Huawei Mate 50 Pro vs Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Which Android flagship is the better choice?
The Huawei Mate 50 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are at the top of their game not only in terms of general look and feel but performance and, in particular, camera capabilities.
The question is, which is better for your needs? While the two flagships share a number of similarities, there are a few crucial differences. Here’s all you need to know.
Design and screen
When it comes to the general look, it’s very much down to personal preference as to which you prefer. The Huawei Mate 50 Pro does have a slightly more stylised design, complete with an (optional) orange vegan leather finish on the rear and a large circular camera housing that makes a statement.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, is comparatively minimalist with a largely clean design and no real camera housing for its smattering of rear-facing cameras found on the top-left.
Both offer a combination of glass and aluminium that provide a premium feel in the hand, though Huawei’s Mate 50 Pro is both slightly thinner and lighter than the S22 Ultra, though with a 0.4mm and 20g difference respectively, the difference is negligible.
Both offer IP68 dust and water resistance, but Huawei claims the Mate 50 Pro can survive in depths of up to 6m for 30 minutes while the Galaxy S22 Ultra is only rated down to 1.5m for 30 minutes. Realistically, you shouldn’t submerge either phone for long periods, but it’s good for Huawei to provide added peace of mind.
When it comes to the screen of both smartphones, Huawei’s option offers more of a curved edge display than Samsung’s flagship. It does look more visually appealing, but there are often issues with palm rejection tech with curved displays that you should also consider.
Visuals aside, the two displays aren’t that dissimilar. Huawei’s display measures in at slightly less than Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra at 6.74in compared to 6.8in, both sport a 120Hz refresh rate and feature camera cutouts, though the Mate 50 Pro’s is closer in design to the Face ID notch found on iPhones.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra comes out on top when it comes to resolution, boasting a 1440 x 3088 resolution that equates to around 500 pixels per inch compared to Huawei’s 428ppi based on its 1212 x 2616 resolution, but we found that the difference in real-world testing was negligible and even at close range, there was no fuzziness to the text.
Where Samsung pulls away from Huawei is in the display tech department, sporting an AMOLED display with HDR10+ support and a peak brightness of 1750nits when watching HDR content. It’s also protected by Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus+ while Huawei protects its OLED panel with its own proprietary Kunlun Glass.
In fact, we feel that the Samsung Galaxy S22 has one of, if not the, best displays around, with vibrant colours and levels of detail that are simply unmatched by most competitors. The addition of a 240hz touch sample rate makes it feel even more responsive when playing online shooters and brawlers.
Both the Huawei Mate 50 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are at the very top of their game in the camera department, with both delivering top-notch performance, though there is a slight difference in the offering available.
While it looks like there are four lenses on the rear of the Mate 50 Pro, there are actually three – a main 50-megapixel snapper, a 13-megapixel ultrawide, and a 64-megapixel periscope lens with 3.5x zoom.
The main highlight of the Mate 50 Pro’s camera setup has to be the variable aperture on the main lens, allowing you to adjust the size of the hole that lets in light like a proper DSLR that can have a noticeable effect on elements like the bokeh effect. But while the tech is cool, we found that the results weren’t as noticeable as if you were to adjust the aperture on a DLSR.
Though capped at 3.5x optical zoom, the phone can utilise the 64-megapixel snapper to get up to 10x digital zoom, but the results were often quite soft compared to the 10x optical lens of the S22 Ultra that delivers super-sharp imagery.
There’s also impressive night mode photography that we feel can compete with the best around in 2023, and you can record at up to 4K@60fps.
That’s a stellar camera setup, but Samsung can certainly compete with its four-camera setup on the rear, comprised of a main 108-megapixel camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens, and a duo of 10-megapixel telephoto cameras offering 3x and 10x optical zoom respectively.
We found Samsung’s camera performance to be versatile, easily competing with some of the best smartphone cameras on the market right now with particularly impressive zoom capabilities. The main 108Mp snapper provides a great photography experience both in well-lit and low-light environments thanks to pixel binning tech and OIS, capturing plenty of detail and great dynamic range, though we found that it wasn’t that much better than that of the S21 Ultra. In fact, we felt that some shots were a little too sharp, especially in snaps with lots of detail.
The zoom lenses arguably make the S22 Ultra as exciting as it is; as well as being able to choose from two fixed optical zooms of 3.5x and 10x, you can use a 100x digital zoom to get extra close. Quality is, of course, affected by the aggressive digital zoom, but it’s impressive if you can put up with the soft finish.
