Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra could blow away iPhone 15 Pro Max's biggest upgrade — here’s why

A concept render of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showing the cameras
(Image credit: Technizo Concept)

With the iPhone 15 Pro Max tipped to get an improved telephoto lens when it arrives in another month or two, you may be wondering how Samsung plans to keep pace with next year's Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra release. After all, the dual telephoto lenses on the current Galaxy S23 Ultra are one of the big reasons we consider that device to be the best camera phone overall.

The answer could come down to the S24 Ultra's 3x zoom camera, at least according to a prominent leaker. Ice Universe (@UniverseIce) tweets that next year's flagship phone from Samsung  will focus on improved performance for the 3x lens. 

"I have full confidence that the Galaxy S24 Ultra has improved the performance of the 3x camera, which means that the image quality of 3x~10x will bring a significant improvement," the leaker said.

That tweet could connect to a previous Galaxy S24 Ultra rumor, one that claimed the upcoming flagship would feature a 3x to 10x variable telephoto lens, rather than the single 3x telephoto module. As a result, the camera module may be as much as 11% larger next year compared to the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

That increase in size on the Galaxy S24 Ultra may come as a result of a 1-inch camera sensor which would be noticeably bigger than the 1/1.4 (0.87) inch sensor that may be coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

All of these improvements are pointing towards a camera that can capture more light, which in turn improves the brightness and dynamic range of the final image. That plays its part in ensuring you end up with better quality photos.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max 

A render of the Galaxy S24 Ultra from the back in white

(Image credit: Technizo Concept)

Contrast that rumor with what we've heard about the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Current Apple phones lag behind the Galaxy S23 lineup when it comes to zooming in on shots, so one persistent rumor tips Apple's upcoming Pro Max model to adopt a periscope-style lens. That would reportedly deliver a 6x optical zoom — not quite the 10x the Galaxy S23 Ultra can muster, but definitely an improvement on the 3x zoom that current iPhone 14 Pro models support.

As for the Galaxy S24 Ultra, next year's phone is expected to feature a titanium body, matching a rumored improvement to the iPhone 15 Pro lineup. On top of those rumors, if Universe Ice is to believed, the S24 will have the same 5,000 mAh battery seen in the S23 Ultra but with potentially better charging speeds.

Of course, we'll have to wait for the official S24 Ultra launch to confirm the specifics. But rumors are indicating that Samsung will likely push the camera to be the best in the next high-end flagship phone that is launched.

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Elliot Mulley-Goodbarne
Phones Writer

Elliot MulleyGoodbarne is a Staff Writer at Tom’s Guide covering news, reviews, buying guides with wit and charm. He has had a keen interest in mobile, tablets, laptops, and everything in between since his first phone, the Samsung U600. Starting at Mobile News, Elliot has been writing about mobile and the business of technology since 2016, and has edited four trade magazines in that time, attending award shows for three of them. He has attended a range of industry events including 5G launches, device announcements, and trade events, where he developed a nose for picking up on trends, interviewing executives, and networking with the tech community. In his spare time, Elliot can usually be found watching, playing, or attending sporting events. With season tickets to West Ham United and Surrey County Cricket Club he often spends weekends in winter in a foul mood and evenings in the summer with a smile on his face. Outside of sport Elliot enjoys cooking, pubs next to rivers, and chilling out with a G&T, Whiskey, or Port after a solid week of excellence.