IPhone 15 Pro Max VS Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple's latest flagship iPhone and the most serious competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which currently tops our best phones list.
At the time of writing, we haven't completed a full review of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, so it's unclear whether it can take Samsung's place. But we know all the specs and features, so based on those – as well as first impressions – we compared it to the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
Below is an overview of how these two phones compare on all the key specs, from screens to cameras and more, along with their price points.
Comparison of characteristics
Before we take a closer look at the specs of Samsung's and Apple's best phones, let's take a look at the key specs of each so you can see at a glance what they have in common and what they don't.
iPhone 15 Pro Max Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
Display: 6.7-inch OLED display 6.8-inch OLED display
Resolution: 1290 x 2796 pixels 1440 x 3088 pixels
Update frequency: 120 Hz 120 Hz
Chipset: A17 Pro Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Rear cameras: 48 MP main, 12 MP ultra-wide-angle, 12 MP periscope 200 MP main, 12 MP ultra-wide, 10 MP telephoto, 10 MP periscope
Front camera: 12 MP 12 MP
RAM: TB 8 GB / 12 GB
Refuge: 256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery: Up to 29 hours of video recording 5,000 mAh
Cost and availability
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will go on sale on September 22 for $1,199 for the 256GB model. But there are also 512GB and 1TB models, with the latter costing $1,599
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is now on sale, priced at $1,199.99. That's also for 256GB of storage, so the US starting prices for the two phones are identical, but the Galaxy S23 Ultra is slightly more expensive in the UK.
Its maximum price is $1,619.99, which allows you to get 1 TB of storage, just like the iPhone. So at the top, a Samsung phone costs more in the US, the same in the UK.
However, there is one significant caveat here: the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has been around for quite some time, so it can often be found at a slightly lower price than the official one, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max will most likely still cost full power for some time.
Design and display
The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a glass back panel with a square camera unit in the corner, a titanium frame, and a large dynamic island in the screen that houses the front camera and Face ID components. It measures 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3mm and weighs 221g. It comes in Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, and Natural Titanium. In addition, it has an IP68 dust and moisture protection class.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra also has a glass back, but its frame is made of aluminum rather than titanium, which is a less prestigious choice. The screen has a much smaller notch for the camera, and the phone itself is generally much more clunky, without the curved corners of the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
It also has a completely different rear camera design, with the lenses coming out of the back separately rather than having a separate body.
Its dimensions are 163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm, weight is 234 g, that is, it is bigger, thicker, and heavier than the Apple phone. It is available in black, green, cream, lavender, graphite, sky blue, lime, and red. So you can get the Galaxy S23 Ultra in a wider selection of colors. Like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, it also has an IP68 protection class.
As for screens, the iPhone 15 Pro Max features a 6.7-inch OLED display with a resolution of 1290 x 2796, a refresh rate of 120 Hz, a resolution of 460 pixels per inch, and a peak brightness of 2,000 nits.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has a slightly larger 6.8-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 1440 x 3088, a refresh rate of 120 Hz, and a resolution of 500 pixels per inch, so its sharpness is slightly higher. However, its peak brightness is lower - 1750 nits. Also, the Galaxy S23's screen is slightly curved, while the iPhone's is flat.
iPhone 15 Pro Max is equipped with a three-lens rear camera: the main 48 MP f/1.8, an ultra-wide-angle 12 MP f/2.2 with a viewing angle of 120 degrees, and a periscope 12 MP f/2.8 with 5x optical zoom.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, in turn, offers a main camera of 200 MP f/1.7, an ultra-wide-angle 12 MP f/2.2 with a viewing angle of 120 degrees, a telephoto lens of 10 MP f/2.4 with 3x optical zoom and 10 MP f/4.9 periscope with 10x optical zoom.
So the Samsung phone has more cameras and a lot more megapixels in the main camera. In addition, it can optically enlarge the image at two different distances. At the same time, the iPhone's main camera can take pictures with a 2x optical zoom with a resolution of 12 MP.
In reality, however, Samsung's camera is more impressive, and it certainly made a lasting impression on us as it currently tops our list of the best camera phones.
But iPhones tend to have great cameras too, and it's possible that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will beat the Galaxy S23 Ultra - we'll find out when we do a full review.
The front cameras are more equal - they are 12 MP on both phones. Both phones can record video in 4K quality at up to 60 frames per second, while the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra can record in 8K quality at up to 30 frames per second.
Both of these phones are very powerful, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max most likely has the edge thanks to the new A17 Pro chipset. It's more powerful than the A16 Bionic in the iPhone 14 Pro, iPhone 14 Pro Max, iPhone 15, and iPhone 15 Plus, and the chipset still rivals the best Android phone chipsets.
However, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is powered by the best chipset available for Android phones, namely the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy, which is a slightly overclocked version of the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, a chipset found in many of the top Android phones.
The Samsung phone probably also has more RAM. We say "probably" because Apple hasn't revealed the amount of RAM for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but according to leaks, it's 8GB, and if the iPhone 14 Pro Max only has 6GB, we'd be surprised if there will be more than 8 GB.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra also has 8GB – at least in the 256GB model. But if you choose a larger amount of memory, you will get 12 GB of RAM.
That said, we think the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the more productive phone, but we won't know for sure until we spend more time with it. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is quite powerful, and our review notes that it has "exceptional performance", so you're unlikely to find it underpowered.
Apple didn't reveal the size of the battery in the iPhone 15 Pro Max but said it will last for 29 hours of video playback, 25 hours of streaming video, or 95 hours of audio. These are impressive figures