Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which Luxury Phone Is Best?

Let's compare how Samsung's and Apple's high-end phones -- which cost well over $1,000 -- stack up.

Mike Sorrentino Senior Editor
Mike Sorrentino is a Senior Editor for Mobile, covering phones, texting apps and smartwatches -- obsessing about how we can make the most of them. Mike also keeps an eye out on the movie and toy industry, and outside of work enjoys biking and pizza making.
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The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (left) juxtaposed with Apple's iPhone 14 Pro Max and iPhone 14 Pro.
Bobby Oliver, James Martin/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is the new luxury-level flagship phone in the company's Galaxy line revealed at Wednesday's Unpacked event. Starting at $1,200 (£1,249, AU$1,949), one of its biggest improvements is a new 200-megapixel main camera -- nearly double the resolution of last year's Galaxy S22 Ultra. That camera upgrade comes alongside a special version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip that Samsung says has been optimized specifically for the Galaxy S23 line. 

In some ways, these improvements mirror what Apple did with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max when they launched in September last year. The iPhone 14 Pro phones each include a new 48-megapixel main camera and Apple's A16 Bionic chip. While Samsung's entire Galaxy S23 line does include the new Snapdragon chip, Apple instead reserved the A16 Bionic for the Pro phones during that latest refresh.

Watch this: Samsung's Galaxy S23 Lineup Is Here With Big Camera Upgrades

Both Samsung and Apple's phones have lots of other high-end specs to consider if you're deciding between the two. Check out the chart below to see the specs.

Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra specs vs. Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. Apple iPhone 14 Pro

Galaxy S23 UltraiPhone 14 Pro MaxiPhone 14 Pro
Display size, tech, resolution, refresh rate, brightness 6.8-inch AMOLED 3,088x1,440 pixels; 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate; Edge Screen; 1,750 nits6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display; 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate; 2,796x1,290 pixels6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display; 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate; 2,556x1,179 pixels
Pixel density 500 ppi460 ppi460 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 3.07 x 6.43 x 0.35 in6.33 x 3.05 x 0.31 in5.81 x 2.81 x 0.31 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 78 x 163.3 x 8.9 mm160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85 mm147.5 x 71.5 x 7.85 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 234 g (8.25 oz)240 g (8.47 oz)206 g (7.27 oz)
Mobile software Android 13iOS 16iOS 16
Camera 200-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 10-megapixel (telephoto) 10-megapixel (telephoto)48-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)48-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 12-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 12-megapixel 12-megapixel12-megapixel
Video capture 8K at 30fps4K at 60fps4K at 60fps
Processor Galaxy-optimized Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2Apple A16 BionicApple A16 Bionic
RAM/storage 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 512GB; 12GB + 1TB RAM NA; 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TBRAM NA; 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Expandable storage NoneNoneNone
Battery/charging speeds 5,000 mAH (45W wired charging)Undisclosed; Apple claims 29 hours of video playbackUndisclosed; Apple claims 23 hours of video playback
Fingerprint sensor In-displayNone (Face ID)None (Face ID)
Connector USB-CLightningLightning
Headphone jack NoneNoneNone
Special features 5G (mmw/Sub6), IP68 rating, faster wired charging, wireless PowerShare to charge other devices, integrated S-Pen, 200x Space Zoom, 10x Optical Zoom, UWB for finding other devicesDynamic Island; Always-On display; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; dual-SIM capabilities (e-SIM) Dynamic Island; Always-On display; 5G enabled; MagSafe; water resistant (IP68); wireless charging; dual-SIM capabilities (e-SIM)
US price off-contract $1,200 (12GB/256GB)$1,099 (128GB), $1,199 (256GB), $1,399 (512GB), $1,599 (1TB)$999 (128GB), $1,099 (256GB), $1,299 (512GB), $1,499 (1TB)
UK price £1,249 (12GB/256GB)£1,199 (128GB)£1,099 (128GB)
Australia price AU$1,949 (12GB/256GB)AU$1,899 (128GB)AU$1,749 (128GB)