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Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S20: Is the iPhone Good Enough?

author Luis Silva (May 2020 Updated: August 2021 - 6 min. reading time)

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is more expensive than the Galaxy S20, but it doesn't have better specs.

It comes with better performance (+31%) and better battery life. But the Galaxy S20 brings a better display, more internal storage (128GB vs. 64GB), and external storage.

Are there other things worth mentioning?

The iPhone 11 Pro Max also has a larger (+0.3") display, a cleaner user interface, and a telephoto lens (+52 mm). But with the Galaxy S20, you can also get a higher refresh rate, Always-On display, a lightweight body (63 g./2.22 oz less), faster wireless charging (15w vs. 5w), reverse wireless charging, and more RAM (12GB vs. 4GB).

But how much more will I have to pay for the Galaxy S20?

If you're going off-contract, you should be saving (close to $203), not paying more.

Is the iPhone 11 Pro Max still worth buying in 2021?

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is holding up pretty well in 2021, as it still retains its value. Nevertheless, you should also check other phones like the iPhone 12 Pro because it has better performance, more storage, more security updates, and more RAM.

Is the Galaxy S20 still worth buying in 2021?

The Galaxy S20 wasn't released that long ago, so it's obviously, a top recommended device for 2021. You can thank Samsung for its excellent glass protection, tons of RAM, and 8K recordings. But keep an eye on the Galaxy S21 too.

Keep reading to learn more about what sets them apart, how they rival their competition, and how other specialists evaluate them.

Check prices on Amazon Check prices on Amazon
Click here or scroll down to check prices on eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions.

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, Samsung Galaxy S20

Photo by Aditya Joshi on Unsplash

CONTENTS

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Introduction

Do you really need one of the best from Apple to compete with the Galaxy S20 from Samsung?

Let's check that out.

Samsung introduced its Galaxy S20 model in March 2020. Meanwhile, Apple's iPhone 11 Pro Max started to sell in September 2019.

With this article, you'll be able to compare every feature of the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Galaxy S20. Then, you can decide what model better suits your needs. Let's start.

The weight of each section

For additional information regarding our smartphone comparisons, check this FAQ.

to check who their rivals are.

Price*
vs.
Device iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
Release Date 2019, September 2020, March 1y.
OS Updates 6 years 3 years -3y.
Security Updates 6 years 4 years -2y.

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Which One Has The Best Performance?

Performance-wise, Geekbench 5 (IOS)(Android) scores the iPhone 11 Pro Max 31% ahead in the multi-core ranking. That's something you should be aware of if you favor a snappier device. Since iPhones run on their own operating system, apps do run quicker because Google does have a hard time optimizing Android.

It's safe to say that the iPhone 11 Pro Max can be tagged as high-end and the Galaxy S20 as a lower high-end device.

PS: The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 (with the Adreno 650 GPU) and the Exynos 990 (with the Mali-G77) are market-dependent. Click here for more info.

There's a performance increase of about 15% on the 865 for the Galaxy S20.

Performance*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
SoC Apple A13 Exynos 990
Graphics Apple GPU Mali-G77 MP11
Geekbench 5 Score 3435
2631
-804
OS iOS 13 Android 10 and OneUI
Tek-Score
7.7
6.4
-1.3

*Reference: 100: Apple iPhone 12.

Which Phone Has The Best Display?

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max front transparent png Samsung Galaxy S20 front transparent png

The Galaxy S20 is the winner here, and that's as clear as glass.

If you can't get over the iPhone 11 Pro Max's notch, at least the Galaxy S20 has a tinier notch.

About the iPhone 11 Pro Max, you should know that all of its rivals can play HDR content and have an AMOLED screen, 85% offer you more than 60hz of refresh rate, and 90% have an Always-On display.

For the Galaxy S20, 92% of its rivals can play HDR content and have an Always-On display, and all have an AMOLED screen.

Display Density (DPIs)*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
Size 6.5
6.2
-0.3
Screen Type AMOLED AMOLED
Resolution (px) 1242x2688
1440x3200
1269504
Refresh Rate 60hz 120hz 60
Dots per Inch 455.55
565.98
110.43
Always-On-Display No Yes
Notch Wedge Hole
Peak Brightness 811 nits
814 nits
3
HDR HDR10 HDR10+
Sub Tek-Score
3.2
9.8
6.6
Protection Corning toughened glass Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Tek-Score
5.9
8.3
2.3

*Reference: 100: Sony Xperia 1 II.

