Dimensions: 162.3 x 79 x 8.6mm
Screen size: 6.8-inch
Resolution: 1440 x 3120
Chipset: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
Rear camera: 200MP+50MP+12MP+10MP
Front camera: 12MP
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is a big threat to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, packing more cameras, more RAM, a bigger battery, and a brighter screen, but more doesn't always mean better.
- Great cameras
- Titanium frame
- Very powerful
- AI is often useless
- Big and heavy
- Terrible menus
Dimensions: 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3mm
Screen size: 6.7-inch
Resolution: 1290 x 2796
Chipset: A17 Pro
Rear camera: 48MP+12MP+12MP
Front camera: 12MP
The iPhone 15 Pro Max can't quite match the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra on most fronts. However it gets very, very close, while also having slicker software than Samsung's phone, and benefitting from a Dynamic Island.
- Gorgeous design
- Excellent photography
- Cutting-edge performance
- Fewer cameras
- Smaller battery
- Less bright screen
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is Apple’s top phone and one of the very best phones you can buy. But it’s now got some significant competition, as the Samsung Galaxy S24 line has arrived, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in particular is a serious rival.
This Android superphone has more cameras and a bigger screen than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, along with some similarities, such as a titanium frame.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: specs comparison
The table below contains the both the key official Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra specs and the iPhone 15 Pro Max specs, so you can see at a glance how these two flagships compare.
|Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
|iPhone 15 Pro Max
|162.3 x 79 x 8.6mm
|159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3mm
|1440 x 3120
|1290 x 2796
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3
|Apple A17 Pro
|200MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto (3x zoom), 50MP periscope (5x zoom)
|48MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, 12MP periscope (5x zoom)
|256GB / 512GB / 1TB
|256GB / 512GB / 1TB
|45W wired, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless
|20W wired, 15W wireless
|Titanium Violet, Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Yellow, Titanium Blue, Titanium Green, Titanium Orange
|Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, Natural Titanium
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: price and availability
The iPhone 15 Pro Max was launched back in September 2023, and it’s widely available globally. Its starting price is $1,199 / £1,199 / AU$2,199, which gets you a version with 256GB of storage. You can also pay $1,399.99 / £1,399 / AU$2,549 for 512GB, or $1,599.99 / £1,599 / AU$2,899 for 1TB. In all cases the phone has 8GB of RAM.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra price starts at $1,299 / £1,249 / AU$2,199, and that gets you 256GB of storage.
Prices then rise to $1,419.99 / £1,349 / AU$2,399 for 512GB of storage, and $1,659.99 / £1,549 / AU$2,799 for 1TB of storage, with all configurations including 12GB of RAM.
So the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has a starting price that's $100 / £50 higher than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but it costs the same in Australia.
At the top end, the Galaxy S24 Ultra costs $60 more but £50 / AU$100 less. So prices are broadly similar then, but depending on region and configuration, one phone might cost slightly more than the other.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: design and display
The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a glass back, a titanium frame, and a flat screen with a large Dynamic Island cut into it. It also has a large, squared triple-lens camera block on the rear.
In some ways the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is quite similar, as this also has a titanium frame (which is a more premium material than aluminum or stainless steel). And it has a glass back too, but the camera lenses jut individually out of the back, rather than being housed in a block, and the phone has less curvy corners.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra also has just a tiny punch-hole cut-out in the display, rather than a larger – but more useful – Dynamic Island. And Samsung’s phone lacks the Action button found on the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which acts as a customizable shortcut, though it does have an S Pen stylus and a slot to house it, which Apple's phone doesn't have.
Still, one other similarity is that the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has an IP68 rating, just like the iPhone 15 Pro Max, meaning the same official level of water and dust resistance.
As for their dimensions, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is 159.9 x 76.7 x 8.3mm, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is 162.3 x 79 x 8.6mm, which makes Samsung’s phone slightly larger and thicker. It's also heavier, coming in at 232g, compared to 221g for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
And the colors differ too, at least a little. The iPhone 15 Pro Max colors include Black Titanium, White Titanium, Blue Titanium, and Natural Titanium, while the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra colors include Titanium Violet, Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Yellow, Titanium Blue, Titanium Green, and Titanium Orange.
