- Standard (iPhone 15 Pro Max) versus foldable form factor (Galaxy Z Fold 5)
- Larger 7.6-inch display (Galaxy Z Fold 5)
- 3nm Apple A7 Bionic chipset (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 (Galaxy Z Fold 5)
- 48MP main (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs 50MP main camera (Galaxy Z Fold 5)
- Stylus support, possibly integrated (Galaxy Z Fold 5)
- Higher price (Galaxy Z Fold 5)
Table of Contents:
Design and Size
Apple's best iPhone versus Samsung ambitious foldable
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will have some serious changes in the design department, possibly giving us a titanium frame that will be both lighter and sturdier than the current stainless steel iterations. Additionally, Apple is widely believed to be waging a total war on display bezels. The iPhone 15 Pro Max will likely come with the slimmest bezels among all phones so far, measuring just 1.55mm in width, beating current record-holder Xiaomi 13's 1.81mm bezels by a fair margin. The Dynamic Island punch-hole is staying, though.
There's also finally USB Type-C coming to the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which will be substituting the proprietary Lightning port. If rumors are to be believed, the iPhone 15 Pro Max might offer the ultimate experience by supporting the fastest data throughput speeds.
Size-wise, we expect the iPhone 14 Pro Max to be marginally shorter and narrower, but thicker than its predecessor, though screen size will remain fixed at 6.7 inches of glory, rumors say. Your old cases wouldn't fit, though.
What about the Galaxy Z Fold 5? Surprisingly, we seem to know very little about the design of the upcoming foldable trooper. Rumors claim that it could feature a gap-less design, similar to most Chinese foldables out there. Chances are the Fold 5 will look quite similar to its predecessor, with a 6.2-inch external and nearly square 7.6-inch inner AMOLED display, hopefully with a less pronounced crease than before.
Water resistance is nothing new on foldables, but the Z Fold 5 is rumored to be scoring particle resistance as well.
In terms of colors, we can only speculate what Apple and Samsung are cooking for us. Supposedly, we might see the iPhone 15 Pro Max in the now classic Space Gray, Silver, and Gold, as well as a classy new deep red color that might or might not be called ‘Burgundy'. The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will possibly come in Black, Beige, and Light Blue. Knowing Samsung, a couple of extra colors might be exclusively available for those that purchase the phone from Samsung.com.
Apple isn't actively rumored to be changing the winning formula about the iPhone Pro Max display. This means we are most certainly getting the good ol' 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display with HDR support and 120Hz ProMotion that makes everything look oh-so-smooth and rewarding. One area where we can possibly see some improvement is maximum display brightness, a recurring hardware improvement on most previous phones of the lineup.
The Fold 5's displays aren't getting changed as well. The external OLED screen will remain at 6.2 inches and will most certainly retain its excellent color rendition, as well as its smooth 120Hz refresh rate. The same applies to the larger-than-life internal displays, which will most likely have a square-ish aspect ratio of 21.6:18 and be in the vicinity of 7.6 inches, as well as being as good as we've come to expect of a Samsung OLED panel. This one will also have a smooth 120Hz refresh rate as well.
Meanwhile, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will certainly rely on a sole biometric unlocking method––Face ID.
Performance and Software
Checkmate with the 3nm chip!
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will most likely come with a 3nm chipset, the Apple A17 Bionic, which should offer vastly improved performance and efficiency in comparison with Apple's most recent A16 Bionic chip, as well as everything the competition will be able to field in late 2023. The move down to the super-dense 3nm manufacturing process will allow Apple to stuff a couple billion extra transistors on board its next silicon. Aside from being faster, the chip could help propel the phone to new heights as far as battery life goes (here's to hoping!).
The Galaxy Z Fold 5 will have no other option but the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip, which is honestly a superb chip with extremely good productivity, bringing excellent performance to Android flagships while also being quite efficient as well. While we do expect the next version of this chip to be unveiled in December 2023, quite possibly with a 3nm manufacturing process, the Z Fold 5 will simply have to resort to the current best thing available.
In terms of storage, we expect the iPhone 15 Pro Max to be available with 128, 256, 512GB, and 1TB of storage. Meanwhile, the Z Fold 5 could potentially come with 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB of available storage, with no option to extend that via a microSD card.
The more important differences, however, will be in the software department, where will be getting the latest and greatest iterations of iOS and Android. The iPhone 15 Pro Max will come with iOS 17 out of the box, while the Z Fold 5 will most certainly arrive with Android 13 with the latest One UI skin on top. Both phones should receive long software support: the iPhone 15 Pro Max to at least 2028, while the Z Fold 5 should receive four major Android software updates and be supported until 2028 as well.
That said, the Android-powered foldable phone has way more going for it to be a proper productivity tool. Aside from the large internal display, which is perfectly suited for multitasking, Samsung will most likely grace the foldable with a trove of software features and functionalities to improve its utility. With the Z Fold 4 we got a desktop-like app dock, and we already have DeX support on Samsung foldables, which lets you hook it up to an external display and periphery and use it as a portable mini PC of sorts.
Big strides for Apple
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will be most likely scoring a larger new 48MP sensor for its main camera, which should further improve the overall imaging prowess of Apple's next big thing. However, the theme of the iPhone 15 Pro Max will undoubtedly be its brand-new periscope lens, which is expected to be in the 5X-6X optical zoom range and deliver even longer hybrid zoom.
In essence, with the Galaxy Z Fold 5, we might get the same 50MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, and 12MP telephoto lineup as before, with a 10MP outside selfie camera and an under-display internal selfie camera, possibly a 4MP unit.
Not many changes are expected for the ultra-wide and front-facing cameras of the iPhone 15 Pro Max either. Apple's next best iPhone will likely retain the cameras found on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
Audio Quality and Haptics
We expect that both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and Galaxy Z Fold 5 will retain their dual-stereo speaker systems, with a loudspeaker at the bottom and a slightly weaker speaker at the top that doubles as an earpiece.
As far as haptics, we expect that… both phones will have vibrator motors on board! Lame jokes aside, we expect excellent and pleasing haptic feedback on both flagship phones.
Battery Life and Charging
Woe to the vanquished
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will likely come with a battery in the 4,200-4,300mAh territory, slightly worse than the iPhone 14 Pro Max, but could actually end up having much better battery life. How is such a thing even possible? Well, it all stems to the potential and hopefully real power savings that the 3nm Apple A17 Bionic chipset will deliver this fall. Thanks to those, the next iPhone could establish itself as one of the phones with the best battery life in 2023.
On the topic of charging, neither Apple nor Samsung are in an arms race, so we expect no improvements in the general charging speeds. This means 27W wired for the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and 25W wired for the Galaxy Z Fold 5. MagSafe and Fast Wireless Charging 2.0, both capped at 15W, will be on the iPhone and the Galaxy, respectively.
Summary and Final Verdict
So, albeit quite different from one another, both the iPhone 15 Pro Max and the Galaxy Z Fold 5 will probably be vying for your consumer attention, provided that you're on the market for a super-premium phone this fall.
Apple is highly rumored to be raising prices by $100 across the board; then again it has been rumored to be raising prices for the past few years without doing so. Meanwhile, the Galaxy Z Fold 5 would most certainly be the more expensive device, possibly starting in the $1,800 price range, much like its predecessor.
At the end of the day, which one should you be shortlisting. It's very hard to be speculating at this point. Not only are we talking about yet unreleased devices, but we are also comparing two phones existing in the polar-opposite ecosystems. You are more likely to want to stick around in your ecosystem. Provided that you're willing to switch things up, however, there will hardly be more exciting phones available this fall.