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Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G vs iPhone Xs Max (2021): Are the Extra Cameras Worth It?

Updated 25 March 2020: Samsung recently unveiled its latest 5G smartphone series, the Galaxy S20, S20 Plus, and S20 Ultra. How will the mid-tier Galaxy S20 Plus 5G stack up against one of Apple’s best-selling iPhones, the iPhone Xs Max? We deep dive into their similarities and differences to help you decide whether to upgrade or stick to the older and more affordable iPhone Xs Max.

Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G vs iPhone Xs Max Comparison Chart

ModelSamsung Galaxy S20+ 5GApple iPhone Xs Max
 Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5GApple iPhone Xs Max
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at Verizon

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at Verizon

Display120 Hz Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED Display60 Hz Super Retina HD Display
Screen Size6.7″6.5″
Resolution3200 x 1440 pixels2688 x 1242 pixels
Pixel Density525 PPI458 PPI
Dimensions161.9 x 73.7 x 7.8mm157.5 x 77.4 x 7.7 mm
Weight186 g208 g
CPUExynos 990 / Qualcomm Snapdragon 865A12 Bionic chip with
Neural Engine
Storage128GB, 512GB64GB, 256GB, 512GB
Expandable StorageUp to 1TBNo
Rear Cameras12MP Wide, 64MP Telephoto, 12MP Ultra-Wide, DepthVision CameraDual 12MP Wide and Telephoto cameras
ZoomUp to 30X Digital ZoomUp to 10x Digital Zoom
Front Cameras10MP7MP Smart HDR
VideoRear: up to 8K 24 fps
Front: up to 4K 60 fps
Rear: up to 4K at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps
Front: Up to 1080p HD at 30 fps or 60 fps
Battery4500mAh3174 mAh
Water ResistanceIP68IP68 
Android VersionAndroid 10.0 with One UI 2.0N/A
ColorsCosmic Black
Cosmic Grey
Cloud Blue
Space Gray


The Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G is bigger and lighter than the iPhone Xs Max

Samsung Galaxy S20+ vs iPhone Xs Max
Samsung’s new Galaxy S20 Plus (left) and the iPhone Xs Max (right) released in 2018

Both the Galaxy S20 Plus 5G and the iPhone Xs Max sport sleek, minimalist aesthetics, and both got rid of buttons on the screen. While the older Samsung Galaxy models have their rear cameras placed horizontally at the center, the upcoming Galaxy S20 Plus’s vertical camera placement looks similar to the iPhone Xs Max’s.

The new Galaxy S20+ 5G has a bigger 6.7-inch screen size compared to the iPhone Xs Max’s 6.5-inch display. At 162mm, the S20+ is slightly longer than the 157.5mm iPhone Xs Max, but the 77.4mm Xs Max is slightly wider than the 74mm Galaxy S20 Plus. The S20 Plus’s thinner frame makes it easier to hold than the wider iPhone Xs Max. Both smartphones have gotten rid of the traditional headphone jack.

Both the Galaxy S20+ and the iPhone Xs Max come in three colors. The S20+ offers Cosmic Black, Cloud Blue, and Cosmic Gray options. Meanwhile, the iPhone Xs Max offers shinier variants like Gold, Silver and Space Gray, with a glass front and back that enables wireless charging. While both look good and feel premium, the iPhone Xs Max’s matte finish feels more expensive than the Galaxy S20+.


The Samsung Galaxy S20+ has better resolution and pixel density than the Apple iPhone Xs Max

The iPhone Xs Max (in photo) has a pixel density of 458 PPI while the new Galaxy S20+ boasts 525 PPI

Apart from its bigger screen display, the bezel-less Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G boasts Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED Display with a 120 Hz refresh rate. Many high-end TV screens offer a refresh rate of 120 Hz, so the new Galaxy S20 Plus offers a much better refresh rate support than the iPhone Xs Max’ 60 Hz.

The iPhone Xs Max comes with a custom-built Super Retina display with OLED and a pixel density of 458 pixels per inch. In comparison, the Galaxy S20+’s pixel density is an impressive 525 pixels per inch that delivers brighter colors and better resolution than the Xs Max. With that said, the iPhone Xs Max still delivers stunning quality and works great with watching videos and using graphics-intensive apps.


The Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus is more powerful than the iPhone Xs Max

The Galaxy S20+ will support 5G connectivity unlike the iPhone Xs Max (in photo)

Powered by Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 865, the Galaxy S20+ 5G is significantly more powerful than the iPhone Xs Max that runs on Apple’s A12 Bionic chip. With 12GB RAM to work with its cutting-edge processor, the Galaxy S20 Plus 5G also boots and loads applications much faster than the 4 GB RAM of the iPhone Xs Max.

