iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung S24 Ultra compared: Which flagship should you buy?

In this 10-minute read, the two most popular phones to date are put to the test, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung S24 Ultra compared: Which flagship should you buy?
iPhone 15 Pro Max Vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra

Have you wondered which phone to upgrade to? Well, if you’re a big phone enthusiast looking for the latest and greatest, then this review is for you! Today, we’re comparing two of the hottest flagship phones on the market: the newly announced Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and the September '23 Apple iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Both phones offer top-of-the-line features like big, beautiful screens, super-fast processors, powerful cameras, and long-lasting batteries. Samsung has even added some exciting new AI features called ‘Galaxy AI’ and a brand-new zoom camera. But Apple isn’t sitting still either; their latest iOS 18 update brings some serious competition. Better late than never, right?

So, which phone of the two rivals comes out on top? One of the two might already be your dream phone, but curiosity, they say, doesn’t kill the big old cat—many people would like to know how these two match up against each other in more objective metrics. 

So, here’s a comprehensive review based on what we know about the specs and software updates so far.


The Galaxy S24 Ultra boasts a slightly larger 6.8-inch display compared to the iPhone 15 Pro Max's 6.7 inches. It also has a flatter design with thinner bezels. The iPhone sticks to its familiar rounded edges, achieving slightly slimmer bezels than its predecessor.

Both phones upgrade to a titanium body, promising better durability. The iPhone adds a Ceramic Shield for screen protection, while the S24 Ultra debuts Gorilla Glass Armor, claiming 4x stronger glass and reduced reflections.

The S24 Ultra's curved edges feel more ergonomic in hand, while the iPhone's boxier design feels less comfortable. However, the iPhone wins in aesthetics with a cleaner look and a well-organised triple-lens camera setup. Meanwhile, the S24 Ultra's five-lens array is powerful but looks a bit cluttered.

It also integrates the creative S Pen stylus, while the iPhone has no equivalent in the Apple ecosystem.

Both phones boast titanium frames and IP68 water resistance. However, the iPhone takes the lead with a higher water resistance rating (20 feet vs 5 feet for the S24 Ultra).

Bottom Line: It's a close call but the S24 Ultra emerges as the winner with its superior functionality and comfortable grip, making it a user-friendly choice.

Rear Housing (Samsung S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max


The Galaxy S24 Ultra throws down a bigger, 6.8-inch display with a near bezel-less design, perfect for watching videos, gaming, or utilising the S-Pen. It also cranks up the brightness, hitting an impressive 2,600 nits compared to the iPhone's 2,000 nits. Plus, its anti-reflective coating makes it easier to see outdoors.

The iPhone 15 Pro Max counters with a slightly smaller display. It delivers superior HDR support with Dolby Vision, the king of streaming formats. Additionally, FaceID offers secure unlocking and the innovative Dynamic Island integrates with background apps, offering a unique user experience.

Both displays are incredibly sharp and vibrant. The iPhone might have a slight edge in outdoor brightness, but recent updates on the S24 Ultra addressed earlier colour concerns.

The S24 Ultra keeps things simple with a discreet punch-hole camera, while the iPhone utilises the "Dynamic Island" to cleverly hide the notch. This unique feature offers functionality, but some might find it distracting.

Bottom Line: The iPhone 15 Pro Max takes the crown with its seamless FaceID, superior HDR video playback, and the innovative Dynamic Island. 

Half-Screen Display of the (left) Samsung S24 Ultra and (right) iPhone 15 Pro Max
Full-Screen Display (Samsung S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max


The S24 Ultra boasts a massive 200MP main sensor, while the iPhone sticks to a reliable 48MP. On paper, the S24 wins, but reviewers noted the iPhone delivers consistent, usable images, something the S24 struggles with at times.

Both phones upgraded their Zoom game, with the S24 offering a new 5x option to match the iPhone's jump from 3x to 5x. Both excel at zoom quality in bright light.

While the S24 Ultra heavily integrates AI features into its camera app, offering editing suggestions and tools. The iPhone lacks a dedicated AI assistant when editing photos, but you’ll find labelled icons for Live Photo editing and the crop button now appears automatically when you zoom in. 

The S24 packs a quad-lens system with a dedicated 3x telephoto lens for sharper zoomed shots compared to the iPhone's digital zoom. This extra zoom versatility, along with a new 5x telephoto lens, gives the S24 an edge.

Both phones capture detailed shots with vibrant colours on their ultrawide and main cameras. However, the S24 outshines the iPhone with its more natural colour processing, especially noticeable in close-ups.

The iPhone takes the crown for low-light ultrawide photos, producing cleaner images. But the S24 reigns supreme with its main camera, capturing brighter, sharper photos in low-light conditions.

The other big battle is at video quality where both phones excel but with trade-offs. The S24 captures sharper videos overall, while the iPhone produces cleaner, more detailed footage with a wider dynamic range, especially at night and with the main camera. 

The S24 boasts 8K video recording, a feature missing on the iPhone, but its usefulness is debatable considering the huge size associated with 8K video and the lack of support on most monitors and TVs.

Bottom Line: The S24 Ultra wins this round with its versatility, extensive zoom options and superior video recording in most situations. However, the iPhone shouldn't be discounted for its consistent photo quality and low-light performance.

