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Galaxy S23 Ultra almost beats iPhone 14 Pro Max in real-life speed test

Published Feb 28th, 2023 8:34AM EST
Samsung's Galaxy S23 Ultra, S23 Plus, and S23.
Image: Samsung

The Galaxy S23 Ultra features a faster, exclusive version of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor. It’s very impressive, but it still gets crushed by the iPhone 14 Pro Max in benchmark tests. The Ultra isn’t even able to match the speed of older phones like the iPhone 12 in some tests. Or the iPhone SE 3, which rocks the same chip as the iPhone 13. Yet, we told you every time that real-life experiences will show there’s little difference between these two rivals. It so happens that a Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max comparison is already here, delivering a surprising defeat of the iPhone.

There are plenty of speed tests that measure smartphone performance on YouTube, including comparisons between the latest Apple flagships and the best Androids in town. But our favorite might be PhoneBuff’s speed tests, which always follow the same methodology. As a result, the results are as objective as possible.

As a reminder, the Galaxy S23 Ultra and iPhone14 Pro Max went through the same typical real-life speed test that aims to mimic a user’s everyday experience. The test consists of two rounds, in which a robot opens the same set of apps on both phones for the first time. The smartphone that opens them the fastest is usually the winner. The point of the first round is that we don’t want any lag on phones, especially flagships.

In the second round, the robot reopens the same apps to see how many of them stay loaded in memory. This test measures the multitasking experience. We move between various apps while we use our smartphones on a regular basis. And we want them to stay open in memory for as long as possible.

Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max speed test.
Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max speed test. Image source: YouTube

The latest iPhone usually wins the first round, showing the strength of Apple’s A-series chip. The Android phone sitting opposite the iPhone usually recovers in the second round, thanks to the extra memory. That’s not always the case, as the iPhone’s software is optimized for the hardware. The iPhone uses RAM more efficiently, even though it usually has less memory than its rival.

PhoneBuff’s Galaxy S23 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro Max speed test showed that Samsung can really compete with the latest iPhone. The Ultra won the first round by more than a second (image above). That includes beating the iPhone in an intensive video exporting task that the iPhone almost never loses.

Surprisingly, the iPhone 14 Pro Max won the second round, and it won the overall test by a shockingly slim margin. But we’re looking at an overall difference of only 0.25 seconds in favor of the iPhone when combining the two laps.

That’s basically a tie. And it’s really more of a win for the Galaxy S23 Ultra, which has finally been able to put some pressure on Apple.

The full video follows below.

Chris Smith
Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he closely follows the events in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises. Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.