Skip to main content

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Google Pixel 6 Pro: Clash of the titans

When we talk of the best Android smartphones money can buy, the list typically narrows down to flagship offerings from two brands: Samsung and Google. As of 2022, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6 Pro represent the best Android smartphones offered in terms of features. For anyone thinking of investing in a flagship smartphone this year, there is a good chance that these two devices will be in contention. However, given that both these smartphones are capable devices, choosing might not be an easy task. That’s where our detailed comparison between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6 Pro comes in. If you’re torn between these two excellent smartphones, there are some things you should know before you decide to swipe your credit card.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Google Pixel 6 Pro
Size 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm (6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches) 163.9 x 75.9 x 8.9mm (6.45 x 2.99 x 0.35 inches)
Weight 228 grams / 229 grams (mmWave) (8.04 ounces) 210 grams (7.41 ounces)
Screen size 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.7-inch OLED with 10-120Hz
Screen resolution 3088 x 1440 pixels (500 pixels-per-inch density) 3120 x 1440 pixels (512 ppi density)
Operating system Android 12 based on One UI 4.1 Updated to Android 12 based on One UI 4.0
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 / Exynos 2200 (depending on the market) Google Tensor
RAM 8GB, 12GB 12GB
Camera 108-megapixel primary, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP periscope, 10MP telephoto
40MP selfie camera
Triple lens 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 48MP telephoto rear, 11.1MP front
Video 4K at 30/60 frames per second 4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at 120 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.2 Bluetooth 5.1
Ports USB C USB C
Fingerprint sensor Yes (in-display ultrasonic) Yes (in-display)
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 5000mAh
45W wired charging (no charger
included in the box)
15W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
5,003mAh
30W wired charging
23W wireless charging
Reverse wireless charging
App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Phantom Black, Phantom White,
green, burgundy
Phantom Black, Phantom Silver,
Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy,
Phantom Brown, Navy
Price Starting at $1,199 Starting at $899
Buy from Samsung Samsung
Review score 4.5 out of 5 stars 4 out of 5 stars

Design and display

The Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6 Pro are both large, good-looking smartphones that are nearly identical in size. Even though the Pixel 6 Pro is the slightly taller of the two, the S22 Ultra is the overall bigger device and gets a marginally larger display. The understated looks of the S22 Ultra are enhanced by its matte finish, which is common across all color options.

That certainly doesn’t mean the Pixel 6 Pro’s design doesn’t have its share of admirers. The phone looks great and is a welcome departure from the older Pixel design language. Both phones are evenly matched as far as IP ratings (IP68) and screen protection standards (Gorilla Glass Victus) are concerned. However, the glass-clad, glossy rear panel of the Pixel 6 Pro may attract fingerprints and grime more easily than the matte back on the S22 Ultra.

Even though both these smartphones use similarly-sized OLED panels, there’s no denying the Galaxy S22’s panel is in a league of its own. It almost makes the Pixel 6 Pro’s display — which isn’t a bad panel at all — seem pedestrian. Not only is the Galaxy S22’s panel nearly twice as bright with a claimed peak brightness of 1,750 nits (compared to the Pixel 6 Pro’s sub-1,000 nit panel), it also comes with Samsung’s proprietary Vision Booster technology that maintains color accuracy irrespective of the ambient lighting conditions.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Performance, battery life, and charging

Man playing a game on the Google Pixel 6 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Samsung ships the U.S. Galaxy S22 Ultra with Qualcomm’s flagship-grade Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. This processor is among the fastest smartphone SoCs currently available for Android devices, and even though there has been a lot of recent controversy surrounding Samsung’s decision to covertly “limit” the performance of the Galaxy S22 series devices to keep the thermals in check (this has been subsequently reversed after a software update), there is no denying that users will experience blazing fast performance on the S22 Ultra.

With the Pixel 6 Pro, Google tried something new by opting for a self-designed chip called Google Tensor. This chipset has a lot of similarities with Samsung’s Exynos 2100 from last year while also sharing some traits of the newer Exynos 2200 chip that Samsung put on the Asian and European iterations of the Galaxy S22 series.

While the Tensor chip offers good performance across the board, it is still considered a notch below the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in terms of real-world performance. That being said, unless you run graphics-intensive tasks and processor-intensive tasks all the time, the performance difference between the two devices may not be that noticeable to the average user.

Where the performance of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is noticeably faster is when unlocking the phone using the fingerprint scanner. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s ultrasonic fingerprint scanner has a lot to do with this because it is objectively better than the Pixel 6 Pro’s standard optical sensor in almost every possible aspect. The result? The S22 Ultra is much faster to unlock while being consistently more accurate than the Pixel 6 Pro.

Both smartphones are evenly matched in battery capacity and feature large-capacity 5,000 mAh cells. In our tests, the Samsung Galaxy S22 settled down and consistently delivered up to two days of life with moderate usage. We were also able to charge the phone from 3% to full in about an hour. It’s been a similar story for the Pixel 6 Pro, with the phone easily lasting well over a day with moderate use. Even though the Galaxy S22 supports faster charging speeds (45W as opposed to the Pixel’s 30W), the phones are pretty evenly matched when it comes to real-world charging speeds.

