iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. S24 Ultra – Which Should You Buy?

Which is better? The iPhone 15 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra? We’ll put these phones head to head, comparing their hardware, software, photo and video quality, and much more!

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Video transcript:

S24 Ultra Advantages

Display and Glass

This display can go as bright as 1600 nits, compared to the 2,000 nits of peak brightness the 15 Pro Max has. But the even more important difference to me has been the anti-glare coating. Samsung partnered with Corning to develop a better glass material called Gorilla Glass Armor. It’s four times more scratch-resistant and three times better with drops. And if rumors are to be believed, the iPhone won’t be getting similar glass from Corning until next year’s iPhone 17 models. Ouch.

Galaxy AI

Galaxy AI is a suite of features that actually turned out to be pretty useful and includes things like Circle Search, where you tap the bottom bar of the phone and then circle anything you want to Google search. You also have translation in messages as well as call translations, perfect for when you’re traveling or have family members or friends who speak different languages. Samsung also added a photo editing feature similar to Google’s Magic Editor, called Generative Edit, which allows you to remove parts of an image and move around and resize objects. This is a feature Apple still doesn’t have an answer for, which is kind of surprising given the superior processing power you get with the chips Apple puts on their iPhones. But let me know what you think. What do you think of these AI features? Does Apple really seem that far behind? Let me know in the comments. Samsung AI also brought us photo emoji, which is similar to the stickers feature Apple rolled out with the iPhone 15 Pro Models last September.

S Pen

The S Pen continues to be one of the most unique features you get with the Ultra series of phones. It gives you another way to interact with your phone. It makes Circle Search feel a bit more precise, gives you the ability to handwrite notes, autocorrect that to text, handwrite in the UI, and use it as a camera remote.

One UI

One UI is just flat out a more customizable and flexible operating system than iOS. You get multitasking split views, edge panels where you can save your favorite apps to drag out into the multitasking view, and you can customize the OS to your heart’s content with Samsung’s Good Lock app. I’ve customized the multitasking view and increased the volume steps past Android’s default to make it more like iOS’s pretty much infinite volume steps. You also have Samsung DeX, which I haven’t really ever found a use for, but I like the idea in theory of being able to turn your phone into a computer by just hooking it up to a monitor. Android also has notification channels, whereas with iOS notifications, a lot of the time you either allow all notifications or none for an app, whereas Android gives you more granular control over the type of notifications that you want to allow through. Speaking of iOS, because the S24 Ultra’s OS is so customizable, you can actually download a launcher which will make your phone look and feel pretty much exactly like iOS. And because it runs Android, you can download apps outside of Google’s App Store, which really gives it its own advantage over iOS. So yes, I’m going to make that Advantage number five.

Integration with Samsung and Windows Devices

It has a slightly more expansive integration for the Windows PC users via the Phone Link app where you cannot only view notifications and respond to messages and calls like you can with an iPhone, but you can also view photos, control media playback, set your phone to silent, and group messaging is supported with Android devices. And of course, if you have other Samsung products like a tablet, earbuds, smartwatch, etc., those are all going to work really well with the S24 Ultra and not the iPhone. And the inverse is of course the case with Apple’s other products and the S24 Ultra.

Camera Systems

Now, what about the camera systems? Honestly, they’re both pretty good in their own right, though there are some differences you will notice between the two. I found the S24 Ultra’s color science skews a bit warmer than the 15 Pro Max’s, and the S24 video is also less noisy at 5x. Overall, the S24 has a bit more saturation and deeper colors like in the sky compared to the iPhone, and its images are typically a bit sharper than the iPhone’s as well. The 15 Pro Max, however, seems to shoot with a lower aperture, giving photos slightly better depth of field. Videos captured on the Samsung always start off black for a second, which is kind of annoying. Video quality overall, I’d still give to the iPhone, especially when you factor in you can now shoot ProRes Log natively with the S24 Ultra; you’re going to have to use a third-party app to get anything similar. As far as selfies go, the S24 Ultra’s low-light selfies do look better than the iPhone’s, but in daylight, both phones are pretty good. So to me, the camera systems are a bit of a toss-up; sometimes I prefer the look of the S24 Ultra’s photos, and then other times I like the iPhones better.

iPhone 15 Pro Max Advantages

Weight and Size

The 15 Pro Max weighs just 221 grams compared to the S24 Ultra’s 233 grams. And while both use titanium, Apple was able to use that material to reduce the phone’s overall weight from the previous generation. Even though these two phone screens are about the same size, when you hold them in your hand, the iPhone just does not feel as big as the S24 Ultra, probably due to the iPhone’s rounded corners.

