iPhone 13 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Who will win? | digital trends (2023)

There is no doubt that theiPhone 13 Promaxis the most luxurious, souped-up Apple smartphone you can currently buy. With newly improved camera lenses, a staggering 120Hz refresh rate, an enlarged (and more efficient) battery, the new A15 Bionic chip, and the option to have a whopping 1TB of storage, it pretty much covers every single base a smartphone can throw at it can.


  • specifications
  • Design, display and durability
  • Performance, battery life and charging
  • Cameras
  • software and updates
  • Special features
  • price and availability
  • Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

While it may be the best iOS phone, it's not necessarily the best smartphone with any operating system. Another prime candidate for such a title is theSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which also improves on its predecessor in several important areas. As with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, it really puts most other smartphones to shame, although it's not for someone looking to save a little cash.

The question is which is the better phone overall: the iPhone 13 Pro Max or the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra? We answer that question by putting both phones through an extensive head-to-head test. Based on the specs, designs, displays, performance, cameras, and software, we should help you decide which is the best super flagship.


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Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraiPhone 13 Promax
size165,1 x 75,6 x 8,9 mm (6,5 x 2,98 x 0,35 Zoll)160,8 x 78,1 x 7,7 mm (6,33 x 3,07 x 0,30 Zoll)
weight229 grams (8.04 ounces)240 grams (8.47 ounces)
screen size6.8-inch dynamic AMOLED 2X6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
screen resolution3200 x 1440 Pixel (515 Pixel pro Zoll)2778 x 1284 Pixel (458 Pixel pro Zoll)
operating systemAndroid 11, OneUI 3.1iOS 15
storage128 GB, 256 GB, 512 GB128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
MicroSD card slotnono
Tap-to-PayServicesGoogle Pay, Samsung PayApplePay
processorExynos 2100 (Worldwide) Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (US)Apple A15 Bionic
CameraQuad lens 108 megapixels, 10MP telephoto, 10MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide rear

40MP front

Triple lens 12 MP wide-angle, 12 MP ultra-wide angle and 12 MP telephoto rear (and LiDAR sensor)

12MP front

Video8K at 30 fps, 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps, HDR10+4K bei 60 fps, 1080p bei 240 fps, Dolby Vision HDR
fingerprint sensorYes, in the display (ultrasound)No, face recognition
water resistanceIP68IP68
Battery5.000 mAh

Fast charge (25W charger sold separately)

Qi wireless charging

4.373 Ah

Fast charge (20W sold separately)

MagSafe wireless charging (15W)

Qi Magnetic Fast Wireless Charging (7.5W)

App MarketplaceGoogle Play StoreApple App-Store
network supportAll major airlinesAll major airlines
ColoursPhantomschwarz, Phantomsilber, Phantombraun, Phantommarine, PhantomtitanGraphite, Gold, Silver, Sierra Blue
Preis1.199 $1.099 $
evaluate the result4.5 out of 5 starsnews

Design, display and durability

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Who will win? | digital trends (1)

The iPhone 13 Pro Max will not win awards for design originality. As with the other devices in the iPhone 13 series, it replicates the flat design of the iPhone 12 series. The only noticeable difference is that it has a smaller notch. But when the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra offers a nearly frameless and uninterrupted edge-to-edge display with a discrete punch-hole selfie camera at the top center, such an improvement seems pretty trivial. When the S21 Ultra's newly introduced rear camera module is added, which elegantly slopes into the phone's shoulder, the Samsung phone looks even better.

It's also worth noting that the two devices weigh about the same (8 ounces for the S21 Ultra, almost 8.5 ounces for the iPhone 13 Pro Max) and have similar sized dimensions. In other words, you'll find them equally comfortable, and if you have smaller hands, that means you should probably trade uncomfortable for comfortable here.

The S21 Ultra is also ahead of the game when it comes to the display. Its impressive 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen has a resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels, giving you 515 pixels per inch. The 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED display of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, on the other hand, contains 2778 x 1284 pixels, which is 458 pixels per inch. This makes the S21 Ultra slightly sharper than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, while also hitting a maximum brightness of 1,500 nits, compared to 1,200 on the Apple phone. Both devices support a very nice 120Hz refresh rate, but when the S21 Ultra also offers an AMOLED display (as opposed to OLED), you also get slightly deeper blacks and richer contrasts.

