iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Should you wait for Samsung?

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

The iPhone 15 Pro Max is official, and we have just one question to answer in this piece: is it worth buying right now, or should you wait and see what Samsung is cooking up with the Galaxy S24 Ultra?

We can answer this pretty solidly with a whole host of leaks coming out about Samsung’s next generation ultra premium phone — from its Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chipset to an improved display.

So, now that we’ve seen Apple’s brand new phone for the next 12 months, are the leaks of the S24 Ultra enough to suggest you wait? Let’s find out.

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SpeciPhone 15 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (rumored)
Screen size6.7 inches6.8 inches
Refresh rate120Hz144Hz
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
CPUA17 ProSnapdragon 8 Gen 3
Cameras48MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto periscope lens200MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 50MP telephoto, 10MP periscopic
Battery capacity4,422 mAh5,000 mAh
Design materialsGlass and TitaniumGlass and Titanium

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Price

As we saw, the iPhone 15 Pro Max got a $100 price hike, thanks to Apple dropping the 128GB model and offering 256GB as the base model. While there are no rumors circulating about the price of the S24 Ultra, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Samsung keep the same cost.

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: $1,199
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: $1,199

Competing at the same price is going to make customers think carefully about their purchase, and the S24 Ultra’s spec sheet is looking mighty tempting from a “more is better” kind of perspective.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. iPhone 15 Pro: Design

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max gets a titanium redesign with slightly curved edges
  • Goodbye, lightning. iPhone 15 Pro Max gets USB-C! You can thank the EU for that one
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra design rumored to remain the same candy bar slab, but it may match the iPhone’s move to titanium

Aesthetically, the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s updates are subtle, but impactful: a slight curvature to the metal band that should make the phone a little more comfortable to hold in the hand, alongside a switch from the traditional mute toggle to an Action Button.

Another big change is the move to a USB-C port. Given the EU’s legislation, this was pretty much a guarantee for the company to adopt before an imposed 2024 deadline. We’ve been documenting this whole Apple vs EU saga, and it’s been a little dramatic to say the least.

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iPhone 15 lineup dimensions
PhoneiPhone 15 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra (rumored)
Size159.9 x 76.7 x 8.25 mm163.4 x 78.1 x 8.9 mm
Weight221 grams234 grams

Meanwhile, as you can tell by the rumored specs table, the Galaxy S24 Ultra isn’t rumored to get a ground up redesign. It looks like we’ll get that same luxurious candy bar with the vertical row of camera rings down the back, however, its chassis may get a considerable upgrade from aluminum to titanium. The lone concern with this change is regarding weight as aluminum is far lighter, but given titanium’s superior strength it will require less material and could be a wash.

No new aesthetic isn’t always a bad thing, as Samsung has got Apple’s number when it comes to battery capacity.

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: 4,422mAh
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: 5,000 mAh

This is a warmly welcomed increase in stamina for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, but the Galaxy S24 Ultra is in a prime position to outlast it with this hardware advantage. The big question is whether Apple’s new 3nm A17 Pro (which we’ll get to later) offers enough of a power efficiency advantage to overcome Samsung’s battery size.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Display

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display, 2796 x 1290-pixel resolution, 120Hz adaptive refresh rate.
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: 6.8-inch OLED display, 3088 x 1440-pixel resolution, 144Hz adaptive refresh rate.

Not much has changed in the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s display — same resolution, same LTPO technology, and the same adaptive refresh rate from 1-120Hz. For the next big display upgrade, you’ll have to wait for the iPhone 16, which is rumored to make the most of a micro lens array (MLA) technology that provides better brightness and power efficiency.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s panel is looking to be a tasty upgrade over the S23. It starts with a rumored maximum 144Hz refresh rate, which could be a game changer for the gaming credentials of this phone. On top of that, peak brightness could reach 2,500 nits — 750 more than the S23, and 500 more than the 15 Pro Max.

iPhone 15 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Processor

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max: A17 Pro with 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU, and 16-core Neural Engine
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 (U.S. and South Korea), Exynos 2400 for other regions

Apple, in a move that probably annoyed tech journalists pre-writing content across the globe, has dropped the Bionic tag and packed iPhone 15 Pro Max with the A17 Pro. There was big talk in the event about this challenging even desktop class CPUs, and the fact it sports a “pro class GPU.” But while there is a lot of vague hyperbole here, the reality is this is a beast of a chip.

