Buy iPhone 12 Pro Max or Galaxy S21 Ultra: their differences — 2022

Apple and Samsung, iPhone and Galaxy. For many years to pass, the comparison between the mobile devices of both brands will continue to be the most observed. In this article we compare the best mobile of the latest generations of both brands: Apple's iPhone 12 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Specifications iPhone 12 Pro Max and Galaxy S21 Ultra

Beyond the tastes and opinions of each one, there are certain points that are unappealable both for these mobiles and for the rest and that is the specifications they have. Here is a table with the highlights of each:

iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

CharacteristiciPhone 12 Pro MaxSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Base operating systemiOS 14OneUI 3.1 (based on Android 11)
-Pacific Blue
-Phantom Black
-Phantom Silver
-Phantom Titanium
-Phantom Navy
-Phantom Brown
Dimensions-Height: 16.08 cm
- Width: 7.81cm
-Thickness: 0.74cm
-Height: 16.51 cm
- Width: 7.56cm
-Thickness: 0.89cm
Weight226 grams229 grams
Screen6.7-inch Super Retina XDR (OLED)6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Resolution2,778 x 1,284 with a density of 458 pixels per inch and up to 1,200 nits maximum brightness3,200 x 1,440 with a density of 515 pixels per inch and up to 1,500 nits of maximum brightness
refresh rateUp to 60HzUp to 120Hz
ProcessorA14 BionicSamsung Exynos 2100
Ability-128 GB
-256 GB
-512 GB
-128 GB
-256 GB
-512 GB
RAM6 GB*-12 GB
-16 GB
Battery3,687 mAh*5,000 mAh
Frontal camera12 Mpx with f/2.2 aperture40 Mpx with f/2.2 aperture
Rear camera-Wide angle: 12 Mpx and aperture of f / 1.6
-Ultra wide angle: 12 Mpx and aperture of f / 2.4
-Telephoto lens: 12 Mpx and opening of f / 2.2
-Wide angle: 108 Mpx and aperture of f / 1.8
-Ultra wide angle: 12 Mpx and aperture of f / 2.2
-3x telephoto lens: 10 Mpx and f/2.4 aperture
-10x telephoto lens: 10 Mpx and f/4.9 aperture
biometric systemsFace ID-Fingerprint detector on the screen
-Face unlock

It should be noted that the data regarding the RAM and battery of the iPhone 12 Pro Max they are not official by Apple, since the company never gives this data from its mobiles. They have been obtained thanks to various tests carried out by third parties. In the following sections we will explain the reason why both terminals are not really fully comparable in these points.

You will have verified that there are several differences between them, but if we have to stick to the main ones, in summary we can observe these:

    Design:Whether in their form factor or in colours, dimensions and weight, they are highly differentiated devices that bear the stamp of each brand on a visual level. Screen:Both panels are made by Samsung, but they have notable differences such as the Galaxy being 0.1 inches larger, with higher resolution and a 120Hz refresh rate. Processor:It cannot be compared because in the end both chips are focused on each system and it would be curious to see the Exynos 2100 in the iPhone and the A14 Bionic in the Samsung, but at first we already noticed that they are two different processors. Operating system:While Apple goes with its own iOS operating system for its iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Koreans bet on the Google system by adding Android as standard to the S21 Ultra. Cameras:Although similarities can be obtained at the level of results, for technical purposes there is an extremely remarkable difference in favor of the Galaxy and it is none other than its double telephoto camera capable of having an optical magnification x10.
  • Biometric sensors: Despite the fact that both mount a very different facial unlocking in effectiveness and security, it is Samsung's that incorporates an alternative method with fingerprint unlocking.
  • connector:While Apple maintains its classic and exclusive Lightning connector, Samsung once again bets on this device for the universal USB-C.

iOS and Android, the eternal debate

This is one of the most controversial points and on which we will probably never find a general consensus. It is evident that at La Manzana Mordida we have a predilection for iOS, although the truth is that throughout the year we tried various Android devices and we have knowledge about Google's operating system. In the end, the choice of one or the other depends on the personal taste of each one and other factors. If you have a large ecosystem of Apple products, iOS will offer you better synchronization benefits. If you highly value aspects such as customization, there is no doubt that Android is still one step ahead.

Android 11 iOS

In the end, both systems have evolved very well over the years and although it is true that a decade ago we could say with complete certainty that iOS was more secure and had better performance, today everything has become more equal. Of course, it must be said that the Galaxy does not have pure Android but with the One UI customization layer created by Samsung itself. Although it is true that it is highly optimized, at certain times there may be some lag. This is not constant and should not be worrying either, but it is a point to keep in mind.

