Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max: Which Should You Buy?

Quick Links

Key Takeaways

  • The Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max offer similar design and display features, with flat screens and durable titanium frames.
  • The S24 Ultra has a more versatile camera system with a higher megapixel count and better zoom capabilities, while the iPhone focuses on accuracy and natural appearance.
  • Both devices feature flagship processors that offer plenty of performance for even power users. Samsung also promises seven years of software updates for the S24 Ultra.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is Samsung’s flagship smartphone for 2024, but does it have what it takes to outperform Apple’s most expensive offering? Let’s compare it to the iPhone 15 Pro Max and see which smartphone comes out on top.

Design and Display

  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: 162.3 x 79 x 8.6 mm; 233 grams
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3 mm; 221 grams

Many users didn’t like the curved screen on the S23 Ultra. Luckily, the S24 Ultra, like the iPhone, now has a flat display. This not only looks more premium but also makes it easier to use with fewer accidental touches.

For this year’s model, Samsung opted for a titanium frame, similar to the iPhone 15 Pro models. Unlike Apple, Samsung didn’t use the material to make the phone lighter; instead, it focused more on durability. Although the iPhone is comparatively lighter, it’d be hard to tell the difference unless you have them both in your hands.

The S24 Ultra boasts a 6.8-inch 1440p Dynamic AMOLED screen with an adaptive refresh rate ranging from 1-120Hz. On the other hand, the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display, which is also capable of a 1-120Hz adaptive refresh rate.

Despite the iPhone’s slightly lower resolution at 1290p, the difference is virtually indiscernible at this screen size. Overall, both displays are excellent, and you won’t be disappointed by either of them.

However, the S24 Ultra boasts an impressive peak screen brightness of 2,600 nits, surpassing the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 2,000 nits. Therefore, if you spend a lot of time outdoors, especially under direct sunlight, you should lean toward Samsung’s flagship for its brighter screen.

Camera Configuration

  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: 200 MP f/1.7 primary; 50 MP f/3.4 periscope telephoto with 5x optical zoom; 10 MP f/2.4 telephoto with 3x optical zoom; 12 MP f/2.2 ultra-wide; Front: 12 MP, f/2.2
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: 48MP f/1.8 primary, dual-pixel PDAF, sensor-shift OIS; 12MP f/2.8 “tetraprism” telephoto with 5x optical zoom; 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera; Front: 12MP f/1.9 camera

The S24 Ultra features four lenses and replaces the S23 Ultra’s 10 MP 10x telephoto zoom lens with a 50 MP 5x telephoto unit. Despite seeming like a downgrade, the 5x lens is more practical for everyday use as the higher megapixel count still allows for 10x digital zoom without image quality loss. Besides that, the S24 Ultra’s camera setup is nearly identical to the outgoing S23 Ultra.

On the other hand, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has three lenses and incorporates a similar 5x zoom for telephoto shots, along with the ability to adjust your main camera’s focal length between 24mm, 28mm, or 35mm.

Ultimately, both phones have their own image processing algorithms, leading to different styles and strengths. Pictures shot on iPhones are known for their accuracy and natural appearance, whereas Samsung’s processing can be more vibrant and punchy.

If you prioritize a better zoom lens and a more versatile camera system, the S24 Ultra is the better pick. But if you want something that can take excellent photos even while simply pointing and shooting without going through multiple settings, consider opting for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

As for video recording, Samsung claims enhanced low-light video quality, wider optical image stabilization angles, and better hand-shake compensation. The iPhone 15 Pro Max offers similar capabilities, like Action mode, OIS, and autofocus 3D sensor-shift stabilization. However, the icing on the cake is its ability to shoot videos in Apple’s proprietary ProRAW format.

Processor Comparison

  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: A17 Pro chip

The S24 Ultra is equipped with Qualcomm’s flagship chip for 2024: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy. Qualcomm claims the newer chip provides roughly 30 percent faster CPU performance and 25 percent improved GPU performance than the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 that powered the S23 Ultra.

On the other hand, the iPhone 15 Pro Max boasts Apple’s cutting-edge A17 Pro chip. Both devices feature hardware-accelerated ray tracing, enhancing supported games with more realistic shadows and lighting for increased fidelity.

As each option excels in overall performance and efficiency, you’re unlikely to observe any significant differences in everyday use.

Software Support

Apple’s extended support for its products has been a significant factor influencing people’s preference for iPhones over Android devices. Typically, iPhones receive software updates for five to six years. However, Samsung now promises an impressive seven years of software upgrades for the S24 Ultra, meaning you will get OS and security updates till 2030.

AI took center stage among everything Samsung announced at its Galaxy Unpacked event. Galaxy AI, a suite of advanced AI features integrated into several stock apps, includes real-time call translation and transcription, note summarization, text translation, AI-assisted photo editing, and more.

The S24 Ultra also supports Google’s Circle to Search feature, allowing you to highlight any object on the screen and initiate a Google search for relevant information. For instance, if you come across an unfamiliar car in an image, you can easily circle it, prompting Google to provide similar images and relevant content.

Battery Life and Charging

Samsung Galaxy S24 Lineup with Battery Capacities Highlighted

  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: 5,000mAh; 45W wired, 65% in 30 min; 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: 4,852mAh battery; 20W fast wired charging, 50% charge in 30 minutes; 15W MagSafe and Qi 2 wireless charging

Both devices can deliver excellent battery life, so you shouldn’t encounter any concerns in this aspect. While the S24 Ultra shares the same battery capacity as the S23 Ultra, Qualcomm’s claimed 20-25 percent improvement in power efficiency should allow it to last longer. In general, you can comfortably go beyond a day without having to charge your phone.

Although the S24 Ultra offers faster wired charging, it’s disappointing that it does not support Qi2 wireless charging like the iPhone 15 Pro Max. The second-generation universal wireless charging standard generates less heat while charging and uses magnets like MagSafe to support various accessories.

Pricing and Storage

Samsung Galaxy S24 Lineup Pricing

  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: $1,299 for 256GB; $1,419 for 512GB; $1,659 for 1TB
  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: $1,199 for 256GB; $1,399 for 512GB; $1,599 for 1TB

While both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max offer a starting storage capacity of 256GB, the Galaxy S24 Ultra sees a price hike of $40-$100, depending on the storage option you choose. Although 256GB is generally sufficient for most users, it’s essential to consider your smartphone storage requirements, given that neither device supports a microSD slot.

As a limited-time offer, though, you can get double the storage for no extra cost if you order the phone from Samsung’s S24 Ultra purchase page.

Both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max boast compelling features and are formidable contenders in the high-end smartphone market. Ultimately, the choice between the S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max depends on your individual priorities such as camera preferences, software, AI features, and pricing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *