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Google Pixel 7 Pro vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Who wins Android smartphone battle?

Samsung and Google make some of the finest smartphones on the market, offering the most advanced features that make the most of their hardware and software integration. Both companies introduced new versions of their flagship phones this year, and our reviewers have put them to the test. Now it’s time for the top-of-the-line Android smartphone smackdown: Which flagship phone — the Google Pixel 7 Pro or the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — is the best one to capture the contents of your wallet?

Specs

Google Pixel 7 Pro Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Size 162.9 x 76.6 x 8.9mm (6.4 x 3.0 x 0.3 inches) 163.3 by 77.9 by 8.9mm (6.43 by 3.07 by 0.35 inches)
Weight 212 grams (7.5 ounces) 228 grams/229 grams (mmWave) (8.04 ounces)
Screen 6.7-inch always-on QHD+ LTPO OLED with up to 120Hz refresh rate 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with up to 120Hz refresh rate
Screen resolution 3120 x 1440 pixel resolution (512 pixels per inch) 3088 x 1440 pixels (500 ppi)
Operating system Android 13 Android 12
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
MicroSD card slot No No
Tap-to-pay services Google Pay Samsung Pay
Processor Google Tensor G2 Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Camera Rear: 50-megapixel (ƒ/1.85) main, 12MP (ƒ/2.2) ultrawide, 48MP (ƒ/3.5)  telephoto

Front: 10.8MP (ƒ/2.2)

Rear: 108MP (f/2.2) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 10MP (f/2.4) 10x telephoto, 10MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto

Front: 40MP (f/2.2)

Video Rear: 4K at 30/60 frames per second (fps), 1080p video recording at 30/60 fps

Front: 4K at 30/60 fps

Rear: 4K at 30/60 fps, 1080p video recording at 30/60/120/240 fps

Front: 4K at 30/60 fps

Cellular 5G mmWave on select models, LTE, Dual SIM (Single Nano SIM and eSIM), NFC 5G mmWave on select models, LTE,
Wi-Fi 6E, NFC
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.2 Bluetooth 5.2
Ports USB Type-C USB Type-C
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 5000mAh

30W wired charging

12W to 23W wireless charging

Reverse wireless charging

5000mAh

45W wired charging

15W wireless charging

Reverse wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Samsung Galaxy/Google Play
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Obsidian, Snow, Hazel Phantom Black, Phantom White,
green, Burgundy
Price $899 $1,199
Available from Google Samsung
Review 3.5 out of 5 stars 4.5 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

The Pixel 7 Pro with its display turned on, showing the home screen.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The Google Pixel 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are flagship smartphones for their respective brands, and they differ greatly in design. The metal and glass Pixel 7 Pro sports a curved display and narrow design with an appealing stainless steel camera bar on the back. The style is distinctive and recognizable, with cutouts for each camera sensor. The current Pixel design is also lighter, thinner, and less curved than in the past, giving it a more balanced feel in the hand.

In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is wide and heavy, with a businesslike look and feel reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra‘s sharp lines and square corners. A curved display combines with squared-off top and bottom corners, and it also sports individual rear cameras. This is clearly a phone that helps you get stuff done, but because it is so big and slippery, it may not be totally comfortable for all hands.

There’s less contrast between the two flagships in terms of display. Both have advanced 120Hz displays built on an OLED base, and the difference in size between the Pixel’s 6.7-inches and the S22 Ultra’s 6.8-inches is negligible. The phones’ front and back panels are protected by Gorilla Glass Victus or Victus Plus on the Pixel 7 and Galaxy S22 Ultra, respectively. Both phones carry IP68 water and dust resistance ratings. Balancing out design, comfort, screen quality, and brightness, we’re going to call a tie on which design is better, as both are gorgeous.

Winner: Tie

Performance, battery life, and charging

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra screen in hand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Both the Pixel 7 Pro and the Galaxy S22 Ultra smartphones pack a 5,000mAh battery, with some disparities in the charging speed and strength. The Samsung features up to 45W charging, while the Pixel only hits 30W. You will need to purchase a Samsung or Google charger if you do not already own one because neither comes with a charger in the box.

Our review found real-world battery life for the Google Pixel 7 Pro unimpressive. While the battery drain on standby was respectable, using multiple apps, playing games, or anything else that drives the processor significantly diminished battery endurance. The Pixel 7 Pro proved to be a one-day smartphone at best, which, with a 6.7-inch screen and 5,000mAh battery, was disappointing. While the Pixel 7’s newly reinstated Face Unlock feature lets you bypass the lock screen, you’ll still need the fingerprint sensor to access locked apps or to make a purchase with Google Pay. We found Face Unlock worked quite well, but the fingerprint sensor still needs work. Sadly, the Google Pixel 7 Pro is also suffering from a large range of software bugs, which severely diminishes the phone’s performance and ease of use. Moreover, the phone runs hot — meaning that it heats up uncomfortably sometimes after only 30 minutes of gaming.

