iPhone 14 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Which should you buy?

Apple and Samsung have been competing for the best smartphone crown for a while now. Given how good both companies' flagship phones are, it can be confusing to pick one of the two. Samsung recently launched the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, which goes up against the iPhone 14 Pro. Samsung's new flagship brings in fresh hardware, including the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 based on a 4nm process, and an improved camera system that hopes to take on the iPhone 14 Pro. Here's our breakdown of the iPhone 14 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and which one you should pick!

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: Specifications

Apple iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra next to each other

(Image credit: Apple/Samsung)

Both these phones pack in a bunch of great hardware and are very impressive on paper. While specifications aren't the be-all-end-all, they can be helpful in gaining perspective on what you can expect from a phone. Here's how the iPhone 14 and the S23 Ultra stack against each other.

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Header Cell - Column 0 iPhone 14 ProGalaxy S23 Ultra
DesignCeramic Shield front + Glass back and stainless steel frameGlass front and back (Gorilla Glass Victus 2), aluminum frame
ColorsSilver, Graphite, Gold, Sierra BluePhantom Black, Green, Cream, Lavender, Graphite, Sky Blue, Lime, Red, BMW M Edition
Display6.1‑inch OLED display, 120Hz refresh rate6.8-inch AMOLED 2X display, Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate
ProcessorA16 BionicSnapdragon 8 Gen 2
Camera48MP Main, Ultra Wide, Telephoto, Front: Advanced dual-camera system, 12MP Main Ultra Wide200MP Main, 12MP Ultra Wide, 10MP Tele 3x Optical Zoom, 10MP Periscope Tele, 12MP front
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB + 6GB RAM128GB + 8GB RAM, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB + 12GB RAM
BatteryUp to 23 hours, Fast charging (20W charger sold separately), Qi wireless charging5,000mAh, 45W Fast charging (Charger sold separately), 15W Qi wireless charging
IP ratingIP68IP68
Headphone jackNoneNone
Size and weight5.81x2.81x0.31 inches, 206g6.43x3.07x0.35 inches, 234g
SoftwareiOS 16Android 13, OneUI 5.1

Apple and Samsung both have multiple phones in their lineups, and the iPhone 14 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra reside on the upper end of these lineups. The iPhone 14 Pro is more compact, with a 6.1-inch screen and a weight of 206g. On the other hand, the S23 Ultra is a behemoth, with its Note-like sizing thanks to the 6.8-inch screen and a weight of 234g. The two phones definitely share an appeal, though, and are worth comparing. Let's dive into how they compare in all the key aspects.

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra design and hardware: Feature-packed glass sandwiches

iPhone 14 Pro next to S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Apple/Samsung)

The iPhone 14 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are both glass sandwiches, so there's not too much in terms of design setting them apart. The two phones, however, have distinct personalities. Both phones have classy, understated designs. The iPhone 14 carries over the design of the 13 Pro, but you get the Dynamic Island up front instead of the regular notch. The S23 Ultra remains mostly unchanged from the S22 Ultra. The S23 Ultra has a curved screen and frame, compared to the iPhone 14 Pro's flat edges.

Both the iPhone 14 Pro and the S23 are well-built. The iPhone 14 Pro has a stainless steel frame, while the S23 Ultra has an aluminum body. The iPhone has the advantage here thanks to the stronger steel frame, but the S23 Ultra manages to be only slightly heavier due to the use of aluminum, despite its much larger footprint. The iPhone 14 Pro's CeramicShield glass and the Gorilla Glass Victus 2 on the S23 Ultra should perform similarly, offering solid shatter resistance.

Both phones have great spec sheets, which means it mostly comes down to your preferences.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a much larger phone. Samsung's flagships always have some of the best displays you can get on phones, and the S23 Ultra is no different. It comes with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with a 120Hz refresh rate. The iPhone 14 Pro gets a 6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen, also running at 120Hz. The S23 Ultra's display goes up to 1200 nits, with a peak brightness of 1750 nits. The iPhone's display is a little brighter, with a typical brightness of 1000 nits and a peak brightness of 2000 nits. The S23 Ultra has a higher pixel density of 500 ppi, versus the iPhone 14 Pro's 460 ppi. Overall, these two displays stack up really well against each other, and it depends upon your size preference.

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra performance, features, and software

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island

(Image credit: iMore)

Apple has had good mobile chips for a while now, while Android phones have mostly played catch-up. However, now, we're in an era where despite the performance differences, both platforms have chips that are good enough for most users to not notice the difference. The iPhone 14 Pro comes with Apple's latest A16 Bionic, made with a 4nm process. The S23 Ultra has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, also made with a 4nm process. With regard to performance numbers, the two chips tend to match up pretty evenly, with the 8 Gen 2 beating the A16 Bionic in some benchmarks, and vice versa.

