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New version of Samsung with better specifications, Galaxy S24 The Ultra adds extra-size performance to the line. Here's how it fares compared to Apple's top-end smartphone, the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The presentation of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra as part of the Unpacked event is the flagship release of the South Korean technology company. With the largest screen and best camera capabilities in the lineup, the S24 Ultra offers plenty of options for consumers looking for a great smartphone.
As the main competitor to Apple's iPhone lineup, the S24 Ultra should compete directly with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple's largest and most powerful smartphone.
The battle for the high-end is usually fierce, and this year it is as intense as ever.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – specifications
|iPhone 15 Pro Max
|Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
|6.29 x 3.02 x 0.32
|6.39 x 3.11 x 0.34
|Mobile platform Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy
|256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
|256 GB, 512 GB, 1 TB
|6.7″ Super Retina XDR
ProMotion always-on display
|6.8″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X
SuperSmooth always-on display
|6.8″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X,
SuperSmooth, Always-On Display
|2796 x 1290 at 460 ppi
|3120 x 1440 at 505 ppi
|Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint scanner
|5G (sub-6 GHz and mmWave)
Ultra-wideband 2nd generation
Satellite emergency assistance
Roadside assistance via satellite
|5G (Sub-6 GHz and mmWave)
|48 MP wide camera
12 MP ultra-wide camera
12 MP telephoto with 5x optical zoom
|Wide camera 200 MP
Ultra-wide 12 MP
10 MP Telephoto with 3x optical zoom
50 MP Telephoto with 5x optical zoom
|12 MP TrueDepth with autofocus
Video playback time up to 29 hours
Jade Green (Samsung Direct),
Sandstone Orange (Samsung Direct),
Sapphire Blue (Samsung Direct)
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – physical dimensions
Already on the market, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has been considered the best option on the market for several months now for everyone who loves large smartphones. At 6.29 inches long, 3.02 inches wide, and 0.32 inches thick, it's a hefty size made for larger hands.
Samsung's response with the Galaxy S24 Ultra is to go even bigger.
At 6.39 by 3.11 inches, it's a little longer and wider, which makes sense given the use of a slightly larger size. display. At 0.34 inches thick, it is slightly larger in volume than an Apple smartphone.
These differences in size also lead to differences in weight. At 7.81 ounces, Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max is a fairly dense device, but then Samsung decided to make its smartphone weigh 8.18 ounces.
Samsung S24 Ultra
Samsung S24 Ultra is equipped with a 200-megapixel camera and supports S Pen. Buy from Samsung Buy from Best Buy Buy from Amazon
iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – display
The iPhone 15 Pro Max screen is a 6.7-inch OLED panel Super Retina XDR with a resolution of 2796 by 1290 and a pixel density of 460 pixels per inch. Apple has also made it an always-on screen that uses ProMotion support so it can go as fast as 120Hz, or low enough to stay on without burning up power.
Samsung equips its Galaxy S24 Ultra with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, making it a tenth of an inch larger. Its 3,120-by-1,440-pixel resolution and size means it has a pixel density of 505 pixels per inch, much higher than the iPhone.
Samsung also has its own variable refresh rate from 120Hz to 1Hz under the SuperSmooth brand.
The Pro Max peaks at 1,000 nits for typical content, rising to 1,600 nits for HDR content and 2,000 nits peak for outdoor use. At its peak, Samsung's always-on offering can produce 2,600 nits.
Both Apple and Samsung have cut a hole in the display to house their cameras, but Apple is trying its best to disguise the hole with Dynamic Island UI elements.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – Cameras
The iPhone 15 Pro's triple camera setup features a 48-megapixel primary camera with f/1.78 aperture and a secondary camera. Optical sensor-shift image stabilization system. In addition to increasing the default image size from 12MP to 24MP, Apple is also creating a fictitious fourth camera by cropping the main image.
Ultra Wide is a 12-megapixel version with an f/2.2 aperture and a 120-degree field of view, similar to the iPhone 15 Pro. The telephoto lens is different in that while it has a 12-megapixel sensor with f/2.8 aperture, it also features a tetraprism lens and a 3D OIS sensor that offers 5x optical zoom and a maximum digital zoom of 25x.
