Skip to main content

What I love (and regret) about ditching the Galaxy S22 Ultra for the iPhone 13 Pro Max

The Galaxy S22 Ultra was my primary device since its launch earlier in the year. That is until I decided to buy the iPhone 13 Pro Max in July. One of my primary concerns with the Samsung flagship was its battery life. When I was using all its features — high refresh rate, maxed-out screen resolution, and more — it simply didn’t last as long as I needed it to.

I needed a phone to last me an entire day without battery anxiety, so I went with the iPhone 13 Pro Max. While my experience has been positive overall, there are a few things I miss deeply from the Galaxy S22 Ultra. And there are some extremely delightful things I like about my new iPhone. Here’s what’s fascinating about shifting from the Galaxy S22 Ultra to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

I miss the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s telephoto lens

The Galaxy S22 Ultra sports a 108MP quad rear camera setup that comprises two 10MP telephoto lenses. Out of these two, one is a periscope telephoto lens that lets the Galaxy S22 Ultra deliver amazing results up to 10x zoom and usable ones up to 30x zoom. The smartphone is one of the rare breeds to feature a periscope camera, which is extremely useful when you need to capture shots at 10x, 15x, 20x, or 30x zoom.

While I was using the Galaxy S22 Ultra, I became used to getting satisfying zoomed-in results that no current (globally available) smartphone is capable of delivering. It gave me opportunities to look for new perspectives – making boring buildings turn out to be artistic. It gave me a headstart in architectural photography. And the iPhone 13 Pro Max just can’t compare to the Galaxy S22 Ultra after 3x zoom.

It’s not just about architecture photography. I went to a late-night concert at a bar. I was standing in row three or four. Still, I was able to capture the singer’s images clearly, thanks to 10x zoom. You can look at the results above. And it’s not like the concert was in broad daylight. It was in a challenging low-light environment, where the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s telephoto lenses stood up and shined.

Plus, how cool is it to capture moon shots via your smartphone? I miss the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10x zoom the most after shifting to the iPhone 13 Pro Max. This is one feature I hope Apple brings to the iPhone 14 Pro series. However, if the rumors are to be believed, a periscope telephoto lens isn’t coming to the iPhones any time soon. So it’s just wishful thinking on my part, but wishful thinking I refuse to stop.

The iPhone 13 Pro Max’s battery life is all I’ve ever wanted

The iPhone 13 Pro Max helped kill my low-battery anxiety. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a very feature-rich smartphone, but I can’t make use of some of the top-of-the-line features due to the poor battery life. For instance, if you set the screen display at QHD+, the S22 Ultra won’t last an entire day. I had to resort to the FHD+ screen resolution to make it last the entire day.

This is the primary reason I switched to the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Galaxy S22 Ultra and iPHone 13 Pro Max in hand
Prakhar Khanna/Digital Trends

I have almost all my information on my smartphone, including a driving license, Unified Payments Interface (UPI) apps, banking apps, Uber, Google Maps, food delivery apps, and more. I can’t even access my money because I go cashless, thanks to the superb UPI infrastructure in India. Sure, I have my cards, but my payments are set up in food delivery and ride-sharing. You don’t realize how dependent you are on your smartphone until the battery runs out and you’re stuck wondering how to get home.

Since smartphones have become more than just communicator devices, it is essential for them to last an entire day, especially if you are hopping around the city. And the iPhone 13 Pro Max delivers a delightful experience by lasting more than a day.

I am a work-from-home employee, but sometimes I work out of cafes. So I need my iPhone’s hotspot for at least three hours on the trot. In this situation, almost any of the other best phones available now would dip to levels that I’d require to charge it urgently. But not the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

Person holding the Sierra Blue iPhone 13 Pro Max.
David Svihovec/Unsplash

Even after a busy day, I have about 20% battery life left on my new big iPhone. For context, my busy day starts at 8 a.m. with 100% phone battery. It starts with playing songs as I get ready. I go out commuting in the metro and killing time while listening to songs, which is followed by walking to my favorite cafe with Google Maps helping me.

