Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max: Is it fair? (video)

Source: Pocketnow

So for the longest time it’s been Samsung vs. Apple, Galaxy vs. iPhone, even the names have become a competition. First they were both normal and then they went to Plus, then one switched to Pro, so the other couldn’t come out like that, had to switch to Ultra, all as a way of showing that their product was better than another.

During that time we’ve done our work by comparisons, but calling a winner has always been complicated because, as it turns out, every approach is different. For Samsung, it’s always been this battle of numbers and capabilities, while for Apple, the delay has allowed for better execution, or at least most of the time.


In one corner we have the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung’s cream of the crop when it comes to its traditional photography-focused flagship, and in the other we have the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which Apple has become the Pro for. camera capabilities. The question is, however, which phone works best? And I’m not just talking about cameras.

Yes, you can now accuse me of making an unfair comparison. Seriously, if we want to look at price tags and features alone, this has to be a fight between the S22+ and the 13 Pro Max, but since Apple decided to jump on the labels and really put some Pro features in this group, it’s only fair to wonder how the Ultra Hey Galaxy.


To start, it’s interesting to see how each company has a different approach to approaching a big phone. While Apple seems to value uniformity in its design language over ergonomics, Samsung is the exact opposite. It’s as if Sami knows that handling a big phone is better when it’s curved, while Apple seems to think blowing up a small design is a smart move. I wish I could say the Pro’s curved borders help with the palm more than the Ultra’s sharp corners, but even that digs less on Apple’s sharp edges. As a result, even if I prefer flat phones, this is one of the rare cases where I’ll give my points to the Galaxy. Sure, the iPhone is sleek and made of stronger stainless steel, but that also makes it heavier at 240 grams versus the 228, all while being 3mm shorter and 1mm thinner, albeit 1mm wider. However, the Galaxy doesn’t slack off with Armor Aluminum and Gorilla Glass Victus+, which we honestly don’t know if we can consider it stronger than the Ceramic Shield… I’m not a drop tester. Yes, humping the cam looks just as cool as how they both swing on the table, so you’ll need a case on both if that bothers you. Overall, I like both designs, but I feel like Samsung understands that big phones need a little more creativity.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max Source: Pocketnow

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A clear example of this is once they are flipped over on their screens. Sure, Apple lowered the Notch on the Max, but it’s still there. On the Ultra, the punch hole is barely noticeable, and the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is only there when you need it. However, once we consider the quality of the display, we get to the point where the metrics are not important. Both are great AMOLED tablets with similar pixel density, best-in-class color reproduction, and a smooth variable refresh rate of 120Hz. The differences are skewed in favor of the Galaxy, with a slightly more contrast ratio, much greater peak brightness for the extremes, as well as an Always-On mode. I’m not going to talk about a speaker winner, because every device handles that very well.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max Source: Pocketnow

But you know what, I think it’s fair to call a winner, and that’s the S22 Ultra. See, from day one, Samsung’s first big phone came with a purpose, which is to give you more space for its S Pen. And sure, Apple followed up with a great phone after nearly five years, but I think they kept missing the point. Like the previous Galaxy Notes, the S Pen is now tucked away and remains as useful as ever, taking notes even when the screen is off, or calling shortcuts while they’re on. The added contrast also means less response time, and given the design of the tip, this almost feels like you’re writing sharply on paper. Some use it for art, others like me prefer to highlight these scripts, and some even as a virtual mouse. The point is, unfortunately, your iPhone loses to give you more of your pad.

Galaxy S22 Ultra Source: Pocketnow


And I think the biggest problem is that this experience really extends to the rest of the software experience. I will not say that One UI 4.1 is better than iOS 15, but from the point of view of ergonomics, Samsung wins again. Having that larger screen on the Ultra allows you to stuff more information at once, or even multitask with different apps simultaneously, while using the iPhone, well.. let’s just say there’s a lot of wasted space. One app at a time, and even UI elements that force you to use two hands all the time because this phone isn’t even different from the 13 mini in this respect. Galaxy side menu shortcuts also help you easily access your favorite contacts and app groups. You can even turn this phone into a PC with DeX if you want this to be your only device for everything. Now in Apple’s defense, it tastes better from an aesthetic point of view. Stacking UI elements together is very nice, and their smarter approach to using App Tray is also something I find superior. Little things like more precise focus modes, along with how social media apps interact better with the iPhone are a major reason iOS remains preferred by some demographics. Keep in mind that when it comes to ecosystems, this is a close link now someday.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max Source: Pocketnow


