Thanks to the recent Samsung Galaxy Unpacked we now have all the information about the new Galaxy S23 series. We have new cameras, minor facelifts, and a very exciting new Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that has been overclocked specifically for Galaxy handsets.
When compared to, let's say, the Apple iPhone 14 base model, it kind of seems like the better deal. Why not compare them, then?
Design and Display Quality
Since Samsung has been producing excellent AMOLED panels for many years, little needed to be done to improve them for the Galaxy S23. However, Samsung did improve the maximum brightness, bringing it to 1,750 nits at its brightest (up from 1,500). This is better than the 1,200 of the iPhone 14, but overall, both of these phones are great HDR video players and are perfectly viewable under direct sunlight, and support excellent HDR video.
A significant chunk of the OLED displays on Apple's iPhone 14 range are produced by Samsung (and some are manufactured by LG). So, while it is adjusted to Apple's specifications, the build quality is the same. Apple exclusively uses one standard colour calibration, in contrast to Samsung's many colour calibrations that let you pick between enhanced colours and muted, realistic colours.
Both screens look amazing overall, it's only that the brands who created them are reflected in the way they are designed. Apple has it set up "the way it should be," whereas Samsung allows for a little tweaking.
Both Galaxy and iPhone models have additional functions, such as the ability to adjust the screen's white balance automatically. Therefore, seeing these screens does not cause any strain.
The Galaxy S23 maintains its 6.1-inch diagonal and 19.5:9 aspect ratio. The iPhone 14 has the same aspect ratio and diagonal. The Galaxy's screen will have 425 pixels per inch while the Apple's screen has 460, although these differences in resolution and crispness are hardly noticeable.
The Galaxy's design does get a modest makeover, with a fully flat back and three projecting metal rings surrounding the camera lenses. Of course, the Galaxy will only feature one hole on the front for the selfie camera, and the iPhone 14 will still have its recognizable notch.
This is due to Apple's continued lack of under-screen sensors and use of Face ID for biometric unlocks and payment authentication. Over the past four years, Face ID has advanced and is now prompt, precise, and you hardly even notice it. For that, Samsung continues to choose under-screen fingerprint scanners using ultrasonic technology, which has gotten faster. The advantage of the latter is that it can reliably interpret a scan even if your finger is slightly dirty, slightly moist, or slightly dry.
MagSafe, the magnetic ring on the back of the iPhone 14 that enables it to work with various smart accessories like stands and magnetic powerbanks, is still present. These undoubtedly enhance the whole experience, and switching back to a phone that cannot simply stick to a wireless charger can be challenging.
The Galaxy S23, on the other hand, has a USB Type-C port for charging and data transfer, which makes it much simpler to locate a backup cable should you need one. And, of course it also supports wireless charging, just no magnetic sticking to stuff.
Performance and Software
Big numbers were used by Qualcomm to introduce the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2: 35% faster performance and 40% improved power efficiency. Additionally, an overclocked special edition Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 is included with the Galaxy S23.
The iPhone 14 was somewhat cheated out of an upgrade because it received a 2021 Apple A15 Bionic with an additional GPU core rather than the brand-new A16 Bionic. However, A15 is already quite excessive. One may argue that iOS 16 hardly uses any of the available power.
Samsung also bragged about expanding the cooling vapour chamber's size, which it claimed would result in longer endurance and less throttling. This is confirmed by preliminary benchmark tests.
Now, when it comes to software, contrasting Apple with Samsung is like comparing apples and oranges. Apple aficionados still prefer the iPhones because they are still much more single-task focused, extremely reliable, and have a strong ecosystem. The One UI interface on the Galaxy is more adaptable because it essentially invites you to take advantage of its split-screen multitasking features and extensive customization choices.
One could make the case that people who choose the 6.1-inch Galaxy S23 are probably not interested in multitasking. One UI, on the other hand, has a propensity to continually grant you access to floating windows, allowing you to respond to texts and check emails without pausing what you were doing on the phone. It's undeniably a different kind of workflow, and if you think about switching away from the Galaxy, it's also difficult to leave behind.
Additionally, Samsung offers the admittedly quite specialised DeX interface. However, you may operate in a desktop-like UI that is powered by your phone if you connect the phone to an external monitor, mouse, and keyboard. The Galaxy can also be connected to an outdated laptop and "take over" the laptop's screen and peripherals. You'd be shocked to see how a Snapdragon 8 can make an old Windows computer functional again.
