If you want an Apple smartphone, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is pretty much where it’s at right now. Flaunting newly improved camera lenses, a beautiful 120Hz refresh rate, a more long-lasting battery, the new A15 Bionic chip, and the choice of having a massive 1TB in storage, it gets nearly everything right. However, while it may be the best — and most deluxe — Apple smartphone available at the moment, Samsung fans may probably argue that it’s not the best phone overall when other manufacturers and operating systems are taken into account.
In particular, one of the best Samsung devices out now is the Galaxy Z Fold 3. As the third-generation Samsung foldable, it almost perfects the concept of a folding phone, incorporating a more durable hinge mechanism and better durability while also offering great performance, a big potential for multitasking, and some very solid cameras.
While both phones are different in their own particular ways, they both lay a claim to being luxury flagships. The question is: Which one is the best device overall? We arrive at an answer to this question by comparing each phone’s specs, performance, designs, displays, cameras, and special features. This should help you decide which is the deluxe smartphone for you.
|Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3||iPhone 13 Pro Max|
|Size||Unfolded: 128.1 x 158.2 x 6.4mm (5.04 x 6.22 x 0.25 inches)
Folded: 67.1 x 158.2 x 16.0mm (2.64 x 6.22 x 0.63 inches)
|160.8 x 78.1 x 7.7mm (6.33 x 3.07 x 0.30 inches)|
|Weight||271 grams (9.56 ounces)||240 grams (8.47 ounces)|
|Screen size||Main: 7.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (120Hz)
Cover screen: 6.2-inch Super AMOLED 2X (120Hz)
|6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED|
|Screen resolution||Main: 2208 x 1768 pixels (374 pixels per inch)
Cover screen: 2268 x 832 pixels (387 pixels per inch)
|2778 x 1284 pixels (458 pixels per inch)|
|Operating system||Android 11, One UI 3.1||iOS 15|
|Storage||256GB, 512GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|MicroSD card slot||No||No|
|Tap-to-pay services||Google Pay, Samsung Pay||Apple Pay|
|Processor||Exynos 2100 (global), Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (USA)||Apple A15 Bionic|
|Camera||Rear main: 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12MP wide-angle, and 12MP telephoto rear
Front main screen: 4MP under-display
Cover screen: 10MP
|Triple lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 12MP telephoto rear (and LiDAR sensor)
|Video||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, 720p at 960 fps, HDR10+||4K at 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps, Dolby Vision HDR|
|Fingerprint sensor||Yes, side-mounted||No, Face ID|
Fast charging (25W, charger not included)
Fast wireless charging (10W)
Reverse wireless charging (4.5W)
Fast charging (20W sold separately)
MagSafe wireless charging (15W)
Qi magnetic fast wireless charging (7.5W)
|App marketplace||Google Play Store||Apple App Store|
|Network support||All major carriers||All major carriers|
|Colors||Mirror Purple, Mirror Black||Graphite, gold, silver, Sierra Blue|
|Review score||4 out of 5 stars||Hands-on|
Design, display, and durability
Ajay Kumar/Digital Trends
The iPhone 13 Pro Max continues with the flat-edge design of the iPhone 12 series, making it look akin to the iPad Pro or (going back further) the iPhone 5S. The only noticeable difference it brings in, compared to its immediate predecessor, is a front-facing notch that’s 20% narrower, given you fractionally more touchscreen real estate to work with.
Other than that, its design is arguably pretty conservative. At the very least, there’s no doubt it’s overshadowed by the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, which, as a foldable phone, still carries a substantial novelty factor. More importantly, it does indeed look very sleek and sophisticated, both as a folded-out, tablet-like device and as a folded-in, narrower smartphone. Its oval-shaped rear camera module blends in nicely with its body, and while its overall design isn’t much of a departure from the Z Fold 2, the rareness of good foldable phones makes it more striking than the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
When comparing the quality of the 13 Pro Max’s display with the Z Fold 3’s main (foldable) screen, Apple’s device just about comes out on top. Its 6.7-inch screen has a resolution of 2778 x 1284 pixels, working out at 458 pixels per inch. By contrast, the Z Fold 3’s main 7.6-inch display packs 2208 x 1768 pixels, which makes for a slightly less dense 374 ppi. Both phones also offer a refresh rate of 120Hz, thereby providing a very smooth visual experience. That said, with more pixels per inch, the 13 Pro Max’s screen does look a little sharper and more vivid, although the larger size of the Z Fold 3’s screen may potentially turn a few more heads.
At the same time, the Z Fold 3 does obviously provide a second, 6.2-inch cover screen, which also supports a 120Hz refresh rate and carries 387 pixels per inch. It’s arguable that this makes it superior in the display department, if only because you have more display to work with.
While the iPhone 13 Pro Max comes with an IP68 rating, the Z Fold 3 has been awarded an IPX8 classification. What this means is that it hasn’t been tested for resistance against dust (hence the “X”) but has received a water-resistance rating. In comparison to previous models, the Z Fold 3 also includes “sweeper” bristles along its hinge, which should keep infiltration of dust to a workable minimum.
Given that it lacks the iPhone’s durability, we’re calling this round a tie, despite the Z Fold 3’s superior design.
Performance, battery life, and charging
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends
If you’re in the United States, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 houses the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, which uses a 5nm manufacturing process to pack in more transistors and make it more powerful than the previous 7nm models. The iPhone 13 Pro Max also uses a 5nm chip, the Apple A15 Bionic, which despite possessing only modest improvements over the A14, is just about more powerful than its predecessor. This means it is one of the most powerful smartphone chips in operation right now, and with 6GB of RAM, it will handle pretty much every game and app out now, while also letting you multitask without friction. So too will the Snapdragon 888 and the Z Fold 3, which harnesses 12GB of RAM, making it just as powerful as the 13 Pro Max (iPhones need less RAM).
Neither the iPhone 13 Pro Max nor the Z Fold 3 comes with a microSD card slot, although assuming that you don’t snap photos like your life depended on it, both provide enough internal memory to last. This is particularly the case with the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which starts with a 128GB model but can be bought (for an extra $500) with 1TB of memory, which is probably inexhaustible for the average user. The Z Fold 3 starts with 256GB of internal storage but can be had with 512GB of memory, for an extra $100.
The Z Fold 3 comes with a larger 4,400mAh battery, compared to a 4,373mAh battery on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. When you factor in the Z Fold 3’s 7.6-inch main screen and its second cover screen, this 4,400mAh doesn’t last as long as you might think. In fact, our review found you may nearly deplete its entire battery in a single day if you’re a heavier user, while the iPhone 13 Pro Max is likely to get you into a second day. Combined with the option of bumping its internal storage up to 1TB (as expensive as this option is), this superior battery life gives Apple’s phone the win in this round.
Winner: iPhone 13 Pro Max
Ajay Kumar/Digital Trends
The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s triple-lens rear camera setup bo