AppleInsider pits Apple's latest flagship smartphones — the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max — against the comparable Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ to see which truly is the best performer.
Smaller versus larger
On the iPhone side, the Max is endowed with longer battery life and the larger display, with the rest being equal.
For the Galaxy line, the larger S10+ gets a second front-facing camera, a 1TB storage option, the larger display and battery, as well as a ceramic back option.
With that in mind, we will compare both the iPhone 11 Pro to the Galaxy S10 and the iPhone 11 Pro Max to the Galaxy S10+ but our hands-on content will focus primarily around the larger set of handsets.
Each of the competing devices now sports a three-camera system on the rear consisting of telephoto, wide, and ultra-wide lenses.
Samsung offers a 123-degree field of view on its ultra-wide while the iPhone is ever so slightly narrower at 120-degrees. That ultra-wide is also 16MP on the S10 and S10+, and only 12MP on the iPhone 11 Pro and Max.
As we mentioned in our camera comparison test though, the resolution here isn't all that important. Both cameras shoot quality photos, but the iPhone does have less detail when zoomed in. But if you are going to zoom in, might as well switch to the wide or telephoto lens for markedly better shots.
Otherwise, the iPhone has a faster aperture on the 2X telephoto lens (f/2.0) compared to the S10 (f/2.4) but the S10 can jump down to a faster f/1.5 compared to the iPhone's fixed f/1.8 but also defaults to f/2.4.
One difference that does exist is that the S10 isn't capable of taking portrait selfies, though the S10+ adds a second front-facing camera for just that reason. Both the small and larger iPhone 11 Pros are able to take Portrait mode images thanks to the True Depth camera system.
Size and display
The iPhone 11 Pro comes in a 5.8-inch size and iPhone 11 Pro Max comes in a larger 6.5-inch size. The Galaxy S10 is a middling 6.1-inch and the S10+ is 6.4-inch.
Of the smaller pair, the iPhone 11 Pro has a resolution of 2436x1125 up against the 3040x1440 of the S10. The S10 has a higher pixel density, but side-by-side you are going to have a hard time discerning that without getting far too close for comfort.
Turning to the larger of the two, the S10+ has the same QHD+ 3040x1440 resolution of the 5.8-inch S10 whereas the iPhone 11 Pro Max clocks in at 2688x1242.
Apple and Samsung approached the previously mentioned front-facing cameras in two very different ways with each of their respective phones. Apple has continued to use its tell-tale notch that debuted with the iPhone X and the True Depth camera system. Samsung has mixed things up by going with a hole-punch look.
A hole is placed in the display right where the one or two cameras sit.
Each method has its benefits. The hole punch takes up less space overall, but since the holes still reside in the status bar area, it is mostly a wash either way. Samsung does have the ability to disable the status bar which gives you more screen, but then you lose your status bar...
Needless to say, Apple is still utilizing its Face ID technology for phone authentication on the back of its Secure Enclave within its A13 Bionic processor.
Samsung is using its own facial recognition though the results are a bit more mixed. It doesn't capture a 3D image map of your face, and instead uses a basic picture. That is why there are countless videos and sources around of the S10 being fooled by something as simple as a video of the owner's face.
To go with its passable facial recognition, the S10 also has a built-in ultrasonic fingerprint sensor in-screen. The fingerprint sensor is more secure than Samsung's facial recognition, but it too was fool with a simple 3D printed fingerprint.
Face ID has been fooled in the past as well, though it is far more difficult and the last reported attempt required a "3D-printed visage constructed of stone powder, with 2D-printed eyes" and isn't near as easy as a simple video.
The Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10+ are sporting an 8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 processor, compared to the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max's Apple-designed A13 Bionic.
In the Geekbench benchmark, the S10 earned a 730 single-core and 2517 for the multi-core.
Our iPhone pulled a massive 1330 for the single-core and an even more impressive 3324 in the multi. This is a huge discrepancy as the A13 Bionic is only a 6-core chip, but with Apple's melding of software and hardware and doing the design themselves, they can really get the most out of the silicon.
In the Speedometer browser benchmark, which tests the performance of web applications, iPhone 11 Pro managed a huge 150 runs/minute. The S10+ only managed a 60.39 runs/minute.
Finally, we ran the multi-hyphenate Antutu test. iPhone garnered a cumulative 431,803, far above the 359,947 of the S10. It pulled ahead primarily in the GPU and memory portions of the test.
You can peruse all the specs, compare all the figures, but when it ultimately comes down to it, for most people the difference is between an iPhone versus a Galaxy.
There are many small, ineffable differences that come with one platform over the other and it can be as simple as preference for one platform for the other.
It's indisputable that both (or all four) of these phones are outstanding and pack an amazing amount of tech inside. Each are the flagship models for their respective manufacturers, yet people will ultimately be drawn to one over the other.
Looking at the raw comparison above, the iPhone wins in performance with the displays and cameras largely being a wash. Going on that, we'd lean towards the iPhone as the better of the two.
But it isn't that simple — never is.
Where to buy
Meanwhile, wireless carriers are also offering a variety of incentives on the new iPhone 11 Pro, from BOGO offers to trade-in deals on devices in any condition. Highlights are below.
iPhone 11 Pro deals
- Verizon Wireless: Get up to $450 off the iPhone 11 Pro Max via bill credits with select trade-in and Unlimited plan.
- AT&T Wireless: Buy an eligible iPhone and get the iPhone 11 for free when you buy both on a qualifying installment plan with an eligible AT&T unlimited plan.
- Sprint: Starting at $12.50 per month with Sprint Flex lease and select trade-ins in any condition
- Walmart: Save up to $100 on the iPhone 11 Pro. Offer valid only on purchase with installment plan through AT&T or Verizon.
- Sam's Club: Get a $150 Sam's Club gift card when you buy and activate.
|Samsung Galaxy S10||Samsung Galaxy S10+||iPhone 11 Pro||iPhone 11 Pro Max|
|Processor||8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon||8-core Qualcomm Snapdragon||6-core A13 Bionic||6-core A13 Bionic|
|Screen size (ins)||6.1||6.4||5.8||6.5|
|Resolution||3040 x 1440||3040 x 1440||2436 x 1125||2688 x 1242|
|Display type||Dynamic AMOLED||Dynamic AMOLED||Super Retina XDR||Super Retina XDR|
|Rear cameras||12 MP, 16 MP, 12 MP||12 MP, 16 MP, 12 MP||12 MP||12 MP|
|Ultra Wide Angle (Degrees)||123||123||120||120|
|Front camera||10 MP||10 MP||12 MP||12 MP|
|Dimensions (mm)||149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8||157.6 x 74.1 x 7.8||144 x 71.4 x 8.1||158 x 77.8 x 8.1|