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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max: Which should you buy?

Pro vs Ultra.
By
September 12, 2022
samsung galaxy s22 ultra home screen
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Apple unveiled its 2022 flagships and brought some exciting changes across the board. The iPhone 14 Pro models, in particular, get much-needed upgrades to the camera system, and the new pill notch is undoubtedly a conversation starter. You’ll set your sights on the iPhone 14 Pro or Pro Max if you want the best of the lot. But there’s plenty of competition in the flagship space, with Samsung leading the charge as always.

How do the new iPhones compare against the best in the Android world? We look at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.


Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max


Design and display

Apple Event 2022 iphone 14 pro 6
Apple

The bodies of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max haven’t changed much compared to their predecessors. It’s a matter of a few shaved millimeters in height and width, and the new phones are a millimeter thicker. There’s enough of a change to require a whole new lineup of cases but not enough to make a noticeable difference when looking at the phones from the back.

Turn the phones to the front, and it’s an entirely different story. The classic iPhone notch is gone, with the Face ID hardware tucked into a new pill cutout that Apple calls Dynamic Island. It’s more than a notch, with alerts, notifications, music controls, and more extending around the notch using gorgeous animations. It’s a good idea in theory and makes better use of the space than anything we’ve seen before. Of course, we’ll have to see how comfortable it’ll be to reach across your phone to get to these alerts and controls, especially with the larger iPhone 14 Pro Max.

A Dynamic Island triptych on the iPhone 14 Pro
Apple

The display hardware remains the same. You’ll get 6.1-inch and 6.7-inch Super Retina displays with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, respectively, with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. Apple adds an always-on display for the first time, saving another feature exclusively for the Pro series. It works with the new iOS 16 lock screen widget to show reminders, calendar events, the weather, and notifications. Unlike other iterations of an AOD, you’ll see a dimmed version of your wallpaper instead of a black background.

On the other hand, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra gets a re-design of sorts, at least compared to the rest of the series. Its design language is reminiscent of the discontinued Galaxy Note line, with its rectangular shape and curved sides. The built-in slot for the S Pen makes the similarity more prominent. Samsung also foregoes the contour cut look for the camera array you get with the S22 and S22 Plus, opting for a more straightforward look instead, with the cameras sitting almost flush with the back.

samsung galaxy s22 ultra home screen standing
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung’s phones, flagship or otherwise, are known for their display quality, and the S22 Ultra is one of the best. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a leg up on the iPhone 14 Pro as far as the display resolution goes. You’ll get a Quad HD+ resolution with the Samsung phone and a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra have similar dimensions, and neither will offer the most comfortable handling experience. At least Apple gives you a choice here. Everything stays the same with the iPhone 14 Pro, except for its smaller 6.1-inch screen. On the flip side, if you want the smaller Galaxy S22 or S22 Plus, you must compromise on features like the display and camera.

Hardware and cameras

Apple Event 2022 iphone 14 pro lock screen dimmable
Apple

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and the Exynos 2200 in select markets, backed by 8GB or 12GB of RAM. There’s no expandable storage, but if you’re willing to splurge, you can get up to 1TB of built-in storage with the phone. It’s a top-of-the-line processor, and with plenty of RAM, the phone can comfortably handle everything you throw at it.

In a surprising twist, Apple is reserving the A16 Bionic processor for its Pro series, while the standard models keep the A15 from last year. Apple didn’t say whether this is a response to the ongoing chip shortage or if it’s just one more way to distinguish between the two lines. Of course, even last year’s processor outperformed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and the A16 is only better. We don’t know how much RAM the iPhones come with, but performance has never been a problem, and it won’t be with the new phones.

Apple's latest processor is only available with the Pro models.

The iPhone 14 Pro phones come with a couple of useful new features if you ever find yourself in a bad situation. The first is crash detection, which will automatically alert emergency services, let them know your location, and message your emergency contacts if you’re ever in a severe car crash. Not having a mobile connection shouldn’t be a reason for not getting help. Apple is ensuring this with the new Emergency SOS via satellite feature to contact emergency services and let them know your location.

samsung galaxy s22 ultra charging
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 5,000mAh battery offers solid battery life considering all the power-hungry hardware it packs. It easily lasts a full day, with around 6.5 hours of screen time. It also supports 45W fast charging, as long as you have the correct charger, and 15W fast wireless charging.