Which Phone Has The Best Cameras?

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max back transparent png Samsung Galaxy S20 back transparent png

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max should have an overall better camera.

About the iPhone 11 Pro Max: This camera came out of DXOMARK's labs with a score of 132. By including the telephoto and wide-angle lenses, that will go up to 143. For an in-depth review, click here.

Before moving on, you should know that all of its rivals can record videos in 4K or more, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization, and 90% feature a telephoto lens. Nevertheless, none of them feature a macro lens.

About the Galaxy S20: DXOMARK's experts should just step up and review this camera. I'm sure they'll put it at approximately 121* points. And if we consider its wide-angle lens, this score goes up to 133** points.

Last (but not least), just so you know, just like the other device, all of its rivals can record videos in 4 or 8K, have an ultra-wide-angle lens, and feature Optical Image Stabilization. Regardless, only 4% of them feature a macro lens.

If you prefer, we can grade these two as high-end.

Additionally, the iPhone 11 Pro Max telephoto lens is, on average, 54mm lower than what you'd get on similarly priced devices.

*The guys over at DXOMARK know how to benchmark these shooters. Too bad some cameras don't have a chance to be tested. So what do I do? I take every hardware specs (like lenses, sensor size, OIS, aperture, and so on) and give a comparable score. Our lastest test on our formula showed a 2 points (more or less) error threshold.

**Please take this with a grain of salt, especially with cameras with less than 40MP and no telephoto lens. These guys recently updated their test protocol, and there aren't enough reviewed cameras to extrapolate a backward-compatible score.

Picture Quality*
vs.
Primary Camera iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
Megapixels 12
12
0
Aperture 1.8
1.8
0.0
Lens 26mm
26mm
0
Lens Type Wide-Angle Wide-Angle
Flash 4 1 -3
HDR Yes Yes
OIS Yes Yes
Video 2160 4320 2160
Score 143
133
-10

*Reference: 100: Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra.

Extra Camera(s) iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20 vs.
Megapixels 12
64
52
Aperture 2.0
2.0
0.0
Lens 52mm (2x zoom)
-
Lens Type Telephoto lens -
Megapixels 12 12 0
Aperture 2.4 2.2 -0.2
Lens 13mm 13mm 0
Lens Type Ultra-wide-Angle Ultra-wide-Angle
Score 11 12 1
Selfie Camera iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20 vs.
Megapixels 12
10
-2
Aperture 2.2
2.2
0.0
Lens 23mm 26mm 3
iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20 vs.
Tek-Score
8.4
7.8
-0.6

Who has the best frame?

The Galaxy S20 does stand out because of its weight.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max is a little bit heavier: About 63 g. (2.22 oz). If you're curious, I've come up with an adapted "display size to phone weight ratio" score. The iPhone 11 Pro Max got 1.7, which means it's one of the heaviest phones for a 6.5 inches screen. The Galaxy S20, on the other hand, has 7.4, which is pretty nice.

You can drop the iPhone 11 Pro Max into the water, up to 1 to 3 meters deep, identical to the Galaxy S20. That should be for up to 30 minutes, and it's in standby mode only. So don't take photos underwater.

Looks*
vs.
Body iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
Size 158 x 77 x 8 mm
(5.57 x 2.72 x 0.28 in)
151 x 69 x 7 mm
(5.33 x 2.43 x 0.25 in)
-24395
Weight 226 g. (7.97 oz)
163 g. (5.75 oz)
-63
Build Front and back glass Front and back glass
Colors Space Gray, Gold, Silver, and Midnight Green Cosmic Grey, Cloud Pink, Cloud Blue, Cloud White, and Aura Red
Screen To Body Ratio 85.31%
89.07%
3.76
Disp.Size To Weight Score 1.7 7.4 5.7
Looks 9.6/10
10.0/10
0.4
Waterproof IP68 IP68
Biometrics Face ID Under Display Fingerprint
Tek-Score
6.4
8.6
2.2

*100% = 4+ colors + front and back glass + S2BR: 86+%.

Which has the best battery?

