There's no denying that the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most feature-rich device of the year. It has the best screen of any phone I used in 2022, a gorgeous design that turns heads, outstanding cameras, and all-day battery life with fast wired and wireless charging. As an added bonus, you get an integrated stylus that's great for note-taking and as a remote shutter button for the cameras. Combine that with class-leading updates and the Galaxy S22 Ultra continues to be a true powerhouse.
The iPhone 14 Pro takes a familiar design with a few changes at the front. The Dynamic Island makes the cutout less distracting and the zone is interactive, making it that much more useful. The internal hardware is among the best of any phone today, the new 48MP camera takes fantastic photos, and you get more software updates than the Galaxy S22 Ultra and any other Android device. The iPhone 14 Pro is a strong showcase if you're interested in seeing what iOS has to offer.
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Design and screen
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We're past the point where we get drastic design changes in the high-end category, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 14 Pro build on design languages that are well-established. I particularly like what Samsung has done with the Galaxy S22 Ultra as it reminds me a lot of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — that phone in Mystic Bronze was one of my favorite designs of the last three years, and Samsung did a brilliant job recreating it for 2022.
Just like the Note 20 Ultra, Samsung went with a sublime color for the S22 Ultra this year, and the Burgundy variant looks stunning. The S22 Ultra stands out in the S22 series and its Android rivals thanks to the distinctive design, and after using all 2022 flagships, I'm confident in saying that this is my favorite design of the year. The dual-curved design does a great job maximizing the screen real estate, and the matte finish over the glass back is great to hold and ensures smudges don't show up.
My only quibble with the S22 Ultra is the size of the thing; this is the largest traditional flagship I used this year, and the width and weight of the device is noticeable. Samsung did a great job with weight distribution, but at 228g, the S22 Ultra is an absolute unit. This is where the iPhone 14 Pro comes into its own; the phone isn't particularly light at 208g, but it is significantly easier to hold and use thanks to the smaller screen — it's a whole 15.8mm shorter.
The iPhone 14 Pro has the same design as its predecessor, with flat sides, a sizeable camera island with large rings around the three modules, and a frosted glass back with a matte texture. While there aren't many changes at the back, this is a design that still looks unmistakably premium. You don't get much in the way of ports, and the U.S. version of the iPhone 14 Pro doesn't even have a SIM card slot. I'm annoyed that the device still uses the Lightning port to charge, but that thankfully should change with the next generation.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a dual SIM card tray as standard in global markets (the U.S. gets a single-SIM version), and one of the reasons for its heft is the integrated stylus tucked into the bottom. As a big fan of the Galaxy Note series, I'm glad that Samsung found a way to reintroduce the stylus with the S22 Ultra, and it is just as versatile in daily use. You can use the stylus to take notes, doodle, annotate text, and invoke air gestures. My favorite use case is using the stylus as a remote shutter button when taking photos — its inclusion makes the S22 Ultra stand out that much more.
Switching over to the screen side of things, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a massive 6.8-inch QHD+ (3088 x 1440) AMOLED panel with 120Hz refresh that is an absolute delight to use. It's no secret that Samsung's AMOLED tech is used in all flagships, but the brand clearly reserves the best screens for its own use, and the S22 Ultra has the best overall panel of any phone I used in 2022. It has excellent contrast levels and color vibrancy, and an always-on mode with a good amount of customizability. The panel has HDR10+ as well, and the large screen size makes the S22 Ultra a joy to use for streaming videos.
The iPhone 14 Pro isn't lacking in this area either, with the 6.1-inch (2556 x 1179) 120Hz OLED panel offering incredible colors and Dolby Vision. The smaller screen is better suited for one-handed use, and the Dynamic Island cutout isn't as ungainly as previous generations. The pill-sized cutout is interactive in that notifications, timers, and music playing in the background are surfaced here, and that makes the zone usable. The iPhone 14 Pro also has an always-on mode for the first time, but I don't like the way it works; the screen just dims in this mode, and I find it to be distracting.
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Hardware
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a lot to offer on the hardware side of things, and although the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 isn't as energy-efficient as the newer Snapdragon 8+ Gen 1, it isn't short on power. The phone handles anything you throw at it with ease, and there isn't a scenario where you'll see slowdowns. Samsung has done a much better job this year tuning its devices to take full advantage of the hardware, and as a result the Galaxy S22 Ultra is much more smooth and fluid in daily use.
When talking about hardware, the iPhone 14 Pro clearly steals the show. The A16 Bionic is the fastest mobile platform available today, delivering incredible power for just about any use case. Playing demanding games is a joy on the iPhone 14 Pro, and thanks to the vertical integration here, you're not going to see any slowdowns for several years.
Elsewhere, both devices come with 128GB of storage as standard, and you can pick up a model with up 1TB of storage. You're not missing out on any extras here: there's IP68 dust and water resistance on both devices, ultra wideband integration, wired and wireless charging, and mobile payment services. I'm not going to talk too much about the hardware as these are among the best phones in this regard.