Both phones have received an official IP68 rating, indicating they can withstand submersion in up to 1.5 meters of water for up to 30 minutes. While this puts both devices on par, the S21 Ultra wins this round due to its more attractive design and slightly more impressive display.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Performance, battery life and charging

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Who will win? | digital trends (2)

The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with the (still relatively) new Snapdragon 888, which boasts a 5nm manufacturing process for its transistors, meaning more of them can be fitted into the same available space. Luckily, the iPhone 13 Pro Max also benefits from a 5nm chip, the A15 Bionic, which has just been released for the 13 series. While the A15 in the iPhone 13 Pro Max only has 6GB of RAM, this is more than enough as Apple phones use RAM a little differently than Android alternatives. Put another way, although the S21 Ultra comes with a whopping 12GB of RAM, you'll find similar performance on both devices.

(Video) Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max - Which is the Flagship KING?

Neither phone has a microSD card slot, but both offer ample internal storage. This is particularly the case with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which can range from 128GB to a whopping 1TB of internal storage, provided you're willing to shell out an extra $500 for the privilege. The S21 Ultra can be bought in a version with 512GB of storage, which should be enough for most purposes.

The S21 Ultra comes with a larger 5,000mAh battery compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max's 4,373mAh battery. This might seem like a big difference, but Apple says the 13 Pro Max gets 2.5 hours more offers maximum battery life than last year's 12 Pro Max, which could leave you with almost 50% of the battery power even after a fairly intense day. That's about the same amount of usage as the S21 Ultra, although we'd need to do a full review of the iPhone 13 Pro Max before we can tell if one has a slight advantage over the other. The 13 Pro Max may have it, but we're calling this round a tie for now.

Winner: Tie


iPhone 13 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Who will win? | digital trends (3)

The iPhone 13 Pro Max features the same triple-lens rear camera setup as its predecessor, but its hardware is actually new. That means it increases its aperture values ​​to f/1.5 for the wide-angle lens and f/1.8 for the ultra-wide-angle lens, while adding a 77mm-equivalent telephoto camera with an f/2.8 aperture, which adds a 6- fold zoom range between the ultra wide angle and offers telephoto cameras. Since the iPhone 12 Pro Max was already a great camera phone, the iPhone 13 Pro Max gets seriously impressive.

Speaking of impressive, the S21 Ultra sports a quad-lens setup: a 108-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 10-megapixel periscope telephoto lens, a 10-megapixel telephoto lens, and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens. The periscope telephoto lens in particular allows for a 10x optical zoom, giving the photographer some impressively detailed snaps. At the same time, Samsung has seriously upped its game in terms of overall usability, with standard shots offering a much more balanced than before without the oversaturation of before.

So in terms of which phone will offer a better camera overall, it's hard to say for sure at this point. Given the history, the iPhone can top things off, especially when the iPhone 12 Pro Max was such a great camera phone to begin with. iPhone 13 Pro Max also adds a new Cinematic mode for recording videos, allowing you to shift focus from foreground to background in an impressive way.

Still, it would be premature to conclude that the iPhone 13 Pro Max is better at taking photos at this early stage, so this round is another draw.

(Video) Samsung S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max Camera Test

Winner: Tie

software and updates

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Who will win? | digital trends (4)

The iPhone 13 Pro Max works withiOS 15, the latest version of Apple's mobile operating system. This adds new features like a more useful notification summary, the ability to share media via FaceTime and Messages, and a new focus mode to avoid distractions (from work, play, or sleep). The Galaxy S21 Ultra now runs on One UI 3.1, the skin from SamsungAndroid 11. This is a streamlined and extremely user-friendly mod of the basic Android template, but it also offers a high level of customization, making it a very good all-rounder.

Both systems have their pros and cons, so picking a winner between them would be unfair. However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max will almost certainly not only get faster updates, but more of them as well. Even now the six year oldiPhone 6Sgot iOS 15, so your phone will be supported well past the point where you get craving for a new phone. The same cannot be said for the S21 Ultra, which as a Samsung phone will have to wait a bit for Android updates from Google and won't be supported for quite as long.

Winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max

Special features

iPhone 13 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: Who will win? | digital trends (5)

Needless to say, both phones are supported5G, and this covers the basic sub-6Hz frequency range as well as the faster mmWave band. They are also supported by all major airlines, so you will have no problem getting one5GSignal provided you are near a5GNetwork.

Apart from5G, the S21 Ultra also introduces a new feature for the Galaxy S range: it supports theS pen, which means you can draw, doodle, and take notes on the device. Unlike the Note 20 Ultra, it doesn't have a slot for the stylus, while lacking some of the advanced compatibility features you get with the Note 20 Ultra, such as: B. the Bluetooth-enabled remote shutter release for the camera app. Also, you have to pay extra to get it, which costs between $50 and $100.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max doesn't add anything significantly new. There's the Cinematic Mode feature mentioned above, while it also uses Ceramic Shield glass in its display, making it more durable. Aside from that, you mostly get pretty long-standing special features like Face ID and Memojis.

(Video) Google Pixel 6 Pro vs iPhone 13 Pro Max vs Galaxy S21 Ultra Camera Test

Winner: Tie

price and availability

Neither phone is cheap. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is available for pre-order from Apple and will be released on September 24th. It starts at $1,099 for the 128GB model but goes up to $1,599 for the 1TB version. As you'd expect, it's supported by all major airlines, while being sold far and wide by third-party providers.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra5Gstarts at $1,200 for the 128GB model before rising to $1,250 for the 256GB model and $1,380 for the 512GB version. It is supported by all major airlines and can be purchased from most major online retailers.

Winner: Tie

overall winner:Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Yes, it's very tight, but theSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, narrowly cuts this head-to-head race. Its superior design and slightly more impressive screen put it at the topiPhone 13 Promax, even if the latter offers comparable performance and a similarly great camera. The compatibility with the S Pen also speaks for itself, even if not everyone will find such a feature useful.

However, since we haven't fully tested the iPhone 13 Pro Max yet, this result may change in a future update. It's possible that road tests will show Apple's phone to offer slightly longer battery life, as well as a more versatile and impressive camera. So watch this room.

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Is the iPhone 13 Pro Max better than the Samsung S21 Ultra? ›

S21 Ultra has the zoom advantage, but the iPhone steps up what the main camera can do. The iPhone 13 Pro Max might be a big upgrade when it comes to battery capacity and other features, but it cannot quite match the camera versatility of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Which phone is better S21 ultra or iPhone 13? ›

Conclusion: iPhone 13 Vs. Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Both the devices offer the best of their world and it is quite difficult to choose a clear winner. If you want a bigger phone that features a beautiful display, provides great performance and longer battery life, you can certainly choose the Samsung Galaxy S21 ultra.

Which is best Samsung S22 ultra or iPhone 13 Pro Max? ›

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery and the iPhone 13 Pro Max a smaller 4,352mAh, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max does seem to last longer in most tests. Both should get you well into a second day of average use but if battery life is a major issue for you the Pro Max seems to come out better.

Is iPhone 13 Pro better than Samsung? ›

The iPhone 13 Pro beats the Galaxy S22 Plus in the performance, video performance, and battery departments. However, the Galaxy S22 Plus has a bigger, better display and faster charging speed. The camera performance and software are a close call.

Which mobile is better than iPhone 13 Pro Max? ›

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max Alternatives
Product NamePricesSpecs Score
OnePlus 10 ProRs. 61,99997/100
Apple iPhone 14Rs. 77,40098/100
Apple iPhone 14 ProRs. 129,90097/100
Google Mobile Pixel 6 ProRs. 60,99092/100
6 more rows

Is it true that Samsung is better than iPhone? ›

Although consistency is still Apple's strong suit, the camera experience as a whole feels a lot more refined, fun, and versatile in Samsung smartphones. For the people who like to play around with their camera and experiment with new camera features, Samsung phones are the ones to go for.

Is iPhone 13 camera better than Samsung? ›

iPhone 13 Pro vs Samsung S22 Ultra: Verdict

If we look at the results from both cameras, they're both excellent, and both are capable of producing high-quality images and video in a range of different situations.

Which camera is best between iPhone and Samsung? ›

But Samsung's photo is much more detailed, even though the iPhone's picture is a bit brighter. The iPhone 14 Pro's photo is softer and lacks the detail and clarity in the cat's fur that you get in the Galaxy S22 Ultra's image.

