Hold on Samsung S23: Apple has the best smartphone of 2023 already, it's iPhone 15

iPhone 14 Pro Max
(Image credit: Future/ iMore)

Samsung loves to make a big song and dance about how its camera beats anything else on the market, and the same narrative is happening once more for its S23 Ultra model with its 200MP camera, but I'm still not tempted.

I'm a laid-back purchaser when it comes to upgrading my iPhone - if I spot that the battery isn't as good as it was, and there's a new color alongside a better camera that allows me to take better pictures of our dog, Jolly, then I'll be ready to hand in my older model.

A big part of my life is tied into Apple's ecosystem - from Photos to the App Store, I can't just pack everything into a suitcase and run along to Android town. But it's more than that - I simply prefer the iPhone and what it offers, and when the next model is most likely announced toward the end of 2023, I'll be buying one, ignoring Samsung's noise about its bigger sensors and the iPhone 15, once confirmed, winning over in picture quality again.

Dogshots over Moonshots anyday

Samsung S23 Ultra in Pink

(Image credit: Samsung)

To cut to the chase - I don't look at a spec sheet to see what's new in an iPhone, just to see how well it can take a photo of the moon. I want to see how Portrait Mode is improved, and whether I'll be able to take even slower videos as I throw a ball for Jolly to catch at the park nearby.

Granted, I am one of those people that takes a photo of my food wherever I am with family and friends, but I don't want a 200MP picture of noodles taking up space on my phone or cloud storage provider.

However, Samsung has been a big proponent of pixel binning, which is a method of combining multiple pixels into one, and improving the quality of the image in some low-light situations. But if the method is used all the time, it could result in over-saturated photos, which could occur with the S23 Ultra if binning is used in this 200MP sensor when it could actually be a photo taken in 14MP, but we've reached out to Samsung as to whether this is the case.

There are already rumors abounding that the next iPhone is going to have a periscope lens, which could mean greater detail for further distances, which I'm all for. I'm thinking of situations where you can zoom further in or out to capture a photo in greater detail, especially when it comes to the Panoramic mode, something that hasn't seen an update since its debut with the iPhone 5 in 2012.

However, one aspect that Samsung does have over Apple, is its own Camera app. It looks and feels more intuitive to use, especially when switching between modes, so if there's a chance of seeing a redesign for the camera app in iOS 17 so I can take advantage of the next iPhone's new lenses, I'm all for it.

Regardless, 200MP isn't something to gasp at - the front camera for example has seen a reduction from 40MP in the S22 Ultra, to 12MP in the S23 Ultra, so size isn't everything.

I'm looking forward to what Apple will give as examples to use the new periscope lens if it gets confirmed for the upcoming iPhones because while I won't be using it for food, I might be using it for when Jolly is running in the far distance to try and catch some squirrels.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.