you’re an iOS user, it’s sure to be a no-brainer if you’re willing to pay a few more dollars for your next flagship. But if you’re willing to make the jump from iOS to Android, or you just want to upgrade to the best Android phone around, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the best phone out there.