Another year, another battle between Samsung and Apple. We recently saw what Samsung is bringing to the table this year with the release of the Galaxy Note 10+, and now it's Apple's turn. For those who want a truly large device, Apple is offering the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Let's see how they match up.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is a follow-up to the well-received iPhone XS Max. In addition to the name change, the new phone brought several new features, including a sizable screen upgrade (the largest ever) and 4 GB of RAM (the most ever). We already compared last year's model to the Note 10+, and it did okay, but the new iPhone 11 Pro Max should put up a much closer fight.
The iPhone 11 Pro Max is nearly a quarter of an inch shorter than the Note 10+, which should help with one-handed usage. It uses the Apple A13 Bionic, the latest SoC from Apple. This system-on-a-chip offers better CPU and GPU performance than the Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 found in the Galaxy Note 10+ in most benchmarks. It also offers better power efficiency as it is better integrated into iOS 13, which Apple also creates.
Speaking of battery life, Apple has made a huge strides thanks to the A13 Bionic's power efficiency and the lower power consumption of the new Super Retina XDR display. While the battery is smaller than the Galaxy Note 10+'s, thanks to improved integration and better power management of iOS 13, battery life should be better. And just like the Galaxy Note 10+, it supports fast wired charging via USB Power Delivery and wireless charging.
Unlike the Galaxy Note 10+, the 11 Pro Max runs the latest version of its operating system from day one. iOS 13 includes 200+ new features and changes, making it one of the bigger updates in years. While Android 10 is no slouch on changes, it will be a little while before the Galaxy Note 10+ gets it (around five months, based on last year's updates).
Finally, there are aspects that previously existed between the two smartphone lines. Apple's Face ID versus Samsung's fingerprint scanner (now an in-display fingerprint scanner) is one example. One gives you the convenience of scanning your thumb, the other let you quickly unlock your phone even when your hands are tied (and is more accurate). The iPhone 11 Pro Max still has the alert slider for easy management of notification sounds, while the Galaxy Note 10+ does not.
Besides the obvious differences between Android and iOS, the reason you should choose the Galaxy Note 10+ is if you want the best combination of specs on a smartphone. The Galaxy Note 10+ doesn't lead the pack in all specs (we already highlighted a few things the iPhone 11 Pro Max does better), but no phone does as many things well as the Note 10+.
Let's start with the improved display. The Galaxy S10+ already managed to receive top marks from DisplayMate with its Dynamic AMOLED display. Well, the Galaxy Note 10+ improved in almost all categories, setting multiple records for DisplayMate's smartphone testing. This is great news for a phone with a 6.8-inch display, making it perfect for watching videos. Unlike the iPhone 11 Pro Max, it has no notch, but it does have a punch hole that houses the front-facing camera, which is positioned right in the middle of the top edge for minimal interference. The Galaxy Note 10+ also has a 1440p display, making it much sharper than the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
If you love to use a stylus, there is no other flagship on the market with this relic of smartphone history. However, this isn't the same stylus found in the Palm Treo 650. The S Pen in the Galaxy Note 10+ is powered by Bluetooth, which allows for Air Commands, gestures you can perform remotely to control the phone. And new to this year's Galaxy Note 10+ is that Samsung is opening up an SDK to third-party developers. This will allow more than just first-party Samsung apps to include native support for the S Pen.
Until Apple proves otherwise, Android devices are the only option when it comes to expandable storage via a memory card. The Galaxy Note 10+ supports up 2 TB microSD cards. Combine that with the 256 GB or 512 GB of internal storage, and you have more storage than you'll know what to do with it. The internal storage is UFS 3.0, a standard which uses two lanes for faster read and writes speeds. However, Samsung is using a new file storage, which furthers the UFS 3.0 improvements resulting in the one of the fastest read and write speeds on a smartphone. In practical terms, this means games and apps load faster and pictures save faster.
While Galaxy Note 10+ users will have to wait a little while for the Android 10, they do have One UI. This is the skin that runs on top of Android that changes the look of the OS and adds features beyond those that come with the version Google supplies. One UI has a ton of customization options, including its own app store (on top of the Play Store), that has Samsung-developed apps which let you tweak the UI.
Finally, you won't find a faster charger than the one available to the Galaxy Note 10+. For an additional $50, you buy a 45 W charger that can charge the 4,300 mAh battery of the Galaxy Note 10+ to 61% in 30 minutes. It also supports faster wireless charging, up to 15 W.