iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Biggest expected differences

 iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy 23 Plus
iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy 23 Plus

We're about to see how an iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus face-off will shake down, with Apple expected to show off its latest phones at a fall product event on September 12. This particular smartphone clash should be of special interest, since it's very possible Apple could charge more for this year's model.

Normally, the iPhone Pro and Plus model of the Galaxy S lineup come in at the same price, and Samsung did its part by holding the line on Galaxy S23 Plus pricing (at least in the U.S.) Even with the same price, Samsung's latest Plus model still introduced some new capabilities, including improved battery life and a brighter display.

Rumors suggest Apple may wind up charging more for the iPhone 15 Pro than it did for the iPhone 14 Pro model. At least, several new advances are expected, too, from a brand new chipset to new materials used in the phone's frame. Even the camera could be in line for an update.

Here's a closer look at how an iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus comparison is shaping up based on rumors about Apple's new phone as well as our time spent testing the latest Galaxy flagships. We've also got Galaxy S23 vs. iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S23 Ultra comparisons that look at how the other Apple and Samsung phones measure up.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Specs

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Price

As noted from the outset, there could be a price difference between the iPhone 15 Pro and Galaxy S23 Plus if rumors of an iPhone price hike are accurate. Currently, the Galaxy S23 Plus starts at $999 for a 256GB model. That's the same price as the iPhone 14 Pro, which comes with 128GB of storage.

However, Apple may have a hard time delivering the iPhone 15 Pro at that price, given the higher cost of components and some improvements slated for the new phone. Current iPhone 15 price rumors suggest that Apple may increase the cost of the iPhone 15 Pro by $100, making it a $1,099 device. That would hand a pricing edge over to Samsung, and that's before you consider the Galaxy S23 deals that can lower the cost of an S23 Plus.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Design

galaxy s23 plus back in green
galaxy s23 plus back in green

The Galaxy S23 Plus made a minor design tweak, adopting the look of the Galaxy S22 Ultra in which the rear cameras are stacked vertically instead of bunched together in a separate camera array. (Indeed, all of Samsung's phones seems to be adapting this look lately, including the midrange Galaxy A54.) As one of the first phones to adopt Gorilla Glass Victus 2 to safeguard its screen, the Galaxy S23 Plus could also boast greater durability.

The iPhone 15 Pro looks like it's making its own change for durability's sake, with rumors suggesting Apple will turn to titanium for the phone's frame in lieu of stainless steel. That should make the new iPhone less prone to damage from drops, and it would also make the phone lighter as well.

Two other design changes are rumored for the iPhone 15 Pro — one minor and one more significant. The straight edges of recent Apple iPhones look like they're giving way to curved edges with the iPhone 15 series, which should make the new phones more comfortable to hold. Also, everyone expects Apple to get the jump on an EU regulatory edict by dropping Lightning connectivity in favor of a USB-C port for its iPhone 15 models. That'll mean a new way of charging your iPhone that's using the same standard the Galaxy S23 Plus relies on.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Display

iPhone 15 Pro
iPhone 15 Pro

The biggest difference between the Galaxy S23 Plus and the iPhone Pro's respective screens should remain once the 15 Pro ships — the S23 Plus screen is much larger at 6.6 inches. Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro is expected to keep its 6.1-inch size; you want something bigger, opt for the 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max (or iPhone 15 Ultra, if that's what Apple ultimately calls its top-of-the-line phone.)

With refresh rates expected to remain the same, too — the Galaxy S23 Plus can scale up to 120Hz, and we'd expect the same of the iPhone 15 Pro's display — the remaining question is whether Apple will make its screen any brighter. The iPhone 14 Pro already offers a peak brightness of 2,200 nits compared to 1,750 nits for the S23 Plus. (Neither phone hit those highs in our testing, though the iPhone 14 Pro did outshine the S23 Plus.) It's possible Apple could seek to widen the gap in display brightness by even more.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Cameras

galaxy s23 plus camera ui
galaxy s23 plus camera ui

This is the iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus battle we're really itching to see, given how devices from Apple and Samsung are mainstays in the competition for best camera phone.

