The iPhone 11 Pro Max offered the latest and greatest features in a sleek design when it was launched in 2019. Even if it wasn’t a major upgrade over the previous-generation iPhone XS Max, it still pushed the envelope further than any other Apple smartphone had done up until that point in time. But 2019 also delivered other high-tech — and big — smartphones, such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, which also came with a ton of awesome features.
Which of the two devices is better? Is there even a clear winner? We put the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus head to head to find out.
|Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
||Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus|
|Size||158 x 77.8 x 8.1mm (6.22 x 3.06 x 0.32 inches)||162.3 x 77.2 x 7.9mm (6.39 x 3.04 x 0.31 inches)|
|Weight||226 grams (7.97 ounces)||196 grams (6.91 ounces)|
|Screen size||6.5-inch Super Retina XDR OLED||6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED|
|Screen resolution||2,688 x 1,242 pixels (458 pixels per inch)||3,040 x 1,440 pixels (498 pixels per inch)|
|Operating system||iOS 13||Android 9.0 Pie|
|Storage space||64GB, 256GB, 512GB||256GB, 512GB|
|MicroSD card slot||No||Yes|
|Tap-to-pay services||Apple Pay||Google Pay, Samsung Pay|
|Processor||Apple A13 Bionic chip||Qualcomm Snapdragon 855|
|Camera||Triple lens 12MP wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto rear; 12MP TrueDepth front||Quad lens 12MP wide, telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide, ToF rear; 10MP front|
|Video||4K at up 60 frames-per-second, 1080p at 240 fps||4K at up to 60 frames-per-second, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps|
|Bluetooth version||Bluetooth 5.0||Bluetooth 5.0|
|Fingerprint sensor||No||Yes, in-display|
|Battery||Up to 20 hours video playback
Fast charging (18W charger)
Qi wireless charging
Fast charging (45W)
Fast Qi wireless charging
|App marketplace||Apple App Store||Google Play Store|
|Network support||All major U.S. carriers||All major U.S. carriers|
|Colors||Midnight Green, Space Grey, Silver, Gold||Aura Glow, Aura White, Aura Black, Aura Blue|
|Buy from||Best Buy||Samsung|
|Review score||4.5 out of 5 stars||4.5 out of 5 stars|
Performance, battery life, and charging
The iPhone 11 Pro Max features Apple’s A13 Bionic processor, which is still a powerful chip despite now being over a year old. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus, on the other hand, offers Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855. Traditionally, Apple chips have simply been better performers than Qualcomm chips — and that seems to be the case here. Despite the fact that the iPhone offers only 4GB of RAM — one-third the huge 12GB featured in the Note 10 Plus. Benchmarks aren’t everything, but the iPhone 11 Pro Max has reached an AnTuTu score of an impressive 462,098. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus, on the other hand, sits in at 358,464 — which is still very good, but not quite on the same level as the iPhone.
The battery life on the iPhone 11 Pro Max is impressive too. Weighing in at 3,969mAh, the device’s battery will get you a massive 20 hours of video playback. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus battery boasts an even larger 4,300mAh capacity, while it lasted 12 hours and 30 minutes in our video streaming test. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus also offers 45W fast charging and wireless charging. The iPhone comes with an 18W charger and also supports wireless charging.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus may support faster charging, but the iPhone’s performance is simply better.
Winner: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
Design and durability
Both the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus offer beautiful designs — but they’re pretty different in their approach. The iPhone still has a notch, which most have come to accept, but it also had a then-polarizing triple-camera bump on the back. Those issues aside though, it’s a classy phone. It’s built with frosted glass on the back, comes in some sleek colors including Midnight Green, and generally looks great. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus looks awesome too, and it’s available in a range of beautiful colors, and it has a huge edge-to-edge display with a small hole-punch camera at the top. It certainly looks more modern than the iPhone.
Both phones are built from glass, so they probably won’t do well if dropped. That said, they do both have IP68 water-resistance, so while you probably shouldn’t take them swimming, they’ll do perfectly fine if accidentally dropped in the bath.
