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Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Preliminary comparison

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Apple will be announcing its latest iPhone 12 family on October 13. For the first time around, Apple will be releasing four different iPhones at the same time, ranging from the smallest 5.4″ iPhone 12 mini and going all the way up to the largest iPhone ever released, the 6.7″ iPhone 12 Pro Max. 

And what’s a better match for a high-end iPhone than a top-of-the-line Samsung device? It’s a boxing match made in heaven, and we’re going to compare these preliminary before the iPhone gets announced on October 13. Here goes!

In case you’ve missed it:
Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra review

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: The main differences

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Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Price 

  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: $1,299 (128GB)
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: $1299 (128GB), $1449 (512GB)

We’re soaring into high-end flagship land, so don’t expect affordable pricing. The new top-end iPhone will likely start at around $1300, whereas the Note 20 Ultra will cost you $1,299 for the 128GB and $1,449 for the 512GB version. Of course, the latter has been on the shelves for a few months so you could occasionally get it cheaper thanks to ongoing sales.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Display

  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: 6.7″ OLED FHD+
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: 6.9″ Dynamic AMOLED 120Hz QHD+

The jury is still out whether the iPhone 12 Pro Max will have a 120Hz high-refresh display as on the iPad lineup, but the rest of the specs are hardly a mystery. If any new iPhone would come with a smooth ProMotion 120Hz display, it’s none other than the top iPhone 12 Pro Max phone. The resolution is most likely to be 1284 by 2778 pixels, which is sharp enough.

At the same time, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is coming with a Dynamic AMOLED 120Hz display that comes along with a resolution of 1,440 by 3,088 pixels, which should be sharper than the iPhone’s display. Ultimately though, neither device will disappoint when it comes to its overall display quality.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Hardware

  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: 5nm Apple A14 Bionic, 6GB RAM
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Snapdragon 865+, 12GB RAM

Inside the iPhone 12 Pro Max, one would certainly find the Apple A14 Bionic chipset, which debuted on the Apple iPad Air (2020) and hums with superb performance thanks to the 5nm manufacturing process. The latter also ensures better performance at a higher power efficiency, so there’s that. We expect the largest iPhone to come with 6GB RAM and either 128 and 512GB storage variants.

In the meantime, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ in the US. An octa-core beast, built on a 7 nm process — the 865+ is a slightly improved version of the regular Snapdragon 865 that powers the Galaxy S20 series. The Note 20 Ultra has variants with 8 GB of RAM and 12 GB of RAM, as well as storage tiers from 128 GB to 512 GB.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Camera

  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: 12MP main, 12MP zoom, 12MP ultra-wide; 12MP front camera
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: 108 MP main, 12 MP zoom, 12 MP ultra-wide; 10 MP front camera

Apple will be keeping the triple-camera setup on the iPhone 12 Pro Max as well, with a 12MP main, 12MP ultra-wide, and a 12MP telephoto lenses. The jury is still out on whether Apple will include a LiDAR on the iPhone 12 Pro Max. 

At the same time, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra wins the megapixel wars with its 108MP main camera, though that doesn’t explicitly mean it would shoot better pictures as there’s much more to a camera than megapixels alone. The Note 20 Ultra doesn’t have a ToF sensor like the Galaxy S20 Ultra, but it comes with a laser autofocus.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Battery life

  • Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max: 3687mAh
  • Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: 4500mAh

While the larger battery of the Note 20 Ultra might mislead you that it would have a significantly better battery life, we wouldn’t be so quick to downplay the potential battery life of the iPhone 12 Pro Max as Apple’s insane power optimizations play a very big role in the overall power efficiency of the phone. As a result, iPhone usually run circles around Android devices with larger batteries due to the tight control Apple has over both the software and hardware of its wares.

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