iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S10, S10e, S10+, S10 5G
Apple has unveiled its new flagship phones for 2019, but how do they stack up against its main competitors – Samsung? To help you decide which phone is right for you, New Atlas compares the specs and features of the iPhone 11, 11 Pro and Pro Max to Samsung’s Galaxy S10, S10e, S10+ and S10 5G.
Don’t let the different naming conventions fool you – the vanilla names for each phone are different models on the scale. The iPhone 11 is the entry-level phone of Apple’s bunch, while the plain old Galaxy S10 is the middle tier of Samsung’s offerings. That means the iPhone 11 and the Galaxy S10e should be directly compared, as should the iPhone 11 Pro and Galaxy S10, and the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Galaxy S10+. The Galaxy S10 5G, meanwhile, is a premium phone that stands alone in the pack.
Samsung has both the smallest and largest phones in this bunch. The Galaxy S10e sits at the low end of the scale, followed by the iPhone 11 Pro, then the Galaxy S10 and iPhone 11. Then there’s a bit of a gap before the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Galaxy S10+ come in close together. And finally, the Galaxy S10 5G tops out the scale, much taller than the others but thinner than any iPhone 11.
The iPhones are all noticeably heavier this year, with the 11 Pro Max tipping the scales as one of the heaviest phones in recent years. The difference between that and the lightest phone – again, the Galaxy S10e – is 76 g, or the equivalent of carrying around 15 US nickel coins.
That said, the high-end Galaxy S10 5G is also quite hefty at almost 200 g. The S10+ weighs the same if you go for the version with a ceramic backing, while the base model shaves off 23 g.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are wrapped in Apple’s usual muted tones of gold, silver and space gray, along with a new color option it calls Midnight Green. The base model iPhone 11 offers more splashes of color, if that’s what you’re after.
Samsung has coated the Galaxy S10 series in an iridescent finish it calls “Prism” colors, available in black, white or blue options. Or, for something a bit flashier, there’s Flamingo Pink. Like Apple, the high-end model – the S10 5G – opts for more subdued silver and black looks.
Meanwhile, the ceramic model of the S10+ is available in black or white.
All seven of these phones are made with glass front and back, ringed in metal. For the iPhone 11 and the four Galaxies, that metal is aluminum, while the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max are made with stainless steel.
The exception is the ceramic version of the Galaxy S10+, which has… well, a ceramic backing.
All seven of these phones have been given a water resistance rating of IP68. That means they’re completely dust-tight, and can be submerged in fresh water down to a depth of 1.5 m (4.9 ft) for up to 30 minutes.
While the iPhones still have the same official rating, Apple is more confident and says the 11 will survive down to 2 m (6.6 ft), and the 11 Pro and Pro Max can plunge to 4 m (13.1 ft) for that long.
Of course, you’ll want to just trust them on that – don’t go testing it out yourself on purpose. Still, it’s nice to have peace of mind that a spill or a quick accidental dunk won’t be a death sentence for your device.
The phones seem to pair up quite nicely, in terms of display sizes. The iPhone 11 Pro and Galaxy S10e both sport 5.8-in screens, while the iPhone 11 and Galaxy S10 extend that to 6.1-in. Next up, the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Galaxy S10+ aren’t far apart, with the former measuring 6.5 inches and the latter 6.4. And then finally there’s the black sheep of the group, the Galaxy S10 5G, with an almost-too-big 6.7-in display.
The race to squeeze more screen onto less body has been heating up over the last few years, after the phone manufacturers told everybody that bezels were bad. And we believed them – now anything with too low a screen-to-body ratio looks outdated and chunky.
The iPhones all have a notch across the top, which brings their ratio down to around 80 percent. The Galaxy S10e is slightly higher up the scale, with some noticeable black bars across the top and bottom and small stretched circle holding the camera.
The other three Galaxy phones fare better, in the high 80s, thanks to them having just a tiny “hole-punch” design holding the camera lens.
The Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10 5G have the highest resolution screens, each with 3,040 x 1,440 pixels. Since those displays are all different sizes, the pixel density goes down as the screen gets bigger.
The next down the list is the iPhone 11 Pro Max, then the Pro. Bringing up the rear is the Galaxy S10e and finally, the iPhone 11.
Apple may have stuck with the In-Plane Switching Liquid Crystal Display (IPS LCD) for years after everyone else swapped, but the company now reserves the tech for its low-end phones only. The iPhone 11 is the last holdout, while the other six devices have all gone for variations of Organic Light-Emitting Diode (OLED) displays.
The differences are minor to the untrained eye, but generally speaking IPS LCD has more natural colors and sharper images, while OLED and AMOLED have brighter colors and deeper blacks. IPS LCD also requires a backlight, which might be why the iPhone 11 is the thickest device of this bunch.
All seven of these phones can be unlocked with a quick scan of a user’s face. Samsung’s devices also still have fingerprint readers, with ultrasonic sensors located in the bottom half of the screen. The only exception is the S10e, which has a capacitive reader on the side of the phone.
This year’s iPhones are all powered by Apple’s latest chipset, the A13 Bionic. The company says these are capable of performing over a trillion operations per second. The chip also includes the third-generation Neural Engine, a machine learning system designed to make analyzing videos and photos faster.
The Galaxies are all built with eight-core versions of Qualcomm’s latest flagship processor, the Snapdragon 855.
Although 4 GB of RAM is probably plenty, the iPhone 11 is starting to look quite quaint, in the big picture. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, and the Galaxy S10e, all have a respectable 6 GB, and the lattermost also has an 8 GB model. The Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10 5G all come with 8 GB as standard, while the S10+ can be upped to a generous 12 GB.
Storage options are getting more generous too. The minimum is 64 GB, in the iPhone 11 and 11 Pro, which is more than enough for many users.
The new standard is fast becoming 128 GB, as seen in the iPhone 11 and the Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+. The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have leapfrogged that option and gone straight to a beefy 256 GB, which the Galaxy S10e also offers and is where the S10 5G starts. Then you’ve got 512 GB options in the iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max, and the Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10 5G.
And finally, if that is somehow still not enough, the Galaxy S10+ is the only phone here to offer an almost excessive 1 TB of built-in storage space. Even the most trigger happy photographers or app downloaders will have a hard time filling that in a hurry.
If you do manage to fill that space up, you might be able to expand it with a MicroSD card – depending on which phone you have. Apple has traditionally never provided the option, so if you’re going with an iPhone make sure you get one with enough built-in space for what you need.
Most of the Galaxy phones have a MicroSD slot – with the exception of the S10 5G – which allows that storage to be expanded up to an extra 512 GB.
The beefiest battery of the bunch belongs to the Galaxy S10 5G, followed by the the S10+. Next is the iPhone 11 Pro Max, with the highest capacity battery of any iPhone to date. Not far behind is the Galaxy S10, then the 11 Pro, iPhone 11 and Galaxy S10e all close together.
In practice though, you should still get at least a day of use, probably more, out of any of these devices. iPhones usually look like they’d underperform based on numbers alone, but because Apple keeps such a tight control over its ecosystem, it can usually squeeze more juice out of less.
All seven of these phones can be fast-charged right out of the box, with one exception: the iPhone 11. In that case, you’ll need to buy a separate 18-W charger for US$29.
Again, all seven phones can be wirelessly charged, but in all cases you’ll need to buy separate wireless chargers.
The iPhones all stick with Apple’s tried-and-true Lightning port, which is used both for charging and to plug in the included earbuds.
The four Galaxy phones use the industry-standard USB-C ports to charge, and still hold onto the old 3.5 mm headphone jack for audio.
In all cases, you can go for Bluetooth headphones too, if you prefer.