Why is S21 Ultra the best phone ever? ›

Galaxy S21 Ultra arguably has a better design than the Galaxy S22 Ultra; it also has ton more RAM, and better battery life. For starters, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the latest Ultra Samsung flagship that feels like a Galaxy "S".

Which is the best phone to buy in 2022? ›

  • Google Pixel 6 Pro. Best high-end phone at a discount. ...
  • Apple iPhone 13. Best everyday phone. ...
  • OnePlus 10 Pro. High performance flagship with a lower price. ...
  • Google Pixel 6. Best flagship Android phone at a discount. ...
  • Apple iPhone SE (2022) Most affordable iPhone. ...
  • Google Pixel 6A. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3. ...
  • Apple iPhone 13 Mini.
3 days ago

Which is the strongest between iPhone and Samsung? ›

The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a SnapDragon 888 processor, but the Apple phone has an A14 Bionic processor. In most iPhone vs. Galaxy benchmarks, the A14 wins hands down, while the SnapDragon 888 holds its own in several areas.

What is the Samsung equivalent to the iPhone 13 Pro Max? ›

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Which is the best Android phone in 2022? ›

Peeping the Pixel 7 Pro? See how it stacks up against the top Android phones
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Best Android phone overall. View now.
  • Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4. Best foldable Android phone. ...
  • Google Pixel 7 Pro. Best camera Android phone. ...
  • OnePlus 10T. Best fast-charging Android phone. ...
  • Google Pixel 6a. Best budget Android phone.
7 days ago

Why is the iPhone 13 Pro better than other phones? ›

Compared to the previous iteration of iPhone, the iPhone 13 and the Pro feature a smaller notch, the newest A15 Bionic chip, a longer battery life, improved cameras, and new colour options. While the iPhone 13 starts from $799 / £779, the iPhone 13 Pro starts from the slightly higher price of $999 / £949.

Which phone is equal to iPhone? ›

Apple iPhone 12 is one the popular mobile phone under Apple Mobiles brand. Top 5 alternatives for Apple iPhone 12 as on 28th November 2022 are.
Top 10 Alternatives of Apple iPhone 12.
Vivo X70 Pro 5G Price₹ 46,990
Galaxy S22 5G Price₹ 52,999
Asus Rog Phone 5s 5G Price₹ 49,999
OnePlus 9 Pro Price₹ 49,999
6 more rows

Can S22 Ultra Beat iPhone 13 Pro Max? ›

This means the iPhone 13 Pro Max is noticeably more powerful than the Exynos version of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The iPhone 13 Pro Max comes with 6GB of RAM while the Galaxy S22 Ultra packs either 8GB or 12GB.

Is iPhone 13 Pro the fastest in a smartphone? ›

A dramatically more powerful camera system. A display so responsive, every interaction feels new again. The world's fastest smartphone chip.

What can Samsung do that iPhone can't 2022? ›

Android and iOS are both solid mobile operating systems, but Android does have a few features that the iPhone is still lacking.
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Do Samsung phones last longer than iPhones? ›

iPhone – four to eight years. Samsung – three to six years. Huawei – two to four years. Xiaomi – two to four years.

Why is Apple better than Samsung? ›

Since Apple has a large market share and is known for its versatile and fast operating system, developers prefer to launch their apps and high-end games first on iOS and then on Android. Further, iOS runs on consistent hardware, while Android comes in different iterations and versions depending on the phone.

Is Apple or Android camera better? ›

If you love having dozens of features, then Android is the best for you. But if you want a phone that offers a seamless experience and still take great photos, then the iPhone is a great choice. Don't get stuck on the brand. Instead, do your research and look at all the specs of the device you want to buy.

Which Samsung phone is equal to iPhone? ›

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs. iPhone 13 specs
Row 0 - Cell 0Samsung Galaxy S22iPhone 13
Starting price$799$699
Screen size6.1 inches (2340 x 1080)6.1 inches (2532 x 1170)
Refresh rate48Hz-120Hz adaptive60Hz
CPUSnapdragon 8 Gen 1 (US); Exynos 2200 (K)A15 Bionic
10 more rows
14 Nov 2022

Is the S21 Ultra better than the iPhone? ›

The Galaxy S21 Ultra packs a fast Snapdragon 888 chip and 12GB of RAM, but it's still a step behind the iPhone 12 Pro Max in both synthetic benchmarks and real-world tests. On Geekbench 5, the S21 Ultra notched 3,440 on the multi-core test and 1,123 on single-core.

