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Home News Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra vs. iPhone 12 Pro Max

The iPhone 12 Pro Max is Apple’s top-of-the-line smartphone for 2020. It combines a gleaming 6.7-inch Super Retina OLED screen with the super-fast A14 Bionic processor, 6GB of RAM, and a highly capable triple-lens camera. If you want the biggest and best iPhone available right now, it will almost certainly be your first port of call. However, it’s not the only super-phone currently available at the moment, with the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra also offering some of the highest specs you can possibly find on any smartphone.

Assuming that you don’t have a strong preference for iOS over Android (or vice versa), which one should you get? We try to answer this question by comparing the iPhone 12 Pro Max with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra across a variety of categories. We take a closer look at their designs, displays, performance, batteries, cameras, software, and special features. This should help you decide which is the premium flagship for you.


Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
iPhone 12 Pro Max
164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm (6.49 x 3.04 x 0.32 inches)
160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm (6.33 x 3.07 x 0.29 inches)
208 grams (7.33 ounces)
228 grams (8.04 ounces)
Screen size
6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
Screen resolution
3200 x 1440 pixels (511 pixels per inch)
2778 x 1284 pixels (458 pixels per inch)
Operating system
Android 10, One UI 2.1
iOS 14
 256GB, 512GB
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
MicroSD card slot
Tap-to-pay services
Google Pay, Samsung Pay
Apple Pay
Exynos 990 (global), Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 Plus (USA)
A14 Bionic
Triple-lens 108-megapixel, 12MP telephoto, 12MP ultrawide rear, 10MP front,
Triple-lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide and 12MP telephoto rear, 12MP front
8K at 24 fps, 4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps
4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 120 fps
Bluetooth version
USB 3.2, USB-C
Fingerprint sensor
Yes, in-display
No, Face ID instead
Water resistance

Fast charging (25W)

Qi wireless charging (15W)


Fast charging (20W)

Qi wireless charging (15W)

App marketplace
Google Play Store
Apple App Store
Network support
All carriers
All carriers
Mystic Bronze, Mystic Black, Mystic White
Silver, Graphite, Gold, Pacific Blue
Buy from
Samsung, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart
Apple, AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart
Review score
4.5 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The iPhone 12 Pro Max and Note 20 Ultra both differ noticeably from their predecessors. The iPhone 12 Pro Max features flat-edged sides (for the first time since the iPhone 5) and a narrower notch, while the Note 20 Ultra sports a larger camera module than the Note 10 Plus and also has angular edges. Each smartphone looks very sharp in its own right, so it really depends on your tastes as to which one has a better design. That said, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a touch bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro Max, and given that the iPhone is already very big as it is, this can mean that some people with average-to-small hands may find Samsung’s device a little uncomfortable with prolonged use.

Things become more objectively different with the displays. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra boasts a 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED screen, which provides a resolution of 3200 x 1440 pixels, working out to 511 pixels per inch. It looks absolutely stunning, and while the iPhone 12 Pro Max is also gorgeous, it offers “only” 458 pixels per inch. This is still impressive, but you will notice a difference, particularly when Samsung’s phone supports a super-smooth 120Hz refresh rate, something that the iPhone 12 Pro Max lacks.

The 12 Pro Max and Note 20 Ultra are both IP68 certified, indicating that they can resist exposure to dust and immersion in shallow water for up to 30 minutes. The iPhone 12 Pro Max may be a touch more durable, since it incorporates Corning’s Ceramic Shield glass. However, with a tangibly sharper and more fluid display, we’re giving a narrow win for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra in this round.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Performance, battery life, and charging

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both the Note 20 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max house state-of-the-art processors. The Note 20 Ultra ships with the Snapdragon 865 Plus in the United States, while the iPhone comes with Apple’s A14 Bionic chip. It’s likely Apple’s processor is more capable, because it introduces 5nm technology, allowing for a greater number of transistors. On the other hand, it packs only 50% of the RAM you’ll find in the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, at 6GB and 12GB. This probably means any differences even themselves out, seeing as how iOS and Android phones use RAM differently.

Samsung’s device gains a slight advantage as it comes with 256GB of internal memory as standard, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max provides you with 128GB. When you also factor in the Note 20 Ultra’s MicroSD card slot, this means the Samsung phone is probably the better choice for those who need extra storage space.

The battery is a difficult one to compare at the moment, since Apple doesn’t officially release the battery sizes of its devices, while we haven’t had enough time to fully test the iPhone 12 Pro Max. As for the Note 20 Ultra, it’s powered by a 4,500mAh cell, which allows it to last a full day even with heavy use. It’s possible that the iPhone comes close to matching this, with our review of the iPhone 11 Pro Max finding that it comfortably lasted a full day under similar conditions.

