Now that we've been able to put the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra through its paces, we have a better idea of how Samsung's new premium device stacks against its main rivals in its world domination attempt at reclaiming the title of best phone. In our Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max comparison, we pitted the two flagships in a 7-round face-off to determine which is the better phone.
While the iPhone narrowly edges out the Galaxy S24 Ultra, Samsung's phone proves it still packs a stinging punch by focusing a lot on the software — particularly around new Galaxy AI features. But if you’re still leaning toward the Galaxy S24 Ultra, there are plenty of ways it beats the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Sure, opting for Samsung's phone over Apple's will you at least $100 more, but we found validation of the former dervice's value in our Galaxy S24 Ultra review.
Longer battery life
The Galaxy S24 Ultra proves a phone doesn’t necessarily need a larger battery to make huge gains in battery life. Quite the contrary, it comes down to the power efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip, which propels the S24 Ultra to new heights we haven’t seen before in a flagship phone.
Apple undoubtedly impressed us with the iPhone 15 Pro Max’s run time of 14 hours and 2 minutes on our custom battery benchmark test, but the S24 Ultra goes for much longer at 16 hours and 45 minutes. Thats with the adaptive refresh rate turned on, so you don't have to worry about that display feature draining your S24 Ultra's battery.
Useful Galaxy AI features
If there’s one reason to buy the Galaxy S24 Ultra over the iPhone 15 Pro Max, then it has to be for the rich set of Galaxy AI features. Technically there’s AI on the iPhone that lets you command Siri, but that capability is nowhere close to the extra conveniences you’ll get from Galaxy AI.
The best part about these Galaxy AI features is that they literally save you time. Circle to Search lets you run searches on anything in any app natively. Live Translate turns the Galaxy S24 Ultra into an interpreter for phone calls, while photo editing takes on a new direction with the generative AI magic of Generative Edit. Those are just a few of the new tricks you can do with the Galaxy S24 Ultra, but there’s still a handful more that proves how practical AI features are in phones.
Extra utility of the S Pen
Another reason why the Galaxy S24 Ultra beats the iPhone 15 Pro Max is because of the S Pen. This stylus continues to be a staple feature for the S24 Ultra, providing users the ability to jot down notes, make drawings, and even act as a mouse cursor in Google Chrome.
The utility of the S Pen doesn’t end there — it can act as a navigation tool that lets you flick it in a direction to scroll web pages. And lastly, there are AI features that will automatically line up your notes and organize them complete with headers and bullets in the Samsung Notes app.
More colorful options to choose
Apple desperately needs to add more colors to its iPhone 15 Pro Max lineup because there’s a total of four, all of which are in neutral tones. In comparison, Samsung makes the S24 Ultra a bit more charming by offering more extensive colors. There’s a total of 7 color options to choose from, with titanium yellow, titanium orange, and titanium green showing off the lighter, more fun side of the phone’s refreshed design.
Better graphics processing performance
Not only does the S24 Ultra prove the superior power efficiency of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3, it’s also apparently a powerhouse in the gaming front. The score it pulls in with 3DMark’s Wild Life Unlimited is astronomical. We all thought the iPhone 15 Pro Max wasn’t messing around with its 15,399 score, but the S24 Ultra pushes ahead much further at 20,627.
As a result, the S24 Ultra handles graphically intensive titles with ease, which is also substantiated in how it supports ray tracing in titles like Diablo Immortal. We suspect, too, that the phone's updated thermal control system with its larger vapor chamber is helping out to boost performance while keepign the S24 Ultra cool.
Desktop PC-like experience with Samsung DeX
Despite not getting upgraded alongside the S24, Samsung DeX continues to be one of those extra, handy tools that allows the Galaxy S24 Ultra to transform into a versatile desktop-PC. When it’s tethered to an external monitor through USB-C, or wirelessly to a compatible smart TV or projector, Samsung DeX mimics the experience you get from Windows — complete with side-by-side multitasking. You don’t get this functionality with the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
Faster charging speeds
On top of it outlasting the iPhone 15 Pro Max in our battery benchmark test, the Galaxy S24 Ultra also recharges at a faster rate. Well, technically Samsung kept the same 45W wired charging speed from before, but it’s able to juice a drained phone to 71% battery capacity in 30 minutes — whereas the iPhone 15 Pro Max gets up to 41% in the same amount of time. If you're in a rush or simply need to top off your phone throughout the day, you’ll have less downtime with the Galaxy S24 Ultra.
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John’s a senior editor covering phones for Tom’s Guide. He’s no stranger in this area having covered mobile phones and gadgets since 2008 when he started his career. On top of his editor duties, he’s a seasoned videographer being in front and behind the camera producing YouTube videos. Previously, he held editor roles with PhoneArena, Android Authority, Digital Trends, and SPY. Outside of tech, he enjoys producing mini documentaries and fun social clips for small businesses, enjoying the beach life at the Jersey Shore, and recently becoming a first time homeowner.