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 preorder starting this week with a street date of February 17th. The new phones arrive with faster performance, bigger batteries, and updated selfie cameras, with the Ultra offering an even higher-resolution camera than its predecessor.
But before you throw down upwards of $799 on a preorder, you may want to know how Samsung’s forthcoming smartphones measure up to Apple’s latest and greatest handsets. While both lineups include phones with impressive specs, there are a couple of key differences to be aware of.
The most obvious, perhaps, 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 a little different from their respective rivals. The iPhone 14 and Galaxy S23 both start at around $799, but Samsung’s higher-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 — $200 more than the iPhone 14 Pro and $100 more than the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Those are just a few of the surface differences, though. When you dive deeper into their respective displays, design, and camera arrays, the phones become even more distinct. To make choosing between both lineups a bit easier, we’ve compared some of the more relevant features to show you how they stack up against one another on paper.
The phones compared
At first glance, the differences between the two lines appear minor. Each model in Apple’s iPhone 14 lineup and its corresponding Samsung rival measures roughly the same in terms of dimensions and display size. Generally, however, 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 notably lacks the Galaxy S23’s physical SIM card tray. That’s because Apple’s new phones rely on eSIM technology (at least in the US), which theoretically is supposed to make it easier to switch between devices and plans. In practice, however, we found it’s complicated 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, which allows for smoother scrolling and more immersive graphics. In contrast, only the higher-end iPhone 14 Pro models offer a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz, while the rest of the lineup caps out 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 feature new to Android phones, though, so it’s no surprise that every phone in the S23 lineup offers an always-on display. The S23 Ultra is also the only phone in either lineup that offers 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 plenty fast and offer top -tier performance similar 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 when you opt for the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max will you get a 48MP main shooter and a 12MP ultrawide, 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, a 12MP ultrawide, and a 10MP telephoto lens. If you fork out extra for the S23 Ultra, you’ll also get a 200MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide shooter, and a 10MP telephoto lens.
However, it’s important to note that more megapixels doesn’t translate into better photos — something we pointed out last year when comparing pictures taken with the S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro. Samsung’s camera sensor often binds 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 to, but that kind of resolution is overkill for the average 4×6 print.
Lastly, 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 comes with iOS 16. Both are solid operating systems, and which 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 be opting into 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 grab text from videos and photos. Some of the other differences are minor. Despite its plethora of customization options, for instance, 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 pull something from a photo and drag it into another app as a standalone object.
By the numbers
That’s just an overview of some of the main differences between the iPhone 14 and Samsung’s Galaxy S23 lineup. If you want to explore connectivity, storage options, and all of the raw specs in more detail, we’ve gathered them in the chart below.