Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which is Better?

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has been out there for months, featuring what’s best of Samsung’s tech, all packed in a metal unibody design. The release of the S23 Ultra leaves us to question how it compares to the iPhone 14 Pro Max.

In this article, we will put the two devices in a head-to-head comparison to see which one comes out on top.


First, let’s take a look at the specs of the two devices:

Samsung Galaxy S23 UltraiPhone 14 Pro Max
Screen size6.8 inch6.7 inch
Resolution1440 x 3088 1290 x 2796
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2Apple A16 Bionic
Storage256GB / 512GB / 1TB128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB
Rear Cameras200MP + 12MP + 10MP + 10MP48MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front Camera12 MP12 MP
Battery5,000 mAh4,323 mAh

Key takeaways

  • The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is a minor upgrade over the S22 Ultra, but it still has superior performance, better cameras, and improved battery life.
  • On the other hand, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a true upgrade over its predecessor thanks to its new CPU, a new Dynamic Island pill-shaped notch, and amazing A16 chip performance. 

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: In-Depth Comparison


The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is priced at $1,199, which is similar to the S22 Ultra model. However, Samsung has dropped the 128GB storage option, and now the base model starts at 256 GB. This implies that you will receive twice the storage capacity for the same price as the previous year’s 128GB model.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max, released in September 2022, has a starting price of $1,099 for the 128GB model, while the 256GB version is priced at $1,199 in the US. Unlike the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, all iPhone 14 Pro Max models come with 6GB of RAM, with no options for additional memory.

In summary, the Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 Pro Max are high-end, pricey devices that cater to customers with larger budgets. Despite this, carriers worldwide offer numerous deals on both devices, allowing for potential savings when purchasing.


On the outside, the design of the two devices remains the same. At first glance, it’s hard to spot significant external changes on the Galaxy S23 Ultra or the iPhone 14 Pro Max compared to their predecessors.

The S23 Ultra’s Design

The S23 Ultra retains its sharp corners and aluminium frame design, but Samsung has made some changes to the screen’s curve. They reduced the curve size by 30% and made the corners slightly less rounded, resulting in a more boxy feel in hand compared to the S22 Ultra model from last year.

What’s more! Samsung has slightly shifted the layout of the buttons, so you need to buy a new case for the S23 Ultra. 

The iPhone 14 Pro Max’s Design

The most significant design change for the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the introduction of the Dynamic Island, which replaces the traditional notch that was first introduced with the iPhone X in 2017.

There’s now a bit more screen space compared to the 2021 models, but beyond that, the design remains largely the same. It still boasts the familiar “Pro” design with a polished stainless steel frame and frosted front and back glass. At first glance, the 14 Pro Max could be mistaken for the iPhone 13 Pro Max. 


The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max feature familiar design elements that have been popular in their predecessors for the past few years, with little noticeable changes at first glance.

In all honesty, the inclusion of the new Dynamic Island on the iPhone 14 Pro Max gives it a more modern look compared to its predecessor, the 13 Pro Max. This feature is also one of the few noticeable ways to distinguish the newer model from the previous one. So, I will give the 14 Pro Max a win in this round. 


While both the Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max offer impressive displays, the S23 Ultra has an edge over its main competitor. 

The S23 Ultra boasts a Dynamic AMOLED 2x panel with a resolution of 3088 x 1440 pixels, which is higher than the 2796 x 1290 screen resolution of the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Both handsets feature adaptive refresh rates of 1Hz to 120Hz, but the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a brighter display than the S23 Ultra, with a maximum brightness of 2,000 nits compared to the S23 Ultra’s 1,750 nits.

Galaxy S23 UltraiPhone 14 Pro Max
HDR brightness (average)1225 nits1275 nits
DCI-P3 color112.2% (Natural)/193%83.2%
Delta-E (lower is better)0.3 (Natural)/0 (Vivid)0.26

Both devices offer support for the DCI-P3 color gamut, but the S23 Ultra outshines the 14 Pro Max in this aspect. The Samsung device offers 112% natural and 193% vivid color coverage, while the 14 Pro Max only offers around 83% coverage.

The Dynamic Island once again stands out in this round. The adoption of the new pill-shaped cutout results in an increase in screen space of up to 30% compared to the previous notch. Basically, the Dynamic Island is like an always-on-top notification bar widget with some nice animations.

However, one potential issue with the Dynamic Island is that it may be prone to smudging if you have sweaty or dirty fingers, which could affect the clarity of the front camera lens.


The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra beats out the iPhone 14 Pro Max in this round. It offers superior color accuracy, range, and a larger screen with a smaller cutout, providing a more immersive experience than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.


Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro Max deliver exceptional performance thanks to an upgraded CPU and GPU. However, the 14 Pro Max has an edge thanks to Apple’s own A16 Bionic chip under the hood. 

The fact that Apple is creating its chips for its iPhone lineup allows the company to optimize things like the battery, camera, and device performance. On the other hand, Samsung uses the new custom Snapdragon processor that’s specifically designed for the S23 models and offers improvements over the S22 models in terms of speed and graphics performance. 

In our Geekbench 6 test, the iPhone 14 Pro Max narrowly outperformed the S23 Ultra with a score of 2,333 for single-core and 5,107 for multi-core performance, compared to the S23 Ultra’s scores of 1,817 and 4,831, respectively.

Regarding graphical performance, the S23 Ultra has an edge over the iPhone 14 Pro Max. When we ran the 3D Wild Life Extreme benchmark app on both devices, the S23 Ultra scored around 3,817 while the iPhone 14 Pro Max scored 3,151.


To summarize, while both the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max deliver impressive performance with their upgraded CPUs and GPUs, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is the winner in terms of overall stability and daily task performance, while the S23 Ultra edges out in terms of graphical performance.


The Samsung Galaxy S23 features a 200MP rear camera with upgraded ISO Cell HP2, producing exceptional photos with rich details. The device also has a 12MP ultra-wide shooter that doubles as a macro lens with a shorter focal length, allowing you to get closer to your subject.

Additionally, the S23 Ultra has two 10 MP telephoto lenses. While the specs on paper are similar to the S22 Ultra model, Samsung has confirmed that they have upgraded the hardware for improved performance.

The S23 Ultra’s front camera may have fewer megapixels (12MP vs 40MP)  than its predecessor, but it compensates with dual autofocus and 8K/30fps video support for the rear camera, a significant upgrade from the 24fps of the previous model. 

The iPhone 14 Pro Max features the same three lenses as seen on the previous model, the 13 Pro Max, but with improved performance. The main lens can now pull out to ultra-wide, and the new photonic engine enables impressive low-light photography with all lenses. The portrait mode has also been improved, with the support of twice optical zoom with a foreground blur effect. 

The 14 Pro Max supports up to 3x optical zoom and up to 15x digital zoom, and it has an improved portrait mode that allows for foreground and background bokeh effects. Additionally, it has a new macro photography mode that allows you to take close-up shots with great detail.


This round is a tie. The iPhone 14 Pro Max is suitable for those who want to take low-light photos with amazing details, while the S23 Ultra excels in overall camera performance with its high-resolution sensor and versatile telephoto lenses. 

Final Thoughts

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro Max are impressive devices catering to users with high budgets. While the design of both devices may seem familiar at first glance, they both offer upgrades in terms of performance, camera capabilities, and display technology.

Also read: Should I Upgrade to iPhone 14 from iPhone 13?

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