The Samsung S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max are the biggest flagships of the year.

But which one is the best? So I've had these phones for a few months now and I've had a lot of time to test them. 

The camera

The S23 Ultra comes with a massive 200 megapixel camera, whereas the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 48 megapixel camera. And even though size isn't all that matters, I must say that the S23 Ultra's 200 megapixel camera always managed to have more detail than the iPhone. As for zoom, we know that the S23 Ultra's 10x optical zoom is the king, but the iPhone 15 Pro Max's zoom had a slight update and improvement from 3x zoom to 5x zoom. And it's actually getting really close to the S23 Ultra, especially if you now zoom into the iPhone 30x zoom. You'll see that the quality you get out of it in comparison to the 100x zoom on the Ultra is actually not bad at all. The iPhone also comes with a few extra professional zoom modes that you can quickly toggle between just by pushing the 1x button, which the Ultra just doesn't have.

The video recorder 

Moving on to video, and this is kind of where the S23 Ultra fell apart for me. It has a great 8K recording mode in comparison to the 4K on the 15 Pro Max, and it actually does do a really great job in normal video recording conditions. But the thing is, when you push it just a bit, like shooting against really harsh sunlight for example, it is nowhere near as good as iPhone, and it's the same story with low light video. With the iPhone you can kinda see in the dark, but with Samsung it was just so noisy. Honestly, there is just so much to say about the cameras on both these phones, that's why I made an entire post about it if you'd like to check it out, but my overall experience was actually better on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, so it gets the point. 

The screen 

So these two phones without a doubt have the best screens you can get on any smartphone right now. The Ultra comes with a massive 6.8-inch screen, whereas the iPhone has a 6.7-inch screen, which actually isn't that big of a difference. But the big difference between these is that the Ultra screen is actually higher in resolution, and the iPhone screen is actually brighter than the Ultra. But not by a heck of a lot, in real life you can barely even see the difference. 

Overall, I mean both these screens are great for playing games, swiping through your favorite reels, and all that good stuff. But that ginormous, dynamic island on the iPhone 15 can get kinda annoying, especially when watching content. And as for always on display, of course they both still have it, but honestly, the iPhone's always on is still my favorite of the two. But let's face it, both screens are actually manufactured by Samsung, so of course, it has to get the point. Now, it's pretty crazy how fast smartphones have gotten recently, and these two are definitely no exception.

The Speed 

For regular day-to-day tasks like browsing and messaging, or having a ton of apps opened in the background, they both get the job done without any issues and are super fast and snappy. However, the S23 Ultra came out a few months before the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and in that time the iPhone got one of the most powerful smartphone chips in the world. And this chip can play some AAA title console games that were made for the PS5 and Xbox. Whereas the Samsung just seems stuck with gameplay only made for mobile. As for just playing normal games, the iPhone usually starts up the game quicker than the Ultra, but they pretty much give you the exact same performance.

As for professional use, like doing an edit using Premiere Rush, I did a quick export to test them out, and the 15 Pro Max was so much faster by a landslide. So, in the grand scheme of things, they're both super quick, but the iPhone definitely has the faster chip, so it gets the point.

The Customization

Now, customization on these two have gotten incredibly fun recently, but it is kinda hilarious how the customization is done in almost the exact same way. And honestly, if you really wanted to, you could customize them to look pretty identical as well.

But, they do have a couple different customization features that set them apart. Like on the Ultra, you can get a custom call screen that shows up whenever someone calls you. And whenever you get a message, you also get this really cool edge lighting effect that I personally love. But the iPhone also has a few unique customization features as well. Like standby mode, that kinda turns into a bedside clock while it's busy charging. There's so many different clocks to choose from, and you can also customize the heck out of it. You also get really cool customizable contact cards that you can then share with other iPhone users by just tapping both your iPhones together. So cool. And then there's Good luck on the Ultra, which honestly opens up a whole new level of customization on Samsung phones and is literally the ultimate customization tool. Ultimately, they are both super fun to customize, but you will find you can customize so much more on the S23 Ultra than the iPhone, so it gets the point. 

User Experience 

So after customization, the next big thing we got to talk about is user experience, which is basically about which one of these is better to use and is easier to handle. And the biggest key factor to this is navigation. 

 On the Ultra, you get the normal navigation buttons, which if you want to, you can switch to gesture navigation and navigate almost the exact same way as you do on an iPhone. But if you're switching to an iPhone from a Samsung, then you might find it a little bit harder to navigate because you won't find those navigation buttons you had on the Ultra, which can be quite hard to get used to.

And this is usually why you'll find a lot of people struggle to make the switch from one phone to another. Honestly, there's a lot of things I love about both the Samsung One UI interface and also iOS 17 that I wish the other one had. Simple things like on the Ultra, if you want to close all your apps from recent, you can instantly do it. But on iPhone, you literally have to close each app one by one. Like why is it so hot? But then on iPhone, if I ever want to quickly set a timer, it's so quick and easy with just a couple of steps. But on the Ultra to do the same thing, I have to go into the clock application, then the timer tab, then adjust the timer.

