Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Which is better?
10 mins read

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Which is better?


We’re pitting the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra against the iPhone 15 Pro Max. After the Galaxy S24 line got unveiled at Unpacked, the S24 Ultra is now the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s greatest competitor, particularly with its deluge of new AI-packed features.

How does the newly announced Galaxy S24 Ultra compare to the iPhone 15 Pro Max? Based on the specs we have so far, here’s what we know.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Price

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra starts at $1,300 and comes with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a cheaper starting price of $1,199 and also offers 256GB of storage, but there’s less RAM at 8GB.


  • Galaxy S24 Ultra (starting price): $1,300

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max (starting price): $1,199


Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Design

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra arguably has the better design. Both have a rectangular chassis, but the edges are different. The 6.8-inch Galaxy S24 Ultra has rounded edges that nestle into my hands like a baby bird nuzzling my palm.

Woman holding Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max, on the other hand, has boxier edges than the Galaxy S24 Ultra. Its angular edges feel unwieldy and somewhat awkward — definitely not as ergonomic as the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

However, in terms of aesthetics, the iPhone 15 Pro Max looks cleaner and more organized. For example, the triple-lens rear camera setup is organized inside a clear, squircle casing. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, without a casing, settles nicely on any surface, but its rear five-sensor array makes it look anachrid-esque.

Both phones have elements of titanium in their materials, as evidenced by the tell-tale names of their colorways.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra colorways

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra colors
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

The iPhone 15 Pro Max comes in four colors: Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, and Black Titanium.

Similarly, the Galaxy S24 Ultra comes in Titanium Black, Titanium Violet, Titanium Yellow, and Titanium Gray.


  • Galaxy S24 Ultra weight and height: 8.22 ounces, 0.34 inches

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max weight and height: 7.80 ounces, 0.33 inches


Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Display

Apple shrunk that pesky notch into the “Dynamic Island” when it debuted the iPhone 14 line. Although it’s less obtrusive, it’s still in the way. The Dynamic Island is still present on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but I’ve learned to love it as an “iDevice signature” of sorts.

Woman holding Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with S Pen


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

Still, with the Galaxy S24 Ultra only featuring a hole-punch design for its selfie camera, there’s a lot more screen real estate to play with. It boasts a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, a QHD+ resolution, and a 6.8-inch display with a refresh rate that can climb up to 120Hz, depending whether your activity demands it.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a Super Retina XDR OLED display with a 2796 x 1290-pixel resolution panel. It, too, can climb up to a 120Hz refresh rate.


  • Galaxy S24 Ultra display: 6.8 inches, 3120 x 1400 pixels

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max display: 6.7 inches, 2796 x 1290 pixels


Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Performance

Both the flagship Galaxy S series and the iPhone are known for delivering seamless, slick performance, allowing users to navigate the UI with ease. (Sure, the iPhone 15 Pro Max suffered some issues with overheating, but this got resolved with software updates.)

Woman holding Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra with S Pen


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

However, the A-series chipsets Apple places inside iPhones are beastly, outperforming every smartphone on the market (according to Geekbench tests I’ve taken for the past three generations).

It’s worth noting, though, that the A17 Pro inside the iPhone 15 Pro Max delivers far more power than a smartphone needs. So even if the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 inside the Galaxy S24 Ultra fails to outpace the A17 Pro, it’s not a big deal because it should still have sufficient processing power to handle all of your tasks — and then some.



Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Cameras

I’ll have to take both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max cameras for a spin to know which shooters are better.

iPhone 15 Pro Max on a table


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

On paper, however, the Galaxy S24 Ultra appears to have an edge with a 200MP wide camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and two telephoto cameras: 50MP (up to 5x optical zoom) and 10MP (up to 3x optical zoom).

Interestingly, the S24 Ultra’s 50MP telephoto is an upgrade from its predecessor’s 10MP telephoto. (For context, the S23 Ultra had two 10MP telephoto sensors). However, the optical zoom has dropped from 10x to 5x. Based on these specs, the S24 Ultra’s resolution for close-up shots should improve, however, the range in which the hardware handles zoomed-in photos (before the software kicks in) has been narrowed.

