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Galaxy S24 Ultra vs iPhone 15 Pro Max speed test: It’s closer than you think

Published Feb 7th, 2024 1:45PM EST
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Display
Image: Christian de Looper for BGR

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The Galaxy S24 is out in stores, with the Galaxy S24 Ultra easily being the best choice of the three devices, despite a few drawbacks. But if you’re buying a Galaxy S24 model in the US, you’ll be happy to know all three models rock the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip from Qualcomm. International buyers will have to pick the Ultra if they want to avoid the Exynos 2400 chip from Samsung

Either chip should offer a great Galaxy S24 performance, and there’s no indication that the Exynos 2400 is plagued by the same issues as its predecessors. We would likely have heard about any major problems by now. 

The best way to test the Galaxy S24’s performance in the wild is to run the usual speed test that involves a comparison between the latest Android flagship and the latest iPhone. In this case, we have a speed test showing the Galaxy S24 Ultra losing to the iPhone 15 Pro Max. But the top Galaxy S phone and Apple’s best iPhone are closer than ever when it comes to this common race.

In October, we saw the Galaxy S23 Ultra holding its own against the iPhone 15 Pro Max, though the latter won by a few seconds, as seen in the screenshot below. I’m about to show you a repeat of the same test, which gives the win to Apple’s iPhone again.

iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Galaxy S23 Ultra speed test results.
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Galaxy S23 Ultra speed test results. Image source: YouTube

It’s the same test, as it comes from the same source: the PhoneBuff YouTube channel. They’ve been my favorite source for speed tests like this because their methodology comes the closest to being scientific. It’s not, of course, but it’s as close as you’ll find among YouTube channels that perform this sort of test. 

Rather than looking at benchmarks, where the iPhone always wins, PhoneBuff tries to replicate real-life smartphone use with the help of a robot to see which phone is faster. 

The “race” between the Galaxy S24 Ultra and the iPhone 15 Pro Max involves two laps. In the former, the same collection of apps is opened for the first time on each device in the same order. This shows how fast a phone is at opening apps and running certain in-app tasks. 

It’s usually the iPhone that wins this round. But every year, it looks like Samsung is getting closer and closer to actually beating the iPhone. 

The second lap involves opening the same suite of apps in reverse order. This tests the phone’s ability to keep apps loaded in memory. Android phones, which usually feature more generous amounts of RAM, seem to be favorites in this round. But Apple optimizes the use of memory better than Samsung can. And the iPhone 15 Pro Max also beats the Galaxy S24 Ultra in this second round.

Overall, the iPhone gets a lead of under 3 seconds. This is a better result than the Galaxy S23 Ultra’s performance against the same iPhone 15 Pro Max model. 

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max speed test results.
Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. iPhone 15 Pro Max speed test results. Image source: YouTube

The obvious conclusion is that the Galaxy S24 Ultra will give you a tremendously fast experience. It might be a few seconds slower than the iPhone, but you’d never know unless you use both devices. Also, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 versions of the Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus should be just as good. However, the base model has 8GB of RAM instead of 12. 

Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro models rock the same A17 Pro chip and 8GB of RAM. Therefore, even the smaller iPhone 15 Pro is faster than the Galaxy S24 Ultra. 

The ball is in Apple’s court now. The iPhone 16 series should debut brand new chips, with the iPhone 16 Pros getting the superior of the A18 processors. But we’ll have to wait until October to see a similar test in action. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S24 Ultra speed test follows below.

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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