Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max

Samsung and Apple go up against each other once again with the arrival of the S24 Ultra

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As high-end smartphones continue to get even more premium, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the latest Galaxy Ultra will be the cream of the crop, possibly even becoming one the best Android phones of the year despite coming out on January 31st. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs the iPhone 15 Pro Max is an eagerly anticipated battle, as Apple and Samsung yet again go head-to-head with their top-of-the-line flagships.

So, which of these two serious rivals should you consider buying? It could be said that the Galaxy S24 Ultra has enough exciting features to sway users from Team iOS to Team Android – in this article, we’re diving into the fine print and comparing the specs, features, price, and more to determine which device comes out on top.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max specs

SpecsSamsung Galaxy S24 UltraiPhone 15 Pro Max
Display6.8-inch AMOLED (3088 x 1440, 1-120Hz)6.7-inch OLED (2796 x 1290, 1-120Hz)
Dimensions and weight162.3 x 79 x 8.6 mm, 232 grams159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3 mm, 221 grams
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for GalaxyA17 Pro
RAM12GB8GB
Storage256GB/512GB/1TB256GB/512GB/1TB
Rear Camera200MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 50MP 5x telephoto, 10MP 3x telephoto48MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP 5x telephoto
Front Camera12MP selfie12MP selfie
Battery and charging5,000 mAh, 45W wired, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless4,422 mAh, 20W wired, 15W wireless
Durability
Colors Titanium Gray, Titanium Violet, Titanium Black, Titanium Yellow (Samsung.com exclusives – Titanium Blue, Titanium Green, Titanium Orange)White Titanium, Black Titanium, Blue Titanium, Natural Titanium
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs Apple iPhone 15

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max features

Now, let’s explore their key features.

Design

In terms of design, both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max have made some notable changes from their previous models. The iPhone 15 Pro Max features a switch from the proprietary Lightning port to the more universal USB-C standard for charging and connectivity. Apple has also utilized titanium for the phone’s frame rather than the aluminum of the previous iPhone, making it lighter and more durable while still retaining a premium feel in the hand. The glass back has the iconic squared triple-lens camera block in the top left.

On the other hand, Samsung’s Galaxy S24 Ultra also adopts a lightweight, resilient titanium frame for enhanced durability over the previous aluminum material. While it’s ditched the distinctly curved ‘Edge’ display sides in favor of a flat 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED quad HD+ panel, the S24 Ultra keeps its rectangular physical footprint with subtly rounded corners and edges. Around back, it includes a similar quad-lens setup to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, with main, ultra-wide, and dual telephoto camera capable of 3x and 10x optical zoom.

There are ups and downs to each device here, for example, while the S24 lacks the customizable Action Button and large dynamic island of the 15 Pro Max, it does come equipped with the S Pen which obviously the iPhone doesn’t have.

Display

When it comes to the display, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a slight advantage with its 6.8-inch AMOLED display compared to the 6.7-inch OLED display on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Both devices offer LTPO displays with adaptive refresh rates that can switch between 1 and 120Hz, but the Samsung boasts a higher peak brightness of 2,600 nits, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 2,000-nit limit. While real-world testing will help determine this, on paper here the Galaxy has the slightly larger and brighter display of the two.

Camera capabilities

The camera capabilities of Samsung and Apple phones have always been a significant factor in their respective flagship status, and the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Galaxy S24 Ultra are certainly no exception.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max introduces substantial software improvements that augment the performance of its new rear camera hardware. Amongst other things, this includes a 12MP primary wide-angle lens with a larger ƒ/1.3 aperture for better low-light photography. Even more game-changing is the new tetraprism telephoto lens, capable of 5x optical zoom that still maintains fine detail and accuracy with its periscope-style setup.

On the other side of the spectrum, the Galaxy S24 Ultra debuts with a pretty astounding 200MP main camera with advanced pixel binning technology and Optical Image Stabilisation for incredibly sharp, stable images across lighting conditions. Complementing this is a 12MP, 120° ultrawide lens that promises to rival the main cameras across other smartphones with its versatility. The 10MP telephoto lens facilitates 3x optical zoom shots, now enhanced by AI and machine learning for optimized color and clarity at range. For steadier long-range zooms, the S24 Ultra adds Super OIS by using tiny actuators to counter even slight hand tremors. Both devices also tout improved computational photography algorithms that do advanced processing of people, scenes, and lighting powered by the latest smartphone chipsets from Apple and Qualcomm.

Performance

In terms of performance, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset, while the iPhone 15 Pro Max boasts the A17 Pro chipset, both of which are currently considered the most powerful mobile chipsets for Android and Apple. While Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 benchmarks indicate promising performance compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s A17 Pro chipset, real-world usage will provide more practical insights.

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 utilizes TSMC’s 4nm manufacturing process for improved power efficiency and is clocked at over 3 GHz, while Apple’s A17 Bionic runs on a 3nm process allowing for enhanced transistor density. While the Galaxy S24 Ultra offers a 12GB of RAM configuration, the iPhone 15 Pro Max maxes out at 8GB RAM, though Apple’s tighter hardware/software integration mitigates the advantages of higher RAM on an Android.

Software and additional features

The iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with iOS 17 pre-installed, offering new features such as StandBy Mode and Visual Voicemail. Apple typically provides five years of software and security updates, which this time doesn’t surpass the seven years of OS and security updates promised by Samsung. Furthermore, the Galaxy S24 Ultra incorporates various AI features in its Galaxy AI suite, including generative AI image editing, live translation and transcription, Circle to Search with Google, Chat Assist, and Instant Slow-Mo.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max price

When it comes to the price, both the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max come with the as-expected hefty price tag. The base model of the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a starting price of $1,199, while the cheapest version of the Galaxy S24 Ultra will set you back $1,299. Both devices offer 256GB of base storage, with higher storage options available at an additional cost.

Is the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra better than the iPhone 15 Pro Max?

While the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max have yet to be fully tested and compared side by side, the preliminary specs, features, and design elements indicate a fierce face-off between these two flagship devices. Both smartphones offer impressive capabilities, but the ultimate winner will depend on individual preferences and priorities.

Whether it’s the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s powerful Galaxy AI upgrades and camera enhancements or the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s lightning-fast performance and software ecosystem, consumers are in for an exciting choice. While there’s naturally no clear verdict, as it comes down to personal preference, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra might just have the upper hand here – at least while it’s unthreatened by the iPhone 16 Pro Max that will likely arrive in September. Realistically, either one should satisfy the buyer seeking a premium smartphone experience.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.