The iPhone vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra - Epic Phone Battle
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The iPhone vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra – Epic Phone Battle

04:13 PM November 19, 2021

The iPhone vs Samsung debate just got more interesting. This Epic phone battle is a contest between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to find out which premium flagship phone reigns supreme, continuing the millennium-long battle of iPhone vs. Samsung for the title of the best flagship smartphone. And after our rigorous testing, it was not easy to pick a clear winner.

With Apple improving on the iPhone 12 pro max and truthfully on all previous pro models before their latest flagship smartphone, Samsung also blowing all previous Samsung phones and previous Samsung flagships out of the water with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

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Both phones sport an ip68 rating, fast charging, and 15w wireless charging. Still, these are the only true similarities as both companies set out to produce powerful and unique devices for the benefit of fans and neutrals worldwide.

The iphone13 pro max delivers new and improved cameras, a bigger battery, and a brighter display with a 120Hz refresh rate. That last feature is already included with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, although Samsung’s device also boasts impressive cameras and performance of its own. Plus, the S21 Ultra also offers S Pen support.

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So stick with us as we compare these two amazing devices, but ultimately there can only be one champ in this mobile showdown of iPhone vs. Samsung.

Specs

Head to head. We list the specs of our competitors in this edition of iPhone vs. Samsung. First, we begin with:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

  • Starting Price – $1,199
  • Screen size – 6.9 inches (3200 x 1400)
  • Refresh rate – 10 -120Hz
  • CPU – Snapdragon 888
  • RAM – 12GB, 16GB
  • Storage – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Rear cameras – 108MP wide (f/1.8), 12MP ultra wide (f/2.2), 10MP telephoto (3x zoom, f/2.4), 10MP telephoto (10x zoom, f/4.9), laser AF sensor
  • Front camera – 40MP (f/2.2)
  • Battery size – 5,000 mAh
  • Battery life(hrs:mins) – 10:07
  • Size – 6.5 x 2.97 x 0.35 inches
  • Weight – 8.08 ounces
  • Colors – Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Phantom Navy, Phantom Titanium, Phantom Brown

iPhone 13 Pro Max

  • Starting price – $1,099
  • Screen size – 6.7 inches (2778 x 1284)
  • Refresh rate – 10Hz – 120Hz
  • CPU – A15 Bionic
  • RAM – Unknown
  • Storage – 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
  • Rear cameras – 12MP wide (f/1.5), 12MP ultra-wide (f/1.8), 12MP telephoto (f/2.8) with 3x zoom; LiDAR sensor
  • Front camera – 12MP TrueDepth (f/2.2)
  • Battery size – Unknown
  • Battery life(hrs:mins) – 12:16
  • Size – 6.3 x 3.1 x 0.3 inches
  • Weight – 8.5 ounces
  • Colors – Graphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue

Price and Availability

Price and Availability

The pricing front has stayed pretty much the same for both, with iPhone vs. Samsung not offering profound changes to their pricing. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is now available at a starting price of $1,099.

That gets you a brand new 128GB model, and to boost storage to 256GB, you will have to pay an extra $100. There are also 512GB and 1TB iPhone 13 Pro Max options that cost $1,399 and $1,599, respectively.

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The 128GB Galaxy S21 Ultra costs $1,199 — $100 more than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. The 256GB S21 Ultra ($1,249) also costs more than its iPhone equivalent despite the 512GB model being $20 cheaper.

Our winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Design

The iPhone vs. Samsung contest always focuses strongly on design elements, and this edition isn’t different. Apple moved to shrink the notch on the iPhone 13 Pro Max while giving its flagship a larger camera array to accommodate the bigger lenses in play on the new iPhone.

You don’t have to deal with a notch on the Galaxy S21 Ultra (there’s just a small punch hole).

The camera array is more subtle on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, blending into the side of the device thanks to a contour-cut design. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is a taller and thicker device than the iPhone 13 Pro Max despite Apple’s phone being fractionally wider. Apple’s phone is also the heavier of the two by nearly half an ounce.

Both phones possess IP68 water resistance ratings, although the iPhone 13 Pro Max is said to survive a deeper plunge. And despite not seeing any durability tests on the iPhone, the Ceramic Shield display on the iPhone 13 Pro Max should help Apple’s device stand up to a pretty good beating.

