Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Which Should You Make Your Next Phone?

Published on February 5, 2024

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Launched in close succession, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max stand out as two of the most sought-after flagship smartphones in the current market. Given Samsung and Apple’s dominant positions in the smartphone industry, it’s only natural for consumers to compare these two flagship devices.

In this article, we will delve into the key features and differences between these smartphones to help you determine which one aligns better with your needs.

Pricing and Availability

As both phones hit the market recently, they occupy the upper echelon of smartphone pricing. Presently, the S24 Ultra is priced at £1249/€1569/$1299, slightly higher than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which retails for £1199/€1449/$1199.

Design

The Samsung S24 Ultra boasts a slightly larger 6.82-inch screen compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch display. The S24 Ultra introduces several design enhancements, including a flat display and slimmer bezels. In contrast, the iPhone maintains its characteristic flat sides and subtly rounded edges, featuring thinner bezels compared to the iPhone 14 Pro.

Both phones have upgraded their build quality, incorporating a titanium body for increased durability. While the iPhone 15 Pro Max incorporates Apple’s Ceramic Shield for screen protection, the S24 Ultra adopts Gorilla Glass Armor, offering up to 4 times greater strength for the screen and a remarkable 75% reduction in reflections.

Camera

The Samsung S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max exhibit notable differences in their camera setups. Both smartphones feature a 12MP front-facing camera and a 12MP ultrawide lens on the rear, but there are other distinctions worth mentioning. Notably, the S24 Ultra boasts a remarkable 200MP resolution for its main camera lens, a significant contrast to the iPhone’s 48MP lens. On paper, this discrepancy appears substantial; however, in Max Parker’s review of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, he notes that “the iPhone consistently delivers reliable results, producing usable images nearly every time,” a sentiment not echoed for the Galaxy Ultra series.

The S24 Ultra also raised eyebrows by reducing its 10MP 10x periscope lens to 5x, placing it on par with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which upgraded from a 3x to a 5x zoom. Both phones are celebrated for their zoom capabilities. Max concludes that “the image quality is impressive, particularly in well-lit conditions, offering rich and detailed colors.” Lewis Painter, in his review of the S24 Ultra, praises the telephoto lens as a “dependable shooter with color and detail consistency akin to both the primary lens and the 5x periscope lens, bridging the gap effectively.”

With the launch of the S24 Ultra, Samsung introduced Galaxy AI, significantly influencing the camera and photo gallery. AI-powered photo editing tools offer a plethora of features, including tailored editing suggestions for each shot, Generative Edit for rectifying skewed images, and generative fill to eliminate distractions. In contrast, although the iPhone 15 Pro Max garners acclaim for its photography capabilities and high scores, it lacks a dedicated AI editing tool. Nevertheless, users can still enhance and edit their images manually.

Performance

As flagship smartphones, both devices are equipped with the latest chips tailored for their respective operating systems. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra employs the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy, a custom iteration of Qualcomm’s top-tier 2024 chipset. In comparison, the iPhone 15 Pro Max runs on Apple’s A17 chipset. While the chipsets exhibit some similarities, both phones offer storage capacities of up to 1TB. One notable difference is the S24 Ultra’s 12GB of RAM, surpassing the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 8GB, although the latter represents an improvement from the previous 6GB but still falls short of the S24 Ultra.

Benchmark tests indicate that the S24 Ultra achieved an impressive 2229 single-core score and a 6853 multi-core score, whereas the iPhone 15 Pro Max outperformed with a substantial 2900 single-core score and a 7134 multi-core score. For gamers, it’s worth noting that the S24 Ultra achieved a slightly better 63fps compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 60fps.

Both phones are up-to-date with the latest Android and iOS updates, with the S24 Ultra running Android 14 and the iPhone 15 Pro Max running iOS 17. Interestingly, the S24 Ultra incorporates Samsung’s OneUI skin, introducing various enhancements to improve the user experience, including a revamped notification shade with improved quick settings access, strikingly similar to a feature found on the iPhone.

Battery Life

Both the S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max adopt USB-C for charging, with Apple making the transition from Lightning to USB-C during its September launch. In benchmark tests, the S24 Ultra took 71 minutes to charge from 1-100%, whereas the iPhone 15 Pro Max required 91 minutes. Similarly, an hour of Netflix streaming resulted in an 8% battery drain for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, compared to a 6% drain for the S24 Ultra.

Lewis Painter, in his S24 Ultra review, reported that “after a 16-hour day filled with texting, gaming, and extensive TikTok scrolling, I typically had around 50-60% battery remaining.” In contrast, Max Parker, in his iPhone 15 Pro Max review, noted that “throughout the review period, I consistently had 20-30% battery capacity remaining by day’s end.”

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