They both have a capacity of about 3969 mAh. But as reported by GSMArena, the winner is the iPhone 11 Pro Max.

One more thing about battery life on the Galaxy S20: it is way below the average in this price range. These tests show that it lasts up to 9% less.

The Snapdragon 865 also has better battery efficiency (about 10% more screen-on-time) when you compare it to the Exynos 990.

Battery*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
Capacity (mAh) 3969 4000 31
1h Talk + 1h Web + 1h Video 83% left
76% left
-7
1h Talk + 3h Web + 1h Video 69% left
59% left
-10
1h Talk + 1h Web + 3h Video 73% left
60% left
-13
Bat. To Phone Size Score 3.6 5.3 1.7
Sub Tek-Score
7.5
6.5
-1.0
Fast Charging 18w
25w
7
Wireless Charging 5w
15w
10
Reverse Charging No 9w
9
Tek-Score
6.5
6.5
0.0

*Reference: 90: Samsung Galaxy A31.

Which has more storage?

Definitely, the Galaxy S20.

The iPhone 11 Pro Max features 64GB of internal storage and 4GB of RAM. Furthermore, other devices from this budget usually have more RAM and more storage. They average at 9GB of RAM and 166Gb of storage.

Both phones have more than enough storage and RAM for the average consumer. However, if you can't get enough of the record button, 64 GB alone won't get you there.

Storage*
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
RAM (GB) 4GB
12GB
8
Internal (GB) 64GB
128GB
64
Micro SD No microSDXC (shared SIM slot)
Tek-Score
2.8
7.5
4.8

*Internal Storage + 256GB Memory Card (Max: 512GB).

Which is the most connectivity-friendly?

They don't stand out on any of these features.

If you got used to counting on the good-old 3.5mm headphone jack, forget about it. You can buy an adapter, but the wireless buds are your only option. You can have it anyway if you don't mind searching for them. The Sony Xperia 1 II can give you a headphone jack.

The Galaxy S20 runs on LTE or (LTE and) 5G networks. You can pick the Galaxy S20 with 5G with 12GB of RAM.

Connectivity
vs.
Features iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
Network LTE LTE (also available in 5G)
Bluetooth 5.0
5.0
NFC Yes Yes
3.5mm jack No No
Tek-Score
3.6
3.6
0.0

Which is more affordable?

Here are their recently updated prices:

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Reference: $900

Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy S20

Reference: $697

Samsung Galaxy S20

I earn a small fee from qualifying purchases. It doesn't affect the price you pay nor my opinions, but it will mean a lot if you click on one of these buttons before purchasing your next phone (or whatever else you end up buying). You'll be helping to take this to the next level.

Prices on eBay are in $US but Europe-based. You can click to check the prices in your country.

Prices marked with ! are from renewed/refurbished/carrier-locked phones (except eBay prices that, as a last resort, can be from bids or used devices).

How much of a "phone" can your money buy?
That's how much "score" you can get with $100 based on the global score that you'll see in the next section (higher is better).

Have you found better prices elsewhere? The formula is simple: score/price*100.

Value for money iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20 VS
Amazon 0.56 ! 0.73 -
eBay 0.61 0.91 0.30
Best Buy - - -
Walmart - ! - -

Also, don't forget to check the latest deals from these four stores, and the state of the art on mobile technology, if you don't want to overpay on your next smartphone.


Related articles:


Best smartphone deals


The Best Unbiased Smartphones For All Budgets


Smartphone Specs Statistics: The State Of The Art (Q1 2021)

Want to know about that global score? For reference purposes, I'll tell you where most of its rivals average. It's 7.4 for the iPhone 11 Pro Max and 7.0 for the Galaxy S20.

Verdict: What Makes the Samsung Galaxy S20 Stand Out?

I honestly didn't start this comparison with the right approach. It is actually hard to compare apples to robots (obviously). Nevertheless, you may need help to clear that out, and that's the reason we're both here.

If you're into performance, there isn't much to consider: it's the 11 Pro Max or nothing. But the Galaxy S20 is clearly a better overall phone. You'll be getting a better display and a much lighter smartphone with a slightly worse battery life that charges much faster than it's rival.

Please, double-check the storage section before making up your mind.

