Samsung Galaxy S21+ $149.99 at Samsung

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

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Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus vs Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
While Samsung's Galaxy S21 Ultra is in a league of its own in terms of hardware with the 10x optical periscope zoom, the giant 5000mAh battery, and the 5nm Snapdragon 888 with integrated 5G modem, it's the S21+ that is the actual match for Apple's 2020 flagship, the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

They both start at similar prices, lack periscope zoom (not that any iPhone will have it soon), and sport the same screen diagonals. Will the Galaxy S21+ be a fine match for the iPhone 12 Pro Max that is proving more and more popular on the market by the day? Let's find out...

Galaxy S21 Plus vs iPhone 12 Pro Max price, colors and storage


  • $999 vs $1099 for 128GB
  • Black vs Graphite
  • Violet vs Pacific Blie.
  • Silver
  • Red/Pink (in Korea) vs Gold

Fair is fair - the Galaxy S21+ offers more features, like a display with high 120Hz refresh rate, at a tad lower price. Its fused camera island corner design is also more interesting than what the cartoonish matte/gloss undertaking that the iPhone 12 Pro Max offers.


The iPhone 12 Pro Max, however, offers the toughest Ceramic Shield display cover glass of any phone out there, and is the most water-resistant generap purpose handset as well, being able to withstand submergence in up to the whopping twenty feet of water. Still, we love how Samsung blends the camera corner with the sides, making for one elegant and uninterrupted look.


Galaxy S21 Plus vs iPhone 12 Pro Max specs and display size


  • 6.7" 1080p 120Hz vs 6.7" 1284p 60Hz displays
  • Snapdragon 888/Exynos 2100 vs Apple A14 5nm chipsets
  • Integrated vs standalone 5G modem
  • 8GB vs 6GB RAM

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Dimensions

6.35 x 2.98 x 0.31 inches

161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Dimensions

6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

160.84 x 78.09 x 7.39 mm

Weight

8.03 oz (228 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Dimensions

6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches

165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.04 oz (229 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21

Dimensions

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Samsung Galaxy S21+

Dimensions

6.35 x 2.98 x 0.31 inches

161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm

Weight

7.13 oz (202 g)

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max

Dimensions

6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches

160.84 x 78.09 x 7.39 mm

Weight

8.03 oz (228 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Dimensions

6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches

165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm

Weight

8.04 oz (229 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21

Dimensions

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm

Weight

6.03 oz (171 g)


While Apple has a leg up when it comes to raw single core power of its A14 chipset in the iPhone 12 Pro Max, the Galaxy S21+ has one undeniable advantage in the chipset realm - it sports an integrated 5G modem

Both Snapdragon 888 and the Qualcomm X60 modem are made on the latest 5nm process, ensuring frugal battery draw compared to tack-on 5G modem solutions like the one found in the 12 Pro Max. 

Check out the S21+ (SM-G996B) vs iPhone 12 Pro Max benchmark scores below - as usual, Apple kills it in the single core results, but let's not forget that this particular S21+ version is the global one with Exynos 2100 at 2.2GHz, not the Snapdragon 888 model that the US is getting. Moreover, the A14 runs at its top 3GHz clock speeds, too. When comparing the Snapdragon model of the S21+ against the 12 Pro Max, the difference in single-core performance is equally startling, yet it runs on even lower core clocks than the Exynos model. 


Galaxy S21 Plus vs iPhone 12 Pro Max camera


  • 12 MP main sensors
  • 64MP crop vs 12 MP telephoto zoom cameras
  • 12MP ultrawide-angle cameras

The iPhone 12 Pro Max ships with the largest camera sensor that Apple has ever put in a phone, yet its pixels are still a tad smaller than those in, say, the S20+ main sensoir which found its way into the S21+ as well.

We already noted this in our Galaxy S21 vs iPhone 12 Pro comparison, but the high megapixel count of the Galaxy S21+ zoom camera is nothing to admire, as it's the iPhone 12 Pro Max with the true her true telephoto zoom range of 2.5x. The Galaxy S21+, just like the S20+ before it, doesn't have a periscope or telephoto zoom camera. 

It simply crops from the high-res 64MP secondary sensor, and Samsung itself admits that what it calls a "telephoto camera" actually sports a lens that is very much wide-angle, almost as wide as the lens on the main camera. The "telephoto" lens only provides a 1.06 zoom compared to the regular camera, so all the zooming is actually almost entirely based on software - cropping and merging with the information from the main and/or ultrawide sensors. The end results are pretty good anyway, but it's not even a true telephoto not to mention the 10x periscope zoom of the S21 Ultra has.

When it comes to video recording, the iPhone 12 Pro Max has a powerful image processor that lets it record the whopping 60fps Dolby Vision 4K HDR video, and display it on the the iPhone's big 6.7"screen in most of its glory. It is 10-bit HDR footage, not 12-bit Dolby Vision that the S21+ is capable of, but nevertheless an impressive feat to achieve, and a heretofore prerogative of expensive standalone cameras.

On the other hand, the Galaxy S21+ 5nm chipsets are able to pull off 8K video for the rare occassion you need high-def video to watch on your 8K TV. Of course, this one is a pain to upload, watch or edit, but the the same can be said for the iPhone 12 Pro Max's Dolby Vision output, too.

Galaxy S21 Plus vs iPhone 12 Pro Max battery life and charging speeds


  • 4800mAh vs 3617mAh
  • 25W (up to 45W) vs 20W fast wired charging
  • 15W wireless charging

Samsung took a note of the surpisignly robust sales of the middle child in the S20 series, and paid special attention to the S21+, equipping it with a battery nearly as large as the one in the S21 Ultra. At 4800mAh, with the help of the integrated 5nm chipset and 5G modem that is now using a new, more frugal antenna isolation, the pack promises long hours of battery life even at the static 120Hz display refresh mode. 

Commensurate with the iPhone 12 Pro Max endurance at 60Hz, the S21+ battery advantage doesn't stop here, as Samsung is also providing very fast charging that tops up the 4800mAh battery for about an hour with the stock 25W charger. 

Perhaps we should no longer say stock, as the charger won't be available in the Galaxy S21+ box at launch but the fact that it charges twice faster than the iPhone 12 Pro Max with a battery life about as long at higher display refresh rates. Moreover, the 12 Pro Max also doesn't ship with a charger in the box, and you'd have to shell out for Apple's new 20W charger if you don't have an old 18W brick chilling around. Samsung is pulling the same trick with the S21 series, though, and will offer a new 30W charger separately. Sad times.

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