Pixel 7 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: can we expect a shake-up in the world of smartphones?

Introduction

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has been out since early 2022 and is already making dust in the smartphone world. With its premium build, super-powerful Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, S Pen, and the most beautiful display on a smartphone, it’s a force to be reckoned with.

Well, in the fall of 2022 we’ll see Google’s own warrior getting a refresh – the Google Pixel 7 Pro has been confirmed by the company and will return to show us how mobile photography is done, with its custom Tensor chip that’s been developed specifically for photo processing and artificial intelligence functions.

So, these two devices will represent the best of Samsung and the best of Google. But there’s a very important difference – it’s very likely that Google’s Pixel 7 Pro will cost considerably less than the Galaxy (starting at $900 vs. $1,200). Will these phones have a $300 difference between them? Or will the Pixel 7 Pro directly win in some areas? We’ll think about it until we have the device in hand, so we can test it!
Pixel 7 Pro vs. Galaxy S22 Ultra in a nutshell:
  • Google Android vs. Samsung OneUI
  • CPU: Tensor 2 vs Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (or Exynos internationally)
  • 6.7″ 120Hz OLED vs. 6.8″ 120Hz AMOLED
  • Triple camera with 20x zoom vs quad camera with 100x zoom
  • $900 versus $1,200

Contents:

Design and display quality

We are OLED to see you
In terms of screens, we expect to see two quality OLED panels go head-to-head. Samsung has been at the top of its display game for years now and the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s Dynamic AMOLED is nothing short of fantastic. It also helps that there are a few calibrations to choose from, so you can really fine-tune your experience whether you want punchy colors or muted, realistic hues. The Pixels’ OLED screens are pretty good too, so it’s going to be a tight call here. Also, both phones will have a 120Hz refresh rate and QHD resolution, so that’s a tough one.

OK, the Pixel 7 Pro will have a slightly smaller diagonal of 6.7 inches compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 6.8 inches.

In terms of looks, we have distinct designs on both phones. Curved screens on the front, yes, but very different backs. The Pixel 7 Pro will take on the look of the RoboCop visor for its camera module, Samsung makes its corner camera glued to the chassis of the device. Both views have supporters and enemies. At the office, we’re also divided, so it’s safe to say that this one is strictly up to taste.

What’s identical is the fact that both phones have matte glass backs – fantastic for keeping fingerprints out, not so great for being slippery against dry hands. However, the Pixel’s camera bar proved useful on the Pixel 6 series by allowing us to comfortably rest our fingers on it and better grip the device.

Needless to say, both phones are water and dust resistant. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has an IP68 rating, and the Pixel 7 Pro will likely have the same. Benefits such as stereo speakers, wireless charging and no headphone jack are also present. But the Galaxy S22 Ultra has the coveted S Pen for anyone who prefers to annotate or draw on their phone. There’s a good reason the S Pen has stuck around for a decade – it’s useful and it’s awesome.

When it comes to colors, you have a wider choice if you opt for the S22 Ultra, but only if you buy from Samsung.com. Retailers get black, white, burgundy, and green, while Samsung’s online store offers sky blue, red, and graphite. The The Pixel 7 Pro’s colors are a bit more basic, but still have a stylish shine. They are black, white, and gray with a gold frame (aka Obsidian, Snow, and Hazel).

In terms of security, we have an under-screen fingerprint scanner on both phones. Samsung uses its ultrasonic fingerprint scanners, which the company says are more accurate and harder to fool. However, they are sometimes slow to respond and many online users report minor annoyances with them. The Pixels use optical scanners, which should be faster than Samsung’s technology, but the Pixel 6 lineup didn’t quite pull it off. Many reading errors or slow reaction times have also been reported here. We’ll see how the Pixel 7 Pro works.

Performance and software

Wait, brothers Exynos and Tensor too?

