Which one should you buy?

If you’re in the market for a new flagship phone, you might be wondering whether you should buy the iPhone 14 Pro Max or the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The former starts at $1,099, while the latter launched in early 2022 with a starting price of $1,199, and given your priorities, one may turn out to be better than the other.


So let’s compare the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra to see which one is better for you.


Dimensions and build quality

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: 163.3×77.9×8.9mm; 228g; IP68 dust and water resistant
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: 160.7 x 77.6 x 7.85mm; 240 grams; IP68 dust and water resistant

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is bigger, wider and thicker than the iPhone 14 Pro Max. However, it is also lighter thanks to the aluminum frame compared to the stronger but heavier stainless steel frame on the iPhone. The curved corners of the iPhone make it more comfortable to hold.

The S22 Ultra uses Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the front and back, while the iPhone 14 Pro Max has a Ceramic Shield coating on the front glass. Both phones are very durable, but the curved screen on the S22 Ultra makes it more prone to tearing than the flat screen on the iPhone.

US customers should note that the iPhone 14 is eSIM only and does not have a physical SIM card slot. So if you are a frequent traveler, eSIM can be a major inconvenience. Both phones have an IP68 rating for water and dust resistance.

Our only complaint – and it’s a big one – with the iPhone 14 series design wise is that it still comes with the super outdated Lightning port. We’ve already explained in detail why USB-C is better than Lightning if you’re not sure yet why it’s so important.

Camera

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: 108 MP f/1.8 primary, OIS, PDAF, 8K video at 24 fps; 12 MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens (120 degrees FoV), macro photography; 10 MP f/2.4 telephoto, OIS, 3x optical zoom; 10 MP f/4.9 periscope, OIS, 10x optical zoom; 100x digital hybrid zoom; Front: 40 MP f/2.2, PDAF, 4K video at 60 fps
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: 48 MP f/1.8 primary, sensor-shift OIS, dual-pixel PDAF, 4K video at 60 fps; 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide angle lens (120 degrees FoV), dual-pixel PDAF, macro photography; 12 MP f/2.8 telephoto, OIS, 3x digital zoom; Front: 12 MP f/1.9, PDAF, 4K video at 60 fps
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The iPhone 14 Pro series received one of the biggest camera upgrades in a long time, switching from a 12MP main camera to a 48MP quad-pixel sensor. Of course, Samsung is happy to remind you that the S22 Ultra comes with a higher-resolution 108MP main sensor. Anyway, both devices use 12MP recording via pixel binning by default.

Apart from the technical performance, both devices handle colors very differently. You may recall from our full camera comparison of the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra that the former resorts to warmer and natural colors, while the latter prefers cooler and more vibrant colors. The same is true this time too, and you may prefer one over the other.

In low light, the S22 Ultra’s aggressive image processing delivers a brighter image, but this isn’t always better, as sometimes you want to preserve the essence of the night. The iPhone 14 Pro Max may give slightly fainter low-light shots, but they look less grainy.

As for videos, they are much smoother on iPhone than on Samsung, just like last time. Admittedly, the 8K video capabilities on the S22 Ultra are technically impressive, but frankly, it’s just one of many overhyped smartphone features you’ll probably never use. Portrait shots look cleaner on the iPhone, but the 10x optical zoom of the S22 Ultra makes distant objects really good.

Processor

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1/Exynos 2200; 4nm process; Adreno 730/AMD Xclipse 920 GPU
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: A16 Bionic; 4nm process; 5-core GPU

When it comes to raw power, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1/Exynos 2200 chip in the S22 Ultra is no match for the A16 Bionic chip that powers the iPhone 14 Pro Max. The A15 Bionic on the iPhone 13 series was already significantly more powerful than the best Qualcomm has to offer, and that gap has widened again this time around.