Both the Galaxy S20+ and the iPhone Xs Max are great smartphones for AR and graphics-intensive apps, but the new processor of the S20+ supports 5G connectivity. Even the latest iPhone 11 series are not equipped with 5G capabilities. What the 5G connectivity can offer are unrivaled download and upload speeds and better streaming capabilities than the 4G LTE.


The Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G boasts four rear cameras while the iPhone Xs Max only has two.

Samsung Galaxy S20+ vs iPhone Xs Max

Samsung’s upcoming S20 Plus boasts a high-resolution quad-camera set-up: 12MP wide, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra-wide and a DepthVision (Time of Flight) camera. This is a significant difference from the iPhone Xs Max’s dual 12MP wide and telephoto rear cameras.

The Galaxy S20+ 5G is also capable of recording 8K videos and up to 30x digital zoom (three times more than the iPhone’s 10x digital zoom). Keep in mind though that as its 8K videos can only be shot at 24 frames per second, you need a gimbal stabilizer or a tripod to create smooth videos. On its own, 8K videos by the Galaxy S20+ will look shaky.

For the bokeh-loving smartphone users, both cameras work well for taking images with depth and blurred backgrounds, but with the S20+ can deliver more with its DepthVision camera. They both deliver great photos, but the iPhone Xs Max tends to turn your skin color a bit redder under broad daylight. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S20 Plus takes more accurate and detailed images. Another area where the S20+ trumps the iPhone Xs Max and the newer iPhone models is with nighttime photos.

Selfie lovers will enjoy the ultra high definition photos and videos of the 10MP front camera of the Galaxy S20 Plus. While the Galaxy S20+ has a higher resolution front camera, the iPhone Xs Max still does a great job of capturing high-quality 7MP photos and 1080p HD videos. While both are equipped with cinematic video stabilization for those times when you’re recording while moving, the iPhone Xs Max delivers better stabilization.

Battery and Additional Features

The Galaxy S20+ offers longer battery life than the iPhone Xs Max, but both are water-resistant and battery-efficient.

Both the Galaxy S20+ and the iPhone Xs Max are IP68-rated

With a 4500mAh battery and the battery-efficient Snapdragon 865 processor, the Galaxy S20 Plus simply delivers longer battery life. When the iPhone Xs Max was released in 2018, it had one of the biggest batteries on a smartphone with a life of up to 10 hours from its 3174 mAh battery. As for the Samsung S20+ 5G, it runs longer than the iPhone Xs Max even with its 120Hz refresh rate on.

Both the Galaxy S20 Plus and the iPhone Xs Max have an IP68 rating. This means these smartphones are dustproof and can withstand splashes, rain, and submersion for up to 1.5 m on freshwater for 30 minutes. Just don’t use them at the beach or pool or for aquatic sports.

The Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G comes in128GB and 512GB storage options, with support for up to 1TB external storage through its microSD slot. This is perfect for taking those Ultra HD videos or photos from the S20+. Meanwhile, the iPhone Xs Max is available in 64GB, 256GB, and 512GB storage capacity without the option for external storage.


The Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G is the more powerful smartphone with better cameras, but the iPhone Xs Max is still a solid smartphone with a lower price tag

Although the Galaxy S20+ 5G is significantly more expensive than the Apple iPhone Xs Max, its steep price is justified by its cutting-edge features and better cameras. In addition, it supports 5G connectivity, has a longer battery life, better panel, and simply has more bells and whistles than the iPhone Xs Max.

While the Galaxy S20+ 5G ups the ante for premium smartphones, the Apple iPhone Xs Max is still a great purchase for those looking for a great solid smartphone choice at a lower cost. iPhones also do not depreciate quickly and can support firmware updates, making it a reliable Apple device that can last a while.


๐Ÿ“Œ Which is better, the Galaxy S20+ 5G or the iPhone Xs Max?

As the newer smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S20+ 5G boasts significantly more features than the iPhone Xs Max. The latter remains a solid option, but the Galaxy S20+ is the better smartphone overall.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus worth it?

From its display to camera lenses, the Samsung Galaxy S20+ is equipped with powerful features that justify its steep price tag.

๐Ÿ“Œ Should I upgrade to the Galaxy S20?

If the cost is no object, the Galaxy S20 is worth the upgrade. Samsung named its 2020 flagship line of smartphones as Galaxy S20 and not S11 as it claims to pack 10 years worth of innovations in the S20 series.

๐Ÿ“Œ Does the Samsung Galaxy s20 have a curved screen?

Yes, the smartphones in the Galaxy S20 series, which includes the S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra, sport a curved display for a better viewing experience.

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Rhodaline Escala-Phelps

Managing Editor and Team Leader at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about people, product comparisons, culture, and current events.