On topics of future updates we can practically take it for granted that the iPhone 12 Pro Max will have more years of support. Until 2025 at least if we follow the current Apple trend. In addition, it will reach all users at the same time, while Android and One UI updates are usually more staggered and do not guarantee as many years as Apple's.

Two very different designs

If we were comparing two Apple phones or two Samsung phones, it is likely that we would not find too many differences at a general level, but since they are two different brands, we find totally different bets, although also with some other similarities.

General aesthetics and wearing comfort

We are not going to go into the details of judging which phone is more beautiful, since in the end it would be nothing more than an arbitrary opinion as this is a subjective point that depends on the personal tastes of each one. In both cases we find a front featuring the screen and a rear in which both brands incorporate their set of cameras towards the top left. In Construction materials we find glass and aluminum in both cases.

At the level of dimensions the telephone of Samsung it is taller, thicker and heavier , this being a highlight when you have it in hand. Although in the end it is a matter of getting used to it, it is a device that is not suitable for everyone. However, Apple's is not the most comfortable phone on the market either, since it only weighs three grams less. Their main drawback of the iPhone compared to the Galaxy is that being wider it can be less practical when trying to use it with one hand.

In any case, it is important to emphasize that they are phones with considerable sizes and to which you have to get used to using them if you have never had a phone with this format phablet . Now, its large size also brings advantages when it comes to consuming content on a larger screen, something that we will precisely see in the next section.

Both screens are designed by Samsung

Samsung is a huge company with all kinds of products that it markets to individuals or companies. One of the departments or sub-companies that receives the most income is that of components, among which its screens section stands out. Of course, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has a screen designed and manufactured by Samsung, but so does the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The South Korean company is the main supplier of Apple's OLED panels and therefore we find obvious similarities in the screens of its terminals.

iPhone 12 Pro Max Screen

For technical purposes, the Galaxy screen is better as we have seen in the comparison table. But, is it noticeable on a day-to-day basis? Yes and no. Both have a different color treatment, having something more natural in the case of the Apple model and something more saturated in the Samsung model, although for taste the colors and never better said. Both screens look state-of-the-art and look good in any situation, although Samsung's stands out a little more in bright situations due to its better brightness.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Screen

Yes indeed, 120Hz refresh rate makes a fundamental difference with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. Of this, and its little brother 12 Pro, it was said that they would include this type of technology and finally they did not. Samsung's is not the first to incorporate it and although we cannot say that it is an essential feature, being as well applied as this makes it difficult for us to imagine a phone without that brutal refreshment.

As an extra note, it must be said that this Samsung smartphone model is compatible with the S Pen stylus, which is included in the 'Note' range, but not in this one. This does not necessarily mean that it has all the compatible functions or that it is included, because it is not, but it is interesting to know that it is possible to use it in this device because it has technology that allows it.

Noted differences in hardware

There are several differentiating points of both devices as we saw in the comparative table at the beginning, however for practical purposes we consider several key points when deciding to buy one or the other. In the following sections you will be able to see how the processor behaves, how much real autonomy they provide, what about their connectivity to 5G data networks and even how their cameras behave.

In performance they are left over

We have the two highest-end devices from companies of the stature of Apple and Samsung, so forecasting poor performance in any of them is unrealistic. On the net we can find tests and performance tests for all tastes, some in which the A14 Bionic beats the Exynos 2100 by far and others in which the opposite happens. It really is an unfair comparison, since in the end both processors would have to be tested in the same terminal, something that unfortunately is not possible to do.

In practice we find a tremendously fluid performance to perform any type of task. It is true that in the Galaxy sometimes it gives the feeling of greater fluidity due to the 120 Hz rate mentioned in the screen section, but if we look closely at the rendering of photographs or videos, both perform on par.

A14 Bionic vs Samsung Exynos 2100

In fact, we have not managed to saturate any of them no matter how many applications we have opened and this is where we remember the iPhone RAM data and it is that despite having considerably less capacity than the Galaxy, we see that it does not experience notable differences in performance. What is this about? Well, fundamentally to the good work of the A14 processor and the fact that iOS is an operating system designed by Apple itself and one hundred percent adapted to the hardware.

