Our Opinion

The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is a much better phone than the Apple iPhone XS Max 256GB, and is also much better value for money. What should you buy? Go for the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra!

Apple iPhone XS Max 256GB  Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 
Apple iPhone XS Max Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Buy Now Buy Buy
Excellence Score
52.0
89.7
Value for Money Score
21.3
55.8
Price ₹ 124,900 onwards ₹ 77,999 onwards
Launch Date (India) Sep, 2018 Feb, 2020
Expected Launch Date N/A N/A
Smartphone OS Apple iOS 12, Upgradeable to 14Expected update to next Apple iOS version Android 10, Upgradeable to Android 11Expected update to next Android version
Touchscreen Yes (Capacitive) Yes (Capacitive)
Screen Size 6.5 inches 6.9 inches
Screen Resolution 1242x2688 pixels (~ 456 pixels per inch) 1440x3200 pixels (~ 509 pixels per inch)
Tall Aspect Ratio / Minimal Bezels Yes Yes
Scratch Resistant Display Yes Yes, Corning Gorilla Glass 6
Display Type AMOLED AMOLED
Screen Refresh Rate 60 HzStandard 120 HzSuper High
Display Features AMOLED, Super Retina HD Display, HDR Display, True Tone Display, Wide Colour Display (P3), 3D Touch, Fingerprint-resistant Oleophobic Coating, Support for Display of Multiple Languages and Characters Simultaneously, 120Hz touch-sensing Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz Refresh Rate, HDR10+, Always-on Display
Full Physical QWERTY Keypad
Processor 2.49 GHz 2.73 GHz
Processor Type Hexa Core Octa Core
Processor Name Apple A12 BionicRanked #5 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks Samsung Exynos 990Ranked #7 in Mobile Processor Benchmarks
GPU Apple GPU (4-core graphics) Mali-G77 MP11
RAM 4 GB 8 GB
3G Yes Yes
4G Yes Yes
5G
VoLTE Yes Yes
WiFi Yes Yes
VoWiFi/WiFi-Calling Yes Yes
GPS Yes Yes
Bluetooth Yes Yes
Connecting Port Lightning USB-C
Primary Camera 12MP + 12MP 108MP + 48MP + 12MP + TOF 3D Camera
Camera Auto-Focus Yes Yes
Camera Flash Yes Yes
HD Video Recording Yes (4K) Yes (8K)
Other Camera Features Wide-angle: F/1.8 Aperture, Telephoto: F/2.4 Aperture, 2x Optical Zoom, Digital Zoom up to 10x, Portrait mode with advanced bokeh and Depth Control, Portrait Lighting, Dual Optical Image Stabilisation, 6P lens, Quad-LED True Tone flash with Slow Sync, Panorama (up to 63MP), Sapphire Crystal lens cover, Backside illumination sensor, Hybrid IR filter, Autofocus with Focus Pixels, Tap to focus with Focus Pixels, HDR, Live Photos, Local tone mapping, Red-eye Correction, Exposure control, Auto Image Stabilisation, Burst mode, Timer mode, Geo-tagging, 4K video recording at 24 fps, 30 fps, or 60 fps, Full HD Video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps, HD Video recording at 30 fps, Slo-mo Video for 1080p at 120 fps or 240 fps, Time-lapse video, Continuous Autofocus video, Take 8MP still photos while recording 4K video, Playback zoom, Video geotagging, Stereo recording 108MP: f/1.8 Aperture; 26mm Focal Length; PDAF; OIS, 48MP: f/3.6 Aperture; Periscope; 102mm Focal Length; Telephoto; 1/2" Sensor Size; 0.8um Pixel Size; PDAF; OIS; 10x Hybrid Optical Zoom, 12MP: f/2.2 Aperture; 13mm Focal Length; Ultra-wide; Autofocus; Super Steady video, 0.3 MP: TOF 3D Camera, Auto-HDR, Panorama, Video: [email protected]; [email protected]/60fps; [email protected]/60/240fps, HDR10+ Video, Dual-video rec., Stereo Sound rec., Gyro-EIS, OIS
Secondary Camera 7.0MP 40MP
Secondary Camera Features F/2.2 Aperture, Portrait mode with bokeh and Depth Control, Portrait Lighting, Animoji and Memoji, Full HD video recording at 30 fps or 60 fps, HDR, Cinematic video stabilisation (1080p and 720p), Live Photos, Retina Flash, Backside illumination sensor, Auto image stabilisation, Burst mode, Exposure control, Timer mode f/2.2 Aperture, 26mm Focal Length, PDAF, Dual video call, Auto-HDR, Video: [email protected]/60fps; [email protected]
