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iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Galaxy S21 Ultra: Both cost above Rs 1 lakh in India but only one is worth buying

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and the iPhone 12 pro Max from Apple are two ultra expensive phones. But look closely and you will see that only one of them manages to justify the high price tag.

twitter-logoIndia Today Tech | February 6, 2021 | Updated 12:42 IST

Highlights

  • The Galaxy S21 Ultra price in India starts at Rs 105,999 and it is a poor value for money. 
  • The iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at a price of Rs 129,900 in India though it does offer something extra.
  • Between the S21 Ultra and iPhone 12 Pro Max, users have no reason to pick the Samsung phone. 

Recently when Samsung launched its new phones, the company decided to follow Apple in India in more than one way. One of them was getting rid of the charger and earphones from the phone's bundle. This was done to save the environment, basically the same reason that was cited by Apple earlier when it too removed the charger and earphones from the box as it introduced the iPhone 12 series. Though, in case of Samsung, it is worth highlighting that when Apple had pulled its charger move, Samsung had mocked it. Anyway, a few months later, here we are. The second bit where Samsung followed Apple was in the price of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Like the iPhone 12 Pro phones, the S21 Ultra costs above Rs 1 lakh.

To be precise, the Galaxy S21 Ultra in India costs Rs 105,999. Combined with its size -- it's a large phone -- this means that S21 Ultra aims to compete with the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which is even more expensive at a starting price of Rs 129,900. So, the question then is: If you are spending above Rs 1 lakh on your phone, should you go for the S21 Ultra or should you take your chance with the iPhone 12 Pro Max. And the answer is. simple: unless you are really concerned about saving Rs 24,000, there is absolutely no reason to pick the S21 Ultra over the iPhone 12 Pro Max. At its price, the S21 Ultra is grossly overpriced, and while the iPhone 12 Pro Max can't be called value for money in any sense, it is a unique phone and hence does justify its high price up to an extent.

To understand why we say this you can read the FULL REVIEW OF THE GALAXY S21 ULTRA and the FULL REVIEW OF THE iPHONE 12 PRO MAX. But if you are short on time, here are five reasons why the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a better choice than the S21 Ultra:

1- The design of the iPhone 12 Pro Max is miles ahead of the S21 Ultra. The Samsung phone looks like any generic phone out there, and neither its finish nor the quality of construction matches what Apple achieves in the iPhone 12 Pro Max. The iPhone 12 Pro Max is a dazzling, cohesive phone with clean lines and aesthetically pleasing looks. The S21 Ultra, with its extremely large camera hump that makes it wobble on table as well as makes it top heavy, is just not there in comparison.

2- The software in the Galaxy S21 Ultra is neither here nor there in terms of UI. The OneUI 3.1 is a mis-mash of Android and iOS, and its icon shape as well as colours are not as appealing as the iOS in the iPhone. Worse, it has ads even in first-party apps that are served to users through notification shade. Yikes! And it comes bundled with third-party apps like Facebook, Netflix etc.

3- The iPhone 12 Pro Max is going to last longer. When you are spending a lot of money on a phone, you expect prompt and timely software updates. And you expect big OS updates. iOS and Apple are just better in this aspect. The iPhones usually get four years of software updates, more in most cases. So, if you get the iPhone 12 Pro Max now, you can expect that it will get software updates until 2024 to 2025. There is no such guarantee with the S21 Ultra and even if it gets updates, it is bound to get them with delay, in some cases delay that is as long as long one year or more than that.

4- This is not entirely Samsung's fault, but the way iOS works and the way Android works is different in case of privacy. Android often allows apps, if not third-party then first-party apps from phone makers or Google, to collect more data and use it in more ways that what Apple does on iPhone with the iOS. It is clear that if you care deeply for privacy, the iOS and an iPhone is a better choice. Not only it has more controls available to users through which they can keep apps in check, the better curated app store on iOS also ensures that fewer rogue apps slip past Apple's checks.

5- The iPhone 12 Pro Max is bound to hold up better in value compared to the S21 Ultra a year or two after you bought the phone. In other words, in every way a top of the line iPhone like the 12 Pro Max offers better longevity than a comparable Android phone.

What about camera, performance, display etc?

Some of these things used to matter earlier, but now given how powerful is the hardware, and how well standardised, most of these things are more or less the same in two phones with comparable prices. The A14 Bionic processor is better in every way than the Exynos 2100 in the S21 Ultra but for almost all users both are good enough. The same is with cameras. The S21 Ultra offers a largely usable 10X optical zoom, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max has HDR 10-bit Dolby Vision video recording, and a better main camera.

Both have OLED displays, but the iPhone 12 Pro Max has warmer and truer colours by default while the S21 Ultra has up to 120Hz variable refresh rate that makes the display extremely smooth. Both support fast charging, both support water protection, which in case of S21 Ultra is for 1.5 meters depth and 30 minutes (so no diving in pools with it) while in case of iPhone 12 Pro Max it is up to 30 minutes for 6 meters depth. Both come with extremely loud speakers, both are large and heavy phones, that some users will find cumbersome, though weight is better distributed on the iPhone body.

In other words, apart from the hardware, what nowadays matters more is overall usability, utility and value of the product. On this count, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is a better option compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra for almost everyone.

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