Apple’s Ecosystem

Now, while, yes, Samsung can do a lot of the cross-device syncing features that are part of the Apple ecosystem, the thing that differentiates Apple and its ecosystem still is the way Apple approaches implementing these features by making them frankly easier to use and more intuitive. With Apple devices, you just sign into your iCloud account on all of your devices, and features like Handoff, Continuity, it all just works. With Samsung, they’re reliant on their partnerships with Google and Microsoft for everything to work, which just adds a bit more friction into that experience. You have to download additional apps and fiddle around with settings in order to get feature parity with Apple’s ecosystem working properly. Apple also deeply integrates services like Apple Music, Fitness Plus, iMessage, and others across their devices. And while some of these services, like Apple Music, are available on Android, many are not. When you take those and combine them with Apple’s ecosystem features and class-leading hardware products like the iPad, the Apple Watch, AirPods, when you add all of that together, it makes a pretty compelling ecosystem that, in my opinion, Samsung right now can’t compete with. Now, I know I’m just one opinion out there, and if you have thoughts on these ecosystems and which one has worked better for you, let me know down in the comments.

Action Button

The new Action button allows you to quickly get to a specific action like opening up the camera, flashlight, or trigger a shortcut, which are these powerful iOS automations that can do different things on your phone based on context. And I’ll leave a link to the custom one I’ve made in the description.

Video Quality

The number four advantage I give the iPhone 15 Pro Max is video quality, for two reasons. One, it can now shoot Apple Log, which lets you shoot way better video out of the iPhone and allows you more flexibility when color grading the footage the way you want. Second, the iPhone has a smoother zoom in and out when you’re switching between camera lenses while shooting video.


There are just a few things iOS just does better than Android, like Apple’s Weather app, which is just gorgeous and the best default one I’ve used. Plus, you can pair it with a dynamic weather background, which makes it impossible not to know what the weather is outside when you’re looking at your phone. I’ve also found widgets to be more aesthetically consistent compared to the ones I can add to my home screen on the S24 Ultra by default. And then there’s the dynamic island, which, while, yes, you can download some things that mimic what it does on the S24, but what’s great about it with the iPhone 15 Pro Max is it creates a persistent place to tap and get to anything important that’s running in the background. That, paired with iOS’s live activities, which stay on the lock screen for things like an upcoming order delivery timer or sports scores, these are features that are just much better thought out and implemented on the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s software versus the S24 Ultra’s.


All right, now let’s talk about which phone I think is ultimately better. And if we just, you set aside the ecosystems for a second and look at these phones from a hardware and software standpoint, I do think the S24 Ultra is the better phone, even when you consider the iPhone’s superior processor. The S24 Ultra’s better screen is going to matter to more people, and from the software side, it’s more flexible than iOS, and Apple doesn’t get to control what you want to download to your phone. Now here’s where things get a bit interesting though. These two phones, they don’t live in a vacuum; they live in an ecosystem of other devices. For me at least, if we have to consider ecosystems, the iPhone is a better choice even if the S24 Ultra beats it in some of the hardware categories. If you have a Mac, the iPhone will work better with that, and same thing with an iPad, same thing with AirPods. And it’s kind of funny, although maybe somewhat annoying, how big of a difference the ecosystems can make in what smartphone you decide to choose nowadays. And if you want to see more of my thoughts on the Android versus iPhone ecosystem battle, you can check out the video I did on that topic here. And for more videos on Apple and Samsung products and comparisons between them, check out the links in the description below. If you like this video and found it helpful, make sure you hit that thumbs-up button below, and don’t forget to subscribe for more. For 6 months later, I’m Josh Teder. Thanks for watching.

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