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Video: Samsung’s New S23 Ultra vs. Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max

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Samsung in February launched the Galaxy S23 Ultra, its newest flagship smartphone. The S23 Ultra is a lot like the S22 Ultra, but it has a 200-megapixel wide-angle camera lens that supports 8K video capture. Given that the S23 Ultra is a direct competitor to Apple’s iPhone 14 Pro Max, we thought we’d take a look at both smartphones to see how they compare.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra is a 6.8-inch smartphone with an OLED display, so it’s fairly similar to the 6.7-inch ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max. Samsung is using a pinhole cutout for the front-facing camera, though, so there is more available display area on the S23 Ultra since it doesn’t have a notch. Both support 120Hz maximum refresh rates, but the smoothing looks more dramatic on the S23 Ultra

Samsung is using a more squared off design with slim bezels, so these two smartphones don’t look much alike. It has less curve on the display than the prior-generation model, and even though it’s large, the flat display and the straight frame make it comfortable to hold. There’s also an S-Pen stylus that can be used with it, which Apple does not offer. The S-Pen is handy for note taking, but it’s more of a niche feature than something that is widely appealing to all users.

iphone 14 pro max galaxy s23 ultra rear leveled
At the back, there’s a triple-lens camera setup and Samsung has introduced a 200-megapixel wide-angle lens while the ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max has a 48-megapixel lens. With high-end smartphones, it’s often difficult to choose a clear winner in terms of image quality, and it comes down to a preference for the color temperature and built-in editing that smartphone manufacturers do.

s23 ultra camera comp lake
When it comes to video quality, Apple’s iPhones usually win out, but Samsung has made some improvements this year. The 8K video is impressive, and there are notable boosts in stabilization on the Galaxy S23. It’s much harder to tell the difference in video quality between the two smartphones with the S23 Ultra.

s23 ultra camera comp ikea
Main lens photos look fantastic on both phones in good lighting conditions, despite the difference in megapixels. You can choose from 50 or 200 megapixels when using the S23 Ultra, and you’ll get more detail, but at the cost of storage space. The ultra wide lenses are also comparable, but Samsung is the clear winner when it comes to zoom capabilities. The Galaxy S23 Ultra has 10x optical zoom and up to 100x digital zoom, though it stops looking great after about 30x. Apple’s ‌iPhone 14 Pro‌ Max tops out at 3x optical zoom, though that’s set to change with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

s23 ultra camera comp keybank
Portrait mode on both smartphones is impressive. The S23 seems to do better with details in shots with people and it has better background blur, but it can be too soft. The iPhone is better at skin tone.

s23 ultra camera comp portrait
At the end of the day, operating system preference matters much more than feature set for smartphones at this level. If you’re an iOS user, you’re probably not going to want to swap over to Android, and vice versa, regardless of how many eye-catching features are offered.

What do you think of Samsung’s S23 Ultra? Which smartphone photos do you prefer? Let us know in the comments below.

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