The Galaxy S23 Plus states its case with three rear cameras — a 50MP main camera along with a 12MP ultrawide shooter and 10MP telephoto lens capable of a 3x zoom. When we tested the S23 Plus' cameras against the iPhone 14 Pro, Samsung's phones handled color better for the most part (the main exception being for night shots).

Apple could address that shortcoming with a new sensor for the iPhone 15 Pro's main camera. While the sensor is expected to keep the 48MP rating Apple introduced with the iPhone 14 Pro, the sensor itself may be physically larger. That would let in more light, which presumably would improve the color in the Pro model's pictures.

If you want more substantial changes, look to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It's supposed to get a periscope-style telephoto lens that supports a 6x optical zoom. The iPhone 15 Pro should still offer a 3x zoom, according to rumors.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Performance

A17 Bionic chip
A17 Bionic chip

Like the other phones in Samsung's S23 lineup, the Galaxy S23 Plus uses a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chipset that's been optimized for performance. While Samsung's phone continues to lag behind the A16 Bionic-powered iPhone 14 Pro in speed benchmarks like GeekBench 5, the gap isn't as large as it has been in the past.

Even better, Galaxy S23 Plus topped the iPhone 14 Pro in some graphics tests like 3DMark's Wild Life Unlimited. You get some of the best performance we've seen from an Android device with the Galaxy S23 Plus.

Don't expect Apple to sit back and let that gap continue to narrow. The iPhone 15 Pro models are expected to feature a new A17 Bionic chipset. What's noteworthy about the A17 is that it's built using a 3nm process compared to 4nm for the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. As chipsets get smaller, their transistors are packed in more densely, leading to gains in power. So we'd expect a big leap forward for the A17-powered iPhone 15 Pro, something leaked benchmarks have confirmed.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Battery life and charging

iPhone 15 dummy units
iPhone 15 dummy units

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 didn't just help the Galaxy S23 Plus score better on benchmark tests. Qualcomm's chipset is also known for stellar power management, which helped all the Galaxy S23 models post better times on our battery tests than their Galaxy S22 equivalents.

In the case of the Galaxy S23 Plus, the phone lasted 11 hours and 24 minutes in our test, which requires fully charged phones to surf the web over cellular until they run out of power. That's an impressive time that fell just short of landing the Galaxy S23 Plus on our best phone battery life list — and it's especially noteworthy in that the phone last nearly 11.5 hours on our test with its variable refresh rate turned on. (High refresh rates can drain batteries more quickly.)

The iPhone 14 Pro's result on our battery test wasn't nearly as impressive — it held out for 10 hours and 13 minutes — better than the average smartphone, but a far cry from the times posted by other iPhone 14 models like the Pro Max and Plus. To improve upon that, Apple's apparently going to increase the size of the batteries in the iPhone 15 models by turning to a stacked battery design. That's put the iPhone 15 Pro in line for a 3,650 mAH power pack, which is an increase from the 3,200 mAh cell the iPhone 14 Pro used.

The switch to USB-C for charging could mean faster charge times for the iPhone 15 Pro, especially given the rumor that Apple is reserving faster charge speeds for its Pro models. That would be a welcome change, as the Galaxy S23 Plus currently offers 45W charging, topping the iPhone 14 Pro's 20W output.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Software

The Galaxy S23 Plus shipped with Android 13 installed, though Samsung is in the process of beta testing its One UI 6 software, which is built on the upcoming Android 14 release. We'd expect all S23 models to upgrade to the new operating system by year's end.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is going to come with Apple's latest software pre-installed, as it will ship with iOS 17 (also currently in beta). We'd expect the iPhone 15 Pro to support five more years of iOS updates, while Samsung guarantees four years of software support for its phones, plus an additional year of security patches.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plus: Outlook

The iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S23 Plan could be swayed by how much Apple ends up charging for its new phone. If the iPhone 15 Pro goes up in price from previous models, then it had better deliver the kind of improvements that justify that extra cost. We'll soon see just how this smartphone battle turns out, once Apple's new phone makes its debut.

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