Apple and Samsung have always been the top dogs of the smartphone market, and the newest iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra continue to build on that tradition. Both of these flagships offer professional-grade cameras, giant screens and some of the best performance you can find.
Of course, one fits squarely with Apple’s broad ecosystem, along with its brethren the flagship iPhone 13 Pro (which comes laden with the exact same specs as the bigger Pro Max), and the other is an Android powerhouse with an S Pen and an even more massive screen. To help you choose, we break down each device so you can make a smarter buying decision.
You should get the Galaxy S22 Ultra if…
You require an S Pen
For the very first time, Samsung is including an S Pen stylus that stores inside a Galaxy S device. The Galaxy S22 Ultra ships with the familiar Note feature that many have missed, and if you’re one of those people, this is the phone for you. The iPhone 13 Pro Max isn’t compatible with any sort of Apple-branded stylus.
Samsung throws in all the usual S Pen perks like quick notes on the lockscreen, special action menus and Bluetooth controls for the camera shutter, among others. It also offers the best writing experience of any S Pen to date.
You want one of the best displays ever
Samsung always delivers impressive display tech on its phones, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra is no exception. With its large 6.8-inch footprint, the S22 Ultra boasts a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a Quad HD+ resolution, delivering punchy colors and truly impressive contrast.
Its 120Hz refresh rate keeps everything smooth, and the 240Hz touch sampling rate means touch interactions will feel instantaneous. It will likely be perfect for gaming on the go. And with a peak brightness of 1,750 nits, it gets considerably brighter than the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which tops out at 1,200 nits.
The S22 Ultra is one of the best phones you can buy if you’re looking for an exceptional display. Everything from movies to games to social media will look fantastic. And while the iPhone 13 Pro Max still has a great screen, the S22 Ultra is noticeably more impressive and eye-catching.
You need multitasking tools
One of the best ways to utilize the large display on the Galaxy S22 Ultra is by multitasking, and Samsung makes that effortless. Numerous software tools come preinstalled on the device, such as split-screen support, app windows, Edge menus and App Pairs. This makes getting work done a lot easier.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is no match for the S22 Ultra in the productivity department. Apple includes virtually no multitasking tools in iOS, so you’re constantly forced to switch between full-screen apps if you’re doing multiple things at once. Samsung’s phone has a serious leg up in this category, bar none.
You want your camera to zoom in really far
The last few generations of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S phones have offered a feature many competitors have failed to keep up with: Space Zoom. Using a periscope-style telephoto camera and special software techniques, Samsung’s devices are able to zoom in much farther than any other phones can.
In the case of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Space Zoom allows you to achieve a wild 100x zoom. On the iPhone 13 Pro, you’re stuck with a measly 15x zoom using the 3x telephoto camera and Apple’s software. So if getting as close to your subjects as possible is important, you’ll definitely want the S22 Ultra.
You should get the iPhone 13 Pro if…
You’re already in the Apple ecosystem
This point seems obvious, but it’s the biggest differentiator between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra. The former runs iOS; the latter runs on Android. If you’re already in Apple’s ecosystem (e.g., you own a Mac, Apple TV or AirPods), it makes sense to consider the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It’ll fit right in with the rest of your devices and provide a seamless experience across them all.
You want to capture terrific video
For years, Apple has been the leader in the smartphone industry in terms of videography, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max only cements that further. The device still reigns supreme in comparison to the Galaxy S22 Ultra with its reliable stability, accurate color reproduction and overall clarity.
Coupled with various professional-grade features like Cinematic mode, macro videography and ProRes support, it’s clear that the iPhone 13 Pro Max remains the smartphone to buy if you plan on taking a lot of videos. Just be sure to get one with enough storage.
You want the best performance
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has beefy specs, with the brand-new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 at its heart. While that’s enough horsepower for virtually any user, there’s no denying the 13 Pro Max and its A15 Bionic processor still manages to outperform most devices you compare it to. It blazes through games and multitasking between apps, and it keeps up with heavier apps like video editing. It’s also a master at efficiency, giving the iPhone 13 Pro Max some of the best battery life you can get on a phone.
Both of these phones are expensive, big and fast, and take great pictures. However, certain qualities make them better suited for different types of people.
The iPhone 13 Pro Max is a powerful addition to any Apple user’s arsenal with its larger screen, impressive performance, professional-grade photography tools and excellent battery life. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a productivity machine with its included S Pen, even bigger edge-to-edge display, various multitasking features and impressive photography capabilities.
No matter what you decide, Apple and Samsung are at the top of their game in the smartphone department, and you can’t go wrong with either device.
iPhone 13 Pro, iPhone 13 Pro Max and Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra specs
|Display||6.1-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion||6.7-inch Super Retina XDR display with ProMotion||6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a 120Hz refresh rate|
|Processor||A15 Bionic||A15 Bionic||Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|Storage||128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB||128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB||128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB|
|Cameras||12-megapixel telephoto, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel wide with flash (rear); 12-megapixel camera (front)||12-megapixel telephoto, 12-megapixel ultrawide, 12-megapixel wide with flash (rear); 12-megapixel camera (front)||12-megapixel ultrawide, 108-megapixel wide and dual 10-megapixel telephoto with flash (rear); 40-megapixel camera (front)|
|Size and weight||2.82 x 5.78 x 0.30 inches; 0.44 pounds||3.07 x 6.33 x 0.30 inches; 0.53 pounds||3.06 x 6.42 x 0.35 inches; 0.50 pounds|