Essentially, you’ve got a choice to make between zoom capabilities and the ability to adjust the aperture on-the-fly. Aside from that, you’ll get impressive snaps from both the Mate 50 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Comparing two flagship smartphones, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to say that both perform to an extremely high standard featuring some of the latest tech on the market.
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra’s innards depend somewhat on where you are in the world; if you’re in the US, you’ll find a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 while Europeans will find Samsung’s own Exynos 2200. Regardless, that’s coupled with either 8- or 12GB of RAM and between 128GB and 1TB of UFS 3.1 storage.
Things are much simpler with the Huawei Mate 50 Pro, offering the same Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 around the world along with 8GB of RAM and 256- or 512GB of storage – there’s a caveat, however. Due to ongoing restrictions within the US, the Mate 50 Pro doesn’t offer 5G connectivity, capping out at 4G LTE.
The updated Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1 in Huawei’s smartphone does offer gains over the 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2200 of the S22 Ultra in benchmarks, but we found both would perform admirably in real-world settings with no notable stutter or lag regardless of what was happening on-screen.
The bigger caveat, as ever, is that Huawei’s Mate 50 Pro doesn’t run the same version of Android found on most alternatives as it has effectively been banned from using Google services like Google Play, YouTube and other Google-based apps.
Huawei has made great strides with its AppGallery alternative with more popular third-party apps making an appearance each month, but it’ll always be a bit of a hassle to adjust to a restricted version of Android.
While on the subject of software, Samsung has committed to 4 years of software updates with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, including an update to Android 13 from Android 12 fairly recently. Huawei, on the other hand, hasn’t explicitly committed to long-term HarmonyOS software updates for the Mate 50 Pro.
It’s a story of two halves when it comes to battery life. On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a slightly larger battery at 5000mAh compared to the Mate 50 Pro’s 4700mAh, though the numbers are so similar that you’re unlikely to see a difference in day-to-day performance.
However, numbers aren’t everything and we found that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra could just about last a single day, and it required an overnight charge most nights while the Huawei Mate 50 Pro could last a full day with a decent amount of charge left over. This is likely down to the improved power efficiency of the 8+ Gen 1 chipset.
Where the two do differ is in terms of charge speed. Following the Note 7 saga, Samsung has taken a more muted approach to fast-charging tech in its smartphones – and who can blame it? With that said, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra tops out at 45w wired charging while the Mate 50 Pro offers 66w wired charging. In testing, the S22 Ultra achieved a full charge in 59 minutes while the Mate 50 Pro achieved the same in just 42 minutes.
It’s a similar story with wireless charging, with Huawei’s 50w wireless charging support blowing the 15w wireless charging of the Galaxy S22 Ultra out of the water – though with the caveat that you’ll need a specific Huawei wireless charger to achieve those wireless charging speeds.
Let’s be clear here: both offer pretty decent charge speeds and high-capacity batteries, but if you’re looking to eke out as much charge from a single charge, the Mate 50 Pro should serve you marginally better.
Both the Huawei Mate 50 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra cost a similar price, making the decision between the two even tougher. Here’s a breakdown of the Huawei Mate 50 Pricing:
- 256GB: £1199/€1299
And here’s how much the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will set you back:
- 128GB: £1149/$1199/€1279
- 256GB: £1249/£1299/€1379
- 512GB: £1329/$1399/€1379
- 1TB: £1499/$1599/€1689
Both the Huawei Mate 50 Pro and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are at the top of their game, ticking most boxes in terms of performance, camera chops and design, though there are crucial differences between the two.
The Huawei Mate 50 Pro has the unique variable aperture on its main 50MP lens, great everyday performance, and faster charging than Samsung’s option, but the lack of Google support will still irk some.
Huawei has made great strides with its AppGallery Play Store alternative, but there are still workarounds needed to get some popular apps on Huawei’s phone. It’s also capped at 4G LTE while the S22 Ultra offers full 5G connectivity.
Samsung’s option, on the other hand, offers a premium mobile experience with a gorgeous high-res display, a capable camera setup with a focus on zoom capabilities and, of course, full access to Google Play and Google’s related services. There’s also a commitment to four years of OS updates that should take the phone all the way to Android 16.
It’s also worth noting that, despite Huawei’s pain points with Google and 4G connectivity, it costs the same as Samsung’s option. For all but the most dedicated photographers and geeks, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra seems to be the better option, but there is a lot going for Huawei if you can see past its limitations.