We were very impressed with the battery life of the iPhone 13 Pro Max, so we can expect more of the same with the new phones. The main difference is the addition of an always-on display this time, but that shouldn’t significantly impact battery life. Apple says the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s battery is rated for 29 hours of video playback (23 hours for the smaller 14 Pro). Unfortunately, Apple hasn’t upgraded its charging capabilities. The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with fast charging that will give you 50% battery life in 30 minutes, along with 15W fast wireless charging with a Magsafe charger.

Apple Event 2022 iphone 14 pro main camera
Apple

Moving on to the camera, and there are some significant changes here. The iPhone 14 Pro Max comes with a three-camera setup again, but the big difference is the new 48MP primary shooter. The 12MP ultra-wide and telephoto lenses have also been improved to offer better low-light photography. And the front-facing camera comes with autofocus for the first time. We’ll have to wait for the review, but we can expect big things from the new iPhone 14 Pro camera setup.

samsung galaxy s22 ultra cameras up close
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s cameras have a new look but aren’t all that different from its predecessor. Headlining the quad-camera system is a 108MP shooter, joined by a 10MP periscope camera, a 10MP telephoto lens, and a 12MP ultra-wide lens. Up front is a 40MP unit to cover all your selfie needs. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra prominently features on our list of the best phone cameras you can get. But it won’t be surprising if it’s soon joined by the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max.

Price and colors

iphone 14 pro finish unselect gallery 1 202209
Apple
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (8GB/128GB): $1,199
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/256GB): $1,299
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/512GB): $1,399
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (12GB/1TB): $1,599
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max (128GB): $1,099
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max(256GB): $1,199
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max (512GB): $1,399
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max (1TB): $1,599
  • iPhone 14 Pro (128GB): $999
  • iPhone 14 Pro (256GB): $1,099
  • iPhone 14 Pro (512GB): $1,299
  • iPhone 14 Pro (1TB): $1,499

Apple has managed to keep the starting price of the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max the same as last year, although this price freeze is only for the US and China. You won’t be paying the same as before in the UK, Europe, India, and other markets. In the US, the 14 Pro Max starts at $100 less than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. But both catch up when you get to the higher-end 512GB and 1TB storage models.

In terms of colors, the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max are available in Space Black, Silver, Gold, and a new Deep Purple option. You’ll get the Galaxy S22 Ultra in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Burgundy. More options are also exclusively available on Samsung.com, like Graphite, Sky Blue, and the flashy Red colorway.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Ultra-premium build quality • Gorgeous screen • Solid performance
Samsung has merged the Note and S series into one device
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra pushes productivity, power, and photography to the utmost to satisfy those seeking a premium experience. It combines outstanding performance, a stunning design, and an S Pen in one device.
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max
Large display • Powerful SoC • Advanced UI experience
Apple's premium phone with a massive screen
The iPhone 14 Pro Max is aimed at those who want the biggest and the best from Apple. It sports a large 6.7-inch display with the new Dynamic Island cutout, the latest A16 Bionic chipset, and an upgraded main camera.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S22 UltraiPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
Display
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Edge display (curved)
19.3:9 aspect ratio
QHD+ resolution (3,088 x 1,440)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (1Hz to 120Hz)

iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
iPhone 14 Pro Max:
6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
19.5:9 aspect ratio
2,796 x 1,290 resolution
ProMotion 120Hz

iPhone 14 Pro:
6.1-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
19.5:9 aspect ratio
2,556 x 1,179 resolution
ProMotion 120Hz
Processor
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
US: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Global: Exynos 2200
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
Apple A16 Bionic
RAM
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
8GB or 12GB
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
unknown
Storage
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
128, 256, 512, or 1TB
No microSD card support
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
128, 256, 512, or 1TB
no microSD card support
Power
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
5,000mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging

No charger in box
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
unknown capacity
Fast wired charging
15W Magsafe wireless charging
7.5W Qi wireless charging