While the iPhone 11 Pro Max looks great, we think the Galaxy Note 10 Plus is a little more modern-looking and we love the Aura Glow finish.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Apple has stepped up the quality of the iPhone’s display a ton over the past few years, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max offers an excellent screen. The display comes in at 6.5 inches with a resolution of 2,688 x 1,242 and a pixel density of 458 pixels per inch. It’s an OLED display too, and it offers Apple’s Super Retina XDR tech — which allows it to get to a brightness of a massive 1,200 nits. That’s great for use even in direct sunlight.
Of course, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus’ display is very impressive too. The display comes in at 6.8 inches with a resolution of 3,040 x 1,440 pixels for a pixel density of 498 pixels per inch. That’s a little higher than the iPhone — though most people won’t be able to tell the difference.
The iPhone’s display can get brighter, however, the Galaxy Note 10 Plus’ display is bigger and has a slightly higher pixel density. It’s a tie here.
Perhaps the biggest upgrade that the iPhone 11 Pro Max offered over the iPhone XS Max was the camera. Apple put some serious effort into the camera for its 2019 series of iPhones, and reviews found that the investment paid off handsomely. The device has three camera lenses, including one ultra-wide lens, one wide lens, and one telephoto lens. They’re all 12 megapixels, and Apple has built features into the camera app to ensure that switching between the lenses is seamless and easy. There’s also an updated low-light mode, which ensures that the iPhone can capture great photos without much light.
Of course, the Galaxy Note 10 has a pretty great camera too. The device has four lenses instead of three, with one 12-megapixel wide lens, one 12-megapixel telephoto lens, one 16-megapixel ultra-wide lens, and one time-of-flight sensor. The device also has an interesting zoom-in microphone feature that allows you to focus on specific audio when recording video, and it has a low-light mode too — which is a handy touch.
On the front, the iPhone offers a 12-megapixel camera, while the Galaxy Note 10 Plus has a 10-megapixel camera.
Both phones offer excellent cameras, but we prefer the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
Winner: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
Software and updates
We’re not going to get into the Android vs. iOS debate here — that’s for another article. The gist of things, however, is that iOS is generally a little easier to use and more intuitive, while Android allows for more customization.
The real difference between these two phones, however, is how often they’ll get updates. As an Apple-built phone, the iPhone 11 Pro Max will get regular security updates, and always on time. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus, however, may take a while to get the latest Android updates, as Samsung needs to optimize Android updates to work with One UI, its Android skin. Apple also tends to support its devices for longer than Samsung.
Whether you like iOS or Android is up to you — but because of the far quicker updates, the iPhone is the winner here.
Winner: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
The iPhone 11 Pro Max doesn’t have a ton in the way of special features — most of Apple’s work over recent years seems to have been dedicated to camera tech. That said, we know the device features an Apple U1 chip, which is designed for spatial awareness; at the moment it allows you to point your iPhone at another for accurate AirDrop, but there may be more to come from this in the future. The device also has Apple’s Face ID facial recognition tech, which Apple says is better on the iPhone 11 series than earlier models.
The Galaxy Note 10 Plus, however, is packed with special features. For starters, the device comes with the Samsung S-Pen, a high-tech stylus that can be used to write on the display, and has a button to trigger the camera. The device also has text recognition tech, so your written notes can be converted to text. Not only that, but it has a DeX mode that lets you use your phone as a desktop computer and more.
Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus
Price and availability
Although Apple began selling the iPhone 11 Pro Max as recently as September 2019, they have now stopped manufacturing them. However, most major retailers and phone company stores still have plenty of them in stock. We must say that it’s not the cheapest phone out there — you can expect a hefty expense of $1,100 for the standard 64GB version.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Galaxy Note 10 Plus actually have the same $1,100 price tag, which makes our decision between the two even harder. All the major providers carry the Galaxy, and it can also be unlocked straight from Samsung and other outlets.
Overall winner: Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max
It was a very close call between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, as both phones have incredible features, and neither of them is much better than the other. However, the iPhone came out on top with a quicker processor, a higher-quality camera, and speedier software updates. However, it all might come down to which brand you feel more comfortable using. If you’re accustomed to iPhones and other Apple products, you may want to stay with Apple. If you’re a die-hard Android user, or you’re knee-deep in Google or Samsung devices, then you may want to opt for the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus.
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