So here are two great contenders — Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, which is big, incredibly high quality, and is not at all ashamed in flaunting its hefty price tag. Hence, it’s a worthy competitor for Apple’s mean flagship, the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Now the question arises that which one is better than the two? This becomes a hard question to answer. One trying to say that they are on par with each other is a cop-out. But going with either one is hard.
The bottom line is that both of them are snappy phones with awesome screens and fantastic cameras. The Note 20 Ultra offers a stylus that makes anyone fall in love with handwriting on a digital display, and it certainly has much better multitasking options available in it. The iPhone 11 Pro Max does the same thing best as the iOS does best — smooth, fast, predictable performance along with the presence of an App Store, which offers a couple of high-quality exclusive apps for its creatives. But Samsung is catching up in this field as well.
Display and Design Comparison Between the Two
Samsung’s Note phones have a screen that is always going beyond the current perception of “that’s too big.” In 2020, the hard thing to accomplish was humongous displays on smartphones, which have become the norm. Still, offering a 6.9-inch screen along with a 19.3:9 aspect ratio, the Note 20 Ultra is quite huge, towering over the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s 6.5-inch, 19.5:9 display.
You will also get more real estate on the Note 20 Ultra’s screen, as it doesn’t have any notch present on it. There is just a tiny hole for the selfie camera.
But how does the display look? Well, they both are having OLED panels, which are all made by Samsung. The iPhone has Apple’s preferred color calibration preferred— like it’s very tame, it’s accurate, it looks fantastic. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra produces more down-to-earth colors and has a Vivid and Natural mode, which dials up its vibrancy for the fans of classic punchy AMOLED screens.
A 120 Hz refresh rate is also present in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, making animations buttery smooth. It gets really hard to go back to a 60 Hz screen once you’ve already scrolled through your emails on a highly refresh rate display. The iPhone 11 Pro Max, on the other hand, happens to be locked at 60 Hz.
Both the devices look and feel pretty great in terms of design. Samsung is always tweaking and evolving its designs by just a bit — the Note 20 Ultra certainly might not look like a whole new phone, but it does feel completely fresh. On the other hand, Apple likes to stick to its designs, which is one reason why iPhones are instantly recognizable in a crowd. The iPhone 11 Pro Max still looks really, very pretty and fits right in anyone’s hand with its curvy sides, but those who want something fresh might find it a bit dated.
|Resolution||1440 x 3088 pixels||1242 x 2688 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio|
|Size||6.9 inches, 116.7 cm2||6.5 inches, 102.9 cm2|
|Type||Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+||Super Retina XDR OLED, HDR10, 800 nits (typ), 1200 nits|
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
|Scratch-resistant glass, oleophobic coating|
|Battery||Li-Ion 4500 mAh|
Fast charging 25W
|Li-Ion 3969 mAh|
Fast charging 18W
These are both heavy devices that are 208 g for the Note 20 and 226 g for the iPhone 11 Pro Max. You will feel them in your pocket, and they are meant for dedicated power users who don’t mind the extra heft and are looking for a two-hand phone.
Then, these camera modules are present on the back. The Internet was having a meme ball with the iPhone 11 Pro’s triple camera module when it came out first. Remember all those “stove” jokes that were going on? Well, nowadays, these triple, quadruple, and quintuple cameras have started to become the norm. The camera bump present on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is quite ginormous. It will get in the way when anyone is holding the phone, and it keeps it “propped up” when lying on a table.
This can either be something that would annoy you or something you like since Samsung nailed the module’s high-tech, industrial look.
Camera and Audio Comparison
The bumps mentioned above do hold some of the best cameras you can get on a smartphone. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a 108 MP main sensor, which can easily take 12 MP photos by default. There are a 12 MP ultra-wide camera and a 12 MP telephoto camera present in it as well. The iPhone 11 Pro Max, under all three lenses, has 12 MP sensors — the main wide-angle, ultra-wide-angle, and the telephoto. Then, you will get a 10 MP selfie camera on the Note 20 Ultra, and in iPhone 11 Pro Max, a 12 MP one is present on the front.
These were a lot of numbers. But all that matters is their performance. There are tons of softwares present in smartphones that employ post-processing to give us the pictures we end up having, all done within a fraction of seconds behind the curtains while one is carelessly tapping the shutter button. So, now let us take a look at some samples!
Both do fantastic! Thanks to the auto HDR algorithms on phones, great colors, and lots of details, super-high dynamic range. You will easily spot that the iPhone photos are slightly warmer, while the Note 20 Ultra is a smidgen colder, with colors being slightly amped up (especially the greens).
|Main Camera||108 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide)|
12 MP, f/3.0, 120mm (periscope telephoto)
12 MP, f/2.2, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide)
|12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide)|
12 MP, f/2.0, 52mm (telephoto)
12 MP, f/2.4, 120˚, 13mm (ultrawide)
|Selfie||10 MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide)||12 MP, f/2.2, 23mm (wide)|
32-bit/384kHz audio Tuned by AKG
No jack of 3.5mm
32-bit/384kHz audio Tuned by AKG
No jack of 3.5mm
Then, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s periscope camera offers the zoom feature, the 5x lossless optical zooming, and can then go up to 50x digitally-assisted zoom. You will get a 2x zoom and crop down to 10x digital zoom with the iPhone 11 Pro Max’s telephoto camera. So if you want to do birdwatching, probably the Note 20 Ultra has the better feature for you.
Both phones have stereo speakers in the popular setup — a bottom-firing, beefy speaker and an amped-up earpiece in terms of audio. The Note 20 Ultra might sound a bit meatier with lower mids, while there is a slight bump in iPhone 11 Pro Max in the higher mids, providing a slightly “tinny” sound. But there is a good amount of bass in both the phones, volume, and detail, and keep away from distortion at high volumes.
Performance and Features Comparison
The comparison between an Android device to an iPhone has always been an apples-to-oranges thing. Simply staring at their specs sheets won’t tell you much since Android and iOS work differently at their core and treat hardware differently. So, one has to run the phones through their paces.
Both of these can run anything you can find in their respective app stores without a single hitch. Everything happens in a snap when it comes to gaming or switching through apps.
|Performance||AnTuTu: 508760 (v8) |
GFXBench: 42fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)
GeekBench: 2603 (v5.1)
|AnTuTu: 459713 (v7), 536883 (v8) |
GFXBench: 57fps (ES 3.1 onscreen)GeekBench: 13870 (v4.4), 3503 (v5.1)
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB + micro SD||64GB, 256GB, 512GB|
no micro SD
|Sensors||Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer||accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer Face ID, accelerometer, gyro, proximity, compass, barometer|
Both these systems do handle multitasking very differently. The Note 20 Ultra features split-screen and picture-in-picture, while everything is readily available in the background with its 12 GB of RAM. There is no split-screen, no floating windows, and it gets frozen in the background whenever you leave an app.
Samsung DeX further enhances the Note 20’s productivity side — connect the phone to a monitor or smart TV, add a mouse and keyboard, and you’ve got yourself a desktop UI, which feels like home for Windows users. The iPhone, on the other hand, has nothing to rival that aspect.
Of course, there are a bunch of drawing and writing apps in the Note 20, so you can easily make full use of that excellent S Pen, as well as its partnership with Microsoft that will provide you with three months worth of Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft xCloud when it launches. Depending on where you buy, you might also get a free trial of the YouTube Premium.
If they haven’t redeemed with another Apple purchase in the past, iPhone buyers will get a year of free Apple TV+.