Is S21 Ultra outdated? ›

Samsung has discontinued the Galaxy S21 Ultra across several markets, with no stocks of the super flagship present in most countries. The iPhone 13 Pro Max is widely regarded as one of the best phones you could buy in 2021 and even in 2022.

Why did Samsung discontinue S21 Ultra? ›

The company is set to launch its next premium flagship S22 series on February 9. Samsung is set to launch its next premium flagship S22 series on February 9 and now a new report has claimed that the smartphone maker has started to phase out the Galaxy S21 Ultra in anticipation of the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Which phone is best future? ›

Before we dive into the detail, here are some of the anticipated handsets for the end of 2022 and beyond:
  • Google Pixel Fold.
  • Huawei Mate X3.
  • OnePlus 11 Pro.
  • Oppo Find X6 Pro.
  • Samsung Galaxy S23 series.
  • Xiaomi 13 and 13 Pro.
  • iPhone 15 and 15 Pro.
  • Google Pixel 7a.
22 Nov 2022

What phone should I buy in 2022 budget? ›

  • Google Pixel 6a. 9.00 / 10. Read Reviews. Read More Reviews. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy A53. 8.00 / 10. Read Reviews. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy A03s. 7.50 / 10. Read Reviews. ...
  • OnePlus N20 5G. 9.00 / 10. Read Reviews. ...
  • Samsung Galaxy A13 5G. 7.50 / 10. Read Reviews. ...
  • Moto G Stylus. 7.00 / 10. Read Reviews. ...
  • T-Mobile Revvl 6 Pro 5G. 7.00 / 10. Read Reviews.
5 Nov 2022

Is iPhone better than Samsung in 2022? ›

Apple's 2022 iPhone keeps last year's chip, and sticks to a modest display, but delivers performance when and where needed. Samsung's 2022 base flagship is getting old, but still manages to keep an edge over the latest iPhone with its superior screen and software versatility.

Is Apple more powerful than Samsung? ›

Apple is the largest company in the world by market cap, which reaches almost $3 trillion. Samsung is a smaller company than Apple, but one of the most powerful companies in the world and in South Korea, where it makes up a large portion of the country's GDP.

Which is stronger Apple or Android? ›

Whether iOS is better than Android in security is now up for debate, but the consensus still gives Apple the upper hand. iOS has more consistent updates for all devices, a closed ecosystem that is harder to penetrate, and a stricter app store.

Is iPhone 13 Pro Max a flagship phone? ›

The Apple iPhone 14 was finally launched on September 7th, 2022. Apple's iPhone 13 Pro Max is also a flagship smartphone launched in September 2021. In this article, we take a look at how these two flagship beasts compare.

Is the S21 ultra better than the iPhone? ›

The Galaxy S21 Ultra packs a fast Snapdragon 888 chip and 12GB of RAM, but it's still a step behind the iPhone 12 Pro Max in both synthetic benchmarks and real-world tests. On Geekbench 5, the S21 Ultra notched 3,440 on the multi-core test and 1,123 on single-core.

Is iPhone 13 better or Samsung S22 Ultra? ›

S22 ultra is a better phone. iPhone takes better videos but not by a big margin.

Why are iPhone cameras better than Samsung? ›

As for which one is better, the answer is somewhat subjective and may come down to whether you prefer the way Apple or Samsung processes photos. But in my experience, Apple's iPhone 14 Pro generally does a better job of producing well-balanced images, while Samsung has a much closer zoom that can't be matched.

Why S21 ultra camera is the best? ›

The S21 Ultra has a 3x optical zoom, a 10x optical zoom and can take digitally zoomed images up to a whopping 30x and 100x. Using them is dead easy. In the standard camera mode you'll see small leaf icons next to the shutter button.

Which has best camera iPhone or Samsung? ›

Conclusion: Both the phones have excellent cameras

So in seven categories, the iPhone 13 Pro won three (portraits, video recording, macro), while the Galaxy S21 Ultra won three (main camera, ultra-wide, zoom).


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