Saying Samsung’s Galaxy S23 series and Apple’s iPhone 15 series are going to be the most popular smartphone releases of 2023 is like saying water is wet. We may be surprised with a Pixel Foldable here, Apple AR Glasses there, among other things, but generally, the mainstream starts and ends with Samsung oath Apple.And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed painfully clearly by keeping up closely with all the leaks and expectations for those two giants’ upcoming smartphones, is how different each of them treats their users.
That’s not to say one company is objectively more wrong, or more correct, than the other. It’s just that Samsung and Apple are more different than one might think. Beyond the fact that their phones run different operating systems and they’re in constant, occasionally bitter competition.
Galaxy S23: Samsung gives you everything
The much-anticipated Galaxy S23 series is right around the corner! We know there’s a Samsung Unpacked event on February 1st, where the phones will get officially unveiled, and their release will follow shortly, likely around February 17. In fact, you can already make a reservation for your Galaxy S23 pre-order, and even get it with a discount:
But if you’re in the dark about these phones – they’re three models – the base one is aptly named Galaxy S23, then there’s the bigger one Galaxy S23 Plus, and last but not even remotely least, the stylus-packing, 200MP camera-boasting Galaxy S23 Ultra.
It’s Samsung’s flagship series, after all, that the Korean giant upgrades upon each year.
One of the main selling points of the Galaxy S23 Ultra, of which there are many, is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor that’s going to power it. A new, cutting-edge, powerhouse.
But here’s a plot twist – the cheaper Galaxy S22 Plus, and the even cheaper Galaxy S22 are also getting the exact same processor as the top-of-the-line S22 Ultra. Your experience will not be nerfed if you choose to buy a smaller, cheaper Galaxy S23 model. And keep that in mind, because it matters a lot, and we’ll get back to it.
Something else that’s worth noting is that the Galaxy S23 Ultra will pack a gorgeous, AMOLED, 120Hz display. 120Hz is twice the refresh rate of your average phone, and makes everything appear much smoother. AMOLED is a better screen technology than your average LCD-screen phone, as it offers pitch blacks, vibrant colors, and way better contrast.
Now, double-plot twist – Samsung is actually giving the S23 Plus and base S23 exactly the same display specs. Again, the company is not lessening your experience if you choose to buy a cheaper model.
Power user features – those are surely reserved for the flagship Galaxy S23 Ultra, though, right? I mean, what about Samsung DeX – that awesome desktop interface that activates when you connect your flagship Samsung phone to a larger screen, and turns it into a PC – surely that’s only reserved for the top-of-the-line Ultra, no?
DeX is one of my favorite flagship Samsung Galaxy features
Yep, you guessed it – all Galaxy S22 models from last year have DeX support, and all the multitasking power user features we’ve come to know and love from Samsung, not just the Ultra. So it’s going to be the same thing this year. Regardless of which S23 model you buy this year – be it the cheapest S23 or the most specced-out S23 Ultra – you’re getting a desktop PC in your pocket, should you want it.
Now, why does all of this matter? Well, because Samsung deserves props for not artificially limiting its phones’ capabilities, basically forcing you to buy the S23 Ultra if you want the cool features. Because it could’ve done it. Other brands do it… Speaking of which…
iPhone 15: Apple gives you what you pay for
Ah, Apple. It does things its own way, and it’s often hard to justify or defend it, unless you’re looking at it from a strictly business perspective. Why does the iconic fruit-logo company force you to buy more expensive iPhones to get “extra” features Samsung can somehow afford to give you for less? Or maybe the right question is – can Samsung afford not to offer more, in order to compete with the world’s most valuable brand?
Want the latest Apple processor? Buy the most expensive iPhone 15 Ultra! Indeed, while Samsung gives you the latest, greatest Snapdragon processor on all of its S23 phones, Apple will bless you with its latest Apple A17 Bionic chip only if you buy an iPhone 15 Pro or Ultra (which is said to be the new “Pro Max”). An important side note – this is speculation based on what Apple did last time around, and it is possible that this year all iPhone 15 models will get the A17 Bionic. Things can change.
Either way, is this a major issue? Not really, as the older processors the cheaper iPhone 15 models may use would still perform at a perfectly smooth, flagship level, to the point where absolutely nobody will notice a difference, or feel like it’s a downgrade. But, of course, by that logic, Samsung too could’ve saved some cash and given its base S23 models an older Snapdragon, yet it chose not to do it.
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max
Want a 120Hz OLED display? Baby, show me that thousand dollar bill. Because the base iPhone 15 is presumably going to start at $799, the iPhone 15 Plus at $899, the iPhone 15 Pro at $1099 and the iPhone 15 Ultra at $1199.
And as you may have guessed, only the Pro and Ultra are expected to get 120Hz ProMotion displays yet again, while the “cheaper” two iPhones will only get the (rather outdated in 2023) 60Hz display refresh rate.
Again, this is a complete opposite of Samsung’s way of doing things, because, as you probably remember, all S23 phones will have 120Hz displays. Is Samsung being generous, or just bad with its money, or is Apple being way too stingy? You decide.
Want to double the storage? Well, pay more. Because here’s the deal – it’s been rumored that Samsung will double the base storage capacity of all of its Galaxy S23 models, not just the Ultra again. Meaning 256GB of base storage, if the rumor is true.
Meanwhile Apple’s 2023 iPhones are expected to still start at 128GB of storage, and, of course, you’ll have to pay a premium to get to 256GB (which, again, is likely to be “base storage” in the realm of Samsung) . Now I have to stress this – this is not a 100% confirmed rumor just yet, so take it with a grain of salt for now. But we’ll find out if it’s true in just two weeks, won’t we?
The so-called Dynamic Island in action, turned into a music playback widget
Moving on! Want a Dynamic Island? Well, at least that part is allegedly changing, because leaks have suggested that this year, all iPhone 15 models will get Apple’s cool new feature (also called “gimmick” by certain Android users, and I won’t argue with your truth).
But at least last year, Apple did the Apple thing and only gave a Dynamic Island to the Pro iPhones. Because of course, the Dynamic Island was a huge selling point last year, and reserving it only for the Pro iPhone 14 models was a great way to essentially force people to buy one of those just to be on the cutting edge of Apple smartphones.
And don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame anyone for wanting to stay on the cutting edge, it’s completely understandable, especially for tech enthusiasts, but whether Apple’s way of limiting the user experience based on how much money the user is willing to spend is understandable – I’ll leave that up to you. In fact…
Your thoughts as a consumer?
Share with us in the comments – do you defend Apple for how it does business? And would you give props to Samsung for seemingly giving us more for less, or do you believe that’s just what Samsung has to do in order to compete?