Internal Memory 256 GB 128 GB
Expandable Memory Slot Yes, up to 512 GB
Contacts Storage Unlimited Unlimited
SMS Storage Unlimited Unlimited
Music Player Yes Yes
FM Radio
Dual SIM GSM+GSM GSM+GSM (Hybrid SIM slot)
Thickness 7.7 mmMedium 8.8 mmMedium
Weight 208 gmHeavy 222 gmHeavy
Width 77.4 mmInconvenient for one-handed use 76.0 mmOk for one-handed use
Audio Output Lightning USB-C
Water Resistant Yes, IP68 Rated (up to 2m for 30 mins) Yes, IP68 Rated (up to 1.5m for 30 mins)
Battery Capacity 3174 mAh 5000 mAh
Battery Standby N/A N/A
Battery Standby (3G) N/A N/A
Battery Talktime 25.00 hrs N/A
Battery Talktime (3G) N/A N/A
Fast Charging Support Yes, 15W Fast Charging (50% in 30 min) Yes, 45W Fast Charging
Included Fast Charger Yes
Other Battery Parameters Internet Usage Time: upto 13 hrs, Video Playback Time (wireless): upto 15 hrs, Audio Playback Time (wireless): upto 65 hrs N/A
Fingerprint sensor Yes
Other Features Apple Pay (Visa, MasterCard, AMEX certified); Wireless Charging (works with Qi chargers); Siri; Fast Battery Charging: Upto 50% Charge in 30 mins, IP68 Rated; NFC; TV Out; Lightning Connector; Stereo Speakers; Noise Filtration; Supports Dolby Vision and HDR10 Content; AirPlay Mirroring; Photos and Video out to Apple TV (2nd generation or later); Video Mirroring and Video Out Support; AirDrop; AirPlay; AirPrint; Control Centre; Handoff; HomeKit; iCloud; iCloud Keychain; Multitasking; Night Shift; Notification Centre; Siri; Spotlight Search; iMovie; Pages; Keynote; Numbers; iTunes U; GarageBand; Apple TV Remote; iTunes Remote; Music Memos, Siri Shortcuts, Measure In-display Supersonic Fingerprint Sensor; Scratch Resistant Back (Corning Gorilla Glass 6); Samsung DeX (desktop experience support); Bixby; Samsung Pay; Reverse Wireless charging; UFS 3.0 Storage; USB Power Delivery 3.0; 15W Fast Qi/PMA wireless charging; 9W Power bank/Reverse wireless charging; NFC; ANT+ Support; Stereo Speakers; Noise Filtration; Dolby Atmos; AKG sound
2-minute Review [Positives]
  • Continues the gorgeous, premium design language of last year's iPhone X
  • Ditching the home button and moving to a face-based login was a bold move from Apple last year - and its mostly ended up working (with just a bit of a learning curve for previous iPhone users), and thus allowed modern iPhones to go nearly all-screen - the new iPhones this year continue the trend
  • There is now even better water and dust resistance - these iPhones can stay water-safe an extra meter under water, up to 2 meters of immersion for up to 30 minutes (last year's iPhones already survived up to 1 meter) - this phone, according to Apple, will also better handle salt water, chlorinated water and various liquid spills
  • Face ID is now faster than before
  • The display is fantastic, and even slightly better than the already great one on the iPhone x - the new display looks subtly brighter and richer at maximum brightness
  • On the iPhone XS Max series, the display is also much larger, providing an even better experience for watching videos and browsing
  • Apple also claims to have used even more durable, scratch-resistant glass, than on the iPhone X
  • The new iOS 12 brings a number of new features like group notifications and most importantly makes deep performance improvements - Apple is known for regularly tuning its software to perform optimally with the hardware - overall, this as refined and polished a software experience on a smartphone as you can hope for
  • One of the best things about iPhones of course is that you are pretty much guaranteed updates for many years to come (even the best Android phones top out at about 3 years), so as long as you take care of your phone physically, the longevity factor here is really high!