Lens view of the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Samsung S24 Ultra
Texture difference of a high-rise building at 10x zoom from the lenses of the iPhone 15 Pro Max (left), and the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (right). | GsmArena
Notice how Night images on the S24 Ultra are brighter, though this brightness can compromise true-to-life colour accuracy. In contrast, we find the colours on the iPhone 15 Pro Max to be more accurate in this particular picture. | PhoneArena

Software and Advanced Features

The S Pen is the Galaxy S24 Ultra's secret weapon, perfect for jotting down notes, signing documents, or controlling presentations. Samsung also positions the S24 Ultra as an AI powerhouse co-developed with Google. Sporting features like Circle to Search, Live Translate, and onboard generative AI—though it's important to note that these advanced AI chat features are currently free to use with the Galaxy S24 Ultra but will transition to a paid service after 2025.

Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro Max is gearing up to join the AI race with its iOS 18 debut in September 2024, promising to bring Apple's ecosystem into the future of intelligence.

While Apple’s iOS and Google's Android are both mature platforms, iPhone users enjoy seamless integration with Apple's ecosystem (iCloud, iMessage, FaceTime, and exclusive apps), and Samsung’s high-tech AI features rival the one found on Google's Pixel 8 phones.

Here's where the two phones differ. Apple is known for its multi-year iOS updates, but Samsung ups the ante with a guaranteed seven years of Android and security updates for the S24 Ultra. However, the question remains: will the S24's hardware keep up with the software for that long? iPhones have a history of staying usable for years after launch. So, it's a tie for software support for now.

When it comes to device connectivity, both offer extensive options. The iPhone seamlessly integrates with all Apple devices under one ID. The S24 Ultra connects with Samsung's Galaxy ecosystem and other Android devices, Windows PCs, and cloud services.

Bottom Line: The Galaxy S24 Ultra edges out the iPhone 15 Pro Max's tightly integrated ecosystem with its innovative AI features, and wider device compatibility. They tie in long-term software support (depending on how well the S24's hardware ages).

The AI battle might just be over soon |Gearrice

Performance and Gaming

It's likely no surprise that as flagship smartphones, both devices feature the latest chips available for their respective operating systems, resulting in minimal or no slowdowns with either device.

Both phones come armed with the latest and greatest chips—the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for the S24 Ultra and the A17 Bionic for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Benchmarks show the iPhone pulling slightly ahead in raw processing power, especially for single-core tasks.

The S24 Ultra boasts 12GB of RAM compared to the iPhone's 8GB. However, different operating systems have different RAM requirements, so the gap might not be as significant in real-world usage.

In addition to the raw power advantage, the iPhone takes the crown for gaming. Its A17 chip and iOS optimisation allow it to run demanding AAA games like Resident Evil 4 natively, a feat unmatched by the S24 Ultra which relies on cloud gaming or consoles for such titles.

Both phones deliver impressive audio quality with their speaker setups. The iPhone takes a slight lead with richer mid-tones and vocals, but the difference is subtle.

Bottom Line: The iPhone 15 Pro Max is the clear winner in terms of performance.

Battery life and Charging

Just a heads-up, neither phone includes a charger in the box anymore, so you'll need to buy one separately. This is typical for many flagship phones these days. 

And speaking of the iPhone, it's finally joined the USB-C party! This means you can use one cable for all your USB-C needs while travelling. The iPhone supports charging at up to 27W, so a 30W charger is perfect for quick refills (around 50% in just 30 minutes).

The S24 Ultra on the other hand comes with a faster charging speed, hitting 65% in 30 minutes with a 45W charger. Both phones can also serve as power banks for other devices, but the S24 Ultra wins here with its wireless PowerShare feature, a handy trick absent in the iPhone.

Despite a smaller battery, the iPhone surprisingly outlasted the S24 Ultra in tests, clocking 16:01 hours of active use compared to the S24's 13:49 hours. Apple's efficient chip seems to be the catalyst here.

Both phones support 15W wireless charging, but the iPhone takes the lead with MagSafe and compatibility with the latest Qi2 standard.

Bottom Line: The iPhone 15 Pro Max might have a smaller battery, but superior battery life and the versatility of USB-C charging with MagSafe compatibility make it the champion in this round.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S24

Pricing and Availability in Africa

Both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy S24 Ultra are top-of-the-line phones, but the iPhone wins on price by a hair. Here's the breakdown:

  • Starting Price: iPhone 15 Pro Max ($1,163) vs. S24 Ultra ($1,196) - iPhone saves you $40 - $100 depending on the market conditions.
  • Storage Options: Both offer 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB versions, but upgrading storage on the S24 Ultra is slightly cheaper.
  • Protection Plans: iPhone's AppleCare+ is a bit more affordable than Samsung's Care+.

Both phones are readily available at major retailers and carriers across Africa and online shops. Remember to check for deals and promotions before making your final decision.

Is the S24 Ultra better than the iPhone 15 Pro Max?

By the thinnest of margins, the Samsung Galaxy S24 finishes ahead of the iPhone 15 in our face-off. 

Features (5 points)

iPhone 15

Samsung Galaxy S24
















Battery life and Charging 






Overall (points)



It's not just about the Galaxy's impressive AI features; it's the outstanding battery life, improved performance, and vibrant display that tip the scales.

Let's be honest—choosing between the latest Galaxy and iPhone is more about personal preference than pure specs. They cater to different audiences: the Galaxy shines with its 200MP sensor versatility, S Pen, and an array of features, while the iPhone excels in its strong ecosystem colour accuracy and Cinematic video capabilities.

In conclusion, there's no clear winner here. From an objective standpoint, the Galaxy may be seen as more versatile, but the iPhone has its own strong points that shouldn't be overlooked. Ultimately, it's like choosing between your dream sports cars—there's no wrong answer, just what suits your style and budget best.

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