Basically a few more steps to do the exact same thing. So I'd have to say they both have positives and negatives. Neither one are really better than the other in this department. So they both get a point for user experience. 


Now, both these phones have some huge batteries that can last you quite a long time. The S23 Ultra comes with a massive 5000mAh battery and the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a slightly smaller battery than the Ultra, but not by much. So for just normal day to day use, the S23 Ultra usually lasts me around two days without charging and the same goes for the 15 Pro Max. I get around two days of use, but of course depending on what I do.

But with constant use, I managed to get around 11-13 hours and oddly enough, the iPhone was again pretty much the same. They also both took just under 30 minutes to charge to 50%, but this is where things got pretty interesting. To charge up to 100%, the Ultra took around an hour and 15 minutes, whereas the iPhone took almost 2 hours, which could definitely do with improving. Plus, I also just love that you can actually see how much time is left to charge on the Samsung, which the iPhone doesn't show.

So you'll pretty much get about the same amount of battery life from both these devices, but the Samsung charges up way faster, so it gets the point. 

Build and Design 

Pretty big difference between the Ultra and the 15 Pro Max is their build quality. The Ultra has that classic boxy design and the iPhone has a way more round design, which I actually prefer most of the time because it's just so much more comfortable in the hand. 

As for the actual material used to build these, this is where the iPhone really outshines the Ultra with its titanium frame, whereas the Ultra still has an aluminium frame. And technically, the iPhone's titanium frame should be more durable in the long run.

The titanium on the iPhone also makes it slightly lighter than the Ultra, which honestly made a pretty big difference in my opinion. Because nobody really wants to carry a brick around in their pockets, you know? So for me, it's a no-brainer that the iPhone 15 Pro Max gets the point, 

Special Features 

But what about special features? So because these two are premium phones, they come packed with a bunch of special features. For starters, the Ultra has that super-useable S-Pen that you can use for navigating around your phone, drawing or taking notes, and even using it as a kind of remote. You can also turn your S23 Ultra into a fully-functioning computer using DeX, which honestly still blows my mind and Samsung just keeps making it better and better.

 Let's not forget, you can also do multitasking on this massive display, which is actually so damn nice, especially if you're playing a game or watching a video at the same time. I mean, you can multitask on just about anything. 

The iPhone 15 Pro Max, on the other hand, does have a few special features, specifically the action button. Which you can customize to open up the camera and take a photo, or you can open up just about any other app. There's also this brand new name drop feature, which automatically starts up as soon as you bring two iPhones together and shares your contact info like phone numbers and email address pretty much instantly between them. And the iPhone also comes with satellite SOS and roadside assistance. Overall, they both come with quite a few special features, so it really depends on But I found myself definitely using the Samsung special features more, so it gets the point. 

Security and Safety 

Now, a big question that always gets asked is, is your phone safe from hackers and viruses? And from my research, I found that the iPhone 15 Pro Max actually has a few more safety features that the S23 Ultra doesn't. 

Now, don't get me wrong, the Ultra in general is super safe thanks to Samsung knox security, but the iPhone for starters comes with its own dedicated anti-hacker mode that's specifically found inside its privacy and security called lockdown mode. And this even says that it's an extreme protection that should only be used if you think you might be cyber-attacked, which is nuts. But also, let's not forget Apple's face ID that has some of the most high-tech security built into it that the Ultra's normal face ID just cannot compete with. 

The Ultra, though, does come with an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which is really secure as well. But honestly, it can be a real struggle in winter when using gloves and you have to take them off to get it to work. I'm just saying.

 Ultimately, I've had a better experience with iPhone security, so it gets the point and brings these two to a tie. But there's still one more point to settle the score. 


So pricing is a huge factor when looking at buying a new phone and currently you can buy the S23 Ultra for 1.2 million naira to 1.5 million naira, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max price in Nigeria range s from 1.5 million naira to 2.2 million naira depending on the storage. So they're relatively the same price, but which one is the better deal? Well, they both have some great trading deals online, but if you were to look at buying them on Amazon, you'd actually find that you usually get the S23 Ultra on sale or at a huge discount. And let's not forget that with the Ultra, Samsung usually offers a gift with purchase like a free pair of buds or a ridiculously huge discount on one of their watches. Whereas with Apple, they barely ever offer anything at a discount and you definitely don't get gifts. 

So technically, you would be getting better value for your money by getting the S23 Ultra. So it gets the point and makes it the best phone for 2023.

 But honestly, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is still a great phone and it especially has an amazing camera, which if you watch my camera comparison, I actually think has the best smartphone camera in the world. So it's kind of a win-win for both the iPhone and the Ultra, but you let me know what your favorite of the two is down below and I'll see you in the next one.

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