Which flagship smartphone is better, Samsung Galaxy S22 or iPhone 13?

Samsung and Apple have been at the forefront of smartphone design and manufacturing for quite some time. The Galaxy S and iPhone families are long-running industry leaders in terms of performance and popularity, and the latest releases of each are no exception.

Each flagship family comprises three versions, including a base model, upgrade choice and top-of-the-line offering. The base models offer somewhere from mild to moderate upgrades compared to the previous generation, while the upgrade picks hit the sweet spot for many demanding users. The premium models from each company are generally favored by dedicated enthusiasts.

Samsung Galaxy S22

Samsung smartphones run Android OS, which is the most popular operating system on the planet by a wide margin. The Galaxy lineup has been out since 2009 and is, like Android, the biggest name in smartphones. For a lot of users, the customization that Android (and Samsung’s One UI flavor of it) offers makes it the ideal choice for integrating their favorite apps.

Samsung Galaxy S22 pros

  • Remarkably high performance: According to benchmarks, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU inside the S22 family is as good as it gets.
  • High-speed charging: The 45-watt charging speed is Samsung’s fastest to date.
  • A comfortable Android experience: There’s a reason why millions of users are happy with Google’s popular OS. Samsung’s OneUI variant offers a wide range of powerful features and customization options to suit anyone’s needs.
  • Four years of Android OS updates: Leading Android smartphone manufacturers are promising multiple years of updates to the latest operating system versions.

Samsung Galaxy S22 cons

  • Below-average battery life: Watt for watt and minute for minute, the S22 series doesn’t quite match up to the iPhone 13. This is especially true on the base models.
  • No microSD card slot: You’ll be limited to the phone’s internal storage and whatever capacity your favorite cloud storage offers.

Samsung Galaxy S22 models

Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22

While it makes some sacrifices in terms of display capabilities and hardware performance, the base model S22 is the perfect upgrade for demanding users who like to buy a premium smartphone every two or three years. It’s not terribly large, the camera quality is good and Samsung’s latest implementation of Android is as user-friendly as it gets. Sold by Amazon

Galaxy S22+

Galaxy S22+

The S22+ is right between the base model and Ultra in a lot of ways, including its size and weight, battery life and feature set. Its combination of a high-refresh-rate display, impressive visual fidelity and snappy user experience make it one of the most desirable phones on the market. Sold by Amazon

Galaxy S22 Ultra

Galaxy S22 Ultra

Samsung went all out with its latest top-of-the-line mobile device. It’s a collection of the most advanced features around and is ideal for those who spend a lot of time planning, emailing, creating and taking notes on their smartphone, partly thanks to the near-perfect integration of the Samsung S Pen stylus. Sold by Amazon

Apple iPhone 13

Apple products may be somewhat niche, but that doesn’t mean they’re not excellent. After moving to in-house chipset development, Apple’s iPhones (similar to its MacBooks) have seen a significant jump in performance. This, coupled with the constantly updated iOS, makes the iPhone the top choice for millions of Americans.

Apple iPhone 13 pros

  • The ultimate in a user-friendly experience: The biggest argument for Apple devices, including the iPhone 13, is that they work just about perfectly with little to no tweaking or other user input. Sure, you can customize the OS’s appearance and a number of features, but consumers can trust the iPhone 13 lineup to work right the first time without having to dig through menus to change important settings.
  • Powerful camera algorithm: Another of Apple’s calling cards is the ease with which its smartphone cameras take professional-quality pictures with just a single snap. If you know nothing about photography, don’t worry; your iPhone albums will look great.
  • Good battery life: The base model iPhone 13 noticeably beats the vanilla S22 in battery life, while the top models also have a small edge.
  • Wide variable refresh rate range: The Pro and Pro Max can run at anywhere from 10 to 120 hertz, meaning you’ll never encounter stutter or lost frames.
  • The only compact flagship: The iPhone 13 Mini is the only high-end smartphone with a comparably small stature, bar none.

Apple iPhone 13 cons

  • No microSD card slot here, either: While this isn’t new or surprising, it’s odd that the two top phones in 2022 don’t allow for any storage expansion.
  • Lots of storage costs a lot: As you move past the base level 128-gigabyte models, iPhone prices get expensive fast.
  • Subpar base model display: The standard iPhone doesn’t support any kind of variable refresh rate.
  • Lackluster physical appearance: There haven’t been any major improvements to the somewhat boxy iPhone form factor in recent years.

Apple iPhone 13 models

iPhone 13

iPhone 13

If you’ve been known to upgrade to the latest iPhone on a yearly or bi-yearly basis, the base level iPhone 13 is more of the same — but in a good way. It boasts a long battery life in addition to the premium screen and next-level user experience that Apple is so famous for. Sold by Amazon

iPhone 13 Pro

iPhone 13 Pro

Arguably the version with the most bang for the buck, the iPhone 13 Pro borrows premium features from the Pro Max such as a lidar scanner to improve photography, an ultra-high-brightness screen and a variable refresh rate. While it’s not cheap, you can expect it to perform well for several years to come. Sold by Amazon

iPhone 13 Pro Max

iPhone 13 Pro Max

If you insist on having the absolute best-performing iPhone, this is the one for you. While it’s extremely powerful, it’s also quite large, and one of the most expensive, so only the most dedicated enthusiasts should consider it. Sold by Amazon

iPhone 13 Mini

iPhone 13 Mini

There aren’t any other flagship-quality smartphones in this size. If you want something that’s easy to use with one hand but doesn’t skimp on component and screen quality, the iPhone 13 Mini is just about your only choice. Sold by Amazon

Should you get a Galaxy S22 or iPhone 13?

The full-size flagship models from both companies are direct competitors, and each level has a decent amount in common in terms of size, capabilities and overall performance.

As far as premium Apple vs. Samsung smartphones in general, the OS capabilities, app ecosystems and user experience are significantly different. It’s far more common that people stick to the operating system they’re familiar with. With that in mind, your choice between Apple and Samsung comes down to which operating system you prefer.

If you’re new to high-end smartphones, the vanilla iPhone 13 is a slightly better choice than the basic S22. Anyone who’s owned a top-of-the-line smartphone before will likely appreciate the improved features and relative value of the mid-level Galaxy S22+ and iPhone 13 Pro, and at this middle level it’s a toss-up. However, only the most seasoned smartphone enthusiasts should consider shelling out for the S22 Ultra or iPhone 13 Pro Max, both of which pack the most impressive features available.

Where Samsung can’t come close, however, is in the compact smartphone department. If you want something you can use with one hand and slide easily into your pocket, there’s no better choice than the iPhone 13 Mini.

Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals. 

Chris Thomas writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

Copyright 2022 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.