Built on TSMC’s 3-nanometer process, the 19 billion transistors in A17 Pro (up from 16 billion in A16 Bionic) delivers 10% faster CPU performance, 20% faster graphics, and even supports hardware-accelerated ray tracing.

We don’t know too much about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor in the S24 Ultra, except for the fact it will be manufactured with a 4nm process (given that Apple gobbled all of the 3nm chips up in its order to TSMC). But the rumor mill points towards an 8-core CPU with a speed of 3.75 GHz (faster than A17 Pro), a new Adreno 750 GPU, and support for the as-yet unannounced UFS 4.1 storage.

Leaker IceUniverse has made the vague claims that GPU performance has been “greatly improved,” and that the Gen 3 will “maintain the overall energy efficiency of the 8Gen2.” That last bit is great news as we saw a boost to battery life across the board for flagship Android phones this year and we’d hate to see them lose ground again.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra: Cameras

  • iPhone 15 Pro Max gets an updated 48MP wide camera, and the brand new 12MP 5x telephoto with periscope lens (or tetra prism if you’re nasty)
  • Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra will still boast four cameras: : including a new 200MP wide, and a 10MP periscopic lens

Apple’s smartphone cameras are the stuff of legend. They’ve had some ropey times (the 14 Pro didn’t necessarily have the best computational photography), but on the main hand, the Cupertino chums continue to roll out the hits.

That is no different with the 15 Pro Max, as the 48MP sensor has been updated with a wider aperture, and instead of a standard telephoto lens (which has a fixed magnification), the Pro Max has made the leap to a 5X periscope lens, although Apple refers to it as a tetraprism design.

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iPhone 15 camera predictions
PhoneiPhone 15 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S24 Ultra
Wide camera48MP wide (24mm f/1.78)200MP Wide
Ultrawide camera12MP ultrawide (13mm f/2.2)12 MP ultrawide
Telephoto camera12MP periscope telephoto w/ 5x optical zoom (120mm f/2.8 aperture)50MP telephoto
Additional cameran/a10MP periscopic

But the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is packing its own box of tricks too. Rumors aren’t pointing to much changing on the hardware side, but you can look forward to updates to that 200MP main camera. These will be more fundamental tweaks to the sensor and image processing, which will allow it to better capture more realistic color. 

Speaking of computation, Apple has added some user-friendly tweaks too, thanks to some machine learning knowhow. The biggest one is recognizing when you’re shooting a picture of a person, and saving all the depth of field information automatically to turn it into a portrait mode picture after the fact.


The iPhone 15 Pro Max brings some impressive updates to its hardware design, performance, and cameras. But is it enough to recommend anyone who’s on the fence to not wait until the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra? I’m not so sure.

Because sure, the A17 Pro is going to continue the iPhone's run at the top as the fastest smartphone on the planet, and that camera system is going to be stellar. However, Samsung’s going to come out swinging with its 200MP camera system, a bigger capacity battery, a larger display with faster refresh rate, and the far more open Android OS.

iOS 17 has brought some warmly welcomed changes to the software side of it, and that OS is being paired with some tasty new hardware in the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But if you want to make a more educated purchase decision, I recommend holding off and seeing what Samsung has to offer.

Jason England
Content Editor

Jason brought a decade of tech and gaming journalism experience to his role as a writer at Laptop Mag, and he is now the Managing Editor of Computing at Tom's Guide. He takes a particular interest in writing articles and creating videos about laptops, headphones and games. He has previously written for Kotaku, Stuff and BBC Science Focus. In his spare time, you'll find Jason looking for good dogs to pet or thinking about eating pizza if he isn't already.