Because we haven’t given the iPhone 12 Pro Max a full review, we’re going to play it safe and call this round a tie. Both phones are likely to handle apps and games just as well, and while the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is more generous with storage space, this may be outweighed by a potentially superior battery from the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Winner: Tie


Judging purely by the specs, the Note 20 Ultra should surely have the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s camera beat. It comes with a 108-megapixel main camera lens, as well as a 12MP telephoto and a 12MP ultrawide. This triple-lens setup is the same as the 12 Pro Max’s, although Apple gives you only 12MP with the main wide lens.

This sounds like the iPhone 12 Pro Max should underperform significantly compared to the Note 20 Ultra. Nonetheless, as smartphones such as the Pixel 4a demonstrate, camera quality is as much about software as hardware. This very much applies to the iPhone 12 Pro Max, which will use the same A.I.-based software, the same Smart HDR, and the same Night Mode as the iPhone 11 Pro Max, as well as a new optical image stabilization system and a new 7-element lens. It should prove to be one of the very best smartphone cameras around, and will almost certainly give the highly versatile Note 20 Ultra a run for its money.

As with the performance round, Apple may (at least) equal the core performance of the Note 20 Ultra, but Samsung’s device throws in a few extra bells and whistles that potentially make it more attractive for some users. In this case, the Note 20 Ultra lets you shoot 8K video at 24 frames per second, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max will only go so far as 4K at 60fps. Still, 8K remains a relatively marginal standard at the moment, so only a small minority of users will feel the difference.

This round is another tie. We haven’t fully tested the iPhone 12 Pro Max yet, and while it lacks a 108MP wide camera lens, it could actually end up providing a much more versatile camera than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

It’s Android versus iOS time. The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra runs on Samsung’s OneUI 2 OS, layered over Android 10. The iPhone 12 Pro Max uses iOS 14. Which one is better? The answer to this question is highly subjective, so we’re going to refrain from giving a definitive answer here. Needless to say, OneUI 2 is one of the best Android skins around, upping the customizability of Android, increasing its speed, and also making its design bolder and more colorful. The recently launched iOS 14 is also excellent, providing one of the biggest iOS updates in years, with its App Library, home screen widgets, Translate app, and back-tap shortcut.

Things are less subjective when it comes to updates. There’s little doubt that Apple is much better at rolling out new software versions in a more timely manner than Samsung, while it also supports its devices for longer. This round is therefore a win for the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

Winner: iPhone 12 Pro Max

Special features

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra and the iPhone 12 Pro Max are both 5G phones. Unfortunately, the iPhone 12 Pro Max won’t support the faster mmWave 5G band outside of the United States, whereas Samsung’s phone supports mmWave in all regions where it’s available.

The Note 20 Ultra also comes with a stylus, the famous S-Pen. This effectively transforms it into a phablet, making it highly useful for professionals and creatives. If you need to take notes quickly or want to draw on your phone, it will noticeably improve your productivity.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max doesn’t offer stylus compatibility as a special feature. That said, it does find Apple reintroducing the MagSafe magnetic attachment system, meaning that you can use it with a range of first- and third-party magnetic accessories. We’re obviously not sure what the full range of these will be at the moment, but with wallet mounts and wireless chargers already released, they should prove helpful.

Another special feature worth mentioning is that the Note 20 Ultra has been built specifically for streaming Xbox games, a first among smartphones. You will need a subscription to Xbox Game Pass (at $15 per month) to stream titles, but given the Note 20 Ultra’s processing power, it really does transform it into a mini-console.

Taken with the stylus and the wider 5G support, the streaming capability means that this round is another win for Samsung’s phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Price and availability

Prices for the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra start at $1,299. It’s supported by all major carriers and sold by most major online retailers.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max begins from $1,099 and is available to preorder from Apple now. It will be supported by all major carriers and sold by the vast majority of major retailers.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both smartphones are eye-wateringly good, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is just about the overall winner here. It boasts a sharper, more dynamic screen, more internal memory as standard, and a wider range of special features. It also matches the performance of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, is likely to have a similarly long-lasting battery, and will keep photographers comparably happy.

However, keep in mind we haven’t finished testing the iPhone 12 Pro Max yet, so this could change after our review is complete. It is also worth noting, however, that the iPhone 12 Pro Max is $200 cheaper than the Note 20 Ultra. Given that both phones are already pretty expensive, this savings might be enough to sway some people who don’t want to spend that much. Particularly when the iPhone 12 Pro Max is already a truly excellent phone.


