COMPARED: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max has been at the top of smartphones’ comparison since 2020 till date. And the reason is because both phones are beast in disguise.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max got some nice features while the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has proved itself to be the best and most expensive android smartphone in the world (as at the time of writing this – 2021).

Last year, we saw a good number of amazing smartphones from brands across the world. For a very long time, we had lots of interesting phones that tickled your fancy, such as the Redmi 9 series by Xiaomi.

But among the smartphone manufacturers that recently released multiple devices, Apple and Samsung did stand out as their products hugged the headlines while trending on social media.

And this has sparked the rhetoric debate; Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max, which one is the best?

Today, we take a close comparison between the best flagship phones of both brands: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max. For the previous year, these were the two most outstanding devices in the smartphone market.

But how well do they perform against each other? Let’s find out together!

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

  • The Camera: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

Obviously both Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro Max have the best smartphone cameras currently. The iPhone 12 Pro Max takes the outstanding camera that came with its predecessor and makes it much better. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, on the other hand, beats every Android device in 2020 to the camera throne.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max camera outshines the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra based on close shots and portraits. The iPhone 12 Pro Max however gets a little bit noisy when zoomed in or during night shots. Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s 108MP camera gives it an edge in terms of night photography.

Both cameras also get the job done in the video department. Both support 4K video recording but the iPhone 12 Pro Max edges the Samsung Note 20 Ultra slightly here with its sensor-shift stabilization mechanism. 

These are two great cameras with outstanding features, but again iPhone 12 Pro Max wins here.

  • The Design:  Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

A very sketchy area when it comes to design. Beauty is relative. What I consider a great design may be quite different from what you choose. Either way, the Note 20 Ultra, and the 12 Pro Max don’t just come with great internals, they look beautiful to the eyes as well.

Samsung retained its recent design from the S20 series. It spots an all-glass design with a metal frame. Starting from the front, we have a huge 6.9-inch display with a hole-punch camera. Flipping to the back we get the camera arrays and the Samsung branding at the bottom. You get the usual I/O ports and of course, the much improved S-pen.

Design-wise, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a lot of good things said about it during its launch. Apple took the premium looking iPhone 11 Pro Max, took the boxy design on the iPhone 5, made a few hardware and software changes, and produced one of the most beautiful looking smartphones out there.

Sadly, we still have the notch which houses the Face ID scanner – which is very good. Apple still hasn’t figured out how to fit in an optical Touch ID. These aside, Apple nailed it with the design of the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

So here, they’re both good and the choice of design is left to you (*wink).

  • The Display: Note 20 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max

Both Apple and Samsung have been heralded for their good display quality. This time around, both didn’t disappoint. Both phones come with a Full HD display which makes colors look very vibrant.

The Samsung Note 20 Ultra is a much bigger 6.9-inch display. It’s an edge display but with a reduced radius. You’ll get accidental touches along the edges if you hold the device with the screen turned on.

Apple gives you a 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED panel. Sadly, the notch takes a few inches off the display, unlike the Note 20 Ultra where you have a better screen real estate. 

But Apple did a good job this year with the screen-to-body ratio. The bezels are much thinner with a much smaller chin.

It’s hard to pick a winner here as color reproduction on both phones looks great to the eye. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra gets a nod here. It gives you more room to enjoy media content. Its 1500-nits make it a much brighter device as opposed to the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 1300-nits. 

  • The Performance: Samsung Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

One would think that the 5nm+ chip on the iPhone 12 Pro Max outshines the Samsung Note 20 Ultra, but that’s not the case. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra uses the Exynos 990 chipset (Snapdragon 865+ USA only) with a 7nm+ process.

Apple has been known to produce fluid and fast smartphones but when set to 120Hz, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra proves to be much smoother. You still get those smooth animations on the iPhone which can’t be reduced but can be reduced on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra which should make it even faster.

But when it comes to the heavy lifting, we see both devices getting the job done seamlessly. Though we have 6GB RAM on the iPhone Pro Max, there is no noticeable difference with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 which has 12GB RAM. This goes for gaming and normal use. They can take up multiple apps and still reopen them thereafter. 

Performance wise, you’ll have no problem using either of these beasts. Both utilize the best SoCs available to give you a more fluid operation. The high refresh rate on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra makes it much faster but to the detriment of the battery.

We expected a higher refresh rate on the iPhones as we have on the iPads of 2020. But we have to make do with the 60Hz display which should save us more juice. 

Here, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra wins.

