But there’s a new challenger in town – the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The new Apple iPhone brings better optical zoom capabilities to challenge the Galaxy S23 Ultra. It’s also got a design update with build materials that are solid for long-term use. Here’s how the iPhone 15 Pro Max compares to the Galaxy S23 Ultra, based on everything we know so far.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: specs
iPhone 15 Pro Max
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra
159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25 mm (6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32 inches)
157.7 x 78 x 8.9 mm (3.07 x 6.43 x 0.35 inches)
221 grams (57.8193 ounces)
234 grams (8.25 ounces)
6.7-inch OLED with ProMotion (120Hz dynamic)
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (120Hz dynamic)
2796 x 1290 resolution at 460 pixels per inch
3088 x 1440 resolution at 500 pixels per inch
Android 13 with One UI 5.1
2556GB, 512GB, 1TB
256GB, 512GB, 1TB
MicroSD card slot
Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Apple A17 Pro
Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy
Rear: 48-megapixel (MP) primary, 12MP ultrawide, and 12MP telephoto
Rear: 200MP primary with Laser Auto Focus, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto
Rear: Up to 4K at 24, 25, 30, or 60 frames per second (fps), FHD at up to 60 fps, and slow-mo
Front: Up to 4K at up to 60 fps
Rear: Up to 8K at 30 frames per second (fps), 4K at 60 fps, FHD at 120 fps, and 960 fps for slow motion
Front: Up to 4K at 60 fps
Yes, Bluetooth 5.3
Yes, Bluetooth 5.3
Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor and Face Recognition
No reverse wireless charging
Super Fast Charging 2.0 at 45W
Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 Wireless PowerShare
Apple App Store
Google Play Store
Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, and Natural Titanium
Phantom Black, Cream, Green, and Lavender
All major offline and online retailers
All major offline and online retailers
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: design and display
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The iPhone 15 Pro Max uses glass and titanium as materials for the design. For years, the Pro Max iPhones have been some of the heaviest phones in the market, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max shreds off almost 20 grams to measure just 221 grams. By contrast, the Galaxy S23 Ultra features a glass and aluminum build that makes it 234 grams heavy. Both smartphones offer IP68 dust and water resistance.
Switching to the front, you get a 6.7-inch display on the iPhone 15 Pro Max versus the 6.8-inch screen on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a brighter display that can go up to 2,000 nits, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra maxes out at 1,750 nits. Both smartphones support a 120Hz dynamic refresh rate and enough pixels on the screen to make the content look sharp.
The iPhone 14 Pro Max had a big ergonomics problem, and the Galaxy S23 Ultra was more comfortable to use compared to it. Apple says that it has improved the ergonomics of the new iPhone with slightly curved edges. Plus, the reduced weight is likely to result in better in-hand feel. While the Galaxy S23 Ultra offers a fingerprint sensor for authentication, you get Face ID with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: performance, battery life, and charging
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is powered by Apple’s in-house A17 Pro chipset, which is built on the 3nm process. It features a 6-core CPU, a 6-core GPU, and a 16-core Neural Engine. Apple has claimed that you can play console games on your iPhone, which would be a first for any phone ever. Plus, you get 256GB on the base variant, just like the Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The Samsung flagship houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 for Galaxy chipset, which performed well in our review. We haven’t found any lag or stutters in our time using the S23 Ultra. However, the GPU performance on the iPhone is looking to be more powerful. Both smartphones offer three storage variants in the form of 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB.
Apple didn’t make any tall claims about the battery life on stage while announcing the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Some members of the Digital Trends team have had below-average experiences with their iPhone 14 Pro Max, especially compared to the outstanding battery life of the iPhone 13 Pro Max. While it has improved over the months, the battery life still leaves much to be desired. By contrast, the Galaxy S23 Ultra offered better endurance on a single charge. We hope the iPhone 15 Pro Max battery fares better because of the new chipset, but it remains to be seen.
On a related note, the Galaxy S23 Ultra charges faster at 45W versus 20W on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. You don’t get a charger in the box for either of these phones, but you can now charge your new iPhone with any Android charging cable, as the Lightning port has been replaced with USB-C.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: cameras
The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra has the most versatile camera setup on any smartphone. It comes with a 200MP primary camera, two 10MP telephoto sensors for 3x and 10x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide-angle lens. It’s one of our favorite phones to carry with us on vacations for its lively colors and excellent zooming capabilities.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max brings the competition to Samsung’s best phone with a 5x optical zoom, but you miss out on 3x optical zoom – that’s only available on the iPhone 15 Pro, which lacks 5x optical zoom. In terms of numbers, the iPhone 15 Pro Max sports a triple rear camera setup with a 48MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide sensor, and a 12MP telephoto camera. The company says it has improved HDR on photos with the new iPhones. Moreover, you get an updated portrait mode where the phone captures depth data in every photo, so you can edit a regular photo to a portrait in the Photos app.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra captures good videos, but we expect the iPhone 15 Pro Max to do better. Plus, you can record videos on the new iPhone directly to an external storage. On the front lies a 12MP selfie shooter on both phones.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: software and updates
Apple usually offers six years of iOS updates to its phones. The iPhone 15 Pro Max ships with iOS 17, and it should get updates until 2029. As for Samsung, the company has a 4 + 5 year update policy where the phone will get four years of Android OS upgrades and five years of security patches. It should last you a year less than the iPhone.
