iPhone 13 Pro Max Vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: The iPhone 13 Pro Max has finally launched.
It’s the best that we have from Apple.
How does it compare to the best that we have from Samsung in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra?
Well, that’s exactly what we’re going to be finding out in this article by comparing all of the key differences sides by side,
Let’s get to it.
So the first thing I want to talk about is the building design and both of these are very good-looking devices, I’d say.
They’re also very, very premium.
Now, design is of course subjective.
And the 13 Pro Max does look a lot like the 12 Pro Max from last year, the design hasn’t massively changed,but with the S21 Ultra,it looks very different compared to the previous model.
We’ve got this camera module that kind of blends into the edge, which I think looks really, really nice.
Now for building materials, at the back, we’ve got a glass.
This is like frosted glass on both devices and it looks really nice, it doesn’t attract as many fingerprints.
And for the frames, we’ve got an aluminum frame on the S21 Ultra, we’ve got a stainless steel frame on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Now, stainless steel is more durable compared to aluminum.
However, because it is shiny, it does attract lots of fingerprints, so something to keep in mind.
Now for the size, although the S21 Ultra is slightly taller, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is wider and it’s also heavier.
It has flat edges compared to the curved edges of the S21 Ultra.
And for those reasons, I would say that the S21 Ultra is more comfortable to use compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Both devices do have IP68 water and dust-resistant rating.
However, that rating in itself is a little bit misleading because the 13 Pro Max can actually be submerged a lot deeper, six meters compared to the 1.5 meters on the S21 Ultra.
So if you are going to be taking either of these for a swim, you’re probably going to be a little bit better off with the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Let’s now move over to the displays.
I think both of these have excellent displays.
We’ve got a flat display on the 13 Pro Max, and then we’ve got a curved display on the S21 Ultra.
The 13 Pro Max display has what Apple called Ceramic Shield.
They don’t even call this glass.
And the S21 Ultra has Gorilla Glass Victus.
I’m not somebody who does drop tests.
I’m not going to be dropping these shiny new phones.
Right, durability aside, these are excellent displays, some of the best out there.
They both use OLED technology.
They’re sharp, vibrant, and most importantly, they both have an adaptive refresh rate, which goes all the way up to 120 hertz.
That just makes everything feel so much smoother, whether you’re scrolling through your feeds, whether you’re gaming, you’re really going to appreciate this, and it just makes everything feel that much faster as well.
Now, because we have adaptive refresh rates on both devices, that does mean they can go all the way down to 10 Herts.
So when we’ve got static content like this, there’s no need to be refreshing the screen 120 times a second, that’s going to take up too much battery.
So they go all the way down to just 10 hertz.
But the S21 Ultra does get some advantages for the overall display.
Firstly, it does get brighter up to 1,500 nits of peak brightness.
It’s also slightly sharper.
It also takes advantage of the adaptive refresh rate and gives us an always-on display.
So even when the screen is off, you can still glance at information such as the time and your notifications.
This is something that I was really hoping Apple would include, but they haven’t.
And on the S21 Ultra, we do get a high screen-to-body ratio.
So we’re getting more screens in the area available, and that’s because we have a punch out for the front-facing camera compared to the notch that we have on the 13 Pro Max.
Now, the notch on the 13 Pro Max has been reduced compared to last year, so it’s around 20% smaller.
It’s not as wide, but it’s slightly taller.
Now, which you prefer is going to come down to your personal preference.
I do think the punch out looks a lot cleaner and it takes up much less space.
Now, one of the reasons we have a notch on the iPhone 13 Pro Max is because of all the Face ID sensors.
And Face ID works really well, it’s very secure and very convenient.
The S21 Ultra has an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint scanner, which has been improved compared to previous generations.
It’s larger and it’s also faster.
Now, generally, if you asked me a couple of years ago, then I would say, it’s just going to come down to your personal preference.
I generally don’t mind having a Face ID or a fingerprint scanner, however, over the past year where we’ve had to wear lots of masks and we’re still having to wear masks.
I was going to Germany, pretty much throughout the time at the airport, on the plane, I had to have my mask on, and that just makes it a lot more tricky to use the 13 Pro Max compared to the fingerprint scanner on the S21 Ultra.