  • The iPhone XS Max is a performance monster - there is no other way of putting it - it still blows the best Android phones away - and the new A12 Bionic processor sets a new standard for performance, and for chip design
  • The most important gains from the crazy fast A12 Bionic are in AI, AR and graphics - AR apps for instance show better, smoother video and higher-resolution backgrounds (Apple says that's due to a greatly improved Neural Engine chip for machine learning and computer vision)
  • The cameras will blow you away, and are easily the best-in-class along with the Pixel 2
  • The dual rear cameras are markedly improved from the iPhone X delivering better photos in both dark and high-contrast environments (Apple calls this "Smart HDR") thanks to a new sensor and the new image processor on the A12 Bionic chip - in practice, this means photos look better whether shot on a nighttime street, in a dark bar or in bright sunlight - focus is faster, too - all these elements combine to produce an even better camera than the already great iPhone X - and the difference is significant enough to get serious photographers interested
  • There is also a new adjustable background depth feature in portrait mode, that allows you to tweak the bokeh level, giving you even more power over your photos
  • Portrait Lighting effects, which digitally remove the background and turn selfies into head shots, now look slightly less artificial
  • The iPhone XS Max's video recording quality might benefit even more from the phone's camera improvements than still photos - the added HDR (better auto contrast, as with the still photos) and extra stabilization will make even your more casual videos look more vibrant, even at 1080p and 30fps - and the microphones now record in stereo, too - very simply, the iPhone's video camera is the best video camera on any phone at this point
  • As with the iPhone X, the iPhone XS Max pumps out some solid stereo sound in landscape mode, but the XS takes it up a notch - they sound even better, crisp and loud - movies and games sound great, almost like listening on an iPad Pro
  • The battery easily lasts the work day, and gives you about an hour more than the iPhone XS - though it's still not world-beating by any definition
  • Better wireless charging than before - Apple says the phone's wireless charging coil has improved so there'll be fewer misses when you place it on a charge pad
  • Support for faster Gigabit LTE
  • Finally, the iPhones this year also add dual SIM support - this is done with a physical nano-SIM + eSIM combination (eSIMs are currently supported in India only on Airtel and Jio)
  • On the whole, the iPhone XS/Max series is pretty much an "S" iPhone series, an overall polish and refinement of the bold iPhone X - they're faster, with better camera hardware that will make everyday photography more professional-looking - for most iPhone X users this will be a skippable upgrade, but for everyone else, the iPhone XS and XS Max, are the very best iPhones (and arguably the best smartphones) you can get - that's of course if you can afford it - these are crazy good phones at crazy high prices!
  • And if you can afford the XS, you might as well give serious consideration to the XS Max too - the bigger screen is definitely an advantage for reading, gaming, watching videos, and typing
  • Top end flagship build quality - the S20 Ultra is a fine piece of hardware that exudes quality and craftsmanship
  • The front looks absolutely gorgeous with an almost edge to edge screen and just a single punch-hole at the top centre - the front glass is slightly less curved along the side edges than previous S series phones
  • The phone is sealed tight and carries an IP68 rating, so you can accidentally dunk it in some water and it’ll survive
  • Stunning 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen that is the best you can buy on any phone right now - the sharpness of the display is simply outstanding with eye-popping clarity
  • The 120Hz refresh rate gives the screen a luscious smoothness that has to be seen to be believed, you’ve got a screen that simply dominates every other panel on the market
  • The screen is also HDR10+ certified, which means the right content will deliver incredible dynamic range - the HDR10 movies on Netflix look really impressive
  • Running the Galaxy S20 Ultra is Samsung's OneUI 2.1 on Android 10 - which, as far as Android UIs go, is one of the most refined, well thought-out experiences
  • Powering the S20 Ultra is the Samsung's own Exynos 990, which is one of the best CPUs available in the market, just a shade behind the Apple's A13 - the phone feels fast all the time, no matter what content or app you throw at the S20 Ultra, it devours the calculations and offers buttery smooth performance
  • The Galaxy S20 Ultra is a camera beast - the camera should be, and is, the number-one selling point for this phone - it’s a monster of an imaging system and is more advanced than just about anything you’ve seen before
  • Samsung gave the Galaxy S20 Ultra an impressive quad-camera system on the rear - the standard lens boasts a 108MP sensor, joined by an ultra wide-angle 12MP camera, an optical telephoto 48MP camera, and a time-of-flight camera to help process depth information
  • The main 108MP sensor is a beast, the base setting uses a process called nona binning to merge nine pixels to take 12MP shots, most standard daytime shots look nearly perfect - you can opt to shoot the full 108MP at any time, the full resolution shots are indeed impressive in their detail and the noise isn’t bad either
