Some of the best smartphones right now are devices from Apple and Samsung. Companies have long been leaders in the capabilities of their flagships, and it is with them that all other available options are first compared. Buyers of such smartphones want to receive from the new gadget the most advanced technologies and capabilities that will allow them to perform any task quickly and comfortably. And unlike most other smartphones, errors in the quality of the smallest details will be noticed and hardly forgiven. So let’s take a look at how these devices should compete with each other before Samsung’s next flagship.
Let’s start with a small table comparing the basic specifications:
|iPhone 14 Pro Max||Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra|
|Dimensions and Weight||160.7×77.6× 7.85 mm, 240 grams||163.3×77.9×8 .9 mm, 229 grams|
|RAM and Storage||6 GB + 128 GB-1 TB||8/128 GB, 12/256 GB-1 TB|
|Processor||Apple A16 Bionic||Samsung Exynos 2200/Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|Graphic Processor||Apple GPU||Xclipse 920/Adreno 730|
|Wireless modules||Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC, UWB, Emergency SOS||Wi-Fi 6e, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, UWB|
|Displays||6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED
Aspect ratio: 19.5:9
Refresh rate: 1-120 Hz
|6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Aspect ratio: 19.3:9
Refresh rate: 1-120 Hz
|Rear Camera Module||
Wide-angle sensor: 48 MP, ƒ/1.78
Ultra-wide: 12 MP, ƒ/2.2, 120°
Telephoto: 12 MP, ƒ/2.8, 3×
|Wide-angle sensor: 108 MP, ƒ/1.8
Ultra-wide: 12MP, ƒ/2.2, 120°Telephoto: 10MP, ƒ/2.4, 70mm, 3×Telephoto: 10MP, ƒ/4.9, 230mm, 10×
|Front camera||12 MP, ƒ/1.9||40 MP, ƒ/2.2|
|Operating System||Apple iOS 16||Google Android 13 with OneUI 5|
|Recommended price||From $1099||From $1199|
First of all, it is worth noting that iPhone 14 Pro Max also has a smaller version: iPhone 14 Pro. In addition to the more compact form of the latter, these models have other physical differences — the sizes of displays and batteries. It makes sense to compare the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with the larger version because these models are more or less the same size and have room for larger batteries.
However, the bodies of both competitors’ flagships are still noticeably different. The iPhone has a glass front and back that is wrapped in a steel frame. The “backs” of both devices have a matte surface. Samsung also uses mostly glass, but the frame is made of aluminum. In a global sense, users who immediately buy protective cases for new smartphones will not see the difference. Another thing is that the steel frame is much stronger. It can, of course, also be damaged, but aluminum is noticeably softer, so the same, for example, falls, will leave different degrees of damage on the case.
The design of these cases is, of course, also different, which is very noticeable in everyday use. iPhone 14 Pro Max has almost not changed the design compared to the previous version. This means that the device is left with flat side parts. Meanwhile, on the S22 Ultra, they have a neat rounding. Of course, everything is very subjective, but for me, with my small hands, it is noticeably more comfortable to hold, and in general to use the case with the shape of the S22 Ultra. The last iPhone to have a similar shape was the iPhone 11 Pro Max.
As for the sizes, they are quite similar in both flagships. The large iPhone 14 Pro Max has dimensions of 160.7×77.6×7.85 mm, while the S22 Ultra measures 163.3×77.9×8.9 mm. The difference is difficult to call fundamental, and “on paper” Ultra is bigger. So. But due to the more convenient shape of the case, the S22 Ultra feels more comfortable. This is primarily noticeable when the gadget needs to be used with only one free hand. Another thing is that both smartphones require large pockets (because a case should be added to the considerable size of the cases of both flagships) and car holders should be chosen more carefully. By the way, the iPhone slightly outweighs the S22 Ultra — 240 versus 229 grams.
