Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: The ultimate smartphone comparison

By Carlsen Martin

Battle for the ultra-premium smartphones!

Samsung’s just launched its Galaxy S20 series at its annual Unpacked event in the US. The Galaxy S20 series might just be the most impressive smartphone series yet. And at the helm of the S20 lineup sits the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G. The Galaxy S20 Ultra certainly looks like the most impressive smartphone on the market.

If the Galaxy S20+ seems excellent, then the S20 Ultra is over-the-top. Standing tall against its S20 and S20+ counterparts, the Galaxy S20 Ultra certainly seems like the phone to beat. But how does it stack up against the best from Apple? Well, read ahead to find out.

Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max

 Specs  Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra  Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 
 Processor   Snapdragon 865 / Exynos 990 A13 Bionic
 Display  6.9-inch QHD+ AMOLED; 120Hz refresh rate; (1440*3200 pixels) 6.5-inch Super Retina XDR OLED, (2688*1242 pixels)
Storage   128/256GB/512GB  64GB/256GB/512GB
 RAM   12GB/16GB  4GB
Rear Camera  108 MP, f/1.8 + 12 MP, f/2.2 (Ultrawide) + 48 MP, f/3.6 (Telephoto) + TOF 3D  12MP, f/1.8+ 12MP, f/2.4 (Ultrawide) + 12MP, f/2.0 (Telephoto)
Front Camera  40 MP, f/2.2 12 MP, f/2.2
Battery   5,000 mAh, 45W Fast Charging 3969 mAh battery, 15W Fast Charging
Software  Android 10.0; One UI 2.0 iOS 13, upgradable to iOS 13.3
Starting Price  Rs 92,999 Rs 1,09,900

 

Design

While design is subjective, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a big camera bump, much larger than that of the iPhone 11 Pro Max. But it is the punch-hole display on the front of the S20 Ultra that has us sold. The 11 Pro Max looks pretty-much the same as the iPhone X, a device that is over two years old. And even though Samsung has ditched the display curvature on the new Galaxy S series, we still prefer the S20 Ultra’s overall look.

Display

Despite only sporting a 60Hz refresh rate, the iPhone 11 Pro Max had arguably one of the best displays on a smartphone in 2019. But we are in 2020, and in less than two months, Samsung has wiped the floor with the smartphone displays of 2019. The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 6.9-inch Flexible AMOLED QHD+ (1440*3200 pixels) panel has a variable refresh rate, up to 120Hz (60Hz in QHD+). DisplayMate rates Samsung’s display as one of the best in the world with an infinite contrast ratio and incredible levels of brightness. Moreover, the screen also scored very high in terms of colour accuracy and very low on the reflection scale.

Performance

When it comes to performance, Apple’s A13 Bionic chipset is as good as they come, capable of going toe-to-toe with the Exynos 990 or Qualcomm Snapdragon 865. However, Samsung also has UFS 3.0 storage standards and up to 12GB of LPDDR (The In India), which dwarfs the 4GB RAM on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, iOS RAM management is far superior to that of Android. Still thrice the RAM is definitely going to mean superior performance. Considering both these handsets are going to get the job done, no matter the task, with ease, we’d have to call this one a tie.

Software

Samsung’s One UI 2.0 skin over Android 10 is just about as good as they come, with minimal bloatware and some of the best-in-class features. However, iOS 13 is in a league of its own. In recent times, Android has been catching up to iOS in terms of security but in terms of consistency of updates and user interface, Apple has a clear advantage.

Battery

While specifications of Apple’s battery haven’t been revealed, it is said to be around 4,000 mAh as opposed to the 5,000 mAh battery capacity on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. In terms of charging support, the iPhone 11 Pro Max features 18W wired fast charging, while the S20 Ultra offers 45W fast charging. But despite the bigger battery and faster charging, iOS does a much better job of battery management than Android. So we have to give this one to Samsung; simply because of the additional reverse charging, which will allow you to use the S20 Ultra’s massive 5,000 mAh battery to reverse charge other accessories.

Camera

The Galaxy S20 Ultra offers a quad-camera setup, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max offers a triple camera setup, although the fourth camera on the S20 Ultra is a ToF sensor for depth. The iPhone 11 Pro Max features 12-megapixel cameras across the board, while Samsung offers a 108-megapixel primary sensor, 12-megapixel ultrawide lens and 48-megapixel telephoto shooter.

However, having a higher megapixel count doesn’t translate to a better camera. Look at the 64-megapixel sensors found on the Galaxy A71, Realme X2 and Redmi Note 8 Pro; as good as they are, camera quality is nowhere as good as it is on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, the 108-megapixel sensor is an absolute beast as compared to all that has preceded it. The 108-megapixel sensor features 9-in-1 Nona binning, capturing more light and details with all the benefits spilling down into the night mode as well.
While the iPhone 11 Pro Max offers arguably the best video recording capabilities of any smartphone, the Galaxy S20 Ultra can capture videos on 8K resolution at 24 fps.

Additionally, the 40-megapixel front camera on the S20 Ultra is also going to be another advantage over Apple. Samsung and Apple have some of the best camera software around, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra leapfrogged the iPhone in terms of camera hardware. Considering Samsung used the 12-megapixel primary sensors on the vanilla Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20 Plus; there’s no doubt that this 108-megapixel sensor is going to have a significant advantage against past camera sensors.

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