Google Docs adds improvements to importing PDF’s

Google Docs is probably the software of choice when users want to collaborate on a document or want to access their documents from anywhere. Now, it is further solidifying this position with improved PDF importing.Google mentions multiple updates that make these converted PDFs better, in areas such as:Image imports, including text wrappingText styles and formatting, such as when text is underline or struck through or is in a different frontLayout conversion, with support for tables with borders, multi-column layouts and improvements in content orderingIn this video from Google, you can see them importing a recipe for Strawberry Vanilla Pancakes in PDF form including a two-column layout, a red font, and a table with borders. Google Docs handles all these things seamlessly.This update is available to:Google Workspace Essentials, Business Starter, Business Standard, Business Plus, Enterprise Essentials, Enterprise Standard, and Enterprise Plus, as well as G Suite Basic, Business, Education, Enterprise for Education, and Nonprofits customers(essentially everyone) and will roll out in the next few days if it’s not already available.See the announcement from Google.

Anker PowerHouse II 400 review

I feel like most of us have a power bank laying around somewhere these days. Whether it’s in the office drawer or in your daily bag, you have some backup power supply options when you know you’ll be away from a power outlet for extended periods. But what about for multiple devices while, say, on a camping trip?Anker has you covered there as well with the new PowerHouse II 400 power station. Whether you need it as just an emergency power option or extended trips to nature, I think Anker has a real winner to make sure you have all the charging needs that might come up.DesignThe Anker PowerHouse II reminds me of a matte-black personal cooler in size and form. And instead of cool beverages, you get a bevy of ports to charge up and power devices!At the top of the bank is a very sturdy handle to conveniently tote around all this power.Anker has provided you with eight total ports for various charging needs. Flanking each side of the front of the PowerHouse II is a DC and Car outlet combo on the left with an AC outlet plug on the right. The DC female adapters look to be the standard 5.5mm variety that is common to power many small light fixtures, etc that you’ll find in RV and boat cabins.In the middle, you have all your mobile-friendly charging methods and the DC power in for when you need to recharge the PowerHouse II. The top three USB-As and the USB-C ports all support Anker’s PowerIQ for a quick charge — up to 30W on A ports and 60Watts on the single C port. 1 of 3 Above each charging method is a silver power button. This activates each of the three clusters of ports for that power up you need. Atop these buttons is an LED display for keeping you up to date on the status of the PowerHouse II with info such as output wattage and estimated percentage until the battery pack is empty with the current charging.Power…more powerThe PowerHouse II is aptly named. This giant battery pack from Anker has an amazing 27,000mAh internal pack with a full output of up to 400Watt hours. When it comes to portable device charging, I’ve yet to find a device that supports quick charge to take longer than an hour to get me back to full power.This includes my Dell laptop. Using the AC to USB-C charger at 65Watts gets me a full top off in around 50 minutes and barely makes a dent in the PowerHouse. Honestly, I’ve had a hard time depleting this machine.The hardest I’ve pulled it is a device charging on every USB-A and C ports with a lamp illuminated by the AC power plug. This recharged my laptop via the USB-C, a tablet, two phones via the USB-As, and the lamp was still able to run for around nine hours.You should have no issues with almost any charging you need on a long weekend camping trip. You can even run LED light strips with the AC or 5.5mm DC output. One thing that is worth noting is high amperage devices like hot plates, curling irons, or toasters will not work to avoid overload.Niche device with tons of powerI believe Anker has a great power bank on steroids with the PowerHouse II. It’s obviously not for everyone, and a $400 price tag makes it far from an impulse purchase. However, for families in the modern world who love to be one with nature and still have mobile gadgets, the PowerHouse II is super compelling.It’s also a device that can easily feel the void between standard power packs and a full dedicated uninterruptible power supply. Whether it’s doomsday preppers or you live in a tornado alley, the PowerHouse II can help make sure you are prepared for the unprepared.The PowerHouse II is $400 on Amazon and Anker’s website. The Amazon page is currently offering $60 off at checkout.