There is a clear distinction when it comes to the battery; the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the runaway leader in this area, delivering outstanding figures. The iPhone 14 Pro has a smaller battery, and while the A16 Bionic is more efficient — being on a 4nm node — those gains don't necessarily translate over in real-world usage. As a result, the iPhone 14 Pro doesn't last anywhere as long as its rivals, and if you're a heavy user, you will need to charge the device before the day's out. The S22 Ultra doesn't have any such shortcomings, and the phone manages to last well over a day regardless of usage.
As for charging tech, both phones have decent wired and wireless charging baked in, and like their rivals, there's reverse wireless charging that can be used with the best wireless earbuds and other accessories. Neither device comes with a charger or cable in the box, so you will have to furnish your own. This is slightly less annoying with the S22 Ultra as the device relies on USB PD charging tech and has a USB-C port; the iPhone 14 Pro is still on the Lightning port, so you will need a Lightning cable.
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Cameras
The main reason for buying either of these phones is for the cameras, and there is a lot to like here. The Galaxy S22 Ultra continues with Samsung's 108MP module, and it's joined by a 12Mp wide-angle lens with a 120-degree field of view and dual 10MP lenses that deliver up to 10x optical zoom. The iPhone 14 Pro is packing new hardware in the form of a 48MP module, and it has a 12MP wide-angle lens that does macros and a 12MP zoom lens that goes up to 3x.
Both phones take stellar photos in all shooting conditions, but Samsung has the edge when it comes to versatility; the S22 Ultra delivers usable shots at up to 10x. That said, the iPhone 14 Pro is in a dominant position for video recording — there isn't an Android device that comes close in this regard.
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Software
Samsung is doing all the right things on the software front, and it has set the bar high for other Android manufacturers. The Galaxy S22 Ultra launched with One UI 4.1 based on Android 12, and the device has switched to Android 13 a few weeks after Google released the stable build. The One UI 5 update has a familiar interface and doesn't differ too much to its predecessor, but you get all the refinements Google added in Android 13, and a few extras, including better lock screen customization, new multitasking and camera features, and notification tweaks.
For its part, the iPhone 14 Pro has a lot to offer in this area as well. iOS 16 offers much-needed tweaks to the lock screen and notifications, and while the interface hasn't received much in the way of polish, it is modern and has a lot of useful features. Samsung has been ridiculed for showing ads on its high-end Galaxy phones, and iOS 16 now has the same issue — you'll see ads in Weather, News, and so on — I don't like how many ads there are in the interface now.
And if you're used to Android, there is a learning curve with iOS, particularly around notification management. That said, features like Focus mode go a long way in snoozing unnecessary notifications throughout the day, and for the most part, there is feature parity between iOS and Android now.
When it comes to updates, the iPhone 14 Pro will pick up one more platform update than the S22 Ultra, and that's fine. The fact that Samsung has closed the gulf in this area is an achievement in and of itself, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra has received one platform update and is slated to pick up three further updates along with five years of security patches.
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 14 Pro: Which should you buy?
Whenever I pit an Android flagship against an iPhone, I'm reminded that the two platforms aren't as different as they used to be. You'll find a feature-rich interface on both devices, along with the latest hardware, standout cameras, and all the extras you can ask for.
I like the design of the Galaxy S22 Ultra better than the iPhone 14 Pro; Samsung did a truly outstanding job with the design this year, and the phone is one of the best I've ever used. While the iPhone 14 Pro usually gets brighter for HDR content, I like the screen of the S22 Ultra a little more; the larger surface area combined with the curved edges make it a fantastic choice for streaming videos.
But the iPhone 14 Pro is in the obvious lead when it comes to the hardware side of things, with the A16 Bionic towering over anything that Qualcomm has to offer at the moment. The S22 Ultra is no slouch in this area, but it doesn't quite have the same grunt. That said, you get a larger battery on the S22 Ultra, and the phone lasts a lot longer — there's absolutely no battery anxiety here, unlike the iPhone 14 Pro.
Both phones have a strong camera package, and the iPhone 14 Pro wins out when it comes to video recording; there's still no equivalent on Android. Both devices do a brilliant job with still photos, and you get a versatile set of cameras that take amazing shots in any situation. If I had to choose, I'd go with the S22 Ultra for still photos and the iPhone 14 Pro for videos.
The S22 Ultra now costs the same as the iPhone 14 Pro, and you get a few unique features with the device that are missing on the iPhone. Of the two choices here, I'm going with the S22 Ultra, but that's just my preference — if you're interested in switching over, the iPhone 14 Pro has a lot to offer.
With a strong feature-set backed by a gorgeous design and class-leading updates, the Galaxy S22 Ultra continues to be a fantastic choice.
The iPhone 14 Pro has a familiar look at the back, but the Dynamic Island cutout at the front makes the device stand out a bit more, and you get new cameras that take incredible shots. Combine that with powerful hardware, and you get a strong overall package.
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Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.