The battery inside the S22 Ultra maintained power for a full day of heavy use and two days of moderate use. By moderate, we mean without games, streaming video, constant music, or switching between a 4G and 5G connection. The Samsung phone is the better performer, even with the older Android 12 operating system, accompanied by Samsung’s OneUI 4.1 installed. In contrast to the Pixel 7 Pro, we experienced no bugs or problems.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Cameras

The camera bar on the Google Pixel 7 Pro.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

Pixel 7 Pro has three cameras: a 50-megapixel wide, a 48MP telephoto, and a 12MP ultrawide, with a 10.8MP front camera. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has four cameras: a 108MP wide, two 10MP telephotos (with different zooms), and a 12MP ultrawide alongside a 40MP front camera. The Pixel 7 Pro can now facilitate 5x optical zoom but trails behind Samsung’s 10x.

But cameras are not just about stats — cameras are about results, and the Google Pixel 7 Pro delivers. Photos from the Pixel 7 Pro are exceptional, with bold color reproduction and strong lighting. The Google phone’s camera captures loads of detail, and the image processing creates stunning images without a lot of fuss. The camera app offers two shortcuts for jumping to 2x and 5x zoom, but you can keep zooming up to 30x, which is great for flexibility and creativity. The ultrawide camera, with its new Macro Focus shooting mode, was most impressive. The selfie cam, alas, is nothing to write home about.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s cameras excel compared to the Pixel 7 Pro’s. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 108MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x optical zoom, 10MP 10x optical zoom, and 40MP selfie cameras offer much more flexibility and precision. Its multiple optical zoom modes make it versatile, the main and wide cameras take gorgeous colorful photos with excellent balance, and the updated portrait mode is stellar. Single Take mode lets you shoot a short video, up to 15 seconds, which can be extended to 20 seconds, while the phone’s AI generates assorted images and videos from it. The native camera app is simple and customizable. Our review says it’s one of the best camera phones out there. Between Samsung’s Pro mode for stills and video and its new Expert RAW app, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra takes great pictures, too.

The Pixel 7 Pro takes slightly better photos (without Samsung’s aggressive saturation boosting) and has a better “point-and-click” experience, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s zoom is amazing and has real depth for those who want to take some time. This is a tie.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in Phantom Black with S Pen.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Pixel 7 Pro, which ships with Android 13, features Google’s new Tensor G2 chip and 12GB of RAM. The default 128GB of storage can be upgraded to 256GB and 512GB. While Google’s Material You engine facilitates customization, the various AI features derived from the Tensor chip make the experience unique. For the Pixel 7 Pro, Google promises three years of operating system upgrades and five years of security upgrades.

The Pixel 7 Pro’s Tensor processor includes new smart AI features like Photo Unblur and the upcoming Clear Calling and Recorder App features. The Pixel 7 Pro also resurrected Face Unlock — dormant since the Pixel 4 — but with an unwelcomed tweak that requires the fingerprint sensor to access locked apps or use Google Pay.

Its rival, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, features the Snapdragon 8 Plus Gen 1 with 8GB of RAM. Storage options include 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, and 1TB. It comes with the older Android 12 operating system, accompanied by Samsung’s OneUI 4.1 installed, and offers four years of full updates. Samsung distinctly promotes its own products and forces you to sign into a Samsung account, prioritizing Samsung Pay, updating apps through the Galaxy Store, and ignoring non-Samsung calendar and messaging apps. This practice is not unique to Samsung, but it’s not friendly either.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Special features

Holding the Pixel 7 Pro.
Joe Maring/Digital Trends

The most prominent special feature of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the included S Pen stylus — identical to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — which resides in its own storage slot on the bottom of the phone. The S Pen is small and thin and isn’t especially comfortable for large hands. While useful, unless you habitually draw or take notes, it’s probably not something you’ll miss were it not there. Whether you want or need the S-Pen or not, it’s still a solid addition that wins Samsung the special features competition.

While the Pixel 7 Pro boasts many new features, they are processor-, software-, and update-related, as mentioned above.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Price and availability

Both the Google Pixel 7 Pro and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are on sale and universally available. There is a huge price differential between the two. The Pixel starts at $899 for the base model with 128GB of storage. You can get the 256GB or 512GB model for $999 or $1,099, respectively, from the Google Store, Amazon, Best Buy, AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra costs $1,199 for the 8GB/128GB version and costs $1,299 for a 12GB/256GB model, $1,399 for a 12GB/512GB model, or $1,599 for the 12GB/1TB version. It’s available from Samsung and the same retail outlets as the Pixel 7 Pro.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Google Pixel 7 Pro may first appear to be a better value for the money with its graceful appearance, sophisticated software features, stellar camera, and Android 13 interface. Yet, despite its bold design and advanced features, we found Google still struggles with building on the Pixel’s good points while failing to improve over previous models. Overall, we concluded that the Pixel 7 Pro is a frustrating smartphone based on lackluster battery life and persistent buggy performance that mars the phone’s overall performance.

In contrast, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is much more expensive, but that will be money well spent. The Samsung phone offers even more impressive camera specs, a larger display, faster charging, and a built-in stylus. The phone is a marvel of technology that will serve you well for years to come.

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