iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Mate 40 Pro+ vs Note 20 Ultra – Flagship smartphone showdown

2020 has delivered several powerful flagship smartphones from the world’s top manufacturers – Samsung, Apple, and Huawei.

Early in 2020, Samsung and Huawei launched their respective Galaxy S20 and Huawei P40 smartphones.

Ture to their form over the last few years, this was followed by their second flagship ranges – the new Galaxy Note 20 and Mate 40 smartphones.

Apple kept to its single major smartphone release with the iPhone 12’s launch in October.

Of the current selection, the top smartphones from these three ranges are the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Mate 40 Pro+ and Note 20 Ultra.

We’ve compared the hardware, design and features of these three formidable smartphones to see how they stack up.

Display differences

When it comes to the smartphone boasting the display with the largest size, resolution, and highest refresh rate, the Note 20 Ultra is the best choice.

Its OLED display measures 6.9-inches and boasts a 3,200 x 1,440 resolution running at a smooth 120Hz refresh rate.

The Mate 40 Pro+’s screen comes next at 6.76-inches with a 2,772 x 1,344 resolution and 90Hz refresh rate. Its panel is also of the OLED variety.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max still sports a highly-respectable 6.7-inch 2,778 x 1,242 display but sticks to the standard 60Hz of most smartphones.

This means that navigation and framerate-dependent applications will likely look and feel better on the Note 20 Ultra and Mate 40.


All three these smartphones come with top-end processors that perform among the best of any smartphones available today.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max’s A14 Bionic and Huawei Mate 40 Pro+’s Kirin 9000 chips are built upon a cutting-edge 5nm manufacturing process.

It’s difficult to directly compare performance between Android and iOS devices due to their different ecosystems.

However, the iPhone 12 Pro Max is expected to run significantly better than its predecessor, which was already very powerful.

The US version of the Note 20 Ultra boasts a Snapdragon 865+, which is slightly less capable than the Kirin 9000, according to recent benchmarks as reported by Gizmochina.

It should be emphasised, however, that the Note 20 Ultra features an even less powerful chip in South Africa – the Exynos 990 – which was already featured in the S20 range.


Photographic capabilities are often punted as one of the biggest main features of premium smartphones.

The Mate 40 Pro+ comes with a rear penta-camera setup comprising a 50MP main lens, 20MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto, 8MP zoom, and 3D depth sensor.

According to independent camera benchmark site DxOMark, its less powerful Mate 40 Pro sibling ranks at the top of current smartphones cameras – with a score of 136.

The Note 20 Ultra features a 108MP main lens, 12MP ultrawide, and 12MP, as well as a DepthVision sensor.

It currently ranks at 14th on DxOMark’s rankings – boasting a score of 120.

The iPhone 12 Pro Max, meanwhile, offers a triple camera on the rear made up of three 12MP sensors – a main, ultrawide and

While its camera is yet to be reviewed, DxoMark has said that it does not expect it to be much better than the iPhone 11 Pro Max – which scored 124.

This was because neither had the focal length of the lens on the phone been increased nor was it capable of the same level of optical zoom as its competitors.

Battery and charging

Of the three smartphones, the Note 20 Ultra packs the largest battery capacity of 4,500mAh – enough for more than a day’s typical use.

Although it has a slightly smaller 4,400mAh battery, the Mate 40 Pro+ has the upper hand when it comes to charging capabilities.

Huawei’s class-leading SuperCharge technology provides it with wired charging up to 66W and wireless charging at 50W.

This compares with the 25W fast wired and 15W wireless charging on the Note 20 Ultra.

Despite having a smaller battery than the iPhone 11 Pro Max, the iPhone 12 Pro Max’s 3,687mAh pack promises the same 20 hours of use between charges.

It supports wired charging at 20W and 15W wireless charging with MagSafe.


The Note 20 Ultra 5G with 256GB storage starts at R36,999 in South Africa, while the iPhone 12 Pro Max 128GB is priced at R25,999.

The Mate 40 Pro+ has not officially been confirmed to be coming to the country.

In Europe, the Mate 40 Pro+ comes with 256GB memory and carries a €1,399 price tag, which converts to around R25,800.

Below are the specifications and image of the iPhone 12 Pro Max, Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ and Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G.

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max – Starting from R25,999

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max
OS iOS 14
Display 6.7-inch 2,778 x 1,242 OLED
Processor A14 Bionic
Storage 128GB/256GB/512GB
Rear camera 12MP + 12MP + 12MP
Front camera 12MP
Ports Lightning
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, NFC
Network 5G
Battery and charging 3,687mAh, 20W wired, 15W wireless
Biometrics FaceID
Dimensions 160.8 x 78.1 x 7.4 mm

iPhone 12 Pro 3


Huawei Mate 40 Pro+ – €1,399

Huawei Mate 40 Pro+
OS Android 10 EMUI 10
Display 6.76-inch 2,772 x 1,344 OLED 90Hz
Processor Kirin 9000
Storage 256GB
Rear camera 50MP + 20MP + 12MP + 8MP + 3D
Front camera 13MP, 3D
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, 5G
Network 5G
Battery 4,400mAh, 66W wired, 50W wireless
Dimensions 162.9 x 75.5 x 9.1 mm

Huawei mate 40 Pro+

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G – R36,999

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G
OS Android 10
Display 6.9-inch 3,200 x 1,440 AMOLED
Processor Exynos 990
Storage 256GB
Rear camera 108MP + 12MP + 12MP + DepthVision
Front camera 10MP
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0, USB Type-C
Network 5G
Battery 4,500mAh,
Price R36,999

Note 20 Ultra 5G

Now read: The cheapest smartphones you can buy in South Africa

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iPhone 12 Pro Max vs Mate 40 Pro+ vs Note 20 Ultra – Flagship smartphone showdown