Which of the iPhone 12 Pro Max or the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best? We have a big iPhone vs Samsung comparison.
Two of the most cutting-edge, high-end smartphones on the market are the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max (or the Samsung Galaxy s21 Ultra) and the Samsung Galaxy s21 Ultra (or the Samsung Galaxy s21 Ultra). The first launched in October 2020 at $1099, while the second launched in January 2021 at $1199.
It is difficult to choose between these two devices, given the amount of engineering and thought that went into them. This guide will help you make a decision about whether to buy an iPhone or Samsung.
1. Camera: 4K vs. 8K
Let’s start with the specs. There are four cameras total on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. There are a 12MP main sensor, 12MP ultra-wide and 12MP telephoto cameras. Both front and back can record up to 4K video.
Five cameras are included in the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Laser Autofocus supports the main sensor at 108MP, along with a 10MP Telephoto lens, 10MP Periscope Telephoto Lens, and a 12MP Ultra-Wide lens that doubles as a macro lens. The front camera is 40MP. It can capture up to 8K video from the back and 4K video from the front.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a great choice for purists who want natural-looking photos and videos. It delivers a consistent output across all cameras and functions, but it can sometimes look a bit flat.
The difference in camera quality between the Pro Max and Mini models–which are $400 less–of Apple’s iPhone 12 series is nearly negligible. If you are thinking of buying the Pro Max simply for its camera system, it might be worth reconsidering.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra, on the other hand, has a more powerful camera system that uses aggressive image processing algorithms to produce vibrant photos with high contrast, but it can look unnatural or too saturated in certain situations.
The shots taken from this device are pleasing to the eyes, but the output is less consistent than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
RELATED:Samsung Galaxy S21 Vs. Google Pixel 5: Which Flagship Is Better?
Both phones are capable of focusing on different areas. The iPhone 12 Pro Max’s Portrait Mode, Night Mode, and video quality are all outstanding. The Galaxy S21 Ultra wins in zoom, optical image stabilization and overall camera experience.
It has 10x optical zoom, compared to 2.5x on iPhone 12 Pro Max. There are also fun camera features such as Director’s View or Single Take which produce share-ready photos for influencers and vloggers. Both devices can capture raw photos for professional editing.
2. Performance: A14 Bionic vs. Snapdragon 888/Exynos 2100
Apple’s A14 Bionic chip powers the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It runs iOS 14.1 and has 6GB RAM. The iPhone 12 Pro Max also comes with 128/256/512GB internal storage.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a competitor to the Snapdragon 888 in China and the USA, as well as the Exynos 2100 chip that Samsung makes in many other parts of the world. It comes with Android 11, the native One UI 3.1 skin, 12GB RAM, 128/256/512GB internal storage, and Android 11.
The three chipsets were built using a 5nm manufacturing process and are ready for 5G. Samsung has addressed many of the issues that made its custom chips so disappointing in the past with the S21 series.
Yet, the Exynos2100 still falls short of the Snapdragon 888 in terms efficiency, longevity, and consistency. Although the differences are not immediately apparent, they become more obvious after prolonged gameplay or media consumption.
The performance of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is comparable to the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s. The first has faster rendering speeds, while the latter opens apps slightly quicker. The iPhone’s AnTuTu score is around 638584 while the Galaxy’s score is slightly higher at 657150.
Both devices are capable of handling intense gaming sessions very well, and they don’t have major overheating problems.
3. Display: Super Retina XDR vs. Dynamic AMOLED 2X
The iPhone 12 Pro Max features a 60Hz Super Retina XDR Panel–a fancy term for OLED–with HDR10 and can reach a peak brightness level of 1200 nits. The display measures 6.7 inches and has a resolution of 1284×2778 pixels, which is higher than FHD+. It also has a 458 ppi pixel density that leads to an approximate 87.4% screen/body ratio.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra features an adaptive 120Hz Dynamic LED 2X panel with HDR10+ and can reach a peak brightness level of 1500 nits. It measures 6.8 inches and has a QHD resolution of 1440×3200 pixels. The screen is 515 ppi dense. This translates to an approximate 89.8% screen:body ratio.
Both panels are extremely responsive, beautiful to look at, accurate in color, and highly responsive. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is able to withstand the most intense afternoon sunlight thanks to its higher peak brightness. The Galaxy S21 Ultra also appears sharper due to its higher pixel density. However, it is not noticeable in daily use.
With its higher refresh rate, the screen feels smoother and more modern thanks to its high screen-to-body ratio. Samsung is known for making the best display technology in the business, so this shouldn’t surprise.
4. Battery: 3687mAh vs. 5000mAh
A battery that you can forget about is an ideal one. It’s a battery that you can forget about, so you don’t have it on your mind all the time.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a powerful 5000mAh battery that can charge fast at 25W wired, 15W wireless and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max packs a 3687mAh lithium battery. It also supports fast 15W charging with Apple’s MagSafe charger. It takes less than three hours to charge the iPhone from empty to full. The A14 Bionic chip in the iPhone 12 Pro Max is efficient and integrates well with Apple’s ecosystem. It doesn’t use a lot of energy throughout the day, which makes it almost as durable as the S21 Ultra.
As an initiative to help reduce global electronic waste and choose sustainable methods, neither of these devices come with a charger in the box. The cable that came with the iPhone is a USB C to Lightning cable. If you don’t already have a USB C charging brick (which is most likely for loyal iPhone users), you will need to purchase a new charger.
This leads to increased packing and shipping, which in turn results in a greater carbon footprint, which defeats the purpose of the entire process.
5. Building Quality: Stainless Steel vs. Aluminum
Apple’s Ceramic Shield, a mix of glass and ceramic on the front, protects the iPhone 12 Pro Max. It boldly proclaims that it is stronger than any smartphone glass. The device’s back is not protected by the same protection. Instead, it is protected by the thinner glass from the iPhone 11. The frame is made from robust stainless steel and easily shows fingerprints.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra has Gorilla Glass Victus protection and a soft aluminum frame. Both devices did a fantastic job of resisting accidental drops and scratches when tested. The S21 Ultra’s contour-cut bulging design can sometimes cause problems for the camera module if it is hit directly-on.
The Apple Ceramic Shield isn’t as strong as the Gorilla Glass Victus. Both devices are similar in strength, can withstand everyday use without major damage and come with an IP68 rating.
Both devices have a frosty matte finish that feels great in the hand and prevents fingerprint smudges.
Despite being larger, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is more comfortable in your hand than the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s flat edges. These sharp edges poke into your skin when you reach for the upper UI elements. The S21 Ultra is longer and thicker than the iPhone, and is heavier and wider due to its stainless steel rails.
The devices do not have a headphone jack, and neither does the microSD slot.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s 2nd-generation ultrasonic indisplay fingerprint sensor is faster and leaves a larger footprint (1.77x). This makes it much easier to unlock your phone, without having to worry about precisely positioning your finger on its screen.
Apple’s Face ID function, while fast, is considered ineffective during the pandemic because people wearing masks block the device’s sensors from receiving the necessary information. However, the haptics of this device feel better.
The Best of Apple vs. Samsung
The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a seamless user experience. It is basically a gateway to the Apple ecosystem, which includes services such as Apple Music and Apple Pay.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a hard worker in experimenting with new forms of features and functions that don’t feel like gimmicks, but actually provide functionality. It also has S Pen support. Both devices can take stunning photos and videos, are extremely durable, have a long battery life, and deliver in the most extreme conditions.
If you want your phone to work, the iOS experience is better than the Android experience. This allows you to customize and play with your device. You will be more evident of differences the harder you try to fix them.