iPhone 16 Pro Max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Which flagship could win?

iPhone 16 Pro Max render next to Galaxy S24 Ultra photo
(Image credit: MacRumors / Future)

While the iPhone 15 Pro Max is currently the best iPhone you can buy, it won’t be for too much longer. In September, Apple will release the iPhone 16 family, with a bigger and better Pro Max joining the fray.

In the world of Android, they don’t come much bigger or better than the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra. But will the iPhone 16 Pro Max topple it when it arrives later this year? Here’s what we know so far.

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Specs

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Samsung Galaxy S24 UltraiPhone 16 Pro Max (rumored)
Display6.8 inches QHD+ AMOLED (1-120Hz)6.9 inches OLED (1-120Hz)
ChipsetSnapdragon 8 Gen 3Apple A18 Pro
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Battery5,000 mAh4,676 mAh
Rear camera200MP main (f/1.7), 50MP 5x telephoto f/3.4), 10MP 3x telephoto (f/2.4) 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2) 48MP main 12MP 5x telephoto 48MP ultrawide
Front camera12MP (f/2.2)12MP

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Release date and price

For the last decade, Apple has announced and released new numbered iPhones in September (with a slight delay in 2020 for pandemic-shaped reasons). The iPhone 16 Pro Max will almost certainly follow suit.

In terms of pricing, given we saw a $100 price hike last year, we’re hoping that Apple maintains its $1,199 starting price in 2024. It won’t be any cheaper than that, that’s for sure.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra has been out since January 31. It starts at $1,299, rising to $1,659 for a model with 1TB of storage. 

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Design and screen

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max.

(Image credit: Future)

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra looks a lot like its predecessors. Imposing and angular, with a large 6.8-inch AMOLED screen and four camera lenses dotted along the back. There’s also a spot for the bundled S Pen, which docks neatly inside the device (though with a possible controversial odor this time around!)

As the “Max” name suggests, the iPhone 16 Pro Max will also be a large handset — and possibly bigger than ever before. The rumor is that the screen will grow from 6.7 inches to 6.9 inches this time around

Much of this is expected to be absorbed by bezel reduction, however, and an early CAD render suggests that it may be taller rather than wider to compensate. 

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Performance

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra gets the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor no matter where you buy it in the world (its siblings get an Exynos chip outside of the United States). 

Backed by 12GB RAM, this leads to excellent performance. Here it is against the iPhone 15 Pro Max and its A17 Pro/8GB RAM internals:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Row 0 - Cell 0 Samsung Galaxy S24 UltraiPhone 15 Pro Max
Geekbench 6 CPU test (single-core/multicore)2,300 / 7,2492,783 / 6,945
3DMark Wild Life Extreme Unlimited (score/fps)5007 / 29.93481 / 20.8
Adobe Premiere Rush time to transcode (mins:secs)0:420:24

As you can see, the iPhone 15 Pro Max wasn’t far behind, however, and the upcoming A18 Pro chipset will inevitably improve on that.

How much of an improvement you can expect is still up in the air, but the 3nm manufacturing process should boost both performance and efficiency, with one leaker expecting the iPhone 16 to eclipse some MacBooks

That said, real-world benchmark leaks have suggested a more modest boost, with the A18 Pro’s performance roughly 10% faster than the iPhone 15 Pro

Two things to note there, however. Firstly, the iPhone 16 Pro Max is still five months away, and there’s plenty of time for optimization. Secondly, a 10% boost to Geekbench performance would see the above figures hitting 3,061 and 7,640 respectively — both higher than the S24 Ultra’s scores.

The S24 Ultra is also thoughtfully imbued with artificial intelligence features throughout. It can automatically edit pictures and even offer real-time translation of phone calls.

Apple will also feature a whole bunch of AI extras soon. These are yet to be confirmed by Apple, but the upcoming iPhone AI features could be game-changing.

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max

(Image credit: Future)

In our list of the best camera phones you can buy, the Galaxy S24 Ultra comes out on top in the Android category. The quad camera setup is remarkably flexible, capable of taking excellent, detailed 200MP shots from the main lens, and with dedicated 5x and 3x telephoto lenses for longer distance snaps. 

But the Android caveat is important — the iPhone 15 Pro Max is currently our photographer’s choice overall. And with the iPhone 16 Pro Max, we’re expecting small but significant improvements on that strong base. 

While the headline 48MP spec may be the same, one leaker thinks that the image sensor will increase from 1/1.28 inches to 1/1.14 inches to improve low-light shots and improve performance with background blur

This, along with a 14-bit Analog-to-Digital Converter for improved data conversion and a Digital Gain Control to improve noise and dynamic range, will reportedly make the iPhone 16 Pro Max an “image flagship”.

iPhone 16 Pro Max vs Galaxy S24 Ultra: Outlook

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra will comfortably remain one of the big players in the Android space for the rest of the year. High price aside, it doesn’t really put a foot wrong, with superb performance across the board.

On paper, the rumored specs of the iPhone 16 Pro Max may appear a clear win for Samsung, but don’t underestimate the advantages Apple has by making both the software and the hardware. The iPhone 16 Pro Max could offer some serious competition when it launches in September, especially if the A18 Pro chip provides some impressive new AI tricks along the way. 

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.