The Galaxy S23 will start out with Android 13 (One UI 5), and when it taps out, it will have Android 17 (One UI 9). Samsung has promised 4 years of significant Android updates for its flagship phones.
According to historical precedent, the iPhone 14 will most likely last a little longer than that, possibly up to five or even six years. It debuted with iOS 16, and it wouldn't surprise us in the slightest if it received iOS 21 in 2027.
The camera module of the Galaxy S22 wasn't significantly altered in the S23. On its back, we have the same set of cameras: a 50 MP main camera, a 12 MP ultra-wide camera, and a 10 MP telephoto camera. Thankfully, the front selfie camera has been updated and is now 12 MP.
The upgraded Snapdragon chip, which now performs a lot more segmentation when taking a picture, will be responsible for these advances because it gives the phone better "knowledge" of the subject and background during post-processing.
On the other hand, the iPhone 14 required a little bit more power than what Apple offered it. The base versions received a slightly larger — but still 12 MP — primary sensor and they inherited the ultra-wide camera from the iPhone 13 Pro, while the Pro models received a new 48 MP sensor and an updated ultra-wide camera.
The Galaxy S23 produces shots that are slightly colder — a matter of preference there — but the details and the balance of dynamics is fantastic. The iPhone shots looks a bit over sharpened, a bit jagged. And when it comes to zooming in — the Galaxy S23's zoom camera absolutely takes it home.
We are divided over the Portrait Mode. Due to the fact that most of the background is blurred, we are unable to observe the over sharpening and jagged lines produced by the iPhone 14's bokeh. Additionally, the Galaxy, as usual, smooths away wrinkles and other flaws in the face, in contrast to the iPhone 14, which is a little more honest with facial features.
The Galaxy, on the other hand, has a telephoto lens that produces better, more accurate portraits with less distortion. That simply... isn't available on the iPhone until you upgrade to a Pro.
Regarding selfies, both phones' colour temperatures are different. However, the facial characteristics and details are outstanding.
The stereo speakers on the most current Galaxy flagships sound fairly nice thanks to AKG's expertise. They're boisterous, a little jittery, but still quite detailed. The iPhone 14 has a somewhat more pronounced mid scoop, audible bass, and more presence. The iPhone 14 speakers frequently outperform other speakers, although it primarily depends on the type of content you are listening to.
Regarding haptics, for the past few years, the premium Galaxy phones have been clicking and clacking with a really pleasing and comforting feedback. However, iPhones, which have the incredible Taptic engine that gives the Apple Watch its wonderful vibration, have also had this capability.
So, the Galaxy S23 will have a slightly larger battery — 3,900 mAh versus the 3,700 mAh in the Galaxy S22. In addition, Qualcomm says that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 will have improved energy efficiency, so we already anticipate better long-term performance.
Typically, iPhones are amazing at holding charge while in standby and they do very well with common tasks like browsing and video-watching. Typically, Android phones do better in gaming tests, whereas Apple's A15 CPU quickly depletes the iPhone's comparably small battery.
Yes, we have two reliable and powerful phones. If we were to judge based solely on appearances, we'd say the Galaxy is unquestionably the better option here. It has a 120 Hz screen (which should become the norm in 2022–2033) and a triple camera module with a telephoto lens. The iPhone 14, in comparison, feels basic when it lacks those specs, yet costs the same price.
But this comparison involves much more than just comparing phones A and B. These two businesses have become tech giants that provide tablets, laptops, wearables, headphones, and other devices that all sync with one another.
The frequently cited Apple ecosystem, which features seamless communication across all of its devices with an Apple Watch, AirPods, AirTags, and a MacBook with you, you will undoubtedly gravitate more towards the iPhone. Otherwise you may feel a bit cheated with the iPhone 14.
Samsung has also made significant progress and integrated into a lot of different areas. Your Samsung home appliances, Galaxy SmartTags, the SmartThings hub, even the company's superb Galaxy Watch wearables and Galaxy Buds earphones are all compatible. Additionally, Samsung and Microsoft have a strategic alliance, so connecting your Galaxy to Windows gives you access to exclusive functions.