  • 48MP telephoto lens is capable of 10x lossless zoom and up to 100x digital zoom - the S20 Ultra’s mix of sophisticated hardware and software deliver a precise images that are much clearer than anything else in the market (though, the 100x zoom is just impractical and shots come out blurry)
  • The S20 Ultra’s 12MP Ultra-wide lens churns out exceptional results, delivering eye-catching shots, even in challenging lighting conditions
  • The low-light shots turn impressive, even in incredibly dark situations, the clarity is quite impressive, and the colours are perfect with little noise - the night mode further improves the quality with brighter and colourful images (though, the Pixel and iPhones still do a slightly better job in low light)
  • The most standout camera feature on the S20 Ultra is Single Take mode - when engaged, Single Take records a 10-second video and snaps multiple images, giving you an entire gallery of options to choose from and share
  • Video recording with the phone looks amazing - it’s sharp, colourful, properly exposed, and on-point when it comes to white balance - video also supports live focus mode, this uses the ToF camera to help judge depth and create a portrait-like effect when capturing video - it is also capable of capturing 8K videos (though, the use case for 8K is very limited)
  • The Galaxy S20 Ultra has improved ten-fold in Live Focus mode - the S20 Ultra captures very realistic photos and is a massive step up from the portrait mode in Samsung’s prior phones (though, iPhone 11 series is still the champ in portrait shots)
  • The 40MP selfie camera does a fine job - you get a worryingly clear view of your pores in good light, and the target resolution dips in low light to keep images clean and bright
  • A pair of USB-C headphones is included in the box
  • Very good stereo speakers
  • Good battery life with the massive 5000 mAh cell, which is the biggest yet in a Galaxy S series device - you will get a comfortable one day of use
  • Sufficient fast charging with the supplied 25W charger (supports upto 45W charging) - it boosts the battery by 50% after just 27 minutes
  • Also supports 15W wireless charging, and it can fill the battery to 50% in just 35 minutes on a charging pad
  • It’s honestly a ridiculous phone, a hyper car of flagship handsets, among sports cars - the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra offers pretty much every feature any phone owner could want - it has a gorgeous screen, classy hardware, wicked performance, good battery life, and capable cameras, if you have the means and the desire to own the most advanced phone on the market - go buy it (though, it’s also huge, heavy, and as pricey as they come)
2-minute Review [Negatives]
  • Headphone jack dongles are now no longer included in the retail package - which means you will have to rely on Apple's included lightning port earphones (or purchase wireless earphones)
  • No fast charger included in the retail box - Apple only includes a 5-watt basic Lightning iPhone charger in-box - a fast charger will need to be purchased separately
  • The in-display fingerprint sensor is unreliable - it’s slower than other sensors on competition and far less accurate
  • Aesthetically, the S20 Ultra looks dull, the colour selection is particularly disappointing (just grey & black) - the huge camera module doesn't help either
  • It is also enormous and requires two hands to use most of the time - it doesn’t fit well in pockets, despite its slippery surfaces, and more or less requires a case for protection, which will only make it bigger
  • The phone just takes a half a tick longer to grab focus than it should, and when shooting video, it’ll lose focus and have to hunt for it again
  • It also have problems when it sees faces in the frame, it smoothens the skin tones excessively and brightens the whole scene unnecessarily
  • Overall, while Samsung has created flagship lever cameras that compete at the top level and comes out as champs in many situations, they are still slightly behind the iPhone cameras, that are more consistent and don't rely on just numbers, but quality
  • That said, the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra isn't the best phone for everyone - a wider majority of people will do just fine with the Samsung Galaxy S20 or Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, you'll get the same fast processor, 120Hz display and improved cameras (minus the powerful zoom)
Expert Reviews
  1. Has one very big trump card - the large 6.5" OLED screen - the largest screen ever on an iPhone
    gsmarena.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. The iPhone XS and XS Max are your best choice if you’re looking for a no-compromise smartphone experience (and money’s not an issue)
    phonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  3. An evolution, not a revolution
    wired.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. The iPhone XS, and XS Max are solid updates to a winning formula
    theverge.com in-depth Read Review »
  5. As great as the new iPhone XS models are, it's difficult to really recommend them to anyone who isn't swimming in money
    gadgets.ndtv.com in-depth Read Review »
  6. The best iPhone ever...but given the ambitious pricing, only meant for a very select audience
    digit.in in-depth Read Review »
  7. Going for the gold - the monstrous performance and cameras will blow you away