As for their screens, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 6.7-inch 1290 x 2796 OLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 2,000 nits. The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra though has a 6.8-inch 1440 x 3120 AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate and a peak brightness of 2,600 nits. So Samsung’s screen is slightly larger and brighter, but otherwise similar.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: cameras
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is one of the best camera phones you can buy, packing a 48MP f/1.8 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide with a 120-degree field of view, and a 12MP f/2.8 periscope camera offering 5x optical zoom, along with a 12MP f/1.9 camera on the front.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s cameras meanwhile include a 200MP f/1.7 main camera, a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide with a 120-degree field of view, a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto with 3x optical zoom, and a 50MP f/3.4 periscope camera with 5x optical zoom, plus a 12MP f/2.2 camera on the front.
So both phones have 12MP selfie cameras, and both offer 5x optical zoom on the rear. But the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra additionally offers 3x optical zoom, and has more megapixels in its main and periscope cameras.
Does that mean it's better? Arguably yes. We're big fans of its cameras, noting in our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra review that its camera system "is more reliable and versatile" than that of the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
And the Galaxy S24 Ultra has an ace up its sleeve, as it has a lot of AI camera capabilities, such as the ability to move people around in photos and extend backgrounds. That said, we found the AI features something of a mixed bag, and sometimes useless.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: performance
For performance, there’s a very high chance the iPhone 15 Pro Max will win, as its A17 Pro chipset has every Android phone beat in benchmarks. That said, the iPhone 15 Pro Max only has 8GB of RAM, which isn’t all that much for a top-end phone, though Apple is very efficient with its use of memory.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chipset, which is an overclocked version of the standard Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, which itself is arguably the best chipset available to Android phones. And it's paired here with 12GB of RAM.
So both of these phones are top performers. Of the iPhone, we said that it offers “fantastic performance” that “makes console gaming a reality in an iPhone.” But the Galaxy S24 Ultra could be even more powerful, with our review noting that "the Ultra is just as fast as the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and in many ways it’s even faster."
As for storage, the iPhone 15 Pro Max comes with between 256GB and 1TB, and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra also has those maximum and minimum storage amounts.
Both operating systems are similarly capable, and you likely already know what your preference is here, though if you want a big taste of AI on a phone then the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has the edge.
On the other hand, Samsung's One UI overlay has become increasingly bloated and clunky, with some key features hidden several layers deep in menus. So for slicker software, the iPhone is what you should choose.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: battery life
The iPhone 15 Pro Max has a 4,441mAh battery with up to 27W wired charging and 15W wireless, while the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has a 5,000mAh battery with 45W wired charging, 15W wireless, and Wireless Power Share, allowing you to use it to wirelessly charge other devices.
So the Galaxy S24 Ultra charges a lot faster, as well as having a slightly bigger battery. Is that a win for it here then? Not necessarily, as it depends how efficient the phone is in the first place.
In this case though, it is, lasting 16 hours and 45 minutes in our tests when continuously browsing the web on 5G, while the iPhone tapped out at 14 hours and 2 minutes.
Apple’s own battery claims for the iPhone 15 Pro Max include up to 29 hours of video playback or up to 95 hours of audio playback.
For the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra, Samsung’s own stats include up to 28 hours of internet usage, up to 30 hours of video playback, or up to 95 hours of audio playback.
Battery life then isn't drastically different but the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra does have the edge.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max: verdict
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has a brighter screen than the iPhone 15 Pro Max, along with an extra camera, more megapixels in some of its cameras, more AI skills, more RAM, a bigger battery, and faster charging.
However, the iPhone 15 Pro Max has slicker, more intuitive software, and also benefits from a Dynamic Island. These two phones are priced similarly too, and have other similarities, such as both having a titanium frame.
The biggest difference ultimately is the same as it is every year – namely the operating system – with Apple’s phone running iOS, while Samsung’s runs Android.
As most people are firmly in one camp or the other, that might be enough of a reason to choose one over the other. But for everyone else, this could be a tough call, with the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max both ranking among the very best phones you can buy.
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James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.