Selfie cams are quickly becoming almost as important as the rear “main” cameras – the megapixel (MP) counts and depth-sensing abilities are closing the gap.
The Galaxy S10e and S10 have the simplest front cameras, with 10 MP apiece and a decent aperture of f/1.9. The other two Galaxies add second cameras to the front – the S10+ has one with 8 MP, while the S10 5G has a 3D Depth cam.
Apple has bumped up its selfie cams to 12 MP, and they all have a similar depth-sensing tech that the company calls TrueDepth, which is what enables the facial recognition system.
Gone are the days of single cameras – all seven of these phones have at least two.
The iPhone 11 has a pair of 12-MP cameras, one with a wide-angle lens and the other ultra-wide. The Galaxy S10e has a similar setup, but its ultra-wide cam has 16 MP.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max have add a third camera to the back, with a telephoto lens and an aperture of f/2.0.
The Galaxy S10, S10+ and S10 5G build on the S10e with a third camera, also a 12-MP telephoto lens. And finally the S10 5G goes one better with no less than four cameras on the back. This last one is another 3D Depth camera.
All seven of these phones share most of the same photo and video modes. They can all snap photos with High Dynamic Range (HDR), with selective bokeh effects (Samsung calls it Live Focus).
All can shoot video in Full HD or 4K resolution, with optical image stabilization (OIS) for steadier shots. The Galaxy S10 5G goes one further with dual OIS.
All of these phones can shoot slow-mo videos up to 240 frames per second, while Samsung’s offerings can slow things down even further to a ridiculous 960 fps. At the other end of the scale, they can all capture timelapse (or Hyperlapse, as Samsung calls them) videos too.
Both companies also have their own versions of augmented reality (AR), in particular letting users make cartoon versions of themselves to send as videos in messages.
But there are a few differences too. One of Apple’s big selling points this year is Night mode, which takes longer exposures in dark settings and produces very clear images.
Samsung, meanwhile, has a range of “scene optimization” settings that can automatically apply filters and looks depending on the type of shot needed, as well as detect “flaws” (like someone blinking) and pick a better shot.
The three iPhones are all running Apple’s latest operating system, iOS 13, which includes a new dark mode and new editing tools for photos and videos.
The four Galaxy phones are all running Android 9 Pie. While Google has already rolled out Android 10 to its Pixel phones, Samsung’s devices aren’t expected to get the update until early 2020.
The voice assistant that started it all, Siri, is of course still pitching in to help on all new iPhones. Samsung’s version Bixby comes loaded on every Galaxy.
The Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10+ all came out back in March this year. The S10 5G followed a few months later, in June. The three new iPhones are relative newcomers, having only been released earlier in September.
Generally speaking, each of the Samsung phones are a little cheaper, or have more storage space for a similar price, compared to their direct iPhone counterparts.
Prices start from US$649, for the 128 GB model of the Galaxy S10e. A 64 GB iPhone 11 will set you back an extra 50 bucks. From there, $749 will get you either a 128 GB iPhone 11, or a 256 GB Galaxy S10e.
The iPhone 11 Pro and Galaxy S10 are on similar ground with each other, but the Apple device starts at $999. Not only is the base model S10 $200 less, but that comes with twice as much storage. When comparing the 512 GB models, the Galaxy S10 is $300 cheaper than the iPhone 11 Pro.
It’s a similar story between the iPhone 11 Pro Max and Galaxy S10+. For $899 you can get a 128 GB S10+, while a iPhone 11 Pro Max starts at $200 more for half the storage space. At the middle tier, the S10+ is $100 cheaper for twice as much storage, and at the high end, the S10+ costs $50 more but comes with twice as much storage – an eye-watering 1 TB.
The Galaxy S10 5G stands on its own, but even as Samsung’s ultra-premium device it comes in cheaper than Apple’s highest. The 512 GB S10 5G is 50 bucks cheaper than an iPhone 11 Pro Max with the same amount of storage space.