Apple's computational photography work reappears this generation, combining Deep Fusion with the Photonic Engine and other features including Smart HDR 5, Portrait Lighting, Focus and Depth Control Portraits, Night Mode with LiDAR support, and Apple ProRAW.
Pro models also benefit from video upgrades, including the ability to record ProRes 4K footage at 60fps directly to a USB-C drive. Video log recording and support for the Academy color coding system are also implemented.
Samsung beats Apple in using four real camera sensors, with completely different characteristics.
The standard wide-angle camera has a 200MP sensor with f/1.7 aperture, laser autofocus, and optical image stabilization. It is joined by a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera with f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree field of view.
The S24 Ultra has two telephoto cameras, starting with a 10MP version with f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom. The other, a 50-megapixel periscope telephoto lens, has 5x optical zoom and an f/3.4 aperture.
When the Periscope telephoto lens is combined with data from a 50MP telephoto lens, it can provide enhanced digital zoom of up to 100x, also known as space zoom.
Samsung also has its own AI-powered photography features like Night Scene and the aforementioned Space Zoom. However, while Apple prefers to use machine learning to improve the resulting photos, Samsung's work is mainly related to editing.
Features such as erase, recompose and remaster are offered, as well as a generative editing function for adding bits back into the frame, such as rotation, which makes a non-existent part of the image appear.
On the video front, the Galaxy S24 Ultra can shoot 8K video at 30fps and 1080p slow motion at 960fps. A dedicated ISP unit is included to reduce noise for the front and rear cameras, while gyro sensor data is analyzed to determine the difference between user movement and objects, helping to further enhance the image.
Apple's front-facing camera is a proven 12MP TrueDepth system with Focus Pixels autofocus. Using depth maps has implications for both photography and security, such as for Face ID.
Samsung has a 12-megapixel front-facing camera equipped with dual-pixel PDAF, but it doesn't have Apple's trick to display faces.
iPhone 15 Pro Max
iPhone 15 Pro Max is equipped with a 6.7-inch (diagonal) OLED display. Buy from AT&T Buy from Verizon Buy from Xfinity
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – processor
The iPhone 15 Pro Max uses the A17 Pro, the latest A-series chip made in 3 – nanometer technical process. The processor has two performance cores and four efficiency cores, and changes to the microarchitecture and design help improve speed by 10% over the iPhone 14 Pro.
Also included is the “biggest GPU redesign” in Apple's history, with the six-core chip being 20% faster than its predecessor and featuring hardware-accelerated ray tracing. This last element is about four times faster than its software equivalent.
Apple is also adding a Neural Engine, now twice as fast as before, and a dedicated AV1 video decoder.
Inside the Galaxy S24 Ultra is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 Galaxy Mobile Platform, a Samsung-optimized version of the Qualcomm chipset.
It is powered by the Kyro processor, which uses one 3.3GHz Prime core, five 3.2GHz performance cores, and two 2.3GHz efficiency cores.
The Adreno CPU has similar hardware-accelerated ray tracing support, as well as other features including gaming super resolution and post-processing accelerators. Also included is hardware accelerated decoding of H.265, VP9 and AV1 video.
Hexagon NPU is Qualcomm's answer to the Neural Engine, which has a unified AI accelerator architecture with scalar, vector and tensor accelerators. Sensing Hub is equipped with its own dual microprocessors for audio and sensor processing.
While our iPhone 15 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S24 comparison has been the same so far, there is a slight deviation here as Samsung includes 12GB of storage while Apple uses 8GB.
This may help the Ultra better handle multiple apps at once, but it may not provide much benefit for single-run tasks.
For tests, we refer to early results of the mobile platform Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 vs A17 Pro instead of personally testing the S24 itself.
In Geekbench 6, Apple leads the A17 Pro in single-core testing with a score of 2858 versus about 2300 for Snapdragon. In a multi-core processor, the roles are reversed: Apple scored 7038, and Samsung scored about 7500.