  • The Software: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple recently had a revamp of iOS which gives users that refreshing experience. The iPhone 12 isn’t your conventional iPhone, the all-new iOS 14 gives it that much-improved UI. With it comes lots of new and advanced features in the area of security, privacy, and even multitasking.

Samsung’s software has been the best for most Android fans. Nonetheless, Android 10 based on OneUI comes with some sweet features that are exclusive to the Galaxy series. The Samsung Note 20 Ultra should get the current Android 11 in a few weeks or months, and would also get three years of Android update due to Samsung’s new policy.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is at least expected to receive the next five versions of iOS. Bottom line, the software on both phones are great. It’s just a matter of personal preference. Those who tend to explore and tweak things here and there will fancy the Samsung Note 20 Ultra over the iPhone 12 Pro Max. But if you want to keep things simple while getting the best privacy features, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is your best option.

      Recommend: Android OS vs iPhone OS – Which one is better?

  • The Battery: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

These are not your battery champs, but for full day usage, you should have no worries on either phones. With a much smaller capacity, the iPhone 12 Pro Max outlasts the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. A big contributor to Apple’s recent improvements in battery life is its latest chipsets.

At 3678mAh and 4500mAh, the iPhone 12 Pro Max and Note 20 Ultra respectively should give you nothing less than 7+ hours of on-screen time. And I see nothing wrong with this. The high refresh rate on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra certainly adds to the battery drain. The iPhone 12 Pro Max will give you more hours if you care about battery life.

  • Other Features: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

Having the S-pen on an iPhone 12 Pro Max will be cool, but sadly, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra gets to enjoy all the functionalities that come with the S-pen. Samsung also allows users to get a desktop experience with the wireless DEX feature that allows you to mirror your display instantly on a smart TV. 

Switching to the iPhone, a much better ecosystem awaits you with the exclusive ‘I’ apps: iTunes, iMessage, and more. You also get more quality apps especially Social Media apps which seem to work much better on iOS. Instagram and Twitter experience on an iPhone beats that of its counterpart.

Both phones support 5G and wireless reverse charging. The new MagSafe feature on the iPhone seems to be leading us into a wireless future. When will that happen? We can only anticipate!

  • The Price: Samsung Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

We have nothing to compare here as the two smartphones are sold at reasonable prices with respect to what the phones are equipped with. 

The iPhone 12 Pro Max cost approximately $1,100 while the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra costs $1,200 approximately. Kindly note that prices in your local currencies may vary or higher than these.

They both have good prices here.

Where to Buy Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

You can buy Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and you can buy Samsung Note 20 Ultra here on Jumia

Check to locate where to buy iPhone 12 Pro Max

In summary, check the specs sheet for Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max below;

Specs Comparison: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

 iPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Note 20 Ultra
CameraTriple 12MP primary; 12MP secondary108MP, 12MP, 12MP + 10MP Selfie
Display6.7-inch Super Retina OLED6.9-inch Dynamic Amoled FHD
Battery3687mAh Li-ion, non removable4300mAh Li-ion, non removable
Storage/Memory6GB RAM; 128GB, 256GB, 512GB ROM12GB RAM; 128GB, 256GB, 512GB ROM
SoftwareiOS 14.1 upgradable to iOS 14.2Android 10 upgradable to Android 11
CPU/GPUA14 Bionic/Apple GPUExynos 990/Mali-G77
ConnectivityWiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPSWiFi, Bluetooth, NFC, GPU, DEX
Network2G, 3G, 4G, 5G2G, 3G, 4G, 5G
ColorSilver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific BlueMystic Bronze, Mystic White, Mystic Black
Price≈$1100≈$1300

CONCLUSION: Is Samsung Note 20 Ultra better than iPhone 12 Pro Max?

Both are currently the best in the market. Check the tech specs of both phones and decide which one is better for you. Kindly be aware that iPhone smartphones are always more secure than the Android counterpart while they’re also overpriced.

And also, Samsung doesn’t have the amazing Facetime, Clubhouse and other amazing apps and apps’ features on the iPhone.

Two nicely-built smartphones from two of the top phone makers in the market, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max are great devices with outstanding features. Both devices are future-proof but the iPhone has a much higher resale value than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. 

But, it’s a great feast for Samsung to challenge the almighty iPhone to this extent. On a rating scale, we can decide that iPhone 12 Pro Max score 9/10 while Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra score 8.5/10 – (This is personal opinion and not an official report)

So, what’s your take on both devices?

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