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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Pixel 6 Pro: It's a tough call

Should you splurge on the latest Samsung phone or go for Google's flagship? We'll help you decide.

Andrew Lanxon Editor At Large, Lead Photographer, Europe
Andrew is CNET's go-to guy for product coverage and lead photographer for Europe. When not testing the latest phones, he can normally be found with his camera in hand, behind his drums or eating his stash of home-cooked food. Sometimes all at once.
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  • Shortlisted for British Photography Awards 2022, Commended in Landscape Photographer of the Year 2022
Sareena Dayaram Senior Editor
Sareena is a senior editor for CNET covering the mobile beat including device reviews. She is a seasoned multimedia journalist with more than a decade's worth of experience producing stories for television and digital publications across Asia's financial capitals including Singapore, Hong Kong, and Mumbai. Prior to CNET, Sareena worked at CNN as a news writer and Reuters as a producer.
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  • More than a decade of journalism experience
Andrew Lanxon
Sareena Dayaram
2 min read

Samsung unveiled its brand new Galaxy S22 series at its Unpacked event on Wednesday, spearheaded by the $1,200 Galaxy S22 Ultra phone. As usual, the Ultra represents the most expensive, nonfoldable handset the South Korean electronics giant has on tap -- and it's loaded with the best mobile tech the company has to offer. There's a big, vibrant screen, a high-powered processor and multiple rear cameras.

The arrival of the S22 Ultra, which is now available to preorder, marks the launch of one of this year's highly anticipated premium Android phones. But the competition is fierce, and Google's flagship Pixel 6 Pro is so good it won a CNET Editors' Choice award when it launched at the end of 2021.

Watch this: Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Pixel 6 Pro: Spec breakdown

Read more: Galaxy S22 Ultra: Samsung's $1,200 luxury phone fully replaces the Note

But how do their specs stack up? You can see the full breakdown below, but it's a close race. The phones have similar displays and similar resolutions. They both have equivalent-size batteries, up to 12GB of RAM, Android 12 software and 5G connectivity. Only the Pixel 6 Pro runs Google's own Tensor processor, but how that stacks up against the S22 Ultra's Exynos or Snapdragon chip (depending on region) remains to be seen. You'll notice bigger differences in the camera module, with the S22 Ultra packing a 10x optical zoom that casually beats the Pixel 6 Pro's 4x. Zoom skills aside, it'll be interesting to see how these flagship camera systems compare when we take them out into the real world.

Apart from the camera, another one of the salient differences that will likely sway shoppers is price. As mentioned earlier, the S22 Ultra starts at $1,200 for the version with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. That's a cool $300 more than the Pixel 6 Pro, which starts at $899. 

Still, many of the upgrades seen on the newly launched S22 Ultra -- like faster processors and better cameras -- are the sort of iterative upgrades expected from next-gen devices. What truly sets the S22 Ultra apart from its high-end Android rivals is its S Pen inclusion, including a physical slot on the phone for stowing the stylus. S Pen fans who bought last year's Galaxy S21 Ultra had to purchase the stylus separately and opt for a specific case that could store both.

Which Android phone appeals more to you? Feel free to share with us in the comments section below.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Pixel 6 Pro specs comparison

Galaxy S22 UltraGoogle Pixel 6 Pro
Display size, resolution 6.8-inch AMOLED; 3,088x1,440 pixