Can Apple beat Samsung’s best?

Can Apple beat Samsung’s best?

Apple has been devoting extra attention to its Pro phones in recent years, adding features that make the higher-end models really stand out from the standard iPhones. That bodes well for the iPhone 16 Pro, which figures to pick up some key new features, especially with its cameras, when it arrives later this year. Will that be enough to propel the new device to a win in an iPhone 16 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra showdown?

We can’t say for certain until the iPhone 16 Pro arrives, and we get a chance to test it. But initial rumors have us excited about the new device since it should adapt the improved telephoto camera that debuted on last year’s iPhone 15 Pro Max. A more powerful processor, larger display and bigger battery could all be in store for the iPhone.

It’s going to need those features because the Galaxy S24 Ultra is already one of the best phones you can buy right now. Samsung’s premier device has a giant screen, top-performing cameras and a powerful system-on-chip that not only helps the phone last a long time on a charge, but also outperforms Apple’s best silicon in some tests.

The iPhone 16 Pro Max may be the closest match to the S24 Ultra. (And we’ve got an iPhone 16 Pro Max vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra preview to see how those phones might measure up.) But the iPhone 16 Pro potentially offers the chance to match the Ultra feature for feature, but at a much lower cost.

Here’s how our iPhone 16 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra comparison is looking with a few months to go before the iPhone 16 Pro’s release.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra is one of the most expensive phones you can buy — certainly the priciest without a folding screen. It costs $1,299, reflecting a $100 price hike from the Galaxy S23 Ultra.

We don’t know what the iPhone 16 Pro is going to cost — pricing rumors really don’t pick up until we get closer to a phone’s launch date — but it’s safe to assume it’s not going to be as expensive as the Galaxy S24 Ultra. The current iPhone 15 Pro comes in at $999 — not cheap by any means, but still $300 less than what Samsung asks. We’re going to assume the iPhone 16 Pro will come in at that same amount until new pricing rumors convince us otherwise.

One note about the price disparity between the two phones — Apple typically includes 128GB of storage in the base model of the iPhone Pro, compared to 256GB for the Galaxy S24 Ultra. There’s a possibility that Apple bumps up the base storage on the iPhone 16 Pro to 256GB, but nothing concrete.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra has been available since the end of January 2024. We’re not expecting the iPhone 16 Pro to arrive until September when the entire iPhone 16 lineup should make its debut.

Apple’s likely to double down on another iPhone 15 Pro addition — the Action button that replaced the mute switch on Pro models, giving users a way to customize a shortcut that they could launch with the press of that button. The Action Button isn’t going anywhere on the iPhone 16 Pro, and it’s likely to be joined by a new Capture button. That addition should make it easier to snap photos without having to launch the Camera app.

The Galaxy S24 Ultra’s biggest design change mirrored an iPhone addition, as Samsung also used titanium in the frame of its premium phone. In addition, the curved display on previous Ultra models gave way to a flat edge-to-edge panel that worked better with the S24 Ultra’s included S Pen.

While we’re on the subject of screens, the Galaxy S24 Ultra’s 6.8-inch panel should continue to loom over the iPhone 16 Pro’s screen, though the disparity may not be as big as in the past. Apple reportedly plans to move from the 6.1-inch display that the iPhone 15 Pro used to a new 6.3-inch panel for the iPhone 16 Pro. That will give iPhone users more screen space to work with, though obviously the Ultra will continue to be the best device for people who want the most display.

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