Now, there is somewhat of a workaround for a face mask with the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
If you have an Apple Watch, you can bypass Face ID if it notices that you are in range with your Apple Watch.
But still, right now, if you were to ask me, I do prefer the fingerprint scanner to Face ID.
Right, now let’s move over to the cameras.
All right, let’s move on to the cameras.
So both devices have an ultrawide camera.
We’ve got a primary camera, a three times telephoto camera, but the S21 Ultra does have an additional periscope zoom camera,
which will give you 10 times optical zoom.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max does have a LIDAR scanner, which does help with autofocus as well as depth information.
Now, I have done a very detailed camera comparison between these two devices.
It’s almost 20 minutes long.
You can go ahead and check that out after this article if you want a detailed breakdown of all of the different cameras and their features.
However, just to summarize, I got to say that both of these have excellent cameras, some of the best out there.
In my opinion, the S21 Ultra does have a better ultrawide camera for photos, it just has a more consistent overall dynamic range.
And for zoom, anything above 10 times, of course, the S21 Ultra does an excellent job thanks to the optical zoom.
You can even go around 30 times and all the way up to 100 times, although 100 times is something that I don’t use often, the option is there.
But with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, I think it takes better pictures at three times and it also takes better portraits overall with better edge detection thanks to that LIDAR scanner.
And both devices can film 4K,60 frames a second for video.
However, overall, in my opinion, the iPhone 13 Pro Max still records better video.
That’s thanks to the Dolby Vision with HDR giving you an excellent dynamic range.
Now, that’s not to say that the S21 Ultra doesn’t have a good video, it also has excellent video, and it can also record at up
to 8K, 24 frames a second.
Now, this does cropping quite heavy, but it’s a nice option to have.
We’ve also got certain features like Director’s View, which lets you preview the other cameras when you are recording.
You can also do similar things on the 13 Pro Max, but you will have to look at third-party apps.
And both devices also have portrait videos.
That’s what Samsung called it.
Apple called it cinematic video.
Now, cinematic video is better compared to portrait video on the S21 Ultra, and that’s because you have the ability to change points of focus, as well as how blurry you want the background on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which is very impressive.
Selfie cameras are also absolutely great on both devices and they also take great-quality video.
Once again, I’m going to refer back to my detailed camera comparison.
I’ll leave that link down below and in the cards.
Let’s now move over to the performance.
So the iPhone 13 Pro Max is powered by Apple’s latest and greatest, the A5 Bionic chip.
The S21 Ultra is going to vary depending on your region.
In certain regions, you’ll be getting the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset.
And in other regions, you will be getting the Exynos 2100.
Now, performance-wise, both of these are excellent and they do a great job for pretty much all tasks.
And performance is not just about hardware, it’s about software as well.
And because both of these are running separate operating systems, it’s very difficult to say which one is the faster device overall.
I think both of these are excellent.
One advantage I will give the S21 Ultra is that it does have more RAM.
And in my experience, it does do a better job of RAM management.
This may be something down to the software of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but I’m still getting similar issues that I did on previous Apple devices.
if I leave the app, then the video will not continue uploading in the background.
It’s just going to stop completely, and then until I go back to it, that could be a few hours later, that’s only when it’s going to start uploading again.
On the S21 Ultra, I’ve never had this problem.
I can just leave something uploading and it’s going to carry on doing that in the background.
That might be partly down to the software.
We have iOS 15 on the 13 Pro Max.
We have Android 11 with One UI on the S21 Ultra.
Now, personally speaking, I enjoy using both iOS and Android.
I think it really comes down to personal preference.
On the S21 Ultra, I do like the One UI skin.
It’s been catered more towards one-handed usage, so everything’s kind of moved towards the bottom.
Something we’ve seen a lot more manufacturers do, including Apple, because if we go onto the Safari browser, you’ll see that the address bar is now towards the bottom.
This is something that a lot of people don’t seem to like.
I absolutely love it, it makes it a lot more reachable.
We’ve now got lots of widgets that we can customize.
And also some new cool features, such as the ability to be able to drag and drop between different apps.
I still think that things are a bit too spaced out, especially for the Max.
I know Apple does this to keep things consistent, but I do prefer the grid layout here on the S21 Ultra.
But once again, I’m going to emphasize the point that it’s going to come down to personal preference.
I genuinely use both of these, as you can see, on a daily basis and I think I like both equally.
