Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max:
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max is a battle between the two best and biggest phones in the two brands’ respective product lines. Samsung produces three versions of its flagship Galaxy S lineup, the latest being the S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra. Apple, on the other hand, produces four iPhones: the standard iPhone, the iPhone mini, the iPhone Pro, and the Pro Max.
In this comparison, we’ll compare the largest member of each family: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max. In Samsung’s case, the Galaxy S22 Ultra differs from its closest sibling, the S22+, not only in size. It’s a completely different phone, with some additional features and a completely different camera. In Apple’s case, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is simply a larger version of the 13 Pro. It’s almost identical to its smaller counterpart, although the larger battery offers slightly better battery life.
But in a battle of Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra versus iPhone 13 Pro Max, who wins? Samsung has closed the gap with Apple and this time it might be closer than ever. Below we compare the two giants in terms of design, performance, display, cameras, and price to help you decide which device is best for you.
One area you’re probably most interested in is the camera of the two big phones. We’ll go into that below, but also check out our guide to the best camera phones. You can also find more details on both phones in our in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro. But for now, let’s dive into the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs iPhone 13 Pro Max comparison to see how they compare.
Since Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro Max are the top models of the two brands, it should come as no surprise that both are simply great in terms of design. They are almost identical in size, with the S22 Ultra being only slightly larger but 10 grams lighter than the Pro Max. Their shapes, however, are quite different. The Pro Max relies on rounded corners but a apartment display, while the S22 Ultra has slightly rounded edges for a more eye-catching and elegant look and feel. The camera is also flush with the design, while the iPhone’s lenses form a rather chunky block on the back.
But the big design win for Samsung is the lack of a notch on the display – an iPhone feature that causes controversy among Apple fans. The iPhone 13 Pro Max has a smaller notch than previous generations, but it is still a noticeable notch, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s notch is less distracting.
However, the curves of the S22 Ultra have a small drawback: they sometimes make typing and moving the cursor a bit more difficult. The apartment edges of the iPhone 13 Pro Max make it easy to hold.
The verdict: It might be a controversial decision, but we give the first round in this battle between Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPhone 13 Pro Max to Samsung.
As we have seen, these phones are very similar in size, with the S22 Ultra having a 6.7-inch (3080 x 1440) display and the iPhone 13 Pro Max having a 6.1-inch (2778 x 1284) display. The S22 Ultra’s display is just a bit brighter and covers a larger portion of the sRGB color space and DCI-P3 color space. However, the Apple panel seems to offer more accurate colors, with a Delta E value closer to 0.
However, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers the option to choose between a natural and vivid profile. If you are watching videos, you might prefer the latter, while it is probably better to opt for Natural colors if you are editing photos or other visual content.
The Verdict: We’ll call this a draw. The S22 Ultra is slightly brighter, but it’s really too close to call.
PERFORMANCE iPhone 13 Pro Max
The iPhone 13 Pro Max (photo credit: Apple)
So what’s in it and how does it affect the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max? The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is equipped with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, which offers a significant performance boost over its predecessor. However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s A15 Bionic chip outperforms it in tests with benchmarking tools like Geekbench 5 single- and multi-core tests and 3DMark Wild Life. In practice, however, we find it difficult to determine a clear, consistent difference. Sometimes the Galaxy S22 Ultra even feels faster.
The verdict: It goes to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, but only by a hair’s breadth.
iPhone 13 Pro Max Camera
The iPhone Pro Max has three cameras on the back (Photo credit: Apple)
The cameras are probably the main reason you are here! The S22 Ultra on the back has a whopping 108MP (f/1.8) main camera, a 12MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide camera, and two 10MP telephoto cameras (f/4.9) with 10x and 3x optical zoom, respectively. On the front, there’s a 40MP (f/2.2) for selfies. Yes, that’s a lot of cameras. On the back, the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a 12MP main camera (f/1.6), a 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera (f/2.4), and a 12MP telephoto camera (f/2.8) with 3x optical zoom. On the front, it opts for a 12MP (f/2.2).