Coming to battery life, the hardware on offer is drastically different. You get a 5000mAh battery with the S23 Ultra, while the iPhone 14 Pro comes with a 3200mAh battery. The difference in battery life reflects these figures. As noted in GSMArena's battery endurance ratings, the iPhone 14 Pro clocks in at 86 hours, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra is able to go up to 126 hours. Overall, while the iPhone 14 Pro has a decent battery life, the S23 Ultra beats it by a comfortable margin.

The iPhone 14 Pro comes in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB variants. The Galaxy S23 Ultra gets 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. Samsung has lowered the entry point by giving two versions of the 256GB model, one with 8GB RAM and another with 12GB. Apple, on the other hand, does that by selling a 128GB model.

The software comparison comes down to preference, but iPhone 14 Pro has the advantage here on paper.

The iPhone 14 Pro comes with iOS 16, which is good, but one of the weaker iOS versions we've seen. The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is running Android 13 with One UI 5.1. Android 13 is a pretty good iteration of the operating system, and OneUI 5.1 adds Samsung's bits and pieces to the platform, making for a solid user experience. iPhone 14 Pro is marginally better here, though, thanks to the long-term reliability of iOS, and the Dynamic Island, which is a great new UI change. Samsung is promising four OS upgrades, which is considerably lower than Apple's typical software upgrade coverage.

The iPhone 14 Pro also wins out on the software front because of a few unique features. First off is emergency SOS via satellite, which lets you text emergency services in the absence of a cell signal. You also get Crash Detection, a nifty feature that can detect if you have been in a crash, and contact emergency on your behalf.

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra cameras: Apple maintains its edge

iPhone 14 Pro next to S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Apple/Samsung)

Camera is a never-ending debate between the iPhone and Samsung flagships. This time around, it gets close, but Apple manages to keep its edge. 

Talking about the hardware, the S23 Ultra brings a stronger set on paper. You get a 200MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide, a 10MP telephoto camera, a 10MP periscope telephoto, and a 12MP front camera. On the other hand, the iPhone 14 Pro has the biggest upgrade to the iPhone camera system in a long time. It packs in a 48MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide, a 12MP telephoto camera, and a dual-lens 12MP front camera. 

The iPhone 14 Pro emerges as the winner in the majority of the camera tests. One area where the S23 has an advantage is with the telephoto zoom. The S23 Ultra will get you up to 10x optical zoom, whereas the iPhone only has 3x optical zoom. The S23 Ultra also gets 8K video support, which the iPhone is lacking. Despite that, the overall video performance of the iPhone 14 Pro is better than that of the S23 Ultra.

The S23 Ultra has the better camera setup on paper, but the iPhone 14 Pro still wins out.

It all comes down to image processing, which is still the iPhone's forte. You get better colors, and while both camera setups produce great night mode images, the iPhone often produces better output. That doesn't mean the S23 Ultra doesn't do a great job. Both phones have fantastic camera setups, but if camera quality is your top priority, the iPhone 14 Pro is the way to go.

iPhone 14 Pro vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: Which should you buy?

iPhone 14 Pro with Apple Pay on screen

(Image credit: Apple)

As usual, this isn't an easy question to answer. Both S23 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro are excellent phones and go toe to toe in most aspects. Which one you pick mostly comes down to your preference for software, and your budget.

While the S23 has solid software and offers four OS version upgrades, iOS has an advantage with its track record of supporting iPhones for much longer periods. If battery life is your priority, you should go for the S23 Ultra. On the other hand, if you want to take a lot of photos and videos with your phone, and expect the best performance, the iPhone 14 Pro is the right one for you. Overall performance is pretty great on both phones. 

The iPhone 14 Pro is the best iPhone you can get. The biggest difference between it and the S23 Ultra is the pricing. The iPhone starts at $999, while the S23 Ultra starts at $1,199. While these two phones have some differences, the iPhone 14 Pro is a better value for the money and it can be further reduced with the many iPhone 14 Pro deals around. The Galaxy S23 Ultra wins out in some categories and the iPhone 14 Pro in some others, but the S23 Ultra costs considerably more.

The S23 Ultra thus remains as the better bet only if you're willing to pay for a bigger screen, better battery life, or have a strong preference for Android. For everybody else, the iPhone 14 Pro is the phone to buy, 

Palash Volvoikar

Palash has been a technology and entertainment journalist since 2013. Starting with Android news and features, he has also worked as the news head for Wiki of Thrones, and a freelance writer for Windows Central, Observer, MakeUseOf, MySmartPrice, ThinkComputers, and others. He also worked as a writer and journalist for Android Authority, covering computing, before returning to freelancing all over town.