iPhone vs Samsung: Which is Better in 2024?

January 23, 2024 • April Miller


iPhone vs Samsung – which smartphone is better in 2024? It’s a tough competition. Both companies’ current flagship phones are the most advanced smartphone tech to come out yet. Apple and Samsung have their own unique ecosystem and operating system. Both phone manufacturers use a different design aesthetic for their devices, as well. 

At the end of the day, though, which company makes a better device, Apple or Samsung? This comparison will break it down as objectively as possible. 

As of early 2024, Apple’s leading phone models are the iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max. Samsung’s current leading models are the S23 and S23 Ultra. Samsung has numerous other phone models available, but the S23 and S23 Ultra are the most comparable to the iPhone 15 lineup. So, this comparison will focus on the S23 and iPhone 15 device families. 

Build Quality: Samsung

Build quality is crucial for device durability. Apple has long had a lead in this category, but that’s starting to change. In 2024, the iPhone vs Samsung build quality contest goes to Samsung. The Samsung S23 Ultra holds up better than the iPhone 15 Pro Max in drop tests thanks to its new Victus 2 Gorilla Glass front and back panels.  

A drop test for the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Source: PhoneBuff

Both of these phones are among the most durable flagship devices on the market. Front panel damage is comparable on both, but the back glass on the iPhone 15 lineup is noticeably weaker than the Samsung S23’s back glass — it quickly spiderwebbed and fell off in chunks.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max does have a couple advantages in this category, though. It features rounded corners and a titanium frame. As a result, it handles corner and edge drops better than Samsung’s glass panels do. Plus, the sheer popularity of the iPhone makes it easier to find a protective case no matter what model you’re using. 

Affordability: Samsung

The latest smartphone from any company is not usually the cheapest way to get a smartphone. However, in terms of price for a new phone in 2024, it’s a close tie between iPhone vs Samsung. Samsung has a slight edge in this category since the S23 starts at $699 while Apple’s iPhone 15 starts at $799. 

Both 256 GB pro models retail at $1,199. For 1 TB of space, the iPhone 15 Pro Max costs $1,599 and the Galaxy S23 Ultra costs $1,619. It’s a barely noticeable difference — especially when you consider both have a USB-C port, meaning you don’t have to spend more on expensive add-ons.

Resale value is another consideration. iPhones have long been the most valuable used phones out there. Whether it’s because of the longstanding popularity of the iPhone, brand recognition, or long-lasting product support, used iPhones are easier to sell and sell for higher prices than used Samsung phones.

A lot of people are still happily using the iPhone 5 or 6, both of which are over a decade old at this point. Still, even though you can sell you used iPhone 15 for more money than a used Galaxy S23, the resale value doesn’t matter if you trade your device in instead of selling it secondhand.

Ecosystem: iPhone

The phone ecosystem is the wider collection of devices and apps that a phone is designed to interact seamlessly with. When it comes to iPhone vs Samsung, there’s no competition. iPhone has the better ecosystem in 2024.

Of course, Samsung is trying to build its own ecosystem and some users may simply prefer the Android operating system over iOS. So, this category depends on user preference to a certain extent.  

However, iPhones have more devices they are made to easily connect to and work with. The iPhone ecosystem includes the iPad lineup, the Apple Watch, the Macbook Pro and Macbook Air, the Mac and Mac Mini, Beats headphones, AirPods, Apple TV, the HomePod and HomePod Mini, and the Apple Vision Pro headset. The iPhone is designed to integrate effortlessly with all of these devices.  

In addition to apps and devices, security is also part of a smartphone’s ecosystem. Apple wins in this category, as well. Since Apple is the only company that creates and controls all the devices in the iPhone ecosystem, they’re designed to operate very securely with one another. 

Samsung is part of the Android ecosystem, which is developed by a plethora of companies like Google, Xiaomi, Huawei, Vivo, and countless others in addition to Samsung. Apple is also stricter about what apps are allowed on its App Store, so it is more difficult for malicious apps to be available on the iPhone. 

Customization: Samsung

Customization is one area where Samsung has long had an edge over Apple. The iPhone is designed to be simple to use, but this means that Apple doesn’t offer many customization features on its phones. In contrast, Samsung’s phones are loaded with room for customization and creativity. 

