iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Fans around the world are surely busy trying to settle the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra debate. This isn't a Reddit forum though. We're here to use facts and unbiased reason to decide which phone is better for you.

Inarguably, both devices are top-notch phones with state-of-the-art gear neatly packed into robust metal-and-glass bodies. Trying to pick one over the other is much like comparing apples to oranges. There's so much to consider, including your personal preference as well.

Let's take a gander at the differences between the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, and which one is the better phone.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Breaking it all down

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The green Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra leaning against a wooden deck railing

(Image credit: Nicholas Sutrich / Android Central)

Before diving into the differences and whether they make either device better than the other, let's knock the similarities out of the way. The iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra are more similar than you think. Both devices have gorgeous 120Hz displays that are bright in the sun and come with the latest versions of their operating systems. You get USB-C 3.2 ports on both flagships as well as facial recognition, an IP68 waterproof rating, and the latest chipsets — A17 Pro and SD 8 Gen 2 — from their respective suppliers.

You can expect long-term software support from both devices as well as robust cameras and accompanying software niceties. Apple promises six to seven years of platform updates, including major platform upgrades as well as security patches and updates. Samsung comes close with its five-year guarantee but doesn't manage to beat Apple.

Samsung and Apple's top-of-the-line devices both sport the latest internals, such as Bluetooth 5.3 and Wi-Fi 6. You don't get expandable storage on either phone, but they both support wireless charging and have Dolby Atmos audio. You can even compare the ecosystem of branded devices and accessories for both Samsung and Apple, as they are very versatile and bring functionality to the table.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: What's different

iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Apple)

The similarities stop right there because the other specs of the two phones are vastly different. The curved corners and titanium body of the iPhone 15 Pro Max contrasts starkly with the S23 Ultra's sharp angles, stainless steel body, and aluminum frame. The two devices come in different colors as well, with Samsung offering a more lively range of shades.

While the Galaxy S23 Ultra touts a 200MP main camera with two 10MP telephoto lenses and a 12MP ultrawide lens, the iPhone 15 Pro Max features a 48MP primary sensor coupled with a 12MP periscope telephoto lens and another 12MP ultrawide lens. Each device has its own merits, offering comprehensive photography and videography tools built into the phone's UI.

What's interesting is that each of these flagship phones has a unique selling point, a feature that isn't found in other phones. For the iPhone 15 Pro Max, this is the customizable Action button. Users can assign any function to the physical button, which is really neat.

Of course, for the S23 Ultra, this would be the S Pen that's housed within the phone's body. Not only is this a marvel of engineering, but the S Pen comes with a ton of cool software features, air gestures, and lots of other tricks.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max does not have a fingerprint sensor. Instead, it relies on Face ID exclusively for biometric security. This is not always convenient, especially for those who prefer to use fingerprints over facial recognition when unlocking their phones or sensitive apps such as banking and finance apps.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Battery backup matters

The back of the green Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

Another area where the differences between the two phones stand out is the battery and charging category. Apple doesn't disclose the exact wired charging speed of its devices, but since it recommends a 20W charger, we can assume that that's around the maximum wired charging speed you can expect. In a world where Android devices can charge as fast as 140W, this is insanely outdated. We also have no idea about the phone's battery capacity, but various reports from reputable sources like GSMArena claim it to be 4,422mAh. Apple promises around 27 to 25 hours of uptime with that.

There's a lot more juice in the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra. It packs 5,000mAh into its gargantuan chassis and supports that with 45W wired fast charging. You can easily get two days' worth of usage from that capacity.

Users can ditch cables and use MagSafe wireless charging to recharge the iPhone at up to 15W with the right charger. The same is true for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which tops up at 15W wirelessly with a compatible wireless charging pad or stand.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra: Which one is right for you?

Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra

(Image credit: Android Central)

In regards to the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra, the final call depends on your preference. If you're a fan of iOS, the iPhone is obviously the better device for you. There's not much reason to shift from a platform that you're comfortable with, especially when you're vested in the ecosystem.

Similarly, if you're an Android phone user, there's nothing that would suggest that the new iPhone is better for you as opposed to the S23 Ultra. The one thing that could motivate someone to make the switch would be the Action button. Software support could be another motive, but Samsung isn't very far behind on that front, either.

You could consider the S23 Ultra over the maxed-out iPhone 15 if you want a fingerprint reader or a great stylus. Other than that, both devices perform at nearly the same performance levels and deliver equally pleasing results with their camera setups. Samsung tends to discount its flagship more often, but the retail prices of both phones are very close, so it's a tough call.

If you don't lean towards Android or iOS, the best thing to do is make a list of your personal priorities. You should also walk into Samsung and Apple's stores to test the software and in-hand feel of both phones. Choose whatever floats your boat, because both of them are excellent phones overall.

Namerah Saud Fatmi
Editor — Accessories, speakers, and tablets

Namerah enjoys geeking out over accessories, gadgets, and all sorts of smart tech. She spends her time guzzling coffee, writing, casual gaming, and cuddling with her furry best friends. Find her on Twitter @NamerahS.