    mashable.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. Greatest iPhone ever, but Android flagships are way ahead
    firstpost.com in-depth Read Review »
  9. Crazy good phones at crazy high prices
    indiatoday.in in-depth Read Review »
  10. cnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  11. engadget.com in-depth Read Review »
  12. techradar.com in-depth Read Review »
  13. forbes.com in-depth Read Review »
  14. independent.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  15. telegraph.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  16. bgr.in in-depth Read Review »
  17. androidauthority.com in-depth Read Review »
  18. indianexpress.com in-depth Read Review »
  19. economictimes.indiatimes.com in-depth Read Review »
  20. alphr.com in-depth Read Review »
  21. news18.com in-depth Read Review »
  22. expertreviews.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  23. tomsguide.com in-depth Read Review »
  24. thequint.com in-depth Read Review »
  25. zdnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  26. slashgear.com in-depth Read Review »
  27. cnbc.com in-depth Read Review »
  28. t3.com in-depth Read Review »
  29. gadgetsnow.com in-depth Read Review »
  30. techadvisor.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  31. arstechnica.com in-depth Read Review »
  32. techcrunch.com hands-on Read Review »
  33. digitaltrends.com hands-on Read Review »
  34. gizmodo.com hands-on Read Review »
  1. At the Ultra's asking price, you deserve to be spoiled, and you deserve to be getting magic, and since that's not the case, so check out the more affordable Galaxy S20s
    gsmarena.com in-depth Read Review »
  2. The S20 Ultra will likely impress you, especially if you can stomach its price
    phonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  3. Camera is amazing but battery life and design aren't
    cnet.com in-depth Read Review »
  4. People who care only about getting the best of the best, the S20 Ultra is an excellent device... aside from the cameras
    engadget.com in-depth Read Review »
  5. A phone that's close to perfect
    wired.com in-depth Read Review »
  6. Samsung has certainly proved that it can make a fast, powerful, imposing phone... but it got caught assuming powerful hardware is enought
    theverge.com in-depth Read Review »
  7. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is one of the best devices that Samsung has put out yet
    gadgets.ndtv.com in-depth Read Review »
  8. If you were ever considering switching from a high-end Apple iPhone, now’s the time as the S20 Ultra eclipses every other phone in nearly every power use case
    forbes.com in-depth Read Review »
  9. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is a powerful phone with crazy specs... but it's unlikely you'll use its special features on a daily basis
    mashable.com in-depth Read Review »
  10. It’s the top dog, the king of the hill, the phone to beat
    androidauthority.com in-depth Read Review »
  11. Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra is as exciting as it is outrageously expensive
    expertreviews.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  12. The Galaxy S20 Ultra is the ultimate phone, if you're willing to pay the ultimate price
    tomsguide.com in-depth Read Review »
  13. Samsung's biggest and most expensive phone delivers in almost every way
    androidcentral.com in-depth Read Review »
  14. Outmuscles just about any other Android phone you care to name
    stuff.tv in-depth Read Review »
  15. It’s a powerhouse of a phone, beautifully constructed, with a tremendous display and no shortage of features
    slashgear.com in-depth Read Review »
  16. If you are a tech enthusiast and have pockets deep enough to wield it, then the S20 Ultra is impossible not to recommend
    t3.com in-depth Read Review »
  17. The Galaxy S20 Ultra’s five cameras offer about as much fun as you can have shooting with a phone
    wired.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  18. Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra is a high-performance phone with a great screen and some of the best battery life we've seen from a Samsung flagship in some years
    finder.com.au in-depth Read Review »
  19. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra is full of unmatched hardware innovations... but too pricey to recommend
    pcmag.com in-depth Read Review »
  20. The S20 Ultra is Samsung doing what Samsung does best, putting class-leading hardware on devices before anyone else
    gizmodo.com in-depth Read Review »
  21. fonearena.com in-depth Read Review »
  22. digitaltrends.com in-depth Read Review »
  23. news18.com in-depth Read Review »
  24. livemint.com in-depth Read Review »
  25. zeebiz.com in-depth Read Review »
  26. gadgetsnow.com in-depth Read Review »
  27. androidpolice.com in-depth Read Review »
  28. deccanchronicle.com in-depth Read Review »
  29. techadvisor.co.uk in-depth Read Review »
  30. timesnownews.com in-depth Read Review »
  31. thenewsminute.com in-depth Read Review »
  32. techradar.com hands-on Read Review »
  33. trustedreviews.com hands-on Read Review »
  34. pocket-lint.com hands-on Read Review »
  35. indiatoday.in hands-on Read Review »
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Official Website Official Website » Official Website »
Unofficial specs? N/A N/A
Individual Review 2
  • Individual Review 2
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