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iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: main differences to expect


Suppose you want the biggest and baddest phone on the planet and you really don’t care whether it runs iOS or Android? Well, chances are these two devices will be at the top of the list: the upcoming Apple iPhone 14 Pro Max and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Both fit the bill perfectly: they are big, they have huge batteries and long battery life, they have excellent camera… or in other words, these are simply the baddest phones on the planet!

But how are they different? Is the iPhone 14 Pro Max better because it longer software support from Apple? Or is the Galaxy S22 Ultra preferable because of its extra features like a built-in S Pen and incredible 10X zoom camera?

Well, this is what we are here to find out based on the leaks and rumors prior to the iPhone release and we’ll dive in the details, but first, these are the…

iPhone 14 Pro Max vs Galaxy S22 Ultra in a nutshell:

  • Large OLED screens on both with up to 120Hz refresh rate
  • iPhone has Face ID, Galaxy uses a fingerprint scanner
  • Galaxy has S Pen
  • Similar main three cameras, but Galaxy also has 10X zoom
  • Similar prices
  • iPhone battery expected to last a bit longer

Table of Contents:

Design and Display Quality

Do you want a wider phone with an S Pen? Or a narrower one with rounded corners?

Speaking of design, these two are premium through and through: they are both solidly put together, but also different. The Galaxy has a wider aspect ratio than your average phone and sharp corners which look distinct but make it a bit less comfortable in a pocket. The iPhone, on the other hand, is rumored to change to a slightly taller aspect ratio and have more rounded edges. And in terms of materials, both are a glass and metal sandwich, with an aluminum frame on the Galaxy, while the middle of the iPhone is made out of heavier stainless steel.

Both are IP68 water and dust protected, so you don’t have to worry if you get caught in the rain with one of them.

The Galaxy, of course, charges via a USB-C port, while the iPhone is said to stick with the proprietary Apple Lightning connector (the iPhone 15, though, might make the switch to USB-C).

You should also not be surprised by what’s in the box, or rather what is NOT in the box. There is no charger on either one, they only ship with charging cable, but not the charging brick that you’d have to buy separately.

You do get a slightly different screen size: 6.7″ on the iPhone and 6.8″ on the Galaxy, so the S22 Ultra does indeed have a bigger screen area. It also has the slightly higher resolution at 1440p vs 1284p on the iPhone, but it’s not a huge difference.

And of course, it’s that new i-shaped Face ID system on the iPhone that really stands out, while the Galaxy goes with a much more discreet punch hole design for the front camera.

In terms of the technology, both are OLED displays with top notch brightness and both support HDR video.

Interestingly, the Galaxy features dynamic refresh rate that modulates between 1Hz to 120Hz, while the iPhone is only rumored to add this feature (the previous gen Pro Max came with a 10-120Hz screen).

The two are also differently protected: the iPhone uses Face ID, a very secure, 3D form of face recognition, while the Galaxy relies on an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner as its main biometric security means. The Galaxy also supports face recognition using the front camera, but it’s just a 2D, picture based recognition that can be spoofed far easier and is definitely not as secure as Face ID.

Don’t forget that the Galaxy also comes with an S Pen inside it to quickly jot down notes or draw sketches. It’s a blessing for artists and those who enjoy using it, even if it’s not quite for everyone.

Performance and Software

Apple silicon shapes up to remain the fastest in the industry

Under the hood, the iPhone 14 Pro Max is expected to debut the brand new Apple A16 Bionic chip, while the Galaxy is based on a Qualcomm-made Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor (outside of the US, it is powered by the Samsung-made Exynos 2200 chip).

Even compared to the 2021 iPhone 13 Pro Max, the Galaxy cannot quite match the performance of the Apple silicon, and we expect further gains from the A16. One thing rumors suggest is that the A16 will be built on the finer 4nm process node, which should contribute to higher power and efficiency.

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is also rumored to stick with 6GB of RAM (LPDDR5), while the Galaxy is offered with 8GB in the base model, while a souped-up version is also available with 12GB of RAM.