After turning on the hotspot and working through lunch till 4 p.m., I exit the cafe to go catch up with a friend in the other corner of the city. I have no personal transport, so metro it is. I use the iPhone again to read on Kindle or doom-scroll through social media, and it’s already 5 p.m. We meet and celebrate (my friends and I always have a reason for celebration). And now it’s 9 p.m. To get back home, I get an Uber while music and doom-scrolling are my favorite ways to pass time in the cab. I reach home by 10:30 p.m. and still have 20% battery left.

I have never managed to kill the battery in a single day on the iPhone 13 Pro Max. It’s a tedious task. And I love it.

Surprisingly, I don’t miss the S-Pen at all

One of the parts I thought I’d miss after shifting to the iPhone 13 Pro Max was the much-celebrated S Pen. After all, how many flagship smartphones come with a built-in stylus? But as it turns out, while I was on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, I never used the S Pen for note-taking. Not at all.

S Pen in holder on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

My primary use case was clicking selfies with the button on the S Pen. After my shift to the iPhone, I’ll just use a 3-second timer to get that perfect selfie without any shakes caused by reaching for the button. Maybe I’m not the target audience for the S Pen, or maybe it just really isn’t as useful. And maybe Samsung knew this, so it killed the Note lineup and integrated it with the Galaxy S lineup. I guess we’ll never know. For my personal use, at least, bidding the S Pen farewell hasn’t been an issue whatsoever.

Two great phones for different reasons

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is an amazing device, especially with that superb 10x zoom. But how useful can a smartphone be if it wouldn’t last you an entire day when you use all of its features on your day out? By contrast, the iPhone 13 Pro Max might lack a periscope telephoto lens, but it lasts an entire day, despite you using all of its features. Plus, I get the added functionality of Airdrop and all of the ecosystem benefits because I use a MacBook Air for work.

Overall, neither of these smartphones is better than the other. If the iPhone can last an entire day, the S22 Ultra can deliver never-before-imagined perspectives through a mobile phone camera. If the iPhone 13 Pro Max has ecosystem benefits, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a sharper display and the S Pen (for those who use it). But for me, I’ve enjoyed my transition and plan to stay with the iPhone 13 Pro Max — at least until the Galaxy Z Fold 4 hits the market.

Editors' Recommendations

Prakhar Khanna
Prakhar writes news, reviews and features for Digital Trends. He is an independent tech journalist who has been a part of the…
Apple, Samsung, and Google could learn a lot from this unique phone
The Huawei P60 Pro held in a person's hand.

Apple, Samsung, and Google could all learn something from Huawei’s latest flagship smartphone, as it’s one of the best-looking, most ergonomic, and tantalizingly unique mobile devices I’ve seen and held in ages.

Above is the Huawei P60 Pro, and the stunning finish is called Rococo Pearl. Here's what makes it special — and why I'd love to see other companies take such care.
A long history of great design

Read more
I wish I never bought my iPhone 14 Pro
The iPhone 14 Pro Max.

The original iPhone came out in 2007, but I received mine in 2008 as a birthday gift. Not only was it my first iPhone, but it was also my very first Apple product. But my clumsy little self had a case of the butterfingers one day, and I ended up dropping it on concrete — resulting in a shattered screen. This was just a few weeks before the iPhone 3G was coming out, so instead of just getting the screen replaced, I decided I would upgrade my phone instead.

Thus began a new tradition I set for myself — upgrading my iPhone every year. I’ve had at least one iPhone from every generation that has come out so far, with my latest being the iPhone 14 Pro.

Read more
I found a phone that fixes the iPhone 14 Pro Max’s biggest flaw
Vivo X90 Pro back.

The comfort of holding a smartphone is underrated, especially when you consider that most of us hold our phones for at least a quarter of the day. And, unfortunately, it seems like the comfortable form factor of a big phone is the least thought-out feature.

Take any flagship phone with a 6.5-inch+ screen size, for instance. The iPhone 14 Pro Max, Galaxy S23 Ultra, or Xiaomi 13 Pro all have one thing in common: they feature top-notch cameras but aren’t very comfortable to hold, either due to the poor flat edge design or weight distribution. Thankfully, one new smartphone — the Vivo X90 Pro — solves this problem.
A design Apple wishes it could copy

Read more