That’s not to say the S22 Ultra isn’t powerful enough. With regular daily use it is highly unlikely that you will see a noticeable difference. But when gaming, the iPhone can handle the workload much more efficiently, making it a better choice for competitive gamers.

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Display

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: 6.8-inch LTPO Dynamic AMOLED 2x; 1440 x 3080 resolution; 500 PPI; 1,750 nits peak brightness; 120Hz dynamic refresh rate; HDR10+; Gorilla glass Victus+; Always-on display
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: 6.7-inch LTPO Super Retina XDR OLED display; 1290 x 2796 resolution; 460 PPI; 2,000 nits peak brightness; 120Hz ProMotion; HDR10; Ceramic shield protection; Always-on display

After years of sports, the new Dynamic Island feature on the iPhone 14 Pro lineup has finally become the new face of the iPhone. It’s essentially a nice replacement for the notification shade. The pill-shaped cutout can be enlarged to display clear information such as notifications and background activity in progress.

However, the S22 Ultra easily offers a more immersive viewing experience, given the minimal punch cutout and beautiful boxy design. Both devices have a refresh rate of 120 Hz with LTPO technology, but the QHD screen on the S22 Ultra may look slightly sharper.

Apple introduced an Always-On Display, but it’s just another of the iPhone 14 Pro features that Android phones have had for years. However, the company’s implementation is unique (but not necessarily better). The 2,000 nits peak brightness on the iPhone 14 Pro Max makes it a better option for outdoor use, but the 1,750 nits on the S22 Ultra will still be plenty bright in most cases.

RAM and storage

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: 8/12GB RAM; 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB storage
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: 6GB RAM; 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB storage

Because Apple Silicon is so efficient, it doesn’t need as much RAM as Android phones. That means the 6GB of RAM on the iPhone 14 Pro Max still offers the same multitasking capabilities as the 8GB of RAM on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. But if you get the 12GB RAM variant, you start to notice minor differences.

Both devices start at 128 GB of internal storage on the base model and go all the way up to 1 TB. Neither of the two phones has a MicroSD card slot for expandable storage. So check out our guide on how much storage your phone needs to make an informed decision.

Battery

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: 5000mAh battery; 45W fast wired charging; 15W wireless charging; 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: 4323mAh battery; 15W MagSafe wireless charging support; 7.5W with Qi wireless charging; 50% charge in 30 minutes
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The iPhone 13 Pro Max had by far the best battery life of all smartphones in 2021. So you’d expect the iPhone 14 Pro Max to do even better, but that’s not the case. Battery tests show that both devices have nearly identical battery life, but that’s probably due to the new always-on display.

However, this is not something to be sad about. The 4323mAh cell on the iPhone 14 Pro Max still delivers much longer battery life than the 5000mAh cell on the S22 Ultra. That said, the latter charges faster thanks to its 45W fast charging support.

Price

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: starts from $1,199
  • iPhone 14 Pro Max: starts from $1,099

The Galaxy S22 Ultra launched for $1,199 for the base variant and $1,599 for the maximum variant with 12 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. On the other hand, the iPhone 14 Pro Max starts at $1,099 for the base variant and $1,599 for the maximum variant with 1TB of storage.

So Apple wins in the pricing department, at least in the United States, but since the S22 Ultra has been out for a while, you might be able to get a better deal. If you have a qualifying device, you can also trade it in to buy one of these flagships for a lot cheaper.

Make an informed decision

The iPhone 14 Pro Max costs the same as the iPhone 13 Pro Max last year with all the new improvements including camera upgrades, the Dynamic Island cutout, crash detection, emergency SOS via satellite and more, which is excellent. But the absence of a SIM card tray and USB-C port makes it less appealing to many people.

If you use a lot of video content on your phone, the uninterrupted screen of the Galaxy S22 Ultra will give you a better viewing experience. And don’t forget that it offers 45W fast charging, a built-in S Pen, a nicer camera experience and arguably better camera module design, so you have more reasons to lean towards Samsung.

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