I’m curious to see whether this baffling change improves the telephoto experience (e.g., taking portraits). According to Samsung, it does. Apparently, the Ultra’s new 5x optical zoom lens works with the 50MP sensor to deliver crisp zoomed-in photos and portraits up to 10x. We shall see!

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra line


Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

Even with the optical zoom reduction, the Galaxy S24 Ultra remains competitive with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which has a 12MP telephoto and 5X optical zoom. It also has a 48MP wide camera and a 12MP ultrawide shooter.

Both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max have a 12MP selfie camera.


  • Galaxy S24 Ultra cameras: 200MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 50MP telephoto (5x optical zoom), 10MP telephoto (3x optical zoom), 12MP selfie

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max cameras: 48MP, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto (5x optical zoom), 12MP selfie


Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Galaxy AI

While we’re on the subject of cameras, the Galaxy S24 Ultra also boasts new AI-powered features for them, including Galaxy AI editing tools like the following:

  • Edit suggestion – recommends tweaks to photos

  • Generative Edit – fills in parts of an image background with generative AI (e.g., if a photo is taken crooked, Galaxy AI fills in the borders)

  • Instant Slow-mo – Add a slow-downed effect to action-packed videos

Other Galaxy AI features help with productivity:

  • Live Translate: Real-time on-screen language translation for phone calls

  • Chat Assist: Helps you find the right tone for messages, whether you’re communicating with your boss at work or trying to connect with your social media audience

  • Interpreter: Similar to Live Translate, but takes place in-person instead of phone calls

  • Note Assist: AI-generated summaries and formatting of your notes

  • Circle to Search: Draw a circle around anything on your screen and Google will run a search for it

These barely scratch the surface. Check out our in-depth coverage on Galaxy AI.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Battery

Hallelujah, you no longer have to carry separate charging cables while traveling. Thanks to the introduction of USB-C on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can bring one USB-C cable with you for all of your USB-C devices.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a max charging speed of about 27W, give or take, so a 30W charger like this one may be your best bet for the zippiest power-ups. (It should deliver 50% in 30 minutes, according to UltimateiDeviceVids.) The Galaxy S24 Ultra, on the other hand, has a faster charging rate — 65% in 30 minutes with a 45W charger, according to Samsung.

Wireless Powershare

Wireless Powershare
Credit: Kimberly Gedeon / Mashable

With the iPhone 15 Pro Max, you can charge other USB-C devices with a cable, allowing them to draw power from your phone. The Galaxy S24 Ultra can do the same, but it has one extra feature.

Like its predecessors, the Galaxy S24 can charge devices wirelessly on its back chassis. It’s called Wireless PowerShare, something the iPhone 15 Pro Max can’t do.


  • Galaxy S24 Ultra battery capacity: 5,000 mAh

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max battery capacity: 4,441 mAh


Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Exclusive features

The S pen is where the Galaxy S24 Ultra shines. As the owner of a Galaxy S22 Ultra, I use the S Pen religiously. I pull it out to jot down notes while on the job — or when the club is too loud and I need to scribble my drink order for the bartender.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max, of course, doesn’t have a stylus, but it has a new journal app, courtesy of iOS 17, that inspires you to write about your day based on your photos, videos, places you’ve traveled, and more. (Click here to read all the cool perks iOS 17 has to offer, including NameDrop.)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max also comes with useful features such as Emergency SOS via satellite, which lets you make calls even when you lack reception. It’s also worth noting that the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a customizable Action Button. The Galaxy S24 Ultra has a side button you can customize, too, but thanks to the Shortcuts app, I find the iPhone 15 Pro Max to be far more programmable.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra, on the other hand, is billed as an AI phone that has a host of machine-learning features that rival the Google Pixel 8 Pro.

Final thoughts

If you don’t care for a stylus and you dig all the features iOS 17 has to offer (e.g., FaceTime and iMessage may be difficult to pass up), dive head first into the Apple ecosystem. However, if an AI-focused phone with a sleek, comfortable grip makes your heart sing, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the phone for you.





Source link