In other basics, I’ll call this a very close tie. Sure, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on the Galaxy is made on a newer architecture, but the A15 Bionic is still a much more powerful chip whether we want to admit it or not. The RAM conversation is largely irrelevant, but just keep in mind that both devices start out with the same storage, offer the same water resistance, the same 5G antennas, and where the Galaxy wins again, but hair, is in the more advanced Wi-Fi And Bluetooth, faster charging capabilities, along with a bigger battery, that you wouldn’t be able to notice in the real world. I would relate to both as devices that could last all day and then some. I can’t even tell you that I found any differences in phone calls either because every device handles those calls and they stay connected to data.

Well, let’s talk about cameras. If you were to measure the spec sheet, Samsung would win by the long shot with more lens options, more megapixels, larger sensor sizes, you name it. The thing is, you and I know that in the end, results matter more, and that’s where things get interesting.

Off the bat, I’ll say I think the Galaxy wins at most things, and this time it’s not just about physics. During the day, you won’t be able to tell much of a difference, except for the fact that the Galaxy will beat the pants off the iPhone in nearly every shot above 3x, while the iPhone will rock again with better macros, which you should stumble upon on the Galaxy. The colors are more or less the same, but I like Samsung’s more accurate color science. I notice that the iPhone is brighter in some cases, but when I see more details from the Galaxy, for obvious reasons, there are more pixels.

Now at night where I’m shocked. Even with the iPhone’s internal stability, the Galaxy not only takes faster photos, but they are brighter and more detailed. I find usable shots from absolutely any focal length on the Galaxy while using the iPhone, I’ll stick mostly to raw shots. I even see the Samsung’s handling lens glows better, and yes, only the Galaxy can take pictures of the moon, or act as the perfect stalker phone for your next-door neighbor.

Once I switch to selfies, I usually get swept up in Apple because of its deep merging, and that will mostly be the case with photos in low light, but during the day I’ve noticed that Samsung gives us similar color tones, even if it’s a bit sharper than me like it, and this stretches To selfies, though, kudos to Samsung for dealing with those with a better crop.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max Source: Pocketnow

And sure, every phone has its own set of tricks, but I don’t care as much about it as I do in the video, which unfortunately, is where the iPhone continues to win. I mean sure, the Galaxy has all those epic zoom capabilities which are very useful, but the iPhone handles detail much better, offers nearly zero circular shutter, and is comparable in stabilization, all due to the larger pixels due to the lack of grouping in a video. You’ll notice this more during a selfie video where Apple provides a better crop, and where you won’t see any of the jell-o effect that you can see from the Galaxy in most cases due to a faster sensor readout. So yeah, for photos, the Galaxy wins, but for video, the iPhone is still unmatched, and that doesn’t even compare to ProRes, because if I’m being honest, I also find it as intrusive as 8K on the Galaxy given the implementation.


In conclusion, I agree, this was an unfair comparison, but I think it’s a good way to make my point. On the one hand, we have the best of Apple, and on the other hand, we have just one of many different alternatives that I would call the best at Samsung. At this point, Sammy already has foldable phones, which Apple is still not embracing, and seeing Cupertino continue to rely solely on its cameras as a somewhat baffling differentiator when Ultra outperforms it in so many ways.

There are clearly things Samsung hasn’t figured out yet, which is why I enjoy making these comparisons. Sometimes brute horse power isn’t as good a solution as a well-tuned machine, and that’s something Apple has proven to do better than any other company in the industry.

So, if it were up to me to pick just one phone as my daily driver, I’d pick the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Sure, it’s pricey, but you know you can find a lot of bargains everywhere, while in the case of iPhones, their prices don’t drop at all. With the Ultra you get a more capable phone, which is kind of what you want for this price range. If I’m going to pay SUV money, I want all-wheel drive, and not just a big car that does nothing better than a sedan, which I think is the best analogy I can give you to summarize this comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Phantom Black

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with a larger 6.8″ QHD+ 120Hz AMOLED display, a versatile camera setup, and a big battery that’ll keep you going all day! Pre-order the Galaxy S22 Ultra from the Samsung website and get $200 in Samsung credit.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Graphite front and back

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max

iPhone 13 Pro Max packs top-of-the-line Apple processors, camera hardware, large screen, and gigantic battery inside its stainless steel body to provide buyers with an unparalleled iPhone experience.

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