April 15, 2024

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: which phone is better?

The Samsung Galaxy S24, S24 Plus and S24 Ultra will launch on January 31 and are almost certainly destined to join the ranks of the best phones of 2024.

Our full review of the Galaxy S24 Ultra is on the way, but in the meantime, you might be wondering how Samsung’s new devices compare to one of the most popular phones on the market today: the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Both phones offer cutting-edge specifications, running on the most advanced hardware available and the best displays Samsung and Apple can manage. In terms of features like speed, battery life, cameras, and performance, they are very similar devices.

Both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra have their own strengths, so deciding which phone is right for you depends partly on your personal preferences. To help you choose, let’s delve into the differences between the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Read more: Best Samsung Galaxy S24 contract deals

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Specs

Comparing the raw specs of the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max gives us a technical overview of the differences between the phones, although it’s not necessarily the best way to choose between the two.

Here’s a rundown of both phones, for reference.

Galaxy S24 Ultra

iPhone 15 Pro Max


From £1,249

From £1,199


6.8 inch AMOLED

6.7 inch OLED


1,440 x 3,120 pixels

1,290 x 2,796 pixels


2600 nits (peak)

2000 nits (peak)

Update frequency

120Hz dynamic

120Hz dynamic


Snapdragon 8 Generation 3

Apple A17 Pro


256GB, 512GB, 1TB

256GB, 512GB, 1TB





200MP wide angle, 50MP telephoto, 10MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide

48MP wide angle, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide

selfie camera

12 megapixels

12 megapixels


5,000 mAh



Black, gray, purple, yellow, green, orange

Black, white, blue, natural.

(The Independent/Steve Hogarty)

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Display

Samsung is as well-known for its televisions as it is for its phones, to the point that the Korean tech giant even makes displays for rival companies. Even Apple uses Samsung displays in the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The biggest upgrade to the display on either phone is the Samsung Galaxy S24’s newly improved maximum brightness of 2,600 nits, surpassing the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 2,000-nit maximum brightness.

Maximum brightness has unexpectedly emerged as a new battleground for flagship smartphones, but while on paper the S24 Ultra is a clear winner, there’s little practical difference between the two. This is especially true in the UK and northern Europe, where the sun is never so bright that you struggle to read your phone screen.

Otherwise, both the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max offer very similar viewing experiences. Samsung’s display has a slightly higher pixel density (505ppi vs. 460ppi), making it almost imperceptibly sharper, but both phone displays are neck and neck where it matters: both use HDR10 and run at a frequency of 120Hz refresh smooth scrolling.

(Getty Images)

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Cameras

Both Samsung and Apple use a variety of camera lenses to achieve great shots at a variety of zoom levels, but this year’s flagship Galaxy device actually gets a technical downgrade from the S23 Ultra, ditching the 10x optical lens on favor a less powerful 5x lens. Backed by a larger, more light-sensitive sensor.

This means you still get that headline-grabbing 100x super zoom capability, but the S24 Ultra now uses a combination of pixel binning techniques and some fancy machine learning magic to produce decent telephoto shots even at zoom levels. extremes.

Compare that to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which also achieves 5x optical zoom but uses a significantly smaller sensor to capture light. On paper, that puts Apple’s camera hardware some distance away from Samsung’s, but the raw specs don’t tell the full story. The A17 Pro chip in the iPhone 15 Pro Max uses next-level image processing to produce incredible smartphone photos. The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s camera system is technically more versatile, but which phone images you prefer depends largely on personal preference, as Samsung and Apple’s algorithms subtly modify the results towards style, color balance and contrast. in particular.

(The Independent/Steve Hogarty)

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Design

Samsung has clearly taken design cues from Apple this year, adorning the new Galaxy S24 Ultra with a new titanium frame and a flat screen. Removing the “waterfall edge” makes using the S-Pen stylus a little more comfortable, as the tip of the stylus no longer slides off the side of the phone when you scribble too close to the edge of the screen. Otherwise, the design of the latest three Samsung phones will look familiar to anyone who’s used a Galaxy device before.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra uses a rather severe-looking square display, giving it a more boxy appearance than the softer, rounded corners of the iPhone 15 Pro Max. This writer prefers the softer edges of Apple’s phone, but neither design is objectively better. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is lighter, but not enough to make a big difference. It also uses the ‘dynamic island’ camera notch to house the selfie camera, while Samsung’s phone compresses its front camera into a small cutout no wider than a grain of rice.

(The Independent/Steve Hogarty)

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: Verdict

Making a comparable comparison between the Galaxy S24 and the iPhone 15 is not easy, as both offer unique software features not found on the other.

Samsung’s newest phone features a range of AI-powered tools for editing photos, translating live phone calls and improving typing, for example. The iPhone 15 Pro Max automatically gains local advantage for anyone who has already participated in the Apple ecosystem.

However, in terms of pure hardware specifications, it’s the Galaxy S24 Ultra that wins. Samsung’s new flagship offers a better camera system, a host of new AI features, the latest Google search tools, and the versatile S-Pen stylus.

Find out more in our full Galaxy S24 Ultra review.

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