Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max: Comparing Samsung’s and Apple’s Flagship Smartphones

Tech giants Apple and Samsung are among the top brands whose smartphone launches are the most-awaited every year. In February 2020, Samsung is set to launch its latest line of Galaxy devices: the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra. We compare Apple’s and Samsung’s top-of-the-line handsets, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, to find out whose flagship smartphone is better.

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5GApple iPhone 11 Pro Max
Samsung galaxy s20 ultraiphone 11 pro max
PriceComing SoonCheck Price
Display120 Hz Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display60 Hz Super Retina XDR OLED display
Screen Size6.92″6.5″
Resolution3200 x 1440 pixels2688 x 1242 pixels
Pixel Density511 PPI458 PPI
Dimensions167 x 76 x 8.8 mm158 x 77.8 x 8.1 mm
Weight221 g226 g
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon 865A13 Bionic chip with
third-generation
Neural Engine
5GYesNo
RAM12GB/16GB4GB
Storage128GB, 512GB64GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rear Cameras108MP Wide, 48MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultra-Wide, ToF CameraTriple 12MP Ultra Wide, Wide, Telephoto
ZoomUp to 10X Optical Zoom and 100X Digital ZoomUp to 10x Digital Zoom
Front Cameras40MP12MP Smart HDR
VideoRear: up to 8K 30 fps
Front: up to 4K 60 fps
Rear: up to 4K at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
Front: Up to 4K at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
Face IDNoYes
Battery5000mAh3969mAh
Battery LifeTBAVideo Playback: Up to 20 hours
Video Streaming: Up to 12 hours
Audio Playback: Up to 80 hours
Wireless ChargingTBAYes
Water ResistanceIP68IP68 
Android VersionAndroid 10.0 with One UI 2.0N/A
MicroSDYes, up to 1TBNo
ColorsCosmic Black, Cosmic GreyMidnight Green
Space Gray
Silver
Gold

Design

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will have a bigger display, but still slightly lighter than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Leaked marketing images of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (left) and the iPhone 11 Pro Max (right)

With a 6.5-inch display size, the iPhone 11 Pro Max houses the biggest screen size among all of Apple’s smartphones. However, this pales in comparison to the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra that will have a 6.92-inch screen size. This is the biggest out of the three S20 smartphones that will headline Samsung’s Unpacked event.

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Despite having a bigger display size, the S20 Ultra (167 x 76 x 8.8 mm) will still be slightly slimmer and significantly taller than the 11 Pro Max (158 x 77.8 x 8.1 mm). The 221-gram Galaxy will also ever so slightly be lighter than the 226-gram iPhone. This is probably because the new Samsung flagship is rumored to be made of stainless steel, whereas the iPhone has a textured matte glass finish on top of its stainless steel body.

They both feature an all-screen design with no physical buttons on the front. Instead, the buttons are housed on the side of the device. Both smartphones have also gotten rid of the traditional 3.5mm audio jack, something that’s not surprising with the rise of more Bluetooth wireless headphones. At the back of both handsets are the rear cameras located at the upper left corner, with the S20 Ultra housing one extra camera compared to the 11 Pro Max.

As for their colors, the iPhone 11 Pro Max offers more color options: midnight green, gold, silver, and space gray. The Samsung smartphone on the horizon is rumored to come in black and gray.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will have a higher pixel density and refresh rate than the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max.

The Galaxy S20 Ultra will have 511 PPI while the iPhone 11 Pro Max has 458 PPI

While the iPhone 11 Pro Max sports a 60 Hz Super Retina XDR OLED display, the new Galaxy S20 Ultra boasts a 120 Hz Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display. The Super Retina and Infinity-O Dynamic are simply marketing terms used by Apple and Samsung. However, it is worth noting that the newer AMOLED in the Galaxy is typically better than the OLED found in the 11 Pro Max.

Although Apple devices are already equipped with smooth, responsive panels, its 60 Hz refresh rate can’t rival the smoothness that a 120 Hz refresh rate can offer. Nonetheless, the 11 Pro Max still delivers stunning quality when used to watch high definition streaming videos from the likes of Netflix, Apple TV, or Amazon Prime Video.

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Performance

The Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro Max are both powerful smartphones, but the S20 Ultra will support 5G connectivity.

Thanks to their ultra-fast processors, the Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro Max can capture up to 8K and 4K videos, respectively

Apple’s bespoke A13 Bionic chip is hands down one of the fastest, most powerful smartphone processors when it was released in 2019. The iPhone 11 Pro Max with 4GB RAM was the smartphone to beat. However, the upcoming Galaxy S20 Ultra is expected to run on Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865 which has posted impressive benchmark scores using reference devices.

