iPhone 15 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S23: expected differences
If you are looking for a powerful, no-compromise phone that is not too big, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro and Samsung's Galaxy S23 are clearly the first two names that come to mind.
Apple is expected to officially unveil the iPhone 15 Pro in September, but thanks to numerous leaks and insightful analyst reports, we know almost everything about the upcoming phone in advance.
There are a few big new features in the iPhone 15 Pro: first, is the new A17 Bionic chip, the world's first mobile chip built on the cutting edge 3nm process, which gives it advantages in speed and efficiency, and then the switch to a USB-C port, the same as on all other gadgets, and also numerous smaller improvements to the camera system, a new Action Button, and a fancy new titanium frame.
The Galaxy S23, on the other hand, is still meticulously built and it also features a powerful triple camera system and an excellent Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip. Both phones are roughly of the same dimensions, but the Galaxy is expected to be the one that weighs less and it is way more affordable too. So... which one should you go for?
iPhone 15 Pro vs Galaxy S23 expectations:
- iPhone to have the faster chip
- Both have 6.1" screens
- Galaxy to weigh less
- iOS on iPhone vs Android on Galaxy
- Similar camera capabilities
- iPhone expected to have longer lasting battery
- Galaxy expected to charge a bit faster
Table of Contents:
Design and Size
Both are similarly compact
Starting with the looks, both are 6.1-inch phones and both roughly have the same physical footprint.
The build quality is expected to be every bit as premium as modern phones get with a matte glass back on both of them. However, while the Galaxy uses an aluminum frame, the iPhone goes for titanium, a material that we have not yet seen used on smartphones. Titanium has the advantage of being better at resisting all kinds of damage, and with an expected brushed finish, it will not catch fingerprint smudges easily too.
One sore point of previous iPhones was they were quite heavy for their size, and titanium also helps in that as it weighs less than the stainless steel used before.
Both phones come with an IP68 water and dust protection rating, just as you'd expect on a 2023 flagship.
Apple is said to make one change to the buttons, though. It is still using physical keys for power and volume (rumors claimed it could switch to haptic buttons), but the mute switch that has been on iPhones since the very beginning is now replaced with a new Action Button. This new button will be programmable so you can set it to launched whatever function you prefer, and of course, you can also set it to work as a mute key as before too. The Galaxy does not have such a button and we do wish it had, it's such a nice little convenience.
In terms of ports, both are said to now use the same USB-C port, at the same fast USB 3.2 speeds. So nice to have that on an iPhone and not have to deal with the Lightning cables! Oh, and no charger in the box for either one of these.
Finally, in terms of colors, both have a slightly muted palette of "pro" colors: you have your standard black/dark gray, gold and silver, but the Galaxy also has a neat green version, while the iPhone 15 Pro is said to have this impressive new Deep Red color.
Both phones come with a 6.1-inch screen size and both use Samsung-made OLED panels, so they are pretty darn similar. And yes, both screens are flat.
The iPhone is just slightly sharper with its 1179p resolution compared to the 1080p on the Galaxy, but you probably won't even notice. And both have the same, slightly wider than many other phones 19.5 to 9 aspect ratio.
Both screens also have dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, so scrolling and swiping looks buttery smooth, but the iPhone is a bit more advanced as it can go all the way down to just 1Hz for static content, while the Galaxy S23 can only go as low as 48Hz, which is not as power efficient. Subtle difference again, but worth noting.
We do expect the iPhone being the newer phone to have a newer generation OLED panel, and this should come with a slightly higher max brightness and possibly improved color balance, but again, these would be very subtle differences if at all there.
One thing the iPhone improves is the bezel size around the screen as leaks say it will have a 1.5mm bezel, a record low in the industry, and this should help for a more immersive all-screen look.
In terms of biometrics, the iPhone goes with the Face ID system, while the Galaxy relies mostly on the ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint reader. You do have a face recognition system on the Galaxy, but it is not as secure as the 3D based on on the iPhone.
Performance and Software
A17 Bionic on iPhone 15 Pro expected to beat the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 in the Galaxy
One of the most impressive new features on the iPhone 15 Pro is the Apple A17 Bionic chip, the world's first mobile chip built using TSMC's 3nm technology.
This cutting edge process allows packing a lot more transistors and performance in the same die size, but the main benefit might actually be the big gains in power efficiency.
Samsung's Galaxy S23, on the other hand, is powered by one of the best Qualcomm chip in years, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. It's manufactured using TSMC's 4nm process, and it is also an excellent chip, but it is expected to be a beat slower than the new A17.
Both phones come with 8GB of RAM, but the Galaxy actually has the newer and faster LPDRR5X kind, while the iPhone uses the slightly slower LPDDR5 standard.