No charger in box
Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Rear:
- 108MP wide (0.8μm, ƒ2.2, 23mm, 85-degree FoV)
- 12MP ultrawide (1.4μm, ƒ2.2, 13mm, 120-degree FoV)
- 10MP telephoto (1.12μm, ƒ4.9, 230mm, 11-degree FoV, 10x optical zoom)
- 10MP telephoto (1.12μm, ƒ2.4, 69mm, 36-degree FoV, 3x optical zoom)
- Laser autofocus

Front:
- 40MP wide (ƒ2.2, 23mm, 80-degree FoV)
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
Rear:
-Wide-angle 48MP, ƒ/1.8, sensor-shift OIS
-Ultra-wide 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 120° field of view
-Telephoto 12MP, ƒ/2.8, OIS, 3x optical zoom

Front:
-TrueDepth 12MP, ƒ/1.9

Connectivity
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
5G (mmWave + Sub6)
Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC support
Ultra-wideband support (UWB)
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
5G (sub‑6GHz and mmWave)
Gigabit LTE with 4x4 MIMO and LAA
Wi‑Fi 6 (802.11ax) with 2x2 MIMO
Bluetooth 5
Ultra Wideband chip for spatial awareness
NFC
Express Cards with power reserve
GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou
Digital compass
Cellular
iBeacon micro-location
Security
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
4 x 9mm size
5 years security updates
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
Face ID

Software
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Android 12
One UI 4.1
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
iOS 16
S Pen support
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Yes, with storage slot
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
No
Durability
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
IP68 certified
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
IP68 certified
Dimensions and weight
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
229g
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
iPhone 14 Pro Max:
160.7 x 77.6 x 7.9mm
240g

iPhone 14 Pro:
147.5 x 71.5 x 7.85mm
206g
Colors
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Burgundy
iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max
Space Black, Silver, Gold, Deep Purple

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro Max: Which should you buy?

iphone 14 pro model unselect gallery 1 202209
Apple

Samsung vs Apple: Which should you buy? We ask this question twice a year whenever either company releases a new flagship. And the answer, as always, remains the same — it depends. These phones are the best their respective companies offer, so you can’t go wrong with either. It just depends on which ecosystem you want to be a part of. But making the jump from one to the other is a hard sell.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max have a lot to offer. These powerhouses have gorgeous displays, solid battery life, and fantastic cameras. Samsung has upped its game regarding software support, with four years of software updates and five years of security updates. That still falls short of Apple’s software commitment, though. The five-year-old iPhone 8 and 8 Plus will also get iOS 16 this year. The S Pen is a welcome addition to the Galaxy S line. But if the Note series hasn’t convinced an iPhone user to switch in the past, it will not be a big selling point now.

Both phones have robust ecosystems that make switching between the two harder

On the other side, Apple is seemingly shaking off years of lethargy with the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max. The “Dynamic Island” is intriguing, even if its usability is a little questionable. The camera upgrade is terrific and should make some of the best camera phones even better. But purely on the numbers side of things, 48MP won’t excite anyone in the Android world. And features like the always-on display and crash detection (Pixel phones have had this feature for years), while new for the iPhone, isn’t new for Android.

The one major point I’ll give Apple is the choice of size. You can get the iPhone 14 Pro Max or the smaller iPhone 14 Pro without compromising on other features. Samsung doesn’t give you the option with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. If you don’t get the Ultra, you’ll miss out on the camera, display resolution, RAM, and storage with the smaller S22 and S22 Plus.

samsung galaxy s22 ultra s pen
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

The draw of the ecosystem isn’t enough, either. Want a smartwatch? You can get the Apple Watch Series 8 or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. Want wireless earphones? There are the 2nd Gen Apple AirPods Pro and the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. Both Apple and Samsung are also well-known for their excellent first-party accessories.

If someone’s already a part of a particular ecosystem, it’ll be hard to convince them to make the switch. And if you’re jumping in for the first time, you can’t go wrong with either. You’ll at least have more choice down the line with Android.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 14 Pro / Pro Max: Which should you buy?

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