With the S22 Ultra, you get more megapixels, a larger sensor that should capture more light, and an additional 10x zoom. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has improved its portrait capabilities with an AI stereo depth map to separate subjects from the background, but we’d say Apple’s cameras still produce brighter and sharper results in portraits. They also still achieve more natural-looking colors, with Samsung’s sometimes still looking a bit too saturated. Some people prefer Samsung’s warmer, more vibrant colors, but if you want the clearest, most natural colors, which you probably do when doing post-processing, the Pro Max wins here.
As for dealing with low light, the S22 seems to deliver a brighter image, but the Pro Max seems to get better clarity and warmer tone. And for video, the Galaxy S22 Ultra outperforms the Pro Max with up to 8K at 24 frames per second versus 4K at 60 frames per second. Still, the iPhone’s Cinematic mode is a very clever tool for shifting focus in videos (see our iPhone 13 Pro camera tips for more on that). Another area where the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s camera wins is in close-up photography. The new macro feature of the Ultrawide camera is a real win for capturing small subjects.
Note that the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s smaller brother, the iPhone 13 Pro, has the same cameras as its big brother, which was not the case with the iPhone 12 Pro and Pro Max. So you do not necessarily have to buy the biggest phone to get the best camera in the lineup. However, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a completely different camera setup than its mid-range relative, the S22+.
The verdict: Both have their strengths, but overall, the iPhone 13 Pro Max offers more here.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 5,000mAh battery and the iPhone 13 Pro Max has a smaller 4,352mAh battery, but the iPhone 13 Pro Max seems to last longer in most tests. You should be able to get a good second day out of both with average usage, but if battery life is an important issue for you, the Pro Max seems to perform better. That being said, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a faster charging time, although we are talking about a difference of about 20 minutes to charge the phone here.
The verdict: The iPhone 13 Pro Max simply steals the show.
OTHER FEATURES Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Our reviewer tests the S Pen stylus of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Image credit: Future)
While the iPhone 13 Pro Max has been ahead so far, the Galaxy S22 Ultra still has an ace up its sleeve. The included S Pen stylus can easily be used for note-taking and drawing. The Ultra’s use of
the S Pen has been significantly improved since the S21 Ultra. Latency has been reduced by 70%, so the device now responds even faster. You can control the phone with Bluetooth-enabled Air Actions and insert the stylus into your phone for charging. You can read more about how we found using the stylus in our detailed review of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The verdict: A big plus for the S 22 Ultra if you want to take advantage of the large screen and use a pen for note-taking or drawing.
When it comes to the price of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra compared to the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the S22 Ultra is the more expensive of the two devices with the lowest specs. It starts at $1,199 / £1,149.00 – $100 / £100 more than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. For that, you get 8 GB RAM and 128 GB of storage. For 12 GB of RAM and 256 GB of storage, you have to pay another £100, while the top configuration with 12 GB / 1 TB costs a whopping £1,599.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max starts at $1,099 / £1,049 for 128 GB of storage (RAM is not specified, but it’s believed to be 6 GB). For 256 GB of storage, the price is $1,199 / £1,149 and the 1 TB model is $1,599 / £1,549.
Conclusion: The iPhone 13 Pro Max is only slightly cheaper.
We have already mentioned Samsung and Apple’s list prices, but it’s always worth keeping an eye out for savings opportunities. Keep checking this space for updated deals at a number of retailers in your area.
So in the end, who comes out on top in Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max? It’s perhaps one of the toughest decisions we have seen with these two great phones, and your choice will likely come down to whether you want to go Android or iOS. In terms of design, performance, display, and cameras, it’s really a neck-and-neck race with either device having some advantages. We like the slim design of the S22 Ultra and the display without a notch, but these are only small advantages.
The Pro Max simply has the edge in terms of performance and battery life, and it is also a bit cheaper. It also has some camera features that might make it the better option of the two phones. However, if you want to use a stylus for notes or drawing and do not want to buy a separate device, e.g. an iPad, then the decision is already made and you will go for the Samsung S22 Ultra.