Pros iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
#1 Performance Performance
#2 AMOLED AMOLED
#3 Cameras Always-On-Display
#4 Battery Life Cameras
#5 Fast Charging Fast Charging
#6 Wireless Charging Wireless Charging
#7 Glass Protection MicroSD Slot
#8 Glass Protection
Cons iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
#1 Always-On-Display 3.5mm Jack
#2 MicroSD Slot Price
#3 Weight
#4 3.5mm Jack
#5 Price
Relative Score*
vs.
Global Score iPhone 11 Pro Max Galaxy S20
Gaming Score
6.2
7.7
1.5
Tek-Score
6.12
7.27
1.15
Your Score

Scroll the sliders down below to get your own personalized score. Let's suppose you value performance and battery life, and you don't really care about anything else. Then, just set the "Performance" and the "Battery" sliders up to 5 (5+5=10), and then the other sliders down to 0. You'll know what's the best phone for you.

Performance 1.9
Display 1.7
Cameras 1.4
Frame 0.9
Battery 1.9
Storage 2.0
Connectivity 0.4
Total Should be 10 or as close as possible: 9.6

*Reference: 100: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

For suggestions and bug reports, click here. Your help is appreciated. Thank you.

If you want to know more about them, click here:

About me

Hello!

My name is Luis Silva, and I have a degree in computer management. Ever since I was a teenager, I've loved everything to do with tech. Music, pictures, video editing, I've done it all! This site is a place for me to share some of the knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current trends. This is a wonderful place for tech-geeks and everyone else that just want to learn more about tech and smartphones in general.


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Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max Related Comparisons


Samsung Galaxy S20 Related Comparisons

×

"Display size to phone weight" ratio explained

This indeed is a "display size to phone weight" ratio, but because every phone ended up somewhere between 0.0272 and 0.0421, I've amplified (adapted) those values so they would fit in a 0-10 scale. As of now, the best smartphone is the Samsung Galaxy A40, with 140g. (4.94 oz) for a 5.9 inch display. It got a score of 9.92. While the worse device is the iPhone 8 Plus, which weighs 202 g. (7.13 oz) and has a 5.5-inch display. It ended up with a score of 0.75.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

"Battery to device size" ratio explained

This score should give you an idea about the energy footprint of the devices you're considering. It reflects not only the hardware and the energy that it requires but also the amount of energy that the battery can deliver.

The major spenders on any device should be the display and the SoC. But everything from a notification led to its modems need to be optimized, or else, the OEM should simply include a bigger battery as a compensation. Unfortunately, it isn't always possible due to size limitations. But in the end, if a particular OEM can do a good job and give you excellent battery life on a small device, so should everyone else. That's why I've added a "battery to device size" ratio. But since the real scale went from 119 (for the Galaxy S10e, Snapdragon variant) and up to 164 (for the iPhone 7 Plus), I've decided to convert them so they would fit in a 0-10 scale, being 0 the worst device, (the iPhone 7 Plus) and 10 the one every OEM should look up to.

As an example, Apple did an excellent job on the iPhone 7. It has a score of 8. Despite having a small capacity, the hardware is well optimized, and it still gives you decent battery life considering its size. The iPhone 7 Plus, on the other hand, with those bezels shrinking its display size, clearly could've been the #1 in our top 10 list of best battery devices if Apple simply filled all that empty space with a bigger battery.

As a side note: I haven't included the dept of the devices in this formula because even if a device ended up being 1mm/0.03 inches thicker, it wouldn't matter that much to those who really value battery life.

Please, be aware that this score is subject to change if and when a new smartphone comes along that ends up being outside of this scale.

×

Rivals

As of now, these are the rivals that were considered for each of them. They may change every time its prices are updated.

These are the lowest prices found on Amazon, eBay, BestBuy, and Walmart.


 Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Pro
    $969
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.SD
    $1049
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.EX
    $999
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.SD
    $899
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalMate 30 Pro
    $849
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 20 U.
    $899
  • HuaweirivalMate 40 Pro
    $1065
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Ultra
    $846
  • OpporivalFind X2 Pro
    $950
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Ultra
    $899
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • XiaomirivalMi 11 Ultra
    $1079
  • OnePlusrival9 Pro
    $969
  • VivorivalX60 Pro
    $900

 Samsung Galaxy S20 
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12
    $689
  • SonyrivalXperia 1
    $688
  • SonyrivalXperia 5
    $649
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 10+
    $565
  • ApplerivaliPhone X
    $579
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11
    $575
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy Note 9
    $598
  • ApplerivaliPhone 11 Pro
    $684
  • ApplerivaliPhone XS Max
    $650
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10 Plus
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S10+ EX
    $689
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 EX
    $697
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 U.EX
    $789
  • HuaweirivalP30 Pro
    $599
  • GooglerivalPixel 4 XL
    $780
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Plus
    $600
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S20 Ultra
    $809
  • HuaweirivalP40 Pro
    $799
  • HuaweirivalP40
    $666
  • OnePlusrival8 Pro
    $799
  • XiaomirivalMi 10 Pro
    $600
  • GooglerivalPixel 5
    $580
  • ApplerivaliPhone 12 Mini
    $739
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21
    $729
  • SamsungrivalGalaxy S21 Plus
    $600
  • OpporivalReno4 Pro
    $594
  • SonyrivalXperia 1 II
    $650
  • XiaomirivalMi 11
    $698
×

Formula deviation

Since the guys at DxoMark don't review every camera out there, I've come up with a formula based on the ones that they do rate, so I could get an equivalent score for the ones they don't review. After testing it against these cameras, I got the deviation between that and their DxO score.

Device: DxOScore Deviation
Samsung Galaxy A50: 88 -1
Apple iPhone XR: 104 1
Xiaomi Mi 9T Pro: 108 -7
Xiaomi Redmi Note 8 Pro: 87 1
Sony Xperia 1: 99 -1
Sony Xperia 5: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus: 126 2
Apple iPhone 8 Plus: 96 -3
Xiaomi Pocophone F1: 92 -1
Apple iPhone 7 Plus: 90 -1
Apple iPhone X: 101 3
Apple iPhone 11: 112 -1
Samsung Galaxy Note 8: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy Note 9: 107 1
Apple iPhone XS Max: 110 -2
Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max: 124 1
Samsung Galaxy S10: 124 2
Apple iPhone XS: 110 -1
Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus: 120 -2
OnePlus 7 Pro: 122 0
OnePlus 7T Pro: 122 0
Huawei P30 Pro: 125 -1
Google Pixel 4: 117 0
Google Pixel 3: 103 0
Google Pixel 2: 100 0
Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus: 127 -2
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra: 132 2
OnePlus 6: 100 0
OnePlus 6T: 101 1
Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus: 105 -1
Huawei Mate 20 Pro: 120 0
Xiaomi Mi 9: 115 0
Huawei Mate 30 Pro: 132 0
Huawei P40 Pro: 140 -1
Apple iPhone SE 2: 101 0
OnePlus 8 Pro: 126 0
Xiaomi Mi 8: 105 1
Samsung Galaxy A71: 89 1
Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro: 134 0

As you can see, most cameras sit between 1 and -1, while a few of them go up to 2 or -2. That means it's reasonable to assume other similar cameras that they don't review to, in the worst-case scenario, be anywhere from -2 to 2 points from the score that the formula gets.

For example: Given that the Pixel 4 got 117 points and that the Pixel 4 XL share the same year and camera specs, it's reasonable to expect a score of 117 too. But in reality, if they do review that camera, it may end up anywhere between 115 and 119.

Be aware that at DxO, they give a score based on their opinion, not based on any formula. That's why I think there's an odd difference of 6 points between the iPhone 8 Plus and the iPhone X. In theory, they should have the same camera.

I'm guessing that the Mi 9T Pro got a deviation of 7 points because they tested its Chinese variant (the K20 Pro).

Update: They just changed their protocol to include preview image evaluation and trustability. I'm keeping the old table (for now) for reference purposes, and I'll be adding a new one as soon as they review at least a couple of new mclass-range cameras.

You can expect the same (or a bit bigger) deviation for high-end cameras, but anything with a score below 100-110 should be taken with a grain of salt.

This is valid for all cameras tested with the previous protocol. For those that they dclassn't test, the deviation may be up to twice as much.

×

About GeekBench 5

This is just a quick note to let you know that, if, by any chance, the smartphone you're looking for isn't on the GeekBench site yet, you can check on GsmArena.com, as they also usually test smartphones with that benchmark tool.



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