Both of these do have serious speakers.
We’ve got one in the earpiece and one bottom-firing, and they both support Dolby Atmos.
They sound absolutely great.
I really can’t pick a winner between these two.
Now, in terms of the additional hardware features, the S21 Ultra does now have support for the S Pen.
This is something that’s sold separately but it’s definitely nice to have.
It’s really useful to edit images and sign documents on the go.
However, there is no way that you can actually enclose it as you can do on the Note, but nevertheless, if you really do want it,
You could get a case where you can have it and that is a nice addition for those of you who appreciate an S Pen.
For the ports, we of course have Lightning on the 13 Pro Max and we have USB Type C on the S21 Ultra.
I mean, for me, it’s clear that the USB Type C is superior now, it’s much faster as well, and it’s universal.
I have USB Type C on my MacBook Pro, I have it on my iPad Pro, and whenever I’m traveling, I always have to carry another
Lightning cable with me, which is super annoying.
I wish Apple just switched to USB Type C.
They may never do that, they may just go completely portless, we’ll see.
Batteries and charging.
So the S21 Ultra does have a larger-size battery.
However, size does not matter.
I mean, it depends on the context, but in the context of a battery, it does not matter because there are lots of other factors that go into it, such as the software and how optimized it is.
Now, in terms of my experience, the S21 Ultra has given me a really good battery life and it does get me through the day absolutely fine.
However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is absolutely amazing.
Like, it’s one of the best devices for battery life that I’ve tested recently.
And I would say in terms of my usage, it does give me around 20 to 25% more usage compared to the S21 Ultra.
Obviously, everybody else’s usage will vary, but I just have to say that the iPhone 13 Pro Max has tremendous battery life and it does win in this department.
So neither of these come with a charger included out the box, you are going to have to get this separately. With the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the maximum charging speed that you can get wired is around 20 Watts.
You’ve got 25 Watts on the S21 Ultra, so we’ll get slightly faster-charging speeds.
Both of these do support Qi wireless charging, which is really convenient, but the S21 Ultra can support up to 15 Watts.
You’ve only got up to 7.5 Watts on the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
However, the 13 Pro Max can get up to 15 Watts with a MagSafe charger.
MagSafe was something that Apple introduced last year.
And I got to say, it is nice to have, it’s convenient, but it is something that you’re going to have to buy separately.
I generally prefer having a universal Qi wireless charger where I can just drop my smartphones on.
This is going to come down to your personal preference.
The S21 Ultra also does support reverse wireless charging, and that’s where you can use the S21 Ultra to charge other devices, even the iPhone 13 Pro Max if you want, wirelessly.
Generally, this is quite useful to charge some earbuds or something, especially if you’re out and about and you just need to top them up, you can just leave them at the back.
I don’t really use it that often, but it’s nice to have.
Finally, storage and pricing.
Both devices are available in 128, 256, and 512-gigabyte variants.
However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is also available in a massive one terabyte option.
So for those of you who really like storing a lot on your smartphone, that is an option that you have here on the 13 Pro Max.
And for the price.
This is quite interesting.
The S21 Ultra did come in at a higher price on launch.
However, it has been out for some time now, around eight months, and because of that, the price has dropped.
So I’ve just had a look on Amazon, you can pick this up for around 970 pounds or around the $1,000 mark.
Nevertheless, both of these are flagship devices, which you’re going to be looking at around 1,000 pounds or $1,000.
And that is the comparison of the iPhone 13 Pro Max versus the S21 Ultra.
Now, in my opinion, both of these are excellent devices.
I actually use both of these as my daily drivers, because I like them so much.
Of course, we’ve got advantages and disadvantages on both sides.
The S21 Ultra does have, I would say, an overall better display.
It’s a little bit more comfortable to use overall, it has support for the S Pen, and it also has periscope zoom technology, which the iPhone 13 Pro Max does not.
However, the 13 Pro Max shoots overall better video, in my experience.
It has all the optimizations with iOS, which also gives it excellent battery life, better than the S21 Ultra.
But most importantly, I think it is going to come down to which operating system you prefer.
Do you prefer iOS or do you prefer Android?
That’s what I think, anyway.
What do you guys think?
Which one of these devices will you be picking?
Do drop me a comment below and let me know your thoughts.
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