There is a legitimate reason for the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra battle preview. Samsung’s flagship smartphone has clearly set the tone for all other flagship phones in 2023, proving to be the best that can be beaten thanks to its extremely long battery life and class-leading camera array.
Not surprisingly, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is not only one of the best camera phones out there, but also one of the best phones money can buy. However, with rumors still circulating around the iPhone 15 Pro Max, there is no doubt that this will be the match that decides which phone will be crowned champion for 2023.
Although Apple has not yet confirmed when the actual announcement of the iPhone 15 series will take place, it could be launched on September 12 at Apple’s September event. We’ll find out next if Apple’s best flagship phones come with a new action button, a USB-C port, and a possible higher price point. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is designed to match the Galaxy S23 Ultra in the camera department with perhaps a new telephoto lens for a more balanced match.
In this preview between the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, we’ll take everything we know about the iPhone 15 Pro Max by now and see how it competes with the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Price and Availability
One of the big unknowns about the iPhone 15 Pro Max is its price. Given how it’s shaping up to receive the biggest changes since the iPhone X, it’s very likely that Apple will increase its price to $1,299, effectively making it a $200 premium over the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s current $1,099 starting price. We’re expecting a September 22nd release if it turns out Apple will hold its event on September 12th or 13th.
High prices aren’t what people want to hear, but we can’t neglect the fact that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra launched at $1,199 when it was released back in February. Apple’s higher prices could have a spillover effect on the industry, but it shouldn’t affect the Galaxy S23 Ultra in any way. In fact, there are several Galaxy S23 Ultra deals out there right now that sell the phone for much less than it was when it was launched.
iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S23 Ultra: rumored vs. real specs
|iPhone 15 Pro Max||Galaxy S23 Ultra|
|price||$1,099 or $1,299||$1,199 / £1,249|
|an offer||6.7 inches||6.8 inches QHD AMOLED|
|Refresh rate||120 Hz||1 – 120 Hz Adaptive|
|rear cameras||Triple cameras||200 MP Main, 12 MP Ultra Wide, 10 MP 3x telephoto, 10 MP 10x telephoto|
|Front camera||nothing||12MP selfie|
|Slices||A17 Bionic||Snapdragon 8, the second generation of the Galaxy|
|storage||nothing||256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB|
|Shipping||20 watts wired||45 watts wired|
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Design and Display
The iPhone 15 Pro Max should get some improvements to its design, but it will more or less share the same design language as its predecessor. Meaning, it will feature the same premium build that the series is known for – with a familiar camera arrangement on the back.
One of the biggest changes to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s design is rumors that it’s got a new action button, which will replace the current mute switch on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Furthermore, rumors point to the idea of Apple replacing the stainless steel frame with a lighter and stronger titanium frame — while also slimming down its bezels. Since it is expected to be the largest iPhone in the series, we bet it will carry some heft behind it as well.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 Ultra isn’t too far behind as it’s a large phone that mostly requires two-handed operation. Although it features premium materials, it follows the craftsmanship seen on Apple’s iPhone Pro series. Although we love the charming colors it’s available in – seven in total.
It is also worth noting that the Galaxy S23 Ultra has a nice feature thanks to the included S Pen. Many people, including us, have found this slim pointing tool invaluable for signing PDFs, taking notes, and launching some cool features with your camera. Best of all, there is no additional cost as it comes with the phone itself.
In terms of displays, we don’t expect dramatic changes to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch Super Retina display. Aside from the rumors of a reduced bezel size, we can look forward to a brighter display that can reach an impressive peak brightness of 2,500 nits. That would be incredible because the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s 6.8-inch Quad HD+ (3088 x 1440) Dynamic AMOLED 2x display peaked at 1225 nits.
Outdoor vision would probably prefer the iPhone 15 Pro Max if it could actually hit that blinding density, but Apple is unlikely to boost the resolution to beat what the Galaxy S23 Ultra currently offers. Despite this, we can bet that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will have the same 120Hz refresh rate as before.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Cameras
Of all the areas in this showdown, this is arguably the most exciting part because let’s face it, cameras are a huge deciding factor for a lot of people. Currently, the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is raising the bar as the best camera phone out there right now. It’s a tough challenge considering how it’s equipped with a quad-camera system, complete with a 200MP main camera and a 10MP telephoto lens with 10x optical zoom.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra has a variety of cameras, and we love how the Galaxy S23 Ultra covers the range by allowing users to capture subjects near, far, and very far away. It’s also one of the best when it comes to low light photography, producing bright images under extremely low light settings that reveal subtle details. It’s also a champ in video recording thanks to its 8K maximum capture at 30fps.
Not to be outdone, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is set to receive a new periscope lens to increase its optical range to 6x – effectively doubling its magnification compared to the current iPhone 14 Pro Max. The biggest unknown at the moment is whether it will be welcomed by a larger 1-inch sensor, which would add a huge boost to its low-light performance and the overall clarity of its images.
Outside of photography, we’re excited to see what new video recording features are coming to iPhone 15 Pro Max. We imagine its stability will be improved, but it’s hard to tell if we’ll see it move into 8K video recording territory like Samsung. Regardless, Apple is making a serious effort in this area, so there could be another close race to see which phone becomes the superior camera phone.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Performance
Apple’s silicon has always proven itself to be superior, outperforming other chips in numerous synthetic benchmark tests. However, things changed with the arrival of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for the Galaxy phone with the S23 Ultra – it actually scored better results against the A16 Bionic chipset that powers the iPhone 14 Pro Max in some graphics processing tests.
We’ll likely get an A17 Bionic chip to accompany the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which is rumored to be manufactured using a newer 3nm process – an improvement over its predecessor’s 4nm process. This should not only increase processing performance, but we can also see a significant boost in energy efficiency.
Until we can properly test each, it is difficult to determine which one will have the advantage in this field. At the very least, you can expect apps to open relatively quickly, while animations should be supported by smooth movements.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Battery Life and Charging
Given how the iPhone 14 Pro Max outperformed the Galaxy S23 Ultra in our battery benchmark test, it’s a safe assumption that it will only get better with the iPhone 15 Pro Max. That’s because the iPhone 14 Pro Max achieved a time of 13 hours and 39 minutes, which is enough to earn a spot on our best phone battery life list. In contrast, the Galaxy S23 Ultra peaked at 13 hours and 9 minutes when set to a 60Hz screen refresh rate.
This knowledge would definitely give the iPhone 15 Pro Max the win, because let’s face it, Apple is likely to improve performance any way it can.
On the recharging front, the Galaxy S23 Ultra benefits from 45W ultra-fast wired charging. Apple’s iPhones have never really recharged, mainly due to Apple’s 20W cap for Apple’s Lightning connector, but things may change if we end up getting USB-C with the next generation. This, of course, would open up the possibility of faster charging.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Predictions
With each passing day, we learn more and more about the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It really is shaping up to be the biggest jump since the iPhone X, and as we continue to approach September, the details around it will be even more exciting. We’ll likely hear more about the official iOS 17 release date as well, which should give us something to look forward to on the software side as well.
For Apple, this update is necessary because the competition has shown that Android phones like the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra offer impeccable utility to a wide range of users. Not only does it give mobile photographers plenty of coverage with its quad-camera system, Samsung’s OneUI provides incredible depth when it comes to productivity. While the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is expected to offer more meaningful improvements, the S23 Ultra remains the phone to beat.
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