There is probably no point in discussing the attractiveness of the design of each device. Each person has their own personal preferences, which also applies to smartphones. On the one hand, most of them are really the same. On the other hand, Apple and Samsung have a huge number of small differences. This article will leave the external assessment of both smartphones to each reader. But it is worth noting that the design of the S22 Ultra has two relatively successful solutions. First, the matte surface of the frame does not leave such noticeable fingerprints that the iPhone easily “collects”. Secondly, the cameras on the S22 Ultra each rise above the body independently, and are not wrapped in an additional glass “pedestal”. The iPhone constantly seems to magnetize fine dust to the camera unit, and it is unlikely that the new model somehow solves this feature of the case.
Another difference can be found in the construction specifications of these models. The iPhone 14 Pro Max and the S22 Ultra have IP68 water and dust protection, but the iPhone can be submerged up to 6 meters, while the S22 Ultra withstands up to 1.5 meters. However, this is unlikely to be a fundamental point for most users. It should also be remembered that manufacturers will most likely refuse warranty service in the event of water getting inside the case, so we do not advise you to try your luck one more time.
Let’s move on to the displays. iPhone 14 Pro Max is equipped with a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED screen. It has a resolution of 2796×1290 pixels, an aspect ratio of 19.5:9, a refresh rate of 1 to 120 Hz depending on the need, and a peak brightness of 2000 cd/m². The S22 Ultra got a slightly larger 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. It has 3088×1440 pixels, 19.3:9, the same variable refresh rate and a peak brightness of 1750 cd/m². And now both flagships, not just Samsung, have the Always-On feature.
The cutout for the front camera and sensors in the iPhone is larger, but it is used quite interestingly in the system. Therefore, how much of a disadvantage in use this will be, compared to the smaller “drop” for the camera in the S22 Ultra, only the experience of individual users will tell.
Among the significant differences: the S22 Ultra’s display has slight curves on the sides, while the iPhone’s is completely flat; and the S22 Ultra screen supports stylus operation. And this last feature is one of the biggest advantages of Samsung. People who often take notes by hand, annotate images, draw sketches or diagrams, etc., won’t be able to do it the same way on iPhone. Yes, the functionality is still quite niche, but in these particular cases it gives a strong advantage to the Korean manufacturer.
As for multimedia capabilities, most likely, smartphones do not have a fundamental difference. With Samsung, it will be possible to adjust the color rendering a little, but each of the smartphones equally supports HDR10+ and has a good calibration right out of the box. The speakers of both models can create a good stereo and provide the best sound reproduction options among any smartphone. You cannot connect wired headphones to any of them (without adapters). Therefore, here the gadgets are relatively equal.
The bigger difference is in the unlocking methods. The iPhone still only offers facial scanning with Face ID. This system is considered one of the safest (although there are cases with close relatives and not necessarily twins, the smartphone could confuse the owner). Samsung can recognize its owner only with the help of the front camera without the additional sensors that the iPhone has. This method is considered not so safe and has its own disadvantages, when different lighting conditions and glasses on the eyes can affect the operation of the system.
But Samsung has something the iPhone still doesn’t have — a fingerprint sensor. It has an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner hidden under the display. It’s much faster and more agile than optical, and works almost as well as capacitive. Of course, this is not the main dealbreaker, but when buying an expensive flagship, it is nice to have such little things.
Further, smartphones have already received really fundamental differences. iPhone 14 Pro Max received a chip of Apple’s own production — A16 Bionic. As a reminder, this is a 4-nanometer processor with two high-power and four energy-efficient cores, also with 5-core graphics. It additionally includes separate coprocessors for image processing, an ISP for photo and video processing, and a 16-core Neural Engine for artificial intelligence tasks.
Samsung’s flagship has two familiar processor options — its own Exynos 2200 and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 for different markets. Each of them has its own characteristics with heat exchange and energy efficiency, but at the moment it is difficult to compare them with the new A16 from Apple, because the iPhone has not yet gone on sale, there is no experience of real use and tests yet. But more often than not, these smartphones were able to provide relatively the same level of performance for most of the everyday tasks that users usually perform on these gadgets.
