Why iPhone 15 Pro Max is better than Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra


iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S24 Ultra
The iPhone 15 Pro Max beats the Galaxy S24 Ultra in several key aspects.
Image: Apple/Samsung

Samsung’s 2024 flagship, the Galaxy S24 Ultra, is here to take on the iPhone 15 Pro Max. On paper, Samsung’s newest Galaxy packs superior hardware to the iPhone. But in a true smartphone smackdown — iPhone 15 Pro Max versus Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra — which one would win?

It turns out that a phone is more than just its specs sheet. Below are five reasons why the iPhone 15 Pro Max is better than the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra arrives a few months after the iPhone 15 Pro Max. It packs several new AI features, an impressive camera array and a big battery. While the phone offers some noticeable upgrades over its predecessor, the Galaxy S23 Ultra, it falls short of beating the iPhone 15 Pro Max in some key areas.

This is not a specs comparison, as both phones pack high-end hardware. The difference boils down to owners’ real-life experience, which is the sum of more than just the phones’ hardware.

Table of contents: iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

  1. iPhone benefits from lighter, more ergonomic design
  2. Galaxy S24 Ultra lacks Qi2/MagSafe support
  3. iPhone 15 Pro offers superior video recording
  4. Action button
  5. Face ID

1. iPhone benefits from lighter, more ergonomic design

With the iPhone 15 Pro series, Apple made a small but significant change by switching to titanium instead of steel for the phone’s edges. This helped reduce the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s weight to 221 grams, down from the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s 240 grams. The lighter frame makes the phone more ergonomic and easier to use, which was a common complaint with previous Pro Max models.

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
The Galaxy S24 Ultra is too wide and heavy for comfortable one-handed use.
Photo: Samsung

Samsung also uses titanium for the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s chassis edges. However, the phone’s weight remains almost the same as its predecessor at 233 grams.

Add in the phone’s sharp, squarish corners, and the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s design is an ergonomic disaster. The edges will dig into your palm when you hold the phone. This makes it difficult to pocket the phone as well.

Plus, Samsung’s 2024 flagship is too wide at 79mm versus the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s 76.7mm width. This means one-handed use of the S24 Ultra is out of the question unless you have huge hands.

2. Galaxy S24 Ultra lacks Qi2 support

Apple introduced MagSafe wireless charging with the iPhone 12 series in 2020. Since then, MagSafe has revolutionized iPhone accessories, allowing you to snap power banks, wallets and other items to the back of the phones.

The tech is so good that the Wireless Power Consortium, creator of the Qi wireless charging standard, integrated the Magnetic Power Profile into Qi2. This paves the way for other smartphone manufacturers to add MagSafe support to their devices with Qi2.

Despite the standard being finalized in 2023, the Galaxy S24 Ultra and its smaller siblings only support the older Qi standard. So, you cannot use MagSafe-compatible accessories directly with the S24 Ultra.

While this might sound like a minor issue, once you try MagSafe accessories, you won’t want to give up on its convenience. You can use MagSafe adapters with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but nothing beats native support.

3. iPhone 15 Pro offers superior video recording

iPhone 15 Pro Max with no case, held aloft defiantly
It is hard to beat the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s video recording prowess.
Photo: Lyle Kahney/Cult of Mac

The Galaxy S24 Ultra packs a more versatile camera system than the iPhone. It comes with four cameras: a 200MP primary shooter, a 12MP ultrawide, a 3x 10MP telephoto and a 5x optical shooter. In comparison, the iPhone 15 Pro Max packs three lenses, including a 48MP primary shooter, a 12MP Ultra Wide and a 12MP 5x telephoto.

Which phone takes the better photos remains open to debate. It depends on which phone’s photo processing you like most. But for video recording, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is the superior choice.

Apple’s 2023 flagship phone lets you shoot 4K 60fps in Dolby Vision from all lenses and seamlessly switch between them while doing so. And if that’s not enough, there’s also Log and ProRes video recording. However, with the latter, you will need an external storage device when shooting at 4K 60fps.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra video capabilities: Image stabilization, resolution and more

Apple’s sensor-shift stabilization and Action mode for the primary and telephoto sensors are superior to Samsung’s optical image stabilization. They enable the iPhone to capture handheld videos with gimbal-like stabilization.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra can record videos in up to 8K resolution, with HDR support for up to 4K 60fps. However, Samsung’s implementation is severely limited. You are limited to recording 8K videos from the primary and 5x telephoto cameras. The stabilization, while good, is not as stable as the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s. And there’s no option to shoot videos in Log or RAW formats.

No wonder the iPhone has been frequently used to shoot ads and movies by many production houses.

4. Action button

Closeup of iPhone 15’s new Action button.
The iPhone’s Action button is useful, but its placement could have been better.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple replaced the mute switch on the iPhone 15 Pro series with a customizable Action button. Thanks to Shortcuts support, you can do a lot with the iPhone 15 Pro’s Action button: trigger Google Assistant or Alexa, talk to ChatGPT, lock/unlock your car or house, etc.

Admittedly, the button’s placement on the iPhone 15 Pro Max could have been better, but that does not diminish its utility. The Galaxy S24 Ultra does not have any such customizable button. You get the usual volume keys and the side/power button. The latter can be used to invoke Google Assistant and open the camera app, but that’s about it.

5. Face ID

Samsung’s 2024 flagship features an in-display fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S24 Ultra also supports face unlocking, but unlike the iPhone’s Face ID, it relies solely on the front camera. (Face ID utilizes Apple’s TrueDepth camera system, which projects more than 30,000 infrared dots onto the user’s face.)

The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s facial-recognition feature is not secure enough for use in payment apps or app logins. You are limited to using it to unlock the phone and log into non-banking apps. This might not seem like a big deal. But with Face ID, you only need to look at your iPhone’s screen to sign into apps, authorize payments, or auto-fill your login details. The experience is a lot more seamless than using a fingerprint scanner.

There are many other areas where the iPhone trumps the Galaxy and vice versa. But more than hardware, you should compare the phones based on features that matter in real-life use. And while Samsung’s latest flagship gives stiff competition to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, there are still some areas where it has some catching up to do.


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