For single-core tasks, the iPhone is good, but for rarer multi-core tasks, the Qualcomm chip should be better. Either way, these are two very powerful chips.
Samsung did devote much of its presentation to its device's artificial intelligence capabilities, including Live Translate, which provides real-time two-way voice and text translation. Chat Assist can help users “perfectly improve the tone of a conversation,” while Note Assist creates summaries and templates.
Circle to Search, which can use the built-in S Pen, uses Google's intelligence to search for any query. user circles or highlighting on the screen.
Samsung's smarts and AI features may be good for now, but with Apple planning to bring more AI work to iOS, this should make WWDC 2024 interesting.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – connectivity, power and other features.
The physical connection of both smartphones is via USB-C. Although Samsung has spent more time using USB-C in its hardware, this is the first generation of iPhone to use it.
On the wireless side, there is full 5G support, including mmWave and sub-6 GHz frequencies for each, as well as support for Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3 and NFC.
Apple includes Ultra Wideband for some directional features, including AirDrop and AirTag. Apple also includes satellite connectivity, with emergency assistance via satellite and roadside assistance via satellite offered when cellular access is not available.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery, although Samsung doesn't say how long it will last, but it's safe to say it'll be more than a day.
Apple claims that the iPhone 15 Pro Max's 4,441 mAh battery provides up to 29 hours of continuous video playback.
Fast charging is available for both smartphones using USB-C, although each has wireless charging functionality. Apple opts for MagSafe magnetic warranty, and Samsung Wireless PowerShare reuses wireless charging hardware to power other devices.
Biometric security is provided using Face ID on iPhone. Instead, Samsung relies on an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner located under the display for security.
Samsung includes the S Pen with the S24 Ultra, and stylus input is available on this particular model in the lineup. The iPhone 15 Pro Max does not have stylus support.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – storage capacity, color and price
Apple sells the iPhone 15 Pro Max starting at $1,199 for 256GB, up to $1,399 for 512GB, and up to $1,599 for 1TB. It is available in four colors: black titanium, white titanium, blue titanium and natural titanium.
The Galaxy S24 Ultra costs $1,299.99 for 256GB, $1,419.99 for 512GB, and $1,659.99 for 1TB. Onyx Black, Cobalt Violet, Marble Gray and Amber Yellow color options are available at many retail outlets, but Jade Green, Sandstone Orange and Sapphire Blue are only sold directly from Samsung .
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – what to buy
Both iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra are the best smartphones in their respective ranges. Consumers who purchase any of these will find that they have a powerful and highly capable mobile device in their hands, regardless of the brand.
Of course, people with more picky tastes will want to take advantage of specific features and choose the best in that category. By following this path, you will find many victories on Samsung's side.
The size, brightness and resolution of the screen, the gigantic resolution and zoom of the rear camera, and the presence of the S Pen may be enough for some to choose the Samsung route over the iPhone.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max, however, handles some processing tasks a little better, although not necessarily with multi-core applications. The video features are great for creative professionals, although Samsung's Slo-Mo and 8K are certainly interesting elements to look out for.
As a thinner and slightly more pocketable device, it may also fit a little better into people's lives.
Ecosystem dependency is also a big factor, so if you're already heavily invested in Apple's computing environment or deeply invested in the iPhone and Apple services, you'll stick with Apple no matter what. what Samsung offers.
What Samsung has unveiled is a serious contender for the throne of the best smartphone, and that should make Apple a little worried. The iPhone 15 Pro Max still offers consumers a great package, but it's hard not to be jealous of those getting Samsung's best device.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra – where to buy
Apple's iPhone 15 Pro Max is available from wireless carriers AT&T and Verizon , as there are now aggressive iPhone deals (often reducing the price of the device to free post-invoice credit and trade-in incentives).
The Samsung S24 Ultra also has a discount when you order directly from Samsung. Limited time offers ranging from instant credit to free memory upgrades. Amazon and Best Buy also offer the S24 Ultra.