Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs iPhone 11 Pro Max Comparison

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Samsung today announced its Galaxy Note20 lineup to take on the iPhone 11 Pro series and Apple’s upcoming iPhone 12 lineup. If you are wondering if you should stick to your iPhone 11 Pro Max or go for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, read our comparison between iPhone 11 Pro Max and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is just a big phone while the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is in many ways a tablet that has been reduced in size to make it manageable as a phone. The Note 20 Ultra is massive and while it is packed to the gills, it falls short in a few areas compared to the iPhone 11 Pro Max whose first-year anniversary is fast approaching. Find out if the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is indeed better than the iPhone 11 Pro Max or not below.

1. Design

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – 158 x 77.8 x 8.1 mm, 226g, IP68 certified
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – 164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm, 213g, IP68 certified

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a massive phone and absolutely dwarfs the iPhone 11 Pro Max despite coming with just 0.2-inches bigger display than the latter. The 19.3:9 aspect ratio of the Note 20 Ultra’s display means that it is very tall, though the width of both devices is pretty much the same. In terms of build quality and design, both phones are outstanding, though the iPhone’s design is getting a bit old in the run now. The Note 20 Ultra also looks pretty stunning in the Mystic Bronze color. If you don’t like notched display, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is a no-go for you, with the Note 20 Ultra having a small punch-hole in the center.

The Note 20 Ultra does have an S Pen which the iPhone 11 Pro Max misses out on. If you want a phone that you can also use for drawing purposes or taking lot of notes, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra will be a better choice due to the S Pen and its bigger display.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

2. Display

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – 6.5-inch True Tone OLED, 2688 x 1242 pixels (458 ppi), 82.9 percent screen-to-body ratio, HDR10, Dolby Vision, Haptic Touch, Super Retina XDR
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – 6.9-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED Infinity Display, 19.3:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate, HDR10, Gorilla Glass 7

When it comes to displays, you cannot go wrong with either device. The iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra both feature outstanding AMOLED panels, though the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is better in two areas. It has a bigger 6.9-inch panel and it features a higher 120Hz refresh rate. The Note 20 Ultra’s display is also protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass 7 that should be more shatter-resistant than the cover glass used on the iPhone 11 Pro series.

The high refresh rate on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra might seem tempting on paper, but remember that it is only available at FHD+ resolution. Plus, it has a negative impact on battery life as well so keep that in mind.

iPhone 11 Pro

3. Chip

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – A13 Bionic, 7nm+ EUV, Third-generation Neural engine
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – 7nm Snapdragon 865 or Exynos 990 (4G variant)

Despite being nearly a year old, the iPhone 11 Pro’s A13 Bionic chip is a few generations ahead of the Snapdragon 865+ or the Exynos 990 chip found inside the Note 20 Ultra. The performance gap is way too big especially when one compares Samsung’s in-house Exynos 990 chip to the A13 Bionic. The extra horsepower means the iPhone 11 Pro Max will deliver better performance in the long run and will continue to be supported by Apple for the next 4-5 years which won’t be the case with the Note 20 Ultra. Samsung will roll out three generations of Android updates for the device and that’s about it.

4. RAM and Storage

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – 4GB RAM | 64GB, 256GB, 512GB
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – 12GB RAM | 256/512GB, microSD card slot

If the iPhone 11 Pro Max obliterated the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in the performance department, the latter does the same to the iPhone in the RAM and storage department. The Note ships with three times more RAM and four times more base storage than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. There’s also a microSD card slot on the device that can be used to expand its storage on the cheap later on. The additional RAM makes the Note 20 Ultra a multitasking beast that the iPhone simply cannot match with 4GB of RAM.

iPhone 11 Pro Max Cameras

5. Camera

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – Triple 12MP camera setup f/1.8, f/2.4, and f/2.0 aperture, OIS for Primary and telephoto, 100% Focus Pixels for the primary camera, Improved Smart HDR, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth control, Brighter True Tone Flash
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – 108MP f/1.8 primary camera with OIS, 12MP ultra-wide f/2.2, 12MP periscope lens with 5x optical zoom, 50x Space Zoom, Portrait mode, Laser autofocus, Pro Video mode

On paper, the Galaxy S20 Ultra seems to have a more powerful and versatile camera setup than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, Samsung has already used that 108MP camera sensor on the Galaxy S20 Ultra earlier this year and the results were not that impressive. That phone also had autofocus issues which is why Samsung is using an updated sensor on the Note 20 Ultra and has also added a laser autofocus sensor to it.