Samsung’s new flagship Galaxy is also rumored to have either 12GB or 16GB RAM. The high-end processor topped with a RAM like that will result in a remarkably fast smartphone, but we can only wait for the official release of the S20 Ultra to confirm whether it actually is faster than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

As the Snapdragon 865 supports 56 connectivity, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra on the horizon will definitely have 5G capabilities like its predecessor, the Galaxy S10 5G. On the other hand, none of the Apple smartphones, not even the latest iPhone 11 Pro Max support 5G connectivity.

Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra will have four rear cameras while the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max only has three.

Apple’s illustration of the difference between taking photos through its wide lens (smaller box) against its ultra-wide lens

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max has three 12 MP rear camera lenses: the telephoto, wide, and ultra-wide. The upcoming Galaxy S20 Ultra is expected to have a 12MP ultra-wide camera as well, but the similarities of their cameras end there. Its powerful processor paved the way for the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s remarkable 108MP wide and 48MP telephoto cameras. Its 10X optical zoom and 100X digital zoom capabilities make the 10x digital zoom of the iPhone 11 Pro Max sound unimpressive.

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In addition, the Galaxy S20 Ultra also comes with a ToF (Time of Flight) camera, the same lens available on the Galaxy Note10+. A dedicated ToF sensor allows for better 3D space sensing and a more stunning bokeh for video recording. Furthermore, the Galaxy S20 Ultra can capture up to 8K videos while the iPhone 11 Pro Max can only record up to 4K videos through its rear and front cameras.

Selfie lovers will get a thrill out of the detailed photos that the 40MP front camera of the Galaxy S20 Ultra can capture. Meanwhile, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s front camera is equipped with a 12 MP sensor, which is still great as far as front cameras go. We have yet to see actual captures taken from the Galaxy S20 Ultra to confirm how well these impressive specs translate in real-life photos and videos.

While the Galaxy S20+ may have more cameras, the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s zero shutter lag, beautiful night mode and telephoto captures, intelligent front camera, and QuickTake (shift quickly from taking photos to videos) are still noteworthy features. We’ll find out what specific camera features the S20+ has once it is officially released.

Battery and Additional Features

Both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro Max are water and dust resistant and have a long battery life

Both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro Max have an IP68 rating

More powerful features require a longer-lasting battery life. The Galaxy S20 Ultra will be equipped with a 5000mAh battery while the iPhone 11 Pro Max comes with a 3969mAh battery.

Both smartphone giants are striving to create more efficient smartphones every year. The iPhone 11 Pro Max can be used to play downloaded videos for up to 20 hours, stream videos for up to 12 hours, and listen to music for up to 80 hours. While the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a larger battery capacity on paper, it is hard to tell the actual usage hours without the actual device as the battery capacity is not the only factor that comes into play.

With an IP68 rating, both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and the iPhone 11 Pro Max are splash-resistant, dustproof, and sand-proof. Apple claims that the 11 Pro Max can withstand submersion for up to a depth of 4 meters for up to 30 minutes, while the Galaxy models can be submerged for up to a depth of up to 5 meters for the same duration. We won’t recommend using them while swimming though.

Smartphone users who like taking a lot of photos and videos will find useful the expandable storage that the Galaxy S20 Ultra will have. It is expected to have internal storage of up to 512GB and can support up to 1TB of expandable storage. Meanwhile, Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro Max is available in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage capacity and doesn’t have a slot for external storage.

Verdict

The Galaxy S20 Ultra packs more powerful features for a slightly higher price tag, but the iPhone 11 Pro Max offers a more affordable 64GB alternative

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra

Samsung galaxy s20 ultra

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

iphone 11 pro max

Both the Galaxy S20 Ultra and iPhone 11 Pro Max are powerful smartphones that command premium price tags. The soon-to-be-launched Galaxy S20 Ultra is rumored to have a price tag of 1,399 USD. If this is accurate, the price is almost the same as the 512 GB iPhone 11 Pro Max. For a more budget-friendly option with the same top-notch features, the 64GB iPhone 11 Pro Max comes at a significantly lower price.

If you are not looking at the price tag, the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra offers overall great value for your money (compared to the 512 GB iPhone 11 Pro Max). Its 5G connectivity, 8K video recording capability, ToF camera, 100x digital zoom, higher-resolution photos, and up to 1TB expandable storage make it worth the price.

Make sure to bookmark this page for updates once the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra officially hits the market.