On Samsung phones, you can change your phone’s theme, color theme, icon designs, keyboard appearance, and even the font. You can’t do most of those things on an iPhone, at least not in 2024. iOS 16 gave iPhone users more lockscreen customization options, but it’s still nothing like the level of customization possible on a Samsung phone. 

Truthfully, Apple doesn’t offer many personalization options. While you can use widgets or shortcuts to customize your iPhone’s home screen, there aren’t built-in options yet. iOS 16 and 17 introduced new lock screen and contacts personalization tools, but they’re nowhere near the level of Samsung phones.

Camera Quality: Tie

The smartphone camera competition between iPhone vs Samsung is one of the toughest comparisons to make. Both phone lineups have incredibly good cameras today. Ultimately, it’s a tie. Which camera is better for you depends on what exactly you want to use your camera for. 

Samsung phones tend to have better video quality and better night time performance. The image stabilization on the S23 lineup is smoother than the iPhone 15. Plus, Samsung phones have better 4K video and even have 8K video, which the iPhone doesn’t have — even though it’s newer.

The S23 also has better automatic adjustment to light exposure. Apple has struggled with this historically — in low light, lens flares and reflections are common. That said, the iPhone 15 Pro Max adjusts to lighting differences faster than the S23.

A camera comparison for the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Source: Danny Winget

In photos, Samsung also has longer range zoom and better close-up focus, capturing more detail than the iPhone can. The S23’s 10x optical zoom is crisp and vivid. Samsung also offers more premade shooting modes and more access to settings customization in the camera app. 

However, iPhones have the edge for portrait mode and color. Both phones have great cameras, but the iPhones tend to have bolder colors and better contrast. Depending on what type of image look you prefer, the photos on the iPhone might look better. Apple seems to have a lock on Portrait Mode on the iPhone, as well, with crisper portrait focus than the S23. 

So, if you’re looking for good video quality and more camera app customization, go for Samsung. If you’re looking for good portrait shots and an all around easy to use interface, go for the iPhone. 

Battery and Performance: Tie

Battery is a key category when comparing any two phones. It can be a hassle your phone needs to be charged repeatedly throughout the day. Luckily, both Apple and Samsung phones have great battery life. Most users will be happy with either one. 

The iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S23 Ultra perform almost exactly the same in battery tests. The S23 has a slight edge of just a few percentage points of battery life, lasting a few minutes longer than the iPhone. Both devices perform similar on everyday tasks like video streaming, web browsing, social media browsing and gaming.

A battery test for the iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. the Galaxy S23 Ultra. Source: TechTalkTV

How long a smartphone’s battery lasts depends heavily on how you use it. Some people may get hours more out of the S23 while others get better performance from the iPhone 15. Both are so close in battery performance that most users won’t notice a big difference between the two devices in this category.

What’s In the Box: Tie

This iPhone boasts some long-awaited colors. You can choose from pale pink, blue, yellow, green and black. The Pro Max model is made with titanium, so it has darker shades of tan, blue, white and black. Appearance-wise, the only noticeable difference with this lineup is the dynamic island and USB-C port — the buttons are all the same.

The iPhone 15.
The iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro Max side by side.

So, what’s in the box of the iPhone 15 lineup? Along with your phone of choice, you get a USB-C to type-C cable and a sticker of the Apple logo. You don’t get headphones or adapters. Unfortunately, Apple follows the trend it set a while ago and doesn’t include a charging block.

The Galaxy S23 is available in earth tones like yellow, green, black and purple. If you want something brighter, the Ultra comes in lime, blue, green, cream, purple, red and black. Both are slightly different visually from previous models.

The Galaxy S23 Ultra.
The Galaxy S23 Ultra.

What’s in the box of Samsung’s Galaxy S23? A phone, USB-C cable and a SIM tray ejector. If you get the Ultra, you also get the S Pen. Similar to Apple, there’s no charging block or headphones in the box. Neither of the brands are particularly visually striking, so you should go with whichever you prefer.

iPhone vs Samsung: Who’s the Winner?

iPhone vs Samsung: who’s the winner in 2024? If you can only choose one of these phones, you’re probably better off with Samsung. While iPhones have a better ecosystem and resale value, Samsung has a slight edge when it comes to video quality, customization, build and affordability. Most users will be happy with either brand of phone, though.

Original Publish Date: 9/30/2022 — Updated 1/23/2024