SMS OTP or Push Notification – Building a Stronger Two Factor Authentication

Passwords have long been everyone’s intangible key to their digital belongings, bearing a long interesting history that dates back to way before the existence of the first digital one. Its history can be traced back to the days of yore, and it entails one of the classic stories that many of us grew up hearing  – Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves. The catchy phrase “Open, Sesame!”, uttered in the tale to unseal a mystical door that opened to a cave, has since been propagated to and adopted in many other narratives, including movies and television shows.That being said, the future of these secret words, phrases, or gibberish has rather become bleak than bright. The vulnerability of the digital password began to be transpired not long after its invention, unleashing a chain of exploitation targeting confidential data and siphoning off hard-earned dollars from victims. This has led to the implementation of varying types of encryption algorithms, from the very early version of an encryption standard, known as the DES, to the one that most of the digital platforms and electrical devices use today – the AES.Besides these encryption algorithms, two factor authentication has been gaining popularity when it comes to data protection. It adds another layer of protection to digital data, preventing what is an already AES-protected password from falling into the hands of cybercriminals.A Brief History of The Digital PasswordThe development of the first digital password occurred in 1961 at the MIT – Massachusetts Institute of Technology – when there had been an increase in the number of users needing to access a single computer. It was an operating system designed to support multiple users at a time, with a password system that allowed users to protect their files against unauthorized access.The possibility of password attacks did not cross the mind of the inventor as advanced hacking techniques and password-cracking tools were not in existence yet. Just within a year, this gave rise to the first known case of password theft whereby a researcher succeeded in circumventing the time restrictions placed on the usage of the machine.The term “hacking” had not really been popularised until the 1970s; these early hackers were obsessed with getting around secure telecommunication networks, gaining access to private phones for fun or to make free long-distance calls. In response to this, the National Bureau of Standards developed a data encryption algorithm in 1976, known as the Data Encryption Standard (DES). This encryption standard remained in use for around 26 years before its dominance came to a halt.DES was found to be less resilient against powerful attacks as technological advancement in computing continued to challenge the vulnerability of the encryption algorithm. In 2002, a new type of encryption standard, Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was adopted, gradually replacing the DES.Being considered as the most advanced data encryption algorithm, the AES has risen to prominence, protecting millions and millions of data across the globe. Although Triple-DES – the latest revised version of the DES – is still in use today, it will soon be phased, and the AES will be the only encryption standard for data protection on top of another well-known security measure called two factor authentication.What is Two Factor Authentication and Why You Should Start Using itOne of the easiest ways of accessing our digital belongings – let us say our bank accounts for example – merely involves us opening up the banking application on the smartphone and typing in our login details. Although our login credentials are protected through the AES encryption – this is impossible to crack using today’s computing technologies, hackers can still manage to get hold of them by other means. Phishing emails, keylogging software, and even brute force attacks are just some of the password-stealing techniques in the arsenal of cybercriminals.Two factor authentication is a security process whereby users are required to verify themselves using two types of authentication factors. It essentially adds another layer of security to the traditional authentication process, requiring a second factor that can take the form of a fingerprint, PIN, security token, SMS OTP, or even push notification.Bear in mind that there is no such thing as the perfect security system. Two factor authentication is not without its pitfalls; however, using an OTP through SMS or push notifications are generally safer than just having a secondary PIN alone. To configure safer and stronger two factor authentication on your devices, you can opt for a third-party app that provides push notification services.Push notification authentication is a third-party app that helps verify the identity of an user attempting to access a registered account by sending an access request to the device associated with the account before the access is granted. Generally, the process is fairly straightforward – look for a service provider on your smartphone, download the app, add the account(s) that you want protected, and you are good to go.EDITOR NOTE: This is a promoted post and should not be viewed as an editorial endorsement.

Mobvoi announces discounts on some of their lineup

Mobvoi is the maker of some of the best Android accessories between their TicPods and TicWatches. For a limited time, they are running a sale on some of their products, and those details are as follows.TicWatch DiscountsThe TicWatch Pro 2020 boasts between 5-30 days of battery life thanks to its dual-layered screens.From 12/1 until 12/4, you can get $80 off of the MSRP of $259.99.   The TicWatch S2 has military-grade durability, is waterproof up to 5 ATM, and packs a variety of sensors.Its midnight color variant is $125.99, about a $50 discount from its MSRP of $179.99. This discount runs from 12/1 to 12/5. The TicWatch E2 is a watch for the more athletic individuals, with a waterproof rating of 5 ATM, swim monitoring, and proactive running tracking.From 12/1 through 12/5, you can get $40 off with a discounted price of $119.99. TicPods DiscountsThe TicPods 2 Pro+ are some amazing true wireless earbuds, with voice commands, head gesture control, and a 20-hour battery life.The TicPods 2 Pro+ are normally $139.99, though you can get about $30 off between 12/1 and 12/6. The TicPods ANC are a more budget-minded choice, but they still pack noise-cancelling, a 21-hour playtime, and independent use of the right and left earbud.From 12/1 to 12/6, you can get the TicPods ANC for $55.99.