Samsung has pulled the curtains on its latest 2024 smartphone lineup, which will come to your local stores at the very end of January, in a surprisingly early Galaxy Unpacked event. While the Galaxy S24 lineup’s overall offerings were hardly a mystery due to the usual flood of rumours, it’s the premium Galaxy S24 Ultra that steals the spotlight with some intriguing updates from its predecessor.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Although the Galaxy S24 Ultra leans toward the repetitive side this year, there’s no shortage of reasons to be excited about this model. Samsung has embraced a new titanium design, amped up the display’s brightness, and made a significant leap into the realm of fun and potent new AI features.

But, as the Galaxy S24 Ultra steps into the limelight, it faces a formidable foe amongst Apple’s offerings, the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which hit the shelves last fall, and boasts a similar shift to titanium, noteworthy camera enhancements, and the most potent chip ever nestled in an iPhone.

Given the customary timing of Apple’s and Samsung’s launch events, there’s often a leapfrogging dynamic between the two flagship contenders. While the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra may be the freshest device on the block, can its four-month head start outshine the iPhone 15 Pro Max? Let’s dive into a comparison of these premium flagships and see how they stack up.


Samsung Galaxy S24 UltraiPhone 15 Pro Max
Size6.4” x 3.11” x 0.34”6.29” x 3.0” x 0.32”
Weight233 grams221 grams
Screen6.8” QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display with 120Hz6.7” Super Retina XDR OLED with 120Hz ProMotion
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
ProcessorSnapdragon 8 Gen 3Apple A17 Pro
Camera200MP main camera, 12MP Ultrawide, 50MP 5x telephoto, 10MP 3x telephoto, 12MP front camera48MP main camera, 12MP Ultrawide, 12MP 5x telephoto, LiDAR Scanner, 12MP TrueDepth front camera
VideoUHD 8K at 30fpsSlow motion UHD at 120fpsSlow motion FHD at 240fps4K at 24/25/30/60fps1080p HD at 25/30/60fpsHDR video with Dolby Vision up to 60fpsSlow motion 1080p at 120/240fpsProRes video up to 4K at 60fps with external recordingMacro video recording
Bluetooth VersionBluetooth 5.3Bluetooth 5.3
Water ResistanceIP68IP68
ColoursTitanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet and Titanium Yellow plus Samsungs exclusive Titanium Blue, Titanium Green and Titanium OrangeNatural Titanium, Blue Titanium, White Titanium, Black Titanium
PriceStarting at $1,299Starting at $1,199

The Designs

The Designs


Samsung seems to have found its design groove over the past year, extending the iconic aesthetics of the Galaxy Ultra to its standard and Plus models. While no major visual changes were anticipated, Samsung surprised us by taking a page from Apple’s book and embracing a new titanium frame for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. The similarities don’t end there, the seven colour options even flaunt a “Titanium” branding, reminiscent of Apple’s approach.

The titanium construction of the Galaxy S24 Ultra brings about a reduction in weight compared to its predecessor. However, Samsung’s weight loss isn’t as significant as Apple’s, considering the previous iPhone Pro models used denser stainless steel. The Galaxy S24 Ultra, transitioning from aluminium to titanium, sheds a mere 1 gram. The real triumph for Samsung lies in the reinforced build quality rather than a substantial reduction in weight.


In direct comparison, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is heftier than its iPhone counterpart. While the iPhone 14 Pro Max weighed in at 240 grams—slightly heavier than the Galaxy S23 Ultra—the iPhone 15 Pro Max widens the gap in the other direction. However, given the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s larger size, this weight disparity may not be immediately noticeable.


In terms of durability, both smartphones are evenly matched with an identical IP68 rating. However, the iPhone 15 Pro Max gains an edge with higher water resistance of up to 6 metres for 30 minutes, compared to Samsung’s standard 1.5 metres. Yet, the Galaxy S24 Ultra counters with its new Corning Gorilla Glass Armor on both sides, surpassing the iPhone’s use of its proprietary Ceramic Shield glass limited to the front display.


While the iPhone 15 Pro Max offers Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, Black Titanium, and White Titanium options, the Galaxy S24 Ultra provides a more vibrant palette. Titanium Violet and Titanium Yellow join the Samsung-exclusive Titanium Blue, Titanium Green, and Titanium Orange.

Ultimately, design preferences are subjective, and both phones involve trade-offs. So when it comes to the design of the two phones, they are both winners. 

The Display

The Display

Samsung consistently delivers some of the finest displays on smartphones, leveraging its in-house display division. Notably, Apple sources most of its screens, including those for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, from Samsung Display. The Galaxy S24 Ultra, showcasing Samsung’s top-notch display technology, features a 6.8-inch AMOLED 2X display, which is the same found on its predecessor, with a flexible refresh rate spanning 1Hz to 120Hz. While the resolution sees a minor bump to 3120 x 1440 from the S23 Ultra’s 3080 x 1440, the substantial leap lies in brightness, reaching a remarkable 2,600 nits compared to the S23 Ultra’s 1,750 nits. In contrast, the iPhone 15 Pro Max offers 2,000 nits maximum brightness, emphasising improved outdoor visibility.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra boasts a flatter display and slimmer bezels, aligning it more closely with Apple’s design language, though it retains squared-off corners. The iPhone 15 Pro Max, while not revolutionary in display technology compared to its 2022 predecessor, maintains the Super Retina XDR Display with a variable refresh rate ranging from 10Hz to 120Hz during regular use, dropping to 1Hz for always-on mode. The 6.7-inch iPhone 15 Pro Max features a slightly lower resolution at 2796 x 1290, resulting in a marginally lower pixel density of 460 pixels per inch (ppi) compared to the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s 501 ppi.

