Apple’s iPhone 14 now has a new rival: the Samsung Galaxy 23. Announced during the company’s recent Unpacked event alongside a slate of new Galaxy Books, the S23 series is available for pre-order starting this week with a release date. on February 17. The new phones arrive with faster performance, bigger batteries and updated selfie cameras, and the Ultra offers an even higher resolution camera than its predecessor.
But before you spend 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 phones. While both lineups include phones with impressive specs, there are a couple of key differences to keep in mind.
The most obvious, perhaps, is the fact that Apple’s 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 their respective rivals. The iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 both start 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, which is $200 more than the iPhone 14 Pro and $100 more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
However, those are just some of the superficial differences. When you dig deeper into their respective displays, designs, and camera arrays, the phones become even more distinct. To make choosing between both lineups a bit 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 minor. Each model in Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup and its corresponding Samsung rival measures roughly the same in terms of dimensions and screen size. In general though, Samsung’s phones weigh slightly less, even if the Galaxy S23 Ultra is taller and heavier than the iPhone 14 Pro.
Design-wise, the iPhone 14 lineup noticeably lacks the physical SIM card tray of the Galaxy S23. This is because Apple’s new phones are based on eSIM technology (at least in the US), which is theoretically supposed to make it easier to switch between devices and plans. In practice, though, we’ve found it tricky if you’re switching between Android and iOS, and while most major US cell phone networks support eSIM, not all do.
Display technology is another area where the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 phones differ. While both share OLED panels, each S23 device features a 120Hz refresh rate, allowing for smoother scrolling and more immersive graphics. By contrast, only the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro models offer a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, while the rest of the lineup is capped at 60Hz. Both Samsung and Apple also make devices with always-on displays; however, only the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max feature the technology. That’s not a new feature on Android phones, though, so it’s no surprise that all phones in the S23 lineup offer an always-on display. The S23 Ultra is also the only phone in any of the lines 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 in-house 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 pretty fast and offer the best. Similar level performance to Apple’s A15 and A16 Bionic chips.
On the camera front, Apple’s main camera sensors aren’t as high-res as Samsung’s. Apple’s lower-end iPhone 14 models only offer a 12MP sensor for its main camera and a 12MP ultra-wide shooter. Only when you opt for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will you get a 48MP main shooter and 12MP ultra-wide, along with a 12MP telephoto lens to capture more detail. The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus, on the other hand, feature a 50MP main lens, a 12MP ultra-wide lens, and a 10MP telephoto lens. If you pay more 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 doesn’t translate to better photos, something we pointed out last year when comparing images taken with the S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro. Samsung’s camera sensor often packs pixels together to improve light, which actually results in a more manageable 12-megapixel photo. It’s possible to take a 200- or 50-megapixel photo if you want, but that kind of resolution is overkill for your average 4×6 print.
Lastly, you can’t compare Apple and Samsung phones without mentioning 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 one you should 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 ecosystem of devices you’d choose to consider.
That said, the two share many of the same features, like the ability to edit and undo sent messages and a Live Text feature that can capture text from videos and photos. Some of the other differences are minor. Despite its wealth of customization options, for example, Android phones lack 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 separate object.
That’s just an overview of some of the major differences between the iPhone 14 and Samsung’s 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.