Samsung has officially announced the Galaxy S22 Ultra handset, but how does it compare to the iPhone 13 Pro, which remains one the best phones we’ve tested over the last 12 months?
The S22 range consists of the Galaxy S22, the Galaxy S22+ and the Galaxy S22 Ultra. These three handsets are the latest offerings from Samsung, and some may be asking if any are worth the upgrade.
We’ll be running through the specs, pricing, camera and more, so you can understand which model is right for you.
Editor’s note: This is an early vs based on our experience using the S22 Ultra at a press event for a few hours compared to our findings fully reviewing the iPhone 13 Pro last year. We’ll update this vs with our final verdict on which is best when we’ve had a chance to fully review the new Galaxy later this year.
Pricing and availability
Kicking off with the iPhone 13 Pro, this phone comes in four different storage configurations, with the 128GB variation starting off at £949/$999/€1,159, and the largest storage option of 1TB hitting £1,449/$1,499/€1,739.
You can find the iPhone 13 Pro on the Apple website or on third-party websites, with the pricing fluctuating depending on where you shop.
The Galaxy S22 does not have a release date just get, but we do know what the pricing looks like. In the same vein as Apple, there are four variations of the S22 Ultra.
The 128GB variation sits at £1,149/$1,199.99/€1,259, with the 256GB storage option hitting £1,249/$1,299.99/€1,359. Furthermore, the 512GB variation costs £1,329/$1,399.99/€1,459, with the biggest storage option, at 1TB, costing the most money at £1,499/$1,599/€1,659.
Design and display
Starting off with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the design shows off a resigned camera module and will come in several colours, including Black, Green, White and Dark Red.
The handset is made from Armour Aluminium with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on both the front and the back to keep the phone from cracking or scratching. The AMOLED display received certification for 100% mobile colour volume in the DCI-P3 colour range, meaning that the colours will be vivid regardless of the screen brightness.
The 6.8-inch screen can reach a peak brightness of 1750 nits, with an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz and 240Hz touch sampling rate when in Game Mode.
For anyone not in the know, an adaptive refresh rate means that the refresh rate will change depending on your activity; playing a game or watching media will hike up the rate to 120Hz to ensure a smoother experience, but the rate will drop low if you’re looking at a block of text, so it can save battery.
Plus, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first Samsung S Series phone that will come with an S Pen. It will come with a silo and the latency has apparently been reduced from up to 9ms to 2.8ms for more natural handwriting, alongside updated Wacom technology and the anticipation of AI.
Comparing this to the iPhone 13 Pro, the four colour options are Graphite, Gold, Silver and Sierra Blue. The 6.1-inch OLED Super Retina XDR display comes with ProMotion at 120Hz, which is Apple’s version of an adaptive refresh rate.
The pixel resolution sits at 2532×1170 with a maximum nit count of 1,000, meaning it will be a less vivid and bright screen than the S22 Ultra.
The design is very similar to many of the iPhone’s we’ve seen before, with a slightly smaller notch for the front camera and a ceramic shield front with a textured matt glass back.
Moving onto the camera, the S22 Ultra has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera with an aperture of f/2.2 and a field of view of 120-degrees. The wide camera is 108MP with an aperture of f/1.8, with two 10MP telephoto cameras, one with 3x optical zoom and one with 10x.
Finally, the front camera has 40-megapixels, with an aperture of f/2.2 and a field of view of 80-degrees.
Samsung has claimed that the NPU is two times faster, which results in faster camera AI, as well as focus improvements in low light. There is 16-bit RAW files support and a partnership with Snapchat that uses ‘Super Resolution’ and Night Mode within the app for even better pictures.
There are several camera modes that can be used; Super Resolution Mode merges a bright image through nona-binning tech and a high-res 1080MP image, while Super Steady System films steady video without a tripod, even at night.
Since we haven’t had the chance to thoroughly test out the Galaxy S22 Ultra yet, so we can’t make definitive comments on how the cameras will work out in the real world. We only had a brief chance to shoot some photos in a test room environment at its launch event, where the lighting was very good, but the specs from Samsung do look promising. We’ll be sure to update this article when we’ve tested out the handset’s camera properly. From what we’ve seen so far images have the classic Samsung look, being clean and vibrant, albeit slightly over processed for some people’s tastes.
Looking at a phone that we have tested, the iPhone 13 Pro houses three 12-megapixel cameras on the back, with the wide sensor having an aperture of f/1.5, the ultra-wide coming in with a 120-degree field of view and an aperture of f/1.8. Finally, the 77mm telephoto sensor is capable of 3x optical zoom, with a LiDAR sensor on all three to help with low-light portraits.
In our review, we noted that the wide camera offered up more natural depth while maintaining a high level of detail. This handset also features Apple’s Smart HDR system, which helps level out dynamic range and colours while still keeping images looking realistic. We’ll be sure to directly compare the two phones’ cameras when we get the new Galaxy into our labs.
Specs and features
In terms of storage and memory, the four variations come as 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, 12GB RAM and 256GB storage, 12GB RAM and 512GB storage and lastly 12GB RAM and 1TB of storage.
The iPhone 13 Pro runs on iOS 15 and the A15 Bionic processor, which is the company’s newest chip to date.
The RAM and storage situation is very similar to the S22 Ultra, with the same amounts of storage available but only with 6GB of RAM for every model, including the 1TB storage variation.
You can check out the full breakdown of the specs of both phones just below.
Samsung lists the S22 Ultra as featuring a 5000mAh battery, but mentioned that the actual life of the phone will vary depending on usage patterns and your network environment when we asked how many hours it would actually last.
The only other battery detail Samsung’s disclosed is that it can be charged up to 45W when you purchase the charger, which should charge the phone up to 50% in less than 20 minutes. When using wireless charging it can be charged up to 15W, which in our experience testing other phones with similar capabilities will take a lot longer to charge the handset.
Seeing as we haven’t had the chance to try out this handset yet, we can’t make any claims on how long the S22 Ultra will last during day to day activities, but we’ll be sure to investigate how it holds up when we get the chance to test it out.
On the other hand, the iPhone 13 Pro can be charged with a 20W charger, with our model managing to hit 15% battery in nine minutes and 50% charge in 30 minutes.
The 13 Pro also supports MagSafe charging, which sits at 15W, and the standard 7.5W Qi charging solution.
Seeing as we’ve only had the chance to review the iPhone 13 Pro, we can’t yet make a proper verdict regarding both phones.
However, with an impressive array of cameras and camera features and a powerful battery, it seems that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra may win out. We’ll be sure to let you know how it fares during testing, but if Samsung is to be believed, this is a flagship that you won’t want to miss.