Despite its age, the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera performance has held up very well and it is still among the top smartphone camera shooters around. It does lack the periscope zoom of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but that has a limited use case for most consumers. The Galaxy Note 20 can also record videos at 8K resolution at 24fps, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max tops out at 4K@60fps. The Note 20 Ultra does have some nice camera modes including a Pro Video mode and ability to record videos in 21:9 aspect ratio which the iPhone’s camera app misses out on.

At the front, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra features a 10MP selfie shooter, while the iPhone 11 Pro features a 12MP TrueDepth camera system.

6. Biometrics

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – Face ID
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – In-display fingerprint scanner, Face unlock

The Note 20 Ultra might offer more biometric unlock options than the iPhone 11 Pro Max, but its the latter whose Face ID is more secure. The face unlock on the Note 20 relies on the front camera and it is simply not as secure as the iPhone. As for the in-display fingerprint scanner, it is an ultrasonic scanner that is extremely slow and leads to frustrating user experience.

7. Connectivity

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – 1.2Gbps LTE modem, VoLTE, Dual-SIM, Wi-Fi 6 with MIMO, Bluetooth 5.0, NFC with Reader mode, Ultra-Wideband chip
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – Dual SIM, 5G(selected variants), 2Gbps LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, VoLTE, NFC,

This is an area where the Note 20 Ultra is again noticeably better than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Samsung is shipping the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra with 5G connectivity in selected markets, while the iPhone 11 Pro Max tops out at 1.2Gbps LTE speeds. The iPhone does have an ultra-wideband chip but Apple is yet to take full advantage of it.

8. Battery Life and Charging

  • iPhone 11 Pro Max – 3969mAh, 18W fast charging, 7.5W wireless charging
  • Galaxy Note 20 Ultra – 4500mAh, 25W fast charging, 12W wireless charging, Reverse wireless charging

The Note 20 Ultra features a bigger battery than the iPhone 11 Pro Max. However, it also comes with a bigger and power-hungry 120Hz display and a less efficient chipset. The iPhone 11 Pro Max will be able to offer better battery life thanks to Apple’s tight integration between hardware and software. The Note does charge faster, both wired and wirelessly which is a major plus point though. It also has reverse wireless charging which one can use to quickly charge their earbuds or other accessories while on the go.

9. Price

If you thought the iPhone 11 Pro Max with a starting price tag of $1,099 was expensive, wait until you check the price of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The device starts at $1,299 that makes it notably more expensive than even the 256GB variant of the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Samsung does tend to offer discounts on its flagship smartphones pretty regularly so you should ideally wait for that before pulling the trigger on the Note 20 Ultra. Another thing that’s really important to consider is the resale value. The iPhone will simply hold its resale value better than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in a few years from now. This means that when you upgrade to a new device after a few years, the iPhone will fetch you a better price so you will have to pay less from your pocket.

10. Android vs iOS

This boils down to personal preference, but there’s one thing that really separates the two OSes. Apple will support the iPhone 11 Pro Max for another 4-5 years easily, while Samsung promises three generations of OS updates for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. While the former will get the OS update on the same day that it is released, Note 20 Ultra will have to wait for a few months for the update to be available on their devices.


What are your thoughts on the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra? Will you buy it over the iPhone 11 Pro Max for the bigger display and S Pen? Or will you prefer the iPhone? Drop a comment and let us know!