January 20, 2021

Meet the new King of Smartphones - Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

In the battle of the best, who reigns supreme? We compare the iPhone Pro Max with the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Meet the new King of Smartphones - Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs iPhone 12 Pro Max

We've reached a point in history whereby phones are no longer just devices we use to communicate with one another. They've powerful tools that entertain us, aid in our productivity and can even serve as a symbol of affluence.

Owning all 4 colors of the iPhone Pro Max (512GB) is a major flex in some circles Source

But to be crowned King over the mountain of the dozens of phones released each year, a phone has got to combine both style and substance. Over the past year only 2 phones have come close: The iPhone 12 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Both phones claim to the pinnacle of modern technology and have their own unique selling points but today we'll see which phone truly reigns supreme.

Good news is, you can both phones right now with Singapore's first ever no contract Combo Plan with Circles.Life. We're even giving our customers - both new and old, 3 months of Unlimited Data free when they pre-order any phone from the S21 line-up!

Display

We still can't get over how great the Phantom Black color looks. Source

Winner: S21 Ultra

Don't get me wrong here, both phones boast world class displays but the S21 Ultra boasts a slight advantage here for a number of reasons. Right off the bat you'll notice that it has a larger screen thanks to Apple's refusal to remove the bezel from its current line of devices. The Dynamic AMOLED is arguably more impressive as it allows for a better refresh rate (for a smoother browsing experience) and is generally more versatile. You will however get a deeper black iPhone's OLED display.

In terms of protection, we'll have to wait for some drop tests to see but I have a feeling we'll either end up with a tie or Ceramic Shield defending the title on this one as drop tests have proved it's one hardy piece of glass. Full comparison below:

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Hardware

Judging from the picture you probably know who's winning this segment. Source

Winner: iPhone 12 Pro Max

This is probably the most technical part of the comparison but to summarize, the A14 Bionic chip in the iPhone 12 Pro series really is something else, blowing away the competition in terms of CPU performance and gaming performance - with a score of 97/100 from chip experts at NanoReview. It only loses out slightly in the battery performance department but we'll discuss more on that later.

I won't attempt to change your existing preference of OS be it iOS or Android but I must say both are putting in a lot of effort to bring new features to their users. iOS 14 has brought the long awaited arrival of widgets on iPhones and the Samsung One UI is packing some really nifty features that work amazing with it's new suite of cameras (Read this article for more on the One UI camera improvements)

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Battery

As an iPhone user, I must say MagSafe tech always astounds me. Source

Winner: s21 Ultra

Quickly inserting this section here as I think battery life is very important when it comes to phone usage. I think it's very clear from the specs below that not only does the S21 Ultra feature a bigger battery, it has a faster wired charging speed and so many more ways to charge.

I will however give Apple brownie points for bringing back the satisfaction of MagSafe click on charging that also doubles as a clip on for a variety of other Apple accessories. Innovation 💯

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Camera

Cause who doesn't want 100x Space Zoom on their camera. Source

Winner: DRAW

Phone cameras have become a point of great consideration these days since nearly everyone can be considered an aspiring/pro photographer these days and the comparison between these two titans in the phone industry was way too close to call, hence the draw.

Yes it's true that the S21 Ultra does pack in an additional periscope camera that allows for users to take photos with 100x magnification but the Pro Max features a LiDAR scanner that arguably makes its Night Mode better than that of the S21 Ultra which is derived from internal computation rather than just hardware.

Both phones pretty much go blow for blow in every other aspect from video capture to the apertures and focal lengths of individual lenses. It's fun to note that the Ultra supports shooting in 8K Ultra HD but packs less features in terms of formats and functionality than the Pro Max.  

How to pick the right phone for you?

I imagine this is you right now trying to pick between 2 stellar phone choices. Source

This is gonna sound like a no brainer but you probably already have a gut feeling on which phone you want. It might boil down to your current preference of OS or the frustrations you've encountered with one brand or the other so this might be a good time to make the switch!

In terms of pure hardware, the S21 Ultra does seem to offer a tad more than the iPhone 12 Pro Max but Apple also provides some stellar post service support which is hard to put a price on!

The choice is yours my friends and no matter what you pick, remember to sign up with a better Combo Plan on Circles.Life to save upwards of $200 as compared to signing a contract and being stuck with your telco for another 2 years 😣