Overall, we feel the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra wins this round simply because of the longer battery life, faster charging speeds, and impressive performance.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Cameras

Close-up of the rear Google Pixel 6 Pro's rear panel showing its cameras.
Andy Boxall/ DigitalTrends

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra gets a potent quad-camera setup that includes a 108MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and twin 10MP telephoto cameras — all of which work in tandem with a 40MP selfie camera. The Pixel 6 Pro is no pushover either, and its triple-camera setup includes a 50MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 48MP telephoto camera with 4x optical zoom. Rounding off things on the Pixel 6 Pro is the 11MP front-facing camera.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra lives up to its “Ultra” tag and features a lot of new additions over its predecessor — including support for RAW editing with its new Expert RAW app. Samsung has also worked on improving its AI-infused portrait mode — an area where Google has traditionally held a massive lead. It’s rare to find a situation where the Galaxy S22’s camera fails to deliver. Given its excellent zoom range and competent ultrawide camera, you also end up with a device that captures excellent, shareable photos right out of the phone. At the risk of nitpicking, the S22 Ultra faced color accuracy and exposure issues with the telephoto cameras at 3x and 10x zoom. We also weren’t too impressed with the output from the front-facing camera — especially in low-light situations.

The Pixel 6 Pro may fall behind the Galaxy S22 Ultra on most other parameters, but not when it comes to overall camera and image quality. With the Pixel 6 Pro, it’s almost a given you end up taking an excellent photo regardless of the situation. While Pixels were already known for their incredible low-light modes and excellent portrait shots, the Pixel 6 Pro’s superb hardware now lets users capture great telephoto shots as well.

There is very little that separates the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Pixel 6 Pro as far as camera capabilities go. Chances are, your decision to pick one among these would eventually depend on personal preferences. We still believe that the Pixel 6 Pro — even with its supposedly “inferior” hardware — is by far the best Android smartphone when it comes to photography.

Winner: Pixel 6 Pro

Software and updates

Man using an S Pen with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/ DigitalTrends

Even though the Pixel 6 Pro and the Galaxy S22 Ultra run Android 12 — the latest stable version of Android — the overall user experience couldn’t be more different between the two. People seeking a no-frills, pure Android experience cannot go wrong with the Pixel 6 Pro. The new Material You design will be a marked change for most people coming in from another Android skin. Google also made several changes to the quick-access buttons on Android 12, most of which have been welcomed by Android users globally. Then there are some new features that include the Google Assistant-powered voice-typing mode that is compatible with WhatsApp and the Messages app. Google will also regularly update the Pixel 6 Pro for the next three years.

With Samsung’s renewed enthusiasm for software updates, the Galaxy S22 Ultra will easily last you the next four years — which is definitely a point in its favor. The phone launched with Android 12 but runs Samsung’s custom One UI interface, which is currently on version 4.2. Apart from all the Android 12 goodies that Google brings to the table, OneUI offers its own share of extras that many stock Android users may miss out on. However, these may not be deal-breakers for folks who prefer a stock Android experience. Samsung’s OneUI has also seen massive improvements across the board, and it is a far cry from the company’s infamous Touchwiz interface.

Winner: Tie

Special features

Man checking the new UI of stock Android 12 on the Google Pixel 6 Pro.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

When it comes to special features, there’s no denying that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sits at an advantage here, thanks to all the capabilities brought about by the S Pen that is part of the package. Samsung has also improved the response time on the new S Pen. And even though the Pixel 6 Pro has nothing equivalent to offer, it does come with its own share of special features that include the aforementioned Magic Eraser feature, which reportedly works better than the one on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. In addition, Google Assistant features also work better on the Pixel 6 Pro with a few extra features.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Price and availability

The pricing is where the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Google Pixel 6 Pro differ by a fairly wide margin. The difference is so stark that you can buy the fully loaded, unlocked, top variant of the Pixel 6 Pro for less than the base variant of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The base variant of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra gets 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM and is priced at $1,200. The other variants on offer include a 256GB variant that goes for $1,300, a 512GB option priced at $1,400, and a top-of-the-line 1TB variant that can lighten your wallet by $1,500.

As for the Google Pixel 6 Pro, you can buy the base variant of the device for $900. The other two options you have include the 256GB option that costs $1,000 and the top-end 512GB variant that will set you back $1,100.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Mna holding the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra showing its large AMOLED display.
Andy Boxall/ DigitalTrends

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is right up there among the best smartphones money can buy. It’s loaded with features, and the confirmed software update only sweetens the deal even further. Of course, you do pay a massive premium for the privilege of owning one of 2022’s best smartphones.

The Google Pixel 6 Pro, on the other hand, doesn’t try to be as extravagant at everything. But it gets the basics right when it comes to the fluid stock Android UI and the excellent camera features. Most of the annoyances that plague the Pixel 6 Pro could potentially be solved via future software updates. Let us not forget the fact that the Pixel 6 Pro is cheaper than the Galaxy S22 Ultra by a huge margin, making it a sensible option for anyone looking for a sub-$1,000 flagship.

However, if you are looking to buy the absolute best, no-compromise Android smartphone available for purchase right now, you cannot go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Editors' Recommendations