Google has been using a custom Tensor chip for its Pixel phones since 2021. In the Pixel 7 lineup, we expect to see a new and improved Tensor 2. Fun fact: the chip may be built to Google’s specs, but it’s made by Samsung.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (in the US and South Korea) or Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 chip (international markets).

What does this mean in terms of performance? Obviously the new Tensor hasn’t been released yet, so we can’t know for sure. However, last year’s Pixel 6 is something to be aware of – Google Tensor chips aren’t designed for raw performance. They focus on having cores dedicated to computational photography and AI features. In other words, Google takes the “Work smart, not hard” approach.

In benchmarks, the Tensor 2021 lagged behind its top-tier competitors. In real life, the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro were pretty solid phones. We kind of expect a repeat of the same story once the Pixel 7 Pro and Tensor 2 are released.

Camera

King, meet the king
OK, so Samsung is pretty good with its cameras, right? The Galaxy S22 Ultra is basically a champ – it has four cameras, two of which are dedicated to optical zoom (a 3x portrait camera and a 10x zoom camera), and tons of software post-processing that enables 100x digital zoom that looks like much better than it should, really. The main sensor is a whopping 108 MP, the ultra-wide camera has a 12 MP, and the zoom cameras are both 10 MP.

But Google’s Pixel should absolutely not be underestimated. Last year, Google updated the sensors it uses, so the main camera now has a 50MP sensor. And it was blow for blow with Samsung’s S22 Ultra, no problem. Check them the two dominating this camera comparison. We’re expecting the Pixel 7 Pro to have a 12MP ultra-wide camera and 48MP zoom alongside that 50MP main shooter. And we expect the Pixel 7 Pro to absolutely bring the camera chops of its refined-only predecessor.

Audio and haptic quality

In terms of haptic response, Pixels and Galaxies have precise and responsive vibration motors. The Pixel is great, the Galaxy is pretty good (but not as great).

In terms of audio, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is very good and allows further adjustment via an onboard app. The Pixel 6 Pro was a bit disappointing – not bad, but not amazing. We’ll see how the Pixel 7 Pro fares.

Battery life and charging

A day for a day

We don’t have exact specs on the Pixel 7 Pro yet, but if we were willing to bet we’d guess it would have a battery of around 5,000mAh. That’s what the Pixel 6 Pro had and that’s usually what most mainstream smartphone makers manage to squeeze into their devices.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra also has a 5,000 mAh battery. It’s not a battery champ, but it can comfortably last you a day. We bet the Pixel 7 Pro will give us the same result.

As for charging, the Galaxy supports up to 45W Fast Charge. The Pixel 6 Pro peaked at 30W and we don’t know if Google is ready to push that particular envelope at that point. In any case, these two phones will come without a charger in the box. If you buy the official one for the respective device, you should be able to get a recharge in less than 2 hours on both.

Wirelessly, the Galaxy S22 Ultra can be charged by 15W pucks, while the Pixel 7 Pro should be able to do at least 23W, because that’s what its predecessor was capable of.

Specification Comparison

Putting it all together and looking at the raw data side by side looks like this at the moment:

So we have two phones that obviously do their own thing. The Pixel 7 Pro probably won’t have the incredible zoom capabilities of the S22 Ultra, but we’re pretty sure it’ll be able to give its main camera a run for its money. Well… while costing less, that is. What remains to be seen is how the new Tensor will work.

Summary and final verdict

The Google Pixel 6 series was a big new chapter for the Pixel lineup. What started out as the Google Nexus – a niche phone for geeks – morphed into the OG Google Pixel, about 6 years ago. At the time, it seemed like he didn’t meet the asking price. But after years of adjusting and balancing, Google has found a balance. Its own design language, its own fantastic camera performance, and its own AI loaded onto a phone that’s priced quite reasonably by today’s standards.

Admittedly, the Pixel 6 phones had some issues in the first few months. If the Pixel 7 Pro irons out all the issues and makes a successful landing, it might have what it takes to keep the Galaxy S22 Ultra faithful away.