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Samsung Galaxy S22 vs iPhone 13: The specs compared

Samsung's most budget-friendly new flagship and its mid-range offering go head to head with their iOS counterpart to see if Apple or Samsung will reign supreme in early 2022
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Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer on

It's that time of year again. We're all just about done recovering from the holidays, love is in the air as Valentine's Day approaches, and Samsung is debuting the latest and greatest entries in its Galaxy S flagship line

This time around, the company is offering some of its best cameras ever, reduced camera bumps, and faster charging, among other improvements. 

While the most logical comparison for the new Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ might be an apples-to-apples lineup against other Android flagships, we're going to do something a little different here and compare these apples to, well, Apple. Specifically, the iPhone 13.

This side-by-side comparison will help those shoppers still on the fence about whether they want to join team Blue Bubble or team Green Bubble by laying out the specs for Samsung's Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ alongside their closest iOS-based counterpart.

Of course, differences in platform, hardware configurations, and even just basic priorities will make it hard to draw precisely direct comparisons. But, our coverage of each device's respective spec sheet and our analysis of how they stack up should be invaluable in your quest to decide whether Apple or Samsung is more deserving of your hard-earned cash this time around. 

We're going to break the analysis up into individual components to make it easier to compare the factors that matter most to you. First up: 

Displays

Model

iPhone 13

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22+

Screen size

6.1 inches

6.1 inches

6.6 inches

Technology

XDR OLED

Dynamic AMOLED 2X

Dynamic AMOLED 2X

Resolution

2532×1170

2220x1080 (FHD+)

2220x1080 (FHD+)

Pixel Density

460ppi

405ppi

374ppi

Refresh rate

60Hz

10-120Hz

10-120Hz

Touch sampling rate

120Hz

240Hz (in gaming mode)

240Hz (in gaming mode)


This one's a bit of a mixed bag between the Samsung and Apple entrants. Apple's resolution and pixel density are clearly on top, with the iPhone 13 edging out the Galaxy S22, and soundly defeating the S22+, which includes the same number of pixels as its smaller sibling stretched over a larger amount of screen real estate. Of course, it could be argued that all three displays have pixels so small most users would need a magnifying glass to see them, but we're big on the fine details here. 

There's a clearer winner when it comes to refresh rate, however. Apple's decision to reserve its 120Hz ProMotion technology for the iPhone 13 Pro doesn't help its more budget-friendly iPhone 13 stack up well against the competition. Meanwhile, Samsung has included its own 120Hz displays into all three of its Galaxy S entries this year, including its base model once again. While that refresh rate can produce buttery smooth visuals at 120Hz, it can also drop as low as 10Hz to preserve battery life when the on-screen imagery is mostly static. 

Lastly, Samsung's entrants can also double the iPhone 13's touch sampling rate, meaning they should feel more responsive for the most demanding use cases, like intense mobile gaming. 

Cameras

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Samsung

Model

iPhone 13

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22+

Total cameras

3 (including front)

4 (including front)

4 (including front)

Wide angle

12MP f/1.6

50MP f/1.8

50MP f/1.8

Ultrawide angle

12MP f/2.4

12MP f/2.4

12MP f/2.4

Telephoto

N/A

10MP F/2.4 w/ 3X optical zoom 

10MP F/2.4 w/ 3X optical zoom 

Front camera

12MP f/2.2

10MP f/2.2

10MP f/2.2


Going purely by the raw numbers here, Samsung's duo seems to be the clear winner. Both the S22 and S22+ (which share identical camera arrays), include an extra camera that the iPhone 13 does not: a telephoto lens with 3X optical zoom. This, of course, puts them ahead of the iPhone 13 in terms of long-distance photography. 

On top of that, the newly enlarged "Nightography" sensors in the S22 and S22+ are designed to gather more light to improve photography in low light conditions, and better capture crisp imagery in fast motion situations. 