Both are 5G, but with differences

5G connectivity is here to stay and of the big companies, only Apple was missing to join. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is one of the first to incorporate this technology, although it must be said that only in the United States It has mmWave antennas that allow real 5G, while in the rest of the world it is 4G+. It is true that there is an improvement over classic 4G, but it does not come close to the exorbitant speeds that can be achieved with true 5G.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra for its part does have the best connectivity in this section. Although in the end it has a problem that is shared by the iPhone and by the rest of the 5G mobile manufacturers: the lack of infrastructure . Today it is still a little widespread connectivity and that except in specific points of large cities, it is not possible to access it.

If we look to the future and take into account that these phones have been designed to last for many years, in the end the Galaxy will be able to benefit more from 5G when the infrastructure improves, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max will be a bit behind, especially outside the United States. Joined.

The best in autonomy

Something similar to what we explained with RAM happens in the iPhone battery. It has a considerably lower capacity in mAh than the Samsung and yet it is capable of offering a similar and even identical autonomy in some cases. It is doubly surprising to know that this 12 Pro Max also reduced the capacity compared to its predecessor, the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

Both devices have passed the battery test with flying colors, making intensive use of it for a day and reaching the end of it with at least 30-40% in each one. With considered normal use (messaging apps, calls, social networks and video viewing) we could even have more.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Screen

What must be taken into account is that the Galaxy supports higher fast charging , although you will have to loosen your pocket and buy yourself the power adapter. What do you want to use a smaller capacity adapter? Well, you will also have to buy it because not included in the box . What do you prefer the iPhone in that case? Okay, but you will also have to go through the box because this was the first to stop including the charging adapter. Ecological measure or cost savings? Probably both. If you have a USB-C adapter at home, you can reuse it because the cable that comes with both devices works for them.

The cameras have noticeable differences

Going back to the comparative table seen at the beginning, there is no doubt that the Samsung is one step ahead of the iPhone. However, despite it seems that the photos will look worse in the latter, it must be said that Apple has computational processing of the enviable photographs and that makes the results surprisingly good. In most sections we find equality, especially in the popular night mode, although perhaps the Galaxy's portrait treatment looks somewhat more refined, as it also gets far ahead with the zoom thanks to its two telephoto lenses that even reach x100 in digital zoom.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

In video The thing changes and it is that despite Samsung's advances and this being a very capable device in video, we still have the iPhone as the main reference when it comes to video with a smartphone. Quality, stability and audio capture are Apple's main strongholds in this field.

iPhone 12 Pro Camera

Price and devaluation of the same

Talking about the price of these devices is complicated depending on when you read us. The devaluation suffered by the Galaxy It is remarkable, since we always find a multitude of offers for these starting devices and with the passing of the months the price drops. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, for its part, remained at the same price until the arrival of its successor, the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This is because Apple does not lower its prices and offers are not usually found every day in other stores. At first these were the starting prices offered by the companies in their respective stores:

    iPhone 12 Pro Max
    • 128 GB: 1,259 euros.
    • 256 GB: 1,379 euros.
    • 512 GB: 1,609 euros.
    Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
    • 128 GB and 12 GB of RAM: 1,259 euros.
    • 256 GB and 12 GB of RAM: 1,309 euros
    • 512 GB and 16 GB of RAM: 1,439 euros.

However, prices have varied. On the one hand, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has been officially discontinued and only some stores have units in stock, making it increasingly difficult to find. The Galaxy S21 Ultra that will already be discontinued by its successor, does have more units in stores and can be found now from 999 euros in some stores, being a more than considerable reduction compared to the 1,259 that it had at the beginning.

If we want to compare them by the value that each brand ultimately decided to give, we see that the base price of both terminals is the same, although the most expensive version ultimately corresponds to the iPhone with the most capacity. Perhaps Samsung takes the cat to the water with special promotions or discounts with purchases of accessories such as headphones. On the part of Apple we only find discounts with the Trade-in program through which you deliver your previous iPhone and money is deducted from the price of the new one.


In short, the truth is that we cannot tell you clearly which device you should buy. We believe that the importance of operating system It is vital in this case, since if you work in Apple environments and you are used to iOS, the transition to Android is going to be heavy for you.

The same happens if you have enjoyed Android for years and its advantages when it comes to being a more open system. Therefore, we recommend that you put on a scale the most relevant points that you ask for from a phone and, based on this, choose between one and the other to see which one will best meet your needs.

In any of the cases, we can guarantee that the experience you will have with the device will be one of the best in each operating system. In the end, they are two premium range devices that offer performance on par and, luckily, will not be distorted too soon. Therefore, even if they came out at the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021 respectively, they will continue to give war for many more years. Although, yes, the iPhone will probably end up surpassing its rival in terms of years of updates.