An area where Samsung has bridged the gap is in its always-on display. Despite Apple’s delayed adoption of this technology, it introduced a vibrant, full-colour display with the iPhone 14 Pro, outclassing its monochromatic Android counterparts. Samsung has now caught up, and the Galaxy S24 Ultra offers a similar muted yet colourful always-on view, aligning with Apple’s offering since the iPhone 14 Pro. While preferences for the basic black-and-white aesthetic may vary, both devices provide visually stunning options, easily adjustable or deactivatable based on user preference.

In the realm of displays, the Galaxy S24 Ultra holds a slight advantage due to its larger size, brighter screen, higher pixel density, and enhanced always-on display features, making it a compelling choice alongside the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

The Performance & Battery

The Performance & Battery

While hands-on experience and benchmarks are crucial for a comprehensive comparison of the Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max, it’s evident that both smartphones boast powerful capabilities. 

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is equipped with Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, which has been tailored with “for Galaxy” branding in collaboration with Qualcomm to meet the specific requirements of the S24 Ultra. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 is anticipated to offer a 30% speed boost and 20% greater power efficiency than its predecessor, promising enhanced gaming performance and extended battery life. Despite using TSMC’s slightly older 4-nanometer technology, trailing behind Apple’s A17 Pro chip, the S24 Ultra’s chipset is formidable. Apple’s A17 Pro, which has been designed in-house, introduces console-level gaming to the iPhone, supported by a six-core CPU comprising two high-performance and four high-efficiency cores.

Regarding battery life, the Galaxy S24 Ultra retains a 5,000mAh cell, instead benefiting from the power-efficiency enhancements of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3. The iPhone 15 Pro Max maintains the same battery performance as its 2022 predecessor. Both phones should deliver a day of heavy use with still power to spare. Although Apple made significant charging improvements, transitioning to USB-C and adopting open-standard 15-watt Qi2 charging, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s charging speeds remain unchanged. Rated at 20W charging, it can draw up to 30 watts with a suitable adapter. In contrast, the Galaxy S24 Ultra supports faster charging with its 45W wired fast charging and the ability to draw 15 watts from any compatible Qi charger, not restricted to the newer Qi2 magnetic chargers. The charging capabilities may play a role in users’ preferences based on their priorities.

The Cameras

The Cameras

While awaiting hands-on experience in order to give out comprehensive reviews on the Samsung Galaxy, the Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max both showcase intriguing features in their camera systems.

Samsung has made an unconventional adjustment to the Galaxy S24 Ultra, replacing its longstanding 10x zoom telephoto camera with a 5x lens featuring a higher-resolution 50MP sensor. Despite the resolution increase from the S23 Ultra’s 10MP 10x lens, Samsung claims to maintain a 10x optical zoom through Adaptive Pixel Sensor Technology. The exact methodology isn’t fully disclosed, but it likely involves pixel-cropping techniques, similar to Apple’s approach on the iPhone 14 Pro’s 48MP sensor, which achieved 2x photos using the central 12 megapixels. Samsung previously employed this technique to introduce a 2x optical zoom to the Galaxy S23 Ultra via a software update. The iPhone 15 Pro Max also introduces a 5x optical zoom, a first for iPhones, but with a 12MP sensor behind the lens, limiting the optical zoom capability. Samsung still flexes its 100X super digital zoom and retains the 3x 10MP telephoto lens and 200MP primary sensor from the Galaxy S23 Ultra, surpassing Apple’s cameras in raw specifications.

While acknowledging the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s excellent photo quality, driven by image processing and computational photography in Apple’s A17 Pro chip, the Galaxy S24 Ultra gains an edge with higher optical and digital zoom levels, along with additional lenses. The versatility of the S24 Ultra’s camera system positions it as a compelling choice for photography enthusiasts. 

Price & Availability

Price & Availability

Both the Galaxy S24 Ultra and iPhone 15 Pro Max have gotten a rise in their base prices.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has gotten a $100 price increase compared to its predecessor, now starting at $1,300 for the standard 256GB model. Additional storage options of 512GB and 1TB are also offered. Preorders are currently open on Samsung’s official platform, and availability is expected at various major retailers and carriers soon. Colour choices include Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet, and Titanium Yellow. Exclusive colours like Titanium Blue, Titanium Green, and Titanium Orange are accessible for direct orders from Samsung.

Then on the other side of the table, the iPhone 15 Pro Max undergoes a price shift due to the removal of the more affordable 128GB entry-level variant. Consequently, the starting price is now $1,200, aligning with the Galaxy S24’s 256GB capacity. Apple provides purchasing options directly on its platform, as well as through major retailers and carriers. Colour selections consist of Natural Titanium, Blue Titanium, Black Titanium, and White Titanium.



In terms of specifications and features, the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra emerges as the clear winner, boasting superior cameras, more robust AI capabilities, a larger display, as well as the added convenience of a built-in S Pen. Despite being priced $100 higher for the same storage capacity, the S24 Ultra delivers ample enhancements that justify its premium cost.

However, it’s crucial to acknowledge that the comparison extends beyond raw specs, considering the distinct ecosystems each phone represents. While the Galaxy S24 Ultra impresses with its features, the iPhone 15 Pro Max stands out as an exceptional smartphone within the Apple ecosystem. Users entrenched in iOS and the Apple ecosystem may not find enough compelling reasons to switch to the S24 Ultra.

Ultimately, both phones excel in delivering powerful smartphone experiences, particularly for users not heavily committed to a specific ecosystem. For most individuals, the Galaxy S24 Ultra is likely to be the preferred choice, but personal preferences and ecosystem allegiance will play a significant role in the decision-making process.

Also read: The best iPhone in 2024

Leo Beamers is an aspiring car collector born and raised just outside of the city in Cape Town and his interests include gaming, fast cars and enjoys cycling on the weekends.

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