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Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max camera shootout ends with a tank blasting the loser

Published Jan 23rd, 2024 10:22AM EST
Galaxy S24 Plus, Galaxy S24 Ultra, and Galaxy S24.
Image: Samsung

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The Galaxy S24 event is behind us, and the three new Samsung handsets are available for preorder right now. On that note, you can score a few sweet savings if you buy right now. That includes getting a 1TB Galaxy S24 Ultra for the price of a 512GB model. But I wouldn’t blame you if you waited before choosing between the Galaxy S24/Plus models and the Ultra. 

They have the same main specs, and they run the same Galaxy AI features. But the Galaxy S24 Ultra continues to pack a better camera system than the regular models. The rear camera offers better camera specs, including much better zoom than other S24 models.

If the camera experience is at the top of your list of priorities, then you’ll want to see how the Ultra compares against its main rival, the iPhone 15 Pro Max. 

Luckily for Galaxy S24 fans still on the fence, there’s already a Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max camera comparison. It ends up with the loser getting shot at by an actual tank. The good news is that the iPhone 15 Pro Max survived the incoming paint projectile. 

That means that, yes, the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a better camera than the iPhone 15 Pro Max. At least, according to Mrwhosetheboss, who put the two flagships through the same camera tests… with tanks roaming around. 

As always, with camera comparisons between the newest Apple and Samsung phones, they can’t be perfectly objective. But the 22-minute clip looks at the various aspects of the camera experience on the two phones to determine which device is better. The clip also references a previous comparison between the Galaxy S23 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which the latter won. 

What the video doesn’t do is come up with artificial camera scores that can’t be justified. Instead, it provides plenty of samples with explanations of what Samsung improved or didn’t, compared to Apple’s camera tech. 

Nightography on Galaxy S24 phones.
Nightography on Galaxy S24 phones. Image source: Samsung

If you watched Unpacked last week, you might have noticed that Galaxy AI seemed to be the focus of the entire event. That’s a rather stark departure from previous ones, where the camera was the star of a Galaxy S launch show. While Samsung spent plenty of time to detail the camera systems of the Galaxy S24/Plus and the Galaxy S24 Ultra, AI was still the main topic. 

The video below also looks at the AI features of the Galaxy S24 Ultra camera, comparing them to Apple’s editing tricks for the iPhone 15 Pro Max. As a reminder, Apple is still refraining from using the word “AI” in any marketing materials for the latest iPhones. But AI is only one aspect of the overall camera fight.

I won’t get into comparing the samples the YouTuber provided or analyzing his take on it. You should watch the entire clip to get a sense of what’s available from the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s front and back cameras and how they compare with Apple’s best possible camera.

But I will say the comparison also looks at the Camera app experiences on both phones. It highlights the differences between the user interfaces and the ways the Ultra stands out. The phone’s increased top brightness is an unexpected advantage over the iPhone when shooting outdoors.

Other interesting takes are that the iPhone 15 Pro Max might offer a better zoom experience, despite zoom having been an Ultra trick for several years. Separately, Samsung has nearly caught up to Apple’s video recording quality. The Galaxy S24 Ultra might be the best choice for shooting video if you don’t want an iPhone. But it’s not quite on par with the iPhone experience.

Overall, Mrwhosetheboss found the Galaxy S24 Ultra to offer a more compelling camera experience than the iPhone 15 Pro Max.

Then he used one of those tanks in the photo and video samples to shoot a paint grenade at a target with the iPhone glued to it. The iPhone survived. But that’s not the point. This camera review should help you decide whether the Ultra is for you while you can still take advantage of those great Galaxy S24 preorder deals.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.

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