We bought the two biggest and most powerful smartphones from Apple and Samsung: iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The two maximum exponents of the super-high range are already on the market. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra are two unique devices with giant screens and specs.
Being two references, you have to compare them to try to see which one is the best. For this reason, here is a complete comparison of the iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, specifications, screens, camera, power and much more.
We’re going to start with the software, but that’s about the hardest thing to compare IOS vs Android. Each system has its pros and cons, and it is a very personal assessment. The iPhone 12 Pro Max comes with iOS 14 as the operating system, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra uses the latest version of Android 12.
Both operating systems have already evolved for many years, and it can be considered that they are well established and will work very well on both terminals.
There are points where iOS has an advantage in things like guaranteed updates for years. For its part, Samsung has included some exciting features in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, such as support for its S Pen.
Design is something very subjective and difficult to assess. Each user will have their opinion, so it is very personal, although both devices have a modern and current design.
These are two huge devices with huge camera modules, so these characteristics highly condition their design. The iPhone 12 Pro Max bets on a more industrial, severe, and straight design. We have a shiny stainless steel frame and a glass back in a matte finish that suits you very well.
For its part, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is committed to aluminum and glass, also in a matte finish, in its design. The aluminum frame embraces the camera module, while glass is still used on the iPhone.
We have a flat-screen iPhone 12 Pro Max with a fairly large notch. And the Galaxy S21 Ultra uses a curved panel on the sides and a small hole in the screen for the front camera. The screen is also a differentiating element between the two. The Korean device is superior in this section.
The camera of current smartphones has become a yardstick and is one of the main reasons for buying a mobile today. The iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra are the greatest exponents of Apple and Samsung, the devices that offer the best cameras.
Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max has 3 cameras and a LiDAR sensor, and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra bets on a quad-camera system with two telephoto lenses. These are the specifications of both mobile phones:
- iPhone 12: 12MP main sensor, 12MP ultra-wide sensor, and 12MP 2.5x telephoto sensor.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: 108MP main sensor, 10MP 3x telephoto sensor, 10MP 10x telephoto sensor, and 12MP wide-angle sensor.
As it has been happening for years, it is normal for both to be very even in terms of photographic capabilities. The megapixels have not marked the quality of the cameras for a long time. The important thing is the processing that both devices do. In some situations, the chances are that one will win, and in others, the other.
Samsung’s proposal is exciting, betting on two telephoto sensors, which will be activated depending on the zoom we introduce in our photography. It is also important to note that the Galaxy S21 Ultra can reach up to 100x zoom.
The main novelty set by Apple this year is LiDAR, which helps with focusing tasks, especially at night. In addition, the sensors of the iPhone 12 Pro Max are slightly larger than those of the rest of the range, allowing more light to enter, and they are also better stabilized.
It is challenging to opt for one or the other device without trying both and buying the photographs they can take. Depending on the situation, one will be better than the other, and we don’t think there is a clear winner. But most likely, they are very balanced.
The iPhone 12 Pro Max may maintain its advantage in video recording, especially if we consider the arrival of video with Dolby Vision HDR 10-bit quality. The iPhone has been, for years, the best smartphone when it comes to recording video, although the Galaxy S21 allows you to record in 8K resolution.
For years Samsung has been in charge of manufacturing the OLED screens used by the iPhone, and for years too, the quality of both screens is similar. However, in the Galaxy Ultra, Samsung has put its best panel, with an incredible resolution and a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz.
- iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED with a resolution of 1,284 x 2,778 pixels and 460 PPI. 1,200 nits maximum brightness.
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with a resolution of 1,440 x 3,200 pixels and 515 dpi. 1,500 nits maximum brightness.
In this case, it seems that the panel included in the Samsung Galaxy Ultra is superior to that of the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The resolution may not affect too much, but the possibility of having an extra fluidity with the 120 Hz refresh rate is a very important point in favour of Korean devices.
There is a complicated parameter to assess when we buy an iPhone with an Android smartphone. By numbers, the Samsung Galaxy S21 wins. However, Apple gets much more performance out of the mAh battery. With a lower capacity battery, the iPhone has reaped better results in terms of duration thanks to iOS and Apple’s processor.
Apple says that the battery life of the iPhone 12 Pro Max reaches 20 hours of continuous video playback. Samsung, for its part, says that the Galaxy S21 Ultra can last a full 24-hour day without problems. They are the devices with the best autonomy on the market, and the difference will be slight.
Both are compatible with fast charging, 20W on the iPhone 12 and 25W on the Samsung Galaxy S21. It is very similar data since, being the smaller iPhone battery, it will take more or less the same to charge as the Galaxy S21 Ultra. And there is something else in which they are similar; neither of the two devices includes the charger in the box.
Apple’s mobile processors have been the best for years, and it doesn’t look like that will change this year. In previous years, Samsung has opted to use its processor in Europe, so the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra in Pakistan uses the 5nm Exynos 2100 processor. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, for its part, uses the A14 Bionic, also built in 5nm.
Although power is not going to be lacking in any of them, Apple again has an advantage in this section. Apple processors have proven to be the fastest for the past few years, and the A14 is no exception. GeekBench data says that Apple’s processor is slightly superior, both in the single-core test and all processor cores.
Two smartphones are not available to everyone. To finish, we will talk about the price of both devices and a section in which they tie again. The official price in Pakistan for iPhone 12 Pro Max is 236,780 and for Galaxy, S21 Ultra is 242,999.
We are probably facing the two best mobile phones on the market. Depending on the type of user you are, you will have to choose between one or the other. If you have an ecosystem of Apple devices, your choice is clear. If this is not your case and you like Android, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be the best option.