In terms of storage, both phones start at 128GB, and then you can upscale to 256GB, 512GB and even 1TB for the most demanding users. Neither phone supports expandable storage (no microSD card slot on either one), so keep that in mind.


The iPhone brings a bigger camera sensor, but has no answer for the 10X zoom on the Galaxy

The iPhone 14 Pro Max is the first one in years expected to get a higher resolution sensor for the main camera, and that is very exciting. Apple is rumored to use a new, 48-megapixel sensor for the main camera, a change from the current 12MP sensor. On the other hand, the Samsung has been using an even higher-res 108-megapixel sensor for the main camera for a few years now.

However, what Apple has not managed to come close to is the 10X periscope zoom lens on the Galaxy, which helps you achieve incredible quality at long range zoom distances, and with digital zoom you can go at up to 100X zoom, while the iPhone is rumored to max out at 15X or 20X zoom.

Here is a quick recap of the camera specs on the iPhone vs Galaxy:

  • 48MP vs 108MP main sensor, 26mm lens vs 23mm lens
  • 12MP ultra-wide on both
  • 12MP 3X zoom on iPhone, 10MP 3X zoom on Galaxy
  • 10X zoom only avaialble on Galaxy
At the same time, Apple arguably has the better optimized camera app and a few features like Photographic Styles that the Galaxy just cannot match.

On the video front, the Galaxy has had support for 8K video for several years now, and this might be the year that the iPhone catches up as the new 48MP sensor for the first time allows 8K video capture. We’re yet to see about that.

We also expect to see improvements to Cinematic Mode, the Apple feature that blurs the background in video, but that had some issues with artifacts and was only available at 1080p resolution.

Audio Quality and Haptics

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has average sounding loudspeakers, and that is one area where Samsung could definitely improve. We don’t yet know whether the 14 Pro Max will be able to improve upon the 13 Pro Max speakers, but those were one of the finest we have heard with deeper bass than your typical smartphone and a richer sound profile.

Unfortunately, there is no headphone jack on either one of these phones.

When it comes to the haptic feedback, both have a nice and sharp vibration motor, but we’d still give Apple the slight advantage in this one area.

Battery Life and Charging

Both have big batteries, but only one has the longer battery life

With a massive, 5,000mAh battery inside you would expect the Galaxy S22 Ultra to easily outlast iPhone counterparts that don’t even reach 4,400mAh capacity. And we do indeed expect the iPhone 14 Pro Max to stick with a battery of give or take 4,400mAh. However, that might not be the case at all.

Judging from the stellar performance on the current iPhone 13 Pro Max, we can see how the Apple iOS platform does a much better job keeping excessive battery use at bay.

Of course, we need to wait it out for our independent battery benchmarks to get a clear idea about the battery life, but expectations are that the iPhone will have a longer battery life than the Galaxy.

On the charging side, the Galaxy supports up to 45W speeds, while the iPhone goes as fast as 27W. And there is indeed a big difference in how fast these two charge as the Galaxy takes just a bit more than an hour for a full top-up, while the iPhone charges in nearly double that time! It took nearly 2 hours for a full charge.

Interestingly, it is the Galaxy that allows you to use its charge to give to a third-party device via reverse wireless charging. Enable the feature, place something like a smartwatch or compatible wireless buds on top of the phone and they will top up miraculously, a trick that the iPhone cannot do.

Specs Comparison

*Information in the table above is based on leaks and rumors, and is not final or official.

Summary and Final Verdict

So let’s summarize! The iPhone has the following advantages: a faster chip, slightly longer software support, the iOS ecosystem, as well as expectedly a longer battery life and superior video quality, while the Galaxy just gives you a ton of extra features like an S Pen, faster charging, long-range telephoto camera, and that only adds up on top of its solid basisc.

Which one should you go for?

Well, our advice is to look what you value most in a phone? Is it having a free and open platform? Go for the Galaxy. Is is just sheer performance and battery life in a slightly less giant phone? Get the iPhone.

So which one would you choose? And is there something the other manufacturer can do to convince you to ever switch sides? 

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