Our winner: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Display

Display

The Galaxy S21 Ultra will easily take this category if you award bonus points for having a feature first. The S21 Ultra can dynamically adjust how fast its 6.8-inch screen will refresh, going from 10Hz up to 120Hz.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max is the first Apple phone to feature a fast-refreshing display (along with the iPhone 13 Pro). And also has a refresh rate that adjusts between 10Hz and 120Hz.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s 6.7-inch screen stands out in a few other ways, notably how bright it is. It comes in at 1,038 nits of brightness with the Adaptive setting on, topping the S21 Ultra’s 821-nit reading.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s panel was slightly more accurate with a Delta-E reading of 0.21 versus 0.35 for the Samsung. Lower numbers are better in this test.
Our winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Cameras

Cameras

The iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra cameras seem evenly matched on paper. Both phones offer triple camera displays, with Apple emphasizing low-light photography this time around — the main lens uses a larger sensor than before and lets in 49% more light. At the same time, the aperture on the ultrawide angle lens is also larger.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra rules over zoom ability. That phone’s 10MP telephoto lens can 10x optical zoom, compared to 3x for the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The iPhone 13 Pro offers a shot with richer colors and more detail. The S21 Ultra’s photo seems over-aggressive with its color correction, and the background flirts dangerously with being over-saturated compared to the iPhone’s more balanced picture.

We also think the iPhone 13 Pro Max is better at taking portrait shots. The Samsung photo is overly dark to lose the impact of the background blur effect.

Samsung can still claim to offer the better zoom, though. Zooming past the iPhone’s optical zoom limit, the S21 Ultra enjoys the edge, keeping everything sharp with little noise thanks to its Space Zoom feature.

The greater megapixels in the S21 Ultra’s 40 MP front camera are still no match for the detail in the 12MP TrueDepth camera the iPhone 13 Pro Max sports.

Cameras are way more than just still shots.

Both the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra excel at making videos. All iPhone 13 models raise their video recording game with a new Cinematic mode that automatically puts the subject of the shot in focus while blurring out the background.

That blur can shift automatically during the shot as the focus changes. The result looks very much like something you’d see in a Hollywood movie, despite the output being restricted to 1080p resolution.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra can add background blur to videos, too, and the effect isn’t as sophisticated as what you get with Cinematic mode, which does a better job at training the focus on your subject. Additionally, the S21 Ultra’s portrait mode video is only designed to work on people and not animals or other objects.

Our winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Performance and 5G

Performance is not much of a contest between Apple and Android phones, even b. The A14 Bionic chip powering last year’s iPhone 12 models already blew the Snapdragon 888 inside the Galaxy S21 Ultra out of the water (though the gap had narrowed somewhat). With a new A15 Bionic chipset running on the iPhone 13 Pro Max, Apple easily continues to enjoy a big advantage.

The A15 Bionic produces the best results on synthetic benchmarks, helping the iPhone 13 Pro Max to best the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
The phones are pretty evenly matched on the 5G front, with the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra able to work with all 5G implementations.

Our winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Battery life and charging

Battery life and charging

The iPhone 13 Pro Max gets a bigger battery than its predecessors. Thanks partially to that move, the iPhone 12 Pro lasts longer on our battery test, surpassing the 12-hour mark.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra reached the 12-hour mark, too — sort of. During our test, which involves surfing over cellular until the phone powered down, we turned off the dynamic refreshing display on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, and it lasted 11 hours and 25 minutes.

With the feature enabled, the duration fell to 10 hours and 7 minutes. That’s still slightly ahead of the average time for smartphones but is a whole 2 hours behind the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s result.

Neither the Galaxy S21 Ultra nor the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes with a charger in the box. The S21 supports 25W wired charging, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max tops out at 20W. Neither is particularly impressive in this day and age, though the S21’s 5,000 mAh battery gets to 56% after 30 minutes of charging while the iPhone reached 50% in that same time.

Our winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Our Final Verdict

Our latest edition of iPhone vs. Samsung is over, and the results are in. As good as the Galaxy S21 Ultra is — and it is one of our favorite phones out there— the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes out just on top. The features most important to phone owners — cameras, battery life, performance — are the iPhone excels at.

And areas where Samsung typically holds a big edge, like S Pen support, better zoom, and the in-display fingerprint sensor, remain strongly in the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s camp. But the iPhone 13 Pro can rightly claim to be the king of smartphones right now. It’s just a better all-around device by the narrowest of margins. However, it is still the best smartphone available and a worthy winner of this epic battle, and we eagerly look forward to the next installment of the iPhone vs. Samsung.

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TOPICS: 5G phones, Amazon Associate, Apple iPhone, evergreen, review, Samsung, US Affiliates
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