Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Samsung S21 Ultra

The Superphones from Cupertino and Seoul that fights for dominance. Posted by erwinkarim on 4:36 PM, February 12, 2021 Last updated on 11:07 PM, February 12, 2021 Filed in: android, iphone, comparison,

It’s the age old question, iPhone or Android? 12 Pro or S21 Ultra? Freedom or Ecosystem? England or France? It’s hard to answer these despite both of them are going to celebrate 15 years helping running the world together next year. Take a look at what the best Cupertino and Seoul has to offer.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max

Apple flagship that was just released in Oct 2020, delayed to their typical timeline because of that weird way 2020 happen. Despite that, Apple managed to make a record breaking over $100 billion in a span of just 3 months. That’s more than a billion a day in all thanks to the new iPhone 12.

Apple: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

The iPhone 12 Pro represents a long accumulation of work done by Apple to create the ultimate expression of Apple technology and manufacturing prowess in a single phone. The end result is the A14 bionic, the fastest mobile chip on the market, even faster than most laptops on the market.

Apple approach to new smartphone features is more gradual than Samsung, but Apple focus on being best in class, not first in class. Apple didn’t come up with night photo mode, but the night photo is done in real time instead of post processing. Apple is not the first to offer 5G, but the US version support sub-millimeter waves that is not available on early 5G phones.

iPhone 12 Pro is Apple first new design in 5 years. This time it has taken build quality to the next level. When the first iPhone 6, a new design at that time, comes out, people could bend it in half using their bare hands. Now with the iPhone 12 Pro, it is so solidly built to withstand bending.

One thing that the iPhone 12 has an edge over android is how tightly integrated the Apple ecosystem is. Apple design the iPhone not only to be a great product by itself, but to be a greater product when placed in the ecosystem. You can use you iPhone to unlock your Apple Watch. Your unlocked Apple watch can unlock your phone when you are using your mask. You can quickly scan documents or take picture and quickly transfer it to your Mac. You can have free audio and video calls if you contact is using Apple product. You can transfer your songs that you are listening to your iPhone to HomePod Mini by just tapping the top of the HomePod. And the list goes on. But the ecosystem is a double edge sword, the more you are in it the harder it is to go out.

Layout has not change since 2007, why change if it’s not broken?

The main thing Apple ecosystem lords over Apple is the customizable nature of the Android platform. Apple way of doing things is that they will take time to do it right but that means things will not change fast or change at all. However, this means you can count your experience from one Apple phone to another will be consistent and you will find out new features as you use the phone more and more.


  • Fast chip
  • Great computational photography
  • Ecosystem that extends your capabilties
  • Long support from Apple.
  • Tried and Tested design


  • Ecosystem that trapped you in the garden
  • Design that never changed since iPhone 1.
  • For most part, the experience between most expensive iPhone and least expensive iPhone does not differ much.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung has always showcase what’s possible on the android platform. often pushing it further and higher than the platform owner, Google. The S-series is always Samsung way to show off its technological prowess and the future of the Android platform. It technology often trickle down to other lines such as the A-line or the Note-line.

The camera setup packs a punch, including the crazy 100x space zoom.

The S21 has a bigger and better camera system than Apple. 108MP phone is mind blowing for a fully bodied camera, let alone for a phone. 100x space zoom shows how close Samsung is pushing the laws of physics. To put that in a large camera is a challenge, imagine putting it in your pocket. While it does not have a LiDAR sensor like the iPhone 12 Pro, it comes with 5 lens to ensure that you have the best camera setup, as the saying goes, the best camera is the one that you take with you.

Samsung ecosystem is consider a close rival with Apple’s own, the Samsung Galaxy Pods, a charge pads that can charge 3 items at the same time. The larger battery allows the S21 to charge other devices, including smartphones which is handy. It’s also have support for stylus devices which in Apple’s world, you have to go to iPad for that.

Evolution in Android phones is a stronger factor than Apple. They are not afraid to shake things up. Apple’s camera position has not change since 2007.

While iOS evolution is like watching paint dry, Android shouts “PARKOUR!!”

The major thing that I would applaud Android platform is their readiness to try out new things unlike the more reserved pace of Apple. Android, you want an app drawer? you got it. Fordable screen? You got it? Tablet size to desktop size in an instant? You got it. It is a hit and miss game, but a lot of new innovation comes here only to be copied and polished by Apple, which a lot of the Android faithful says Apple copying Android. Which is true, but with a caveat. This kind of development comes with plus and minus which means that the feature that you like today might not be available on the next release, and the Android phone of today might not be upgradeable to the next version since they might change things enough that the new version will break compatibility.

In the end, the Samsung S21 Ultra is a solid platform for the Android user who wants the best in a phone that is not Apple.

For :-

  • High build quality. As good as Apple
  • Capabilities. More camera, bigger screen.
  • Android platform is not afraid to move fast and break things

Against :-

  • Ecosystem is not as polished as Apple
  • Support might not be as long as Apple


In this day and age with almost 3 billion smartphone users, each of the user are firmly in each camp. Switchers are here and there but there’s one thing I can be sure of: Android or Apple, you have a solid platform to perform your daily miracles.

Specs Comparison

Feature iPhone 12 Pro Max Galaxy S21 Ultra
Manufacturer Apple Samsung
Operating System Apple iOS Google Android
CPU / GPU Apple A14 Bionic Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
RAM (GB) 6 16
Storage (GB) 128, 256, or 512 128, 256 or 512
Screen Size 6.7" OLED Super Retina XDR 6.8" Dynamic AMOLED
Screen resolution (pixels) 2778 x 1284 3200 x 1440
Typical max brightness (nits) 800 ??
Typical HDR max brightness (nits) 1200 ??
Rear Camera System
Ultra wide 13mm f/2.4 13mm f/2.2
Wide 26mm f/1.6 24mm f/1.8
Telephoto 52mm f/2.0 70mm f/2.4
Ultra Telephoto - 240mm f/4.9
LIDAR scanner Yes No
RAW? Apple ProRAW No
8K Video (fps) No Upto 24
4K Video (fps) 24, 30 or 60 30 or 60
HDR Video recording Dolby Vision HDR10+
Front Camera System
Front Camera 23mm f/2.2 26mm f/2.2
Dimensions and Weight
Height (mm) 160.8 165.1
Width (mm) 78.1 75.6
Depth (mm) 7.4 8.9
Weight (g) 228 229


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