Of course anyone that's been around smartphones for a few years knows that the bare specs of the camera hardware is only part of the tale. A lot of the performance of smartphone shooters happens behind the scenes when the device's software gets ahold of the captured image. To that end, Samsung has introduced new AI-based technology designed to improve the digital blurring of its portrait mode for both humans and pets, while also allowing the photographer to automatically track up to 10 participants in a group photo to enhance framing and focus. 

That said, Apple's own post-processing technology is no slouch either. Not only is its own digital portrait processing considered to be among the best, if not the best, but one of the signature additions to the 13th generation of the iPhone is Apple's new Cinematic Mode, which allows the user to add rack focus to their videos, smoothly switching the depth of field from one subject to another using software algorithms. 

Memory and storage

Model

iPhone 13

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22+

RAM

4GB

8GB

8GB

Storage options

128GB, 256GB, 512GB

128GB, 256GB

128GB, 256GB


Ahh, memory. A much simpler category to compare…or so you might think. Sure, Samsung's RAM double's Apple's, and Apple counters by offering a top-end storage option that doubles Samsung's own for both devices. So, it would seem like a wash, a 1-1 tie. While Apple's 512GB iPhone 13 is clearly the storage winner, the champ is a bit murkier when it comes to RAM. 

Apple is the king of making seemingly lower-end hardware perform better than numerically superior offerings. Take its M1 chip, for instance. The unit integrates a processor, storage, and RAM into a single package. Because of this tight integration and the coordinating optimization it provides, an M1-equipped MacBook Air could trounce a lot of much more expensive systems, despite the fact that its base model is only packing 8GB of RAM while most of its competitors used 16GB or more. 

Apple's walled-garden approach to its iOS platform and App Store also mean that all of the apps running on the iPhone 13's 4GB of RAM have been verified to be optimized for Apple hardware. Meanwhile, Samsung's reliance on the much more diverse, far less controlled Android ecosystem means that 8GB may or may not actually be able to deliver twice the performance, once the relative lack of optimization is taken into account. 

Even benchmarks can sometimes be inconclusive because of the vastly different ways iOS and Android handle their respective processing tasks. 

Thankfully, all three devices are more than powerful enough to handle all but the most demanding tasks without skipping a beat. For the kinds of power users that frequently find themselves pursuing exactly those kinds of tasks, we've covered the even-more-powerful iPhone 13 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra in a separate piece.

Battery and charging

Model

iPhone 13

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22+

Battery size

3,227 mAh

3,700 mAh

4,500 mAh

Wired charging speed

20 W (via lightning cable)

25 W (via USB-C)

45 W (via USB-C)

Wireless charging speed

7 W (via Qi) or 15 W (via MagSafe)

15 W (via Qi)

15 W (via Qi)


As with the memory battle above, the battery size competition isn't as clear cut as it might first seem. Optimizations in things like background app usage, standby power consumption, network management, your device's age, and a slew of other factors can impact a battery's longevity far more than a few extra mAh. However, all three devices should be able to last you throughout the day thanks to factors like Apple's tight control of background app power consumption and Samsung's new, more efficient 4nm processor

Things are a bit more varied on the charging front. Samsung looks like the clear winner here. Not only does the S22 support faster 25 W wired charging, but its larger cousin bumps that up to an impressive 45 W to juice up its larger power pack. 

Things are a bit closer on the wireless side of things, with Apple iPhone 13 matching the S22 siblings at 15 W of maximum input. However, it's worth noting that reaching that speed requires the wireless charger in question to be of the MagSafe variety. MagSafe units are either made by Apple or third parties, with their approval. That usually introduces a pricing premium over the Qi-based units that can provide the same 15 W of power delivery for Samsung's devices, but are limited to just 7 W on the iPhone 13. 