It’s a personal choice on the OS side of things. While iOS gives you Apple ecosystem benefits, we don’t like the fact that there’s no multiwindow or popup window support – both of which are available on Samsung’s One UI. That being said, you won’t have any major concerns using either iOS or Android.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: special features
Both phones carry special features that we haven’t talked about yet. The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers Dynamic Island and Live Activities, which offer an intuitive user experience. It also offers an Action button that can be customized to specific tasks, which is also possible with the S23 Ultra’s side key.
On the other hand, the Galaxy S23 Ultra is the only flagship phone to offer a built-in stylus that resides inside the smartphone’s body. It’s really useful for clicking selfies, and it’s also great for annotations as well. Oh, and you can take 100x zoom images and moon shots with the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which is still not possible on the iPhone.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: price and availability
The iPhone 15 Pro Max starts at $1,199 for the 256GB storage variant, while the Galaxy S23 Ultra can now be purchased at discounts, though it was launched at the same price of $1,199.
Both smartphones are available via major online and offline retailers. You can now preorder the iPhone 15 Pro Max while general availability commences on September 22.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra: is it time for you to upgrade?
The iPhone 15 Pro Max features an upgraded processor and a new telephoto camera for better zooming capabilities while offering software upgrades to HDR and portraits. You also get a brighter display and the Dynamic Island. On the other hand, the Galaxy S23 Ultra remains the phone with a more versatile camera setup, S Pen support, moon shots, and better software for multitasking.
If you already have the Galaxy S23 Ultra, there’s no reason to buy the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But if you have been contemplating jumping to the iOS side from Android, the new iPhone is a great opportunity to do so because it’s more than just an iterative upgrade.
Before you buy an iPhone 15 Pro case, make sure it has this one thing
Apple’s iPhone 15 Pro arrived in the hands of many people, including myself, over the weekend. So far, I’ve been loving having a phone that's more lightweight due to the use of titanium in the frame instead of stainless steel. I also love no longer needing a Lightning cable when I have a plethora of USB-C cables in the house.
One standout feature of the iPhone 15 Pro models is the Action button. While a lot of people have been going nuts with using Shortcuts for the Action button, I’ve been keeping it simple so far and just using it to launch the Camera app.
T-Mobile iPhone 15 deals: The carrier’s latest iPhone offers
It all started with the Apple iPhone 15 event and a host of exciting announcements, and from there, major carriers started offering some incredible iPhone 15 deals with virtually no delay. But if you're with one carrier, like T-Mobile, and you'd like to stay with that wireless provider or swap from another to that wireless provider, a list of deals from all over the place isn't really going to help. What you truly need is a list that specifies deals from the carrier you want, in this case, T-Mobile. Cue our T-Mobile iPhone 15 deals guide, which will explore all of the current offers available through the carrier. Whether you're a new customer or you've had service with T-Mobile for a while, there's something here for you.
Any iPhone 15, including Plus, Pro, and Max -- Get up to $1,000 off with Go5G Plus or Go5G Next
As part of its "get an iPhone 15 on us" promotion, T-Mobile is offering up to $1,000 off any of the new iPhone 15 models via 24 monthly bill credits when you trade in an eligible device and sign up for one of its Go5G Plus or Go5G Next plans. It's available for both new and existing customers -- existing just need to switch to one of the new plans. Those plans, by the way, get you access to T-Mobile's nationwide 5G network, 50GB of mobile hotspot data, and a bevy of additional benefits, including a Netflix subscription.
The same offer applies to older iPhone models, including up to $830 off iPhone 14 to iPhone 11 or $400 off anything from iPhone 8 and below.
Verizon iPhone 15 deals: A look at the carrier’s latest offers
Since the big iPhone 15 event, major carriers have been clamoring over each other to offer the best iPhone 15 deals. Almost all of the models have been included in a special offer or two, but that also depends on your carrier of choice. For example, if you're with Verizon and want to stay with Verizon, well, you're just not going to pay much attention to T-Mobile or AT&T deals, and that's okay. To help you out, this guide is going to deep dive, specifically, into iPhone 15 deals that are available at Verizon Wireless. Whether you're a new subscriber or you've been with Verizon for years, there's a deal or two just for you. Shall we get started?
Verizon's iPhone 15 "on us" deal -- Up to $1,000 off with eligible trade-in for new customers
Currently, Verizon is offering a deal where you can get the iPhone 5 heavily discounted. Verizon's exact words are "
," but there is a catch. You can get up to $1,000 in credit with an eligible trade-in of an old iPhone in any condition. That $1,000 is then applied to your purchase, whichever iPhone model you decide, including the iPhone 15, iPhone 15 Plus, iPhone 15 Pro, and iPhone 15 Pro Max.