The Samsung Galaxy S23 is official, but how does it compare to Apple’s similarly priced iPhone 14?
Both premium smartphones share a number of similarities but there are key differences between the two that might influence your buying decision one way or another. Here’s all you need to know.
Design and screen
The Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 have different yet similar approaches to design – some might even argue that the Galaxy S23 is more iPhone-like than ever before, with rounded corners, flat aluminium sides and a camera setup that doesn’t look too dissimilar to the iPhone 8 – aside from the additional lenses, of course.
That’s largely down to Samsung’s decision to remove the contour camera housing from the rear, instead opting for a minimalist finish that ditches the camera housing altogether. It’s done in a bid to make the Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus look more like the high-end Galaxy S23 Ultra, as the top-end model looked vastly different to the standard models in the S22 range.
The iPhone 14, on the other hand, sports the same design as the iPhone 13 and iPhone 12, with an industrial angular design reminiscent of the iPhone 5 which, personally, is my favourite design of all the early iPhones. The camera setup on the rear is embedded within a raised glass housing, with various colour options available including Midnight, Purple, Starlight, Product Red and Blue.
The Galaxy S23, on the other hand, is only available in somewhat muted Phantom Black, Cream, Green and Lavender finishes.
Both are just as durable as one another with near-identical IP68 water resistance that’ll survive a dunk in 1.5m of water for up to 30 minutes, along with enhanced display protection. Samsung uses Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus 2 while Apple opts for its own Ceramic Shield, but both essentially aim to reduce the chance of completely shattering your device if you drop it.
Both the Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 offer a 6.1-inch display, though there are crucial differences between the two. While the iPhone 14’s Super Retina XDR display isn’t to be sniffed at, with a high resolution, support for Dolby Vision HDR and other tech that delivers a great viewing experience when watching TikToks and scrolling through social media – the big differentiator is refresh rate.
Apple still insists that a high refresh rate is a ‘pro’ feature and is thus only available in the Pro and Pro Max models of iPhone. Android makers have a very different opinion with even some budget-focused Android phones offering either a 90- or 120Hz refresh rate, while some high-end gaming phones go up to 165Hz.
More specifically, the Galaxy S23 boasts a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a super smooth 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support and an embedded fingerprint reader that make it truly stand out from the entry-level iPhone. It also supports facial recognition via the selfie camera, but it’s not quite as advanced as the Face ID on offer from the iPhone.
There’s also a different port offering, with Apple using the ageing Lightning port while the Galaxy S23 sports a USB-C port.
The Samsung Galaxy S23 comes with a decent 50MP main snapper alongside a 12MP ultrawide snapper and a 10MP 3x optical zoom, while the iPhone 14 comes with a smaller 12MP main and 12MP ultrawide, with the optical zoom exclusive to the Pro models of iPhone.
Both Apple and Samsung take image quality very seriously, with a lot of R&D put into the AI algorithms that help enhance the shots taken on each smartphone. That said, even with a smaller 12MP sensor, both the S23 and iPhone 14 should be on par with one another, though the pixel binning on offer from Samsung’s snapper could give it the edge in terms of detail and low-light photography.
It’ll certainly be interesting to see how the two compare side-by-side.
Flip the phones over and you’ll find a 12MP snapper on both – up from the 10MP snapper on the S22 – with support for advanced features like 4K video recording, autofocus and portrait photography.
On the topic of video, the Galaxy S23 tops out at 8K@30fps while the iPhone 14 is capable of up to 4K@60fps with support for Dolby Vision HDR.
Both the Samsung Galaxy S23 and the iPhone 14 are powerhouses when it comes to mobile performance, with both at the top of their game.
The iPhone 14 sports the A15 Bionic in place of the A16 Bionic exclusive to the Pro models, though the A15 Bionic is still a very capable chipset and it’s highly unlikely that users will experience any notable lag or stuttering when using the latest iPhone.
The same can be said for the Samsung Galaxy S23 and its exclusive Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy that boasts a boosted CPU and GPU to provide even better performance than the standard 8 Gen 2 used in many 2023 flagships.
Though we’re yet to benchmark the device, early hands-on impressions are positive with the S23 feeling rapid in use, likely thanks in part to the 120Hz refresh rate making everything feel that little bit more responsive.
That’s paired with either 128GB or 256GB of storage if you opt for the Samsung Galaxy S23, while the iPhone 14 comes with either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB of storage. Neither have expandable storage.
On paper, the Galaxy S23 could last slightly longer than the iPhone 14 on a single charge too, with Samsung’s flagship sporting a 3,700mAh battery compared to the 3279mAh battery of the latest iPhone, though it’ll largely depend on just how efficient the chipsets inside the smartphones are.
Plus, the 120Hz refresh rate of the Samsung is likely to have some kind of effect on overall battery life, so in reality, it’s likely that the two are in line.
The biggest between the two is the operating system they run; Samsung sports the latest Android 13 with Samsung’s OneUI 5.1, while the iPhone 14 runs Apple’s iOS 16. The two are completely different approaches to the mobile experience and which you prefer is largely down to personal preference.
The good news is that no matter which OS you go for, you’ll be supported with multi-year updates. Apple is known for keeping even older phones updated with the latest version of iOS, with the iPhone 8 from 2017 getting the latest iOS 16 update, and Samsung has promised four years of OS upgrades and five years of security updates, beating even Google’s own Pixel update promise.
For ease, here’s how the two stack up side-by-side in terms of core specs:
Samsung Galaxy S23
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
50MP + 12MP + 10MP
7.6 x 70.9 x 146.3 MM
Android 13 (OneUI 5.1)
1080 x 2340
Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Phantom Black, Cream, Green, Lavender
12MP Main, 12MP Ultra Wide
71.5 x 7.8 x 146.7 MM
2532 x 1170
A15 Bionic Chip
Midnight, Purple, Starlight, Product Red, Blue
While we’ll wait to compare the two side-by-side for a final verdict, the Samsung Galaxy S23 and iPhone 14 look to be at the top of their respective games. Both offer a premium design, powerful components and long-term software support, but there are key differences between the two like a faster 120Hz refresh rate and higher-res 50MP camera on the S23 that could give it the edge over the iPhone 14 in certain scenarios.
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