Pros, Cons and Features of Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra vs Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Google Pixel 7 Pro
Galaxy S23 Ultra: Features and Results
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra’s talking points include enhanced nighttime photos, 5 cameras, brightness of its massive display, the S-pen stylus, plus more megapixels on the wide-angle camera. But its starting price point is US$300 higher than the versatile Pixel 7 Pro.
The S23’s wide-angle lens is an advancement – which boasts nearly double the resolution for those clear wide shots and it takes long-range zoomed shots very well. It has an advanced camera sensor to accommodate low light for your personal portraits.
Those photographers who want to have uncompressed original photos to edit from will also like Samsung’s Expert Raw mode and app. You can also zoom and crop on-screen for an entirely new shot without hitting the shutter.
Video recording has gotten better on the Galaxy S23 Ultra; you can record enhanced 8K video at 30 frames-per-second (FPS) at a wide angle. Samsung tried to remove unwanted camera shakes when capturing videos in low light, with the doubled optical image stabilizer.
The downside of the S23 Ultra is shots that include motion may turn quite blurry, if lighting conditions are indoors or in the shade. Samsung’s Good Lock Labs provide a Camera Assistant app and settings for adjusting how you take shots, including a quick tap shutter, and you can prioritize speed, though this may turn shots into poor quality instead. One S23 Ultra user even went so far as to say if you want to take shots of pets, walking people and kids, then don’t buy this model.
One highlight of the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra is its nighttime capability. Taking photos of the night sky, you can turn on Astro Hyperlapse to record stars moving across – making an hour last a minute – and test its distance clarity. However, one reviewer remarked that the Pixel 7 Pro is still better at shooting photos of stars.
The S23 Ultra has the highest specifications among the Android phones.
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max: Features and Results
The Apple iPhone 14 Pro & Pro Max really take the iPhone’s cameras to the next level, with a boosted 48 Megapixel main camera and 12MP ultra-wide, a 12MP 3x telephoto lens and a 12MP Truedepth camera with a fast ƒ1.9 aperture. So, plenty of choices to get the right shot.
The larger sensor offers this maximum but default shooting is at 12 MP, which results in a quad pixel that improves light capture and with less noise.
On the ground, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is a great tool to use for composition, it handles colour and contrast nicely, and can shoot a well-balanced photo in a dark forest. The iPhone 14 line-up also have a smart call feature, which can save your bacon in a car crash.
However, with the wider aperture on this main camera, it can lose some focus in darker parts of a landscape. The ultra-wide camera takes better shots in adequate light, including clarity in the corners. In dim light, its results are too noisy.
Using the S Pen lets you take photos from a distance (remote control), browse your photo gallery or write on-screen into Notes.
Google Pixel 7 Pro: Features and Results
With the Pixel 7 Pro, it’s got a 50MP main camera, a similar 12MP ultra-wide lens, and a better 5x telephoto camera lens. This may be handy for the landscape photographer or for taking shots at school awards nights. It has a new “macro focus” feature and a “photo unblur” feature for those post-snap edits. These are no novel ideas for the expert Digital SLR user.
The nighttime photo shooting capability is one of the features that sell Google’s Pixel smartphones. With the night mode active, the Pixel 7 Pro’s colours are vibrant and have a strong depth.
Regarding downsides of this model, it seems scrolling may be erratic. One Reddit user said the touchscreen “constantly sticks on the backstroke of your finger when flicking to scroll. Not to mention the massive increase in keyboard fumbles when typing”.
Testing photography results
The Tom’s Guide test shoot-out between the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Pixel 7 Pro proved the Pixel 7’s gradually improving capability. This test showed how different results can be of the same shot. In the iPhone picture of a skating rink, the people and colours popped more and it coped with the white rink really well. I agreed that the Pixel 7 Pro made the cranberry tart taken in macro focus looks more detailed and somehow realer, but I disagreed with his preference for the park portrait. That portrait taken with the iPhone 14 Pro Max is more correctly exposed, while the Pixel 7 Pro was too shadowy. With the close-up of flowers, it was splitting hairs, and other shots were simply a little brighter and clearer with the help of Apple’s Photonic Engine.
Another test of the Pixel 7 Pro (4 stars) found lacklustre colours in the telephoto and an underwhelming battery life, but it is a pretty device and does have a 5x optical zoom.
Whether you prefer one photo style over another with these three titans of premium phone cameras is largely down to personal preference.
Which is Better? Which One Should You Use?
Despite the higher price tag, Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max ($1,099 / £1,199 / AU$1,899) subtly nudges out the Google Pixel 7 Pro ($899 / £849 / AU$1,299) in terms of camera as well as performance, according to a face-off by Tom’s Guide. The Galaxy S23 Ultra (starts at $1,200 for 256 GB) is a beautiful looking phone, has sharp and clear screens and takes a great portrait, and the Google Pixel 7 nudges it out on the nighttime sky and building shots.
So, if price is not the decider, then the real question is: do you prefer the ever-improving Apple iPhones for photography, as you want it to perform in all kinds of conditions? Or has Samsung Galaxy made enough camera improvements in this model to capture your heart?
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