Of course, one of the biggest differences between these smartphones is the operating systems. The iPhone will go on sale with iOS 16, and the S22 Ultra is being updated to Android 13. In addition, Samsung has many of its own developments with the system and additional “software” that should improve the user experience. But each of the systems has its own unique capabilities, integration into different ecosystems and many features relative to each other. Here, the user will also have to choose more seriously which advantages and disadvantages will play a greater role when purchasing a new smartphone, and this is a topic for a separate discussion. But in theory, the iPhone will receive updates longer and faster, which will help keep the device up-to-date for those users who do not change gadgets for a long time (like the actor Chris Evans, for example).
The main communication capabilities of these smartphones have minor differences. Both have support for 5G networks, their own Ultra Wideband standards, various navigation systems and NFC. The iPhone only supports Wi-Fi 6 and has the newer Bluetooth 5.3, while the S22 Ultra has Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.2. But the most noticeable “feature” of the iPhone is the emergency satellite communication for calling for help where there is no cellular connection, which is completely new this year for flagship smartphones.
There is an assumption that the amount of RAM in the iPhone 14 Pro Max has not yet changed and remained 6 GB. It’s the same with drives — there are options from 128 GB to 1 TB. The S22 Ultra has more RAM — 8-12 GB, and the same storage options. But the iPhone uses NVMe storage, while the Samsung uses UFS 3.1.
As for battery performance, there is also not enough information here at the moment. It is still unknown how the battery in the iPhone changed. The company does not specify the battery capacity of its smartphones, indicating only the approximate working time for video and audio playback. iPhone 14 Pro Max should beat the previous model by an hour in only one of the above points. On the other hand, the S22 Ultra with a battery capacity of 5000 mAh in comparative tests lost to last year’s iPhone 13 Pro Max (4352 mAh), which in its turn and with its capabilities, in principle, is one of the most durable smartphones today. It will be interesting to see how the new processor and display with Always-On will affect this.
iPhone 14 Pro Max supports 20W fast charging via Lightning, 15W via MagSafe and 7.5W Qi. The S22 Ultra has support for more powerful 45-watt charging via USB-C, also 15-watt Qi/PMA-charging, and also has the possibility of reversible 4.5-watt charging, which the iPhone cannot afford.
Cameras are also among the fundamental differences. iPhone 14 Pro Max increased the resolution of the main camera to 48 MP for the first time in many years. The sensor has increased by 65%, has seven-lens optics, an aperture value of ƒ/1.78 and the second revision of the sensor-shift stabilization system. There are also two 12-megapixel cameras on the “back” of the smartphone: an ultra-wide-angle one with ƒ/2.2 and a capture angle of 120°, and a telephoto with ƒ/2.8 and 3× zoom. In addition, the smartphone has a LiDAR to determine the depth.
Samsung has more cameras and different specifications: the main sensor has 108 MP, ƒ/1.8, laser focus and optical stabilization; ultra-wide — ƒ/2.2, 120°; and two 10MP telephotos with optical stabilization — ƒ/2.4, 70mm and 3× optical zoom, and ƒ/4.9, 230mm and 10×.
The front-facing cameras are also different: the iPhone has 12MP with ƒ/1.9, while the S22 Ultra has 40MP with ƒ/2.2.
Camera comparisons of these smartphones are always conducted “under the microscope.” Although the iPhone no longer has such a significant advantage in photos as before, it still remains the leader in video recording. It’s hard to say how much better Apple’s new sensors will be, but they still won’t provide, for example, 10x optical zoom. We will learn about other details a little later after the start of iPhone sales.
And finally, the prices. The new iPhones haven’t changed their price tags, so the 14 Pro Max costs between $1,099 and $1,599 (in the US). The S22 Ultra has been on sale since February and can already be found at a good discount in various markets. The starting price of the cheapest model is still higher than the iPhone and starts at $1,199 with the same “step” of $100 for additional storage capacity.
Buyers of such smartphones are hard to envy, because each of these competitors is able to provide its unique features, such as operating systems, satellite communication or a complete stylus. The difference in many details really clearly sets them apart, but both the iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are able to provide the user with the highest quality at all levels of using the device. And it will be difficult to choose the best here.