If you are looking to buy a compact flagship smartphone in 2023, then this dilemma would have probably come up at least once – “iPhone 14 Pro or Galaxy S23”. While those two smartphones are not in the same price range, they are so frequently compared that we decided to pit them head to head and give you the complete breakdown, which is the best one of the two.
You can compare the complete specs sheets or check our editor’s assessment further below.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Galaxy S23 are quite similar when it comes to footprint and thickness, something that’s understandable given both phones pack 6.1-inch OLED screens.
The iPhone is noticeably heavier than the Galaxy – it weighs 38 grams more – and that’s because of the premium build. While the Galaxy S23 has Gorilla Glass Victus 2 panels and an aluminum frame, the iPhone 14 Pro uses Corning-made Ceramic Shield panels and a thick stainless-steel frame. The heavier panels and frame combined with the larger camera housing contributed to the much heavier weight.
Both the Galaxy S23 and the iPhone 14 Pro are IP68-rated for dust and water resistance. The iPhone is rated to survive in much deeper water though, up to 6m deep vs. 1.5m for the Galaxy.
You can also compare the sizes of the two phones in 3D view using the tool below.
If you want a more compact phone, you probably want it to feel lighter, too, and then the Galaxy S23 will make more sense. On the other hand, a more premium and tougher build can command a few extra grams of weight, and some people might appreciate the iPhone for the extra solid feel of its design.
Both the iPhone 14 Pro and the Galaxy S23 feature similar-sized 6.1-inch OLED displays with largely identical properties, too. The iPhone has a bit higher resolution and thus denser pixels, but this is barely noticeable as far as real-life usage is concerned.
Color accuracy of both screens is superb as long as you choose the right color mode.
The maximum manual brightness is similar across both phones at about 800 nits, while the iPhone can be brighter under direct sunlight with up to 1,791 nits of max brightness. The 1,200 nits maximum of the Galaxy S23 does not make it a lesser performer outdoors, though.
The Appie iPhone 14 Pro also tops the S23’s HDR video standard with Dolby Vision, whereas the Galaxy “settles” for HDR10+. Combined with the slightly lower brightness numbers, we can consider the iPhone as, technically, the winner here. But, the vast majority of users will get a similar visual experience on either phone despite the raw numbers and HDR formats.
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro packs a 3,200mAh battery, while the Samsung Galaxy S23 is powered by a 3,900mAh cell. And this difference made it to the battery life tests as well.
The Galaxy S23 offers more call time and better standby endurance, while the iPhone 14 Pro can last longer on web browsing.
Both the iPhone 14 Pro and the Galaxy S23 come without a charger in the box. We tested both phones with the “default” respective option for them – Apple’s own 20W adapter for the iPhone and Samsung’s own 25W charger for the Galaxy S23.
Both the iPhone and the Galaxy OEM chargers will get you around 30% of charge in 15 minutes and about 60% of charge in 30 mins.
There is a rather large difference for the full charge, though. The Galaxy S23 gets to 100% in 76 minutes, while it took 101 minutes for the iPhone to reach its Fully Charged state.
Note that the iPhone 14 Pro reaches 85% charge in just 60 minutes, which means the last 15% take 31 more minutes to complete as the charging speed drastically drops. It’s been the same with all the iPhones, something that Apple does to prolong the lifespan of the iPhones’ batteries.
Both devices sport a pair of stereo loudspeakers each, and they are pretty close when it comes to overall quality and loudness. You will hardly find any significant difference as the two handsets offer a great listening experience – and honestly, these are among the best speakers you can get on a phone.
Still, we find the sound from the Galaxy S23 speakers a tiny bit richer, but you can hear this only in a closed studio environment like ours.
The performance part is probably the most important piece of the puzzle, and yet it’s the one that is incredibly tough to measure as the Galaxy and the iPhone run on entirely different hardware and software platforms.
There are two things you need to know – both the Galaxy S23 and the iPhone 14 Pro pack the most advanced chipsets available on the market from Qualcomm and Apple, which means you will get the fastest performance possible for each operating system.
Still, let’s explore those two platforms.
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy has an unusual 1+2+2+3 CPU configuration (1×3.36 GHz Cortex-X3 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A715 & 2×2.8 GHz Cortex-A710 & 3×2.0 GHz Cortex-A510) with an Adreno 740 GPU taking care of the GPU-intensive tasks.
The A16 Bionic chipset has a more conventional 2+4 CPU configuration that consists of 2×3.46 GHz Everest + 4×2.02 GHz Sawtooth cores. A custom Apple GPU with 5 cores is used for graphics rendering.
At the end of the day, the two devices are good enough to run smoothly pretty much everything you find on their respective app stores. It’s going to be pretty hard to determine which one is better in standard daily usage. In our opinion – you won’t feel the difference.
Both manufacturers promise a similar number of major future software updates and have a pretty good track record of sticking to their promises in that respect.
The camera comparison is quite a tricky thing as everything depends on your preferences. Both phones take great shots and record excellent videos. Sharpness, detail, dynamic range, contrast, noise – all that seems to be in check, which is what you’d expect from a modern flagship phone. But Samsung and Apple have different takes on photography.
Usually, Samsung’s rendition is more appealing to the mainstream users because of its vibrant look. The colors are more saturated, sometimes the images are of higher contrast, and the images are not over-sharpened and look more balanced.
More samples and a detailed analysis can be found in our Galaxy S23 review.
Apple’s rendition has been improved over the last generation, and it offers more accurate colors, something that could make the iPhone photos look somewhat bland. Apple’s images offer over-processed and over-sharpened foliage, which leads to this artificial look if you zoom in at 100%.
More samples and a detailed analysis can be found in our iPhone 14 Pro review.
One thing that Apple can do on the iPhone 14 Pro but Samsung cannot on the S23 is the 2x lossless zoom.
Finally, Apple’s low-light photo processing approach yields more natural yet well-exposed photos with a somewhat more appealing look than the S23. The difference isn’t that major, but Apple’s Night Mode just does a bit better.
Video recording is also an aspect where the iPhone 14 Pro shines. Overall, video quality is better, though the Galaxy S23 gives it a good run for its money regarding stabilization.
Here’s a glimpse of how the iPhone 14 Pro’s main camera compares in image quality to the Galaxy S23’s in our Image compare tool.
And here’s how the iPhone 14 Pro’s main camera compares in video quality to the Galaxy S23’s in our Video compare tool.
It all boils down to Apple iOS vs. Google Android and One UI in particular. If you are dead set on the one of the other, then the choice should be easy for you. Some Apple users will never go Android and vice versa.
If not, then it’s good to know Apple has the better display as far as streaming is concerned; the Face ID is quite convenient, a mature software ecosystem that’s compatible with dozens of other devices and arguably the best video recording capabilities on a smartphone right now. Oh, and the 2x lossless zoom, which gives it an edge over the Galaxy S23.
The Galaxy S23 is a lighter smartphone, €400 cheaper, and it has a much smaller screen cutout and far less restrictive software suite, with wireless DeX support at that. It is one of the most powerful compact droids and an easy choice to make right out of the bat.
- The slightly sharper, brighter screen with Dolby Vision.
- The better CPU performance.
- The more versatile camera with better low-light photo and video quality.
- The promise of at least 5 years of iOS updates (as opposed to 4 on the Galaxy).
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