Connectivity

Model

iPhone 13

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22+

Wi-Fi

Wi-Fi 6 

Wi-Fi 6

Wi-Fi 6E

Bluetooth

Version 5.0

Version 5.2

Version 5.2

5G 

Yes (including ultrawide-band and C-Band)

Yes  (including C-Band)

Yes (including ultrawide-band and C-Band)


The standout here for Wi-Fi connectivity is the S22+, which adds the newest Wi-Fi 6E protocol. Of course, you'll still need to have a Wi-Fi 6E router or other device to truly take advantage of this. Although those are relatively few and far between right now, it makes the S22+ just a little more future-proof

Both Samsung devices just beat out Apple's Bluetooth support, upgrading its version 5.0 to the slightly new Bluetooth 5.2

Cellular connectivity is one of the areas where Samsung's two offerings differ the most. While the S22+ can go toe-to-toe with the iPhone 13 for its range of 5G coverage, the standard S22 skips the ultrawide-band (UWB), just like its predecessor the Galaxy S21 did. Although this isn't a great omission for the lucky few that live within the dense urban markets where UWB coverage is available from Verizon Wireless or AT&T, it's less important for those living in the majority of the country. 

This is even more true now that the C-Band spectrum that all three devices support is beginning to roll out, offering speeds that can match all but the fastest UWB installations across a much wider service area.

Software

Model

iPhone 13

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22+

Launch version

iOS 15

Android 12

Android 12

Guaranteed number of updates

5

4

4


Obviously, it's pretty pointless to compare Android to iOS in the relatively short amount of space we've got here. However, it is worth taking a look at the promised number of updates offered by each model. 

Apple's iOS has pretty much been the gold standard for long-term OS updates. Its five-version promise means that you're guaranteed to be able to download the latest version of iOS for at least five years. The recent launch of iOS 15 is supported all the way back to the iPhone 6S, which launched in 2015. Sure, some newer features that require newer hardware to work might leave this model behind, but the same can be said for any smartphone. 

Meanwhile, Samsung is promising a slightly shorter four-version guarantee. This is one fewer major update than iOS, and also a much less reliable proposition in general. While iOS updates are generally available to all compatible devices from day one, Android models often take much longer for a new update to proliferate across the daunting number of models made by the various manufacturers and customized for various carriers. The associated approval processes can often mean a new version of Android released in the fall won't reach even the latest generation of devices until the next spring. 

Companies like Google and Samsung have worked to shorten these wait times, but they still can't beat the monolithic surety offered by iOS. 

Colors and pricing

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Samsung

Model

iPhone 13

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22+

Color options

Pink, Blue, Midnight, Starlight, (PRODUCT) RED

Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold

Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold

Starting price

$799

$799

$999

Cost is going to be the single most important factor for a lot of shoppers. After all, what good are all of those cutting-edge improvements if you can't afford them?

This year, it's clearer than ever that Samsung is positioning its base model, the Galaxy S22 as a direct competitor to Apple's corresponding base-model flagship, the iPhone 13. Their identical pricing, while still premium, puts them towards the bottom of the current fleet of flagships in terms of cost. 

Meanwhile, the S22+ with its slightly upgraded hardware and larger screen was, as usual, designed to be something of a happy medium between the more expensive, bleeding-edge S22 Ultra and the cheaper base model S22. It being priced exactly at the starting cost of Apple's iPhone 13 Pro means Samsung sees it as being able to directly compete with Apple's best, and its spec sheet seems to bear that out. 

Of course, being brand new, Samsung and the carriers will be offering a slew of promotional credits, free add-ins, and other offers that might make Samsung's options a cheaper alternative in the short term. 

Whether Samsung's options remain the more desirable ones, or Apple's iPhone 13 reigns supreme among mid-market iPhones in 2022…Well, that's up to you. 


Preorder info

The Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ are both available for preorder now from Samsung, the major US carriers, and other major retailers. Units are expected to arrive in stores on February 25. 

If either the Samsung Galaxy S22 or S22+ look like its the phone for you, we've got all the best preorder deals in one place for your perusal, no research required. 

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