And then you have the software where the iPhone and the Galaxy could not differ more. The iPhone is expected to launch with the latest iOS 17, while the Galaxy runs on Android 13 with Samsung's One UI 5.1.
Apple has added a lot of new features to iOS in the past few years and it is expected to add even more with this release, and in certain areas like the lockscreen widgets, the brilliant weather app, the ecosystem connectivity with other Apple devices, iOS has been unmatched. But then, it still lacks proper split-screen multitasking, which you do have on the Galaxy.
Samsung has also increased the software support on its devices and you now get 4 years of major updates guaranteed, but Apple goes a step further with at least 5 years of major updates, and don't forget that iOS updates arrive much faster than Android updates on Samsung phones, which can take up to half a year after the release.
When it comes to connectivity, you have all necessary 4G LTE and 5G bands, but the iPhone also adds satellite connectivity, which can be life-saving in an emergency when you don't have access to a cellular network so that's neat.
A very close battle, but Apple might have the upper hand
Both phones come with a triple camera system, and it's oh so similar.
You have a 48MP main camera on the iPhone and a 50MP main shooter on the Galaxy, then you have 12MP ultra-wide camera on both, and finally, you have a 3X zoom shooter again on both. Both phones can also use the ultra-wide camera to take macro shots.
The iPhone, however, is expected to get a new and larger image sensor for the main camera, which gives it the theoretical advantage.
And of course, image quality between the two will still be different. Samsung is known for its vibrant, larger than life color science, which some like and others find excessive, while the iPhone has less extreme colors, but has its own issue with extreme over-sharpening to fix.
Zoom quality has traditionally been one area where Samsung has done a better job than Apple, so it's interesting to see if that will change.
For video quality, the Galaxy has really stepped it up in one area: video stabilization, which is now so good on the Galaxy S23.
The iPhone, however, is still the better camera for video overall, with cleaner footage with better detail.
One rumor claims that the iPhone can also add support for 8K video recording, something that has been on Galaxy flagship phones in the past couple of years. Let's see if that happens.
Both phones also support Cinematic Mode / Portrait Video which allows you to blur the background, an effect you typically get with a proper stand-alone camera, but again the iPhone is better at actually doing that effect.
Audio Quality and Haptics
Both phones come with a dual speaker system consisting of a main, bottom-firing speaker and a secondary one in the earpiece.
The Galaxy S23 was a big upgrade over its predecessors, and we expect the audio quality to be roughly similar on these two phones, but you'd have to wait until the iPhone launches for an in-depth test.
In terms of haptics, the Galaxy does a good job, but we still prefer the incredibly Taptic Enging which provides a bit tighter vibration alerts and feels more refined.
Battery Life and Charging
Finally, battery life! The iPhone 15 Pro is expected to feature a roughly 3,200mAh battery, while the Galaxy S23 has a 3,900mAh battery. That's a massive difference! The battery on the Galaxy S23 has a nearly 20% larger capacity!
So it must be better right?
Well, not really. Apple's iOS platform is better at power efficiency and practice has shown that the iPhone typically has longer battery life than the Galaxy, so that's what we expect to happen once the new 15 Pro launches in September. Don't expect two-day battery out of either one of these, though. After all, such compact phones usually can't last as much as their larger counterparts.
We will update this section with our independent battery tests once the iPhone 15 Pro launches.
As for charging, we are so glad to have the same USB-C port on both these phones, that is just so convenient. No charger in the box, as we've already mentioned, but you probably have one laying around already.
As for speeds, though, we don't anticipated any huge increase with that transition, so the iPhone 15 Pro might very well still charge at the same 23W max rate, while the Galaxy S23 supports 25W charging.
Both phones support wireless charging as well, with the iPhone here being fastest with MagSafe at 15W compared to the traditional Qi charging on the Galaxy S23 at 10W.
Below, you can check out the difference in specs between these two:
|iPhone 15 Pro||Samsung Galaxy S23|
|Size, weight||unknown||146.3 x 70.9 x 7.6mm|
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 2|
12MP 3X zoom
10MP 3X zoom
|Battery||3200 mAh*||3900 mAh|
Don't forget that we have an in-depth iPhone 15 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S23 specs comparison here where you can learn a lot more about individual characteristics like band support, camera details and more.
Summary and Final Verdict
At the end of the day, these are two of your best (if not the best) options if you are looking for a compact flagship phone.
The iPhone 15 Pro has a number of improvements, but it remains the iOS ecosystem that lures people in with its familiarity, iMessage, support for Apple Watch, AirPods, AirDrop and so on. In terms of pure hardware improvements, the iPhone 15 Pro certainly clears the bar with anticipated industry-leading chip, improved cameras and finally, a USB-C port.
The Galaxy S23 would be a better fit for someone looking to save some money, but also someone who appreciated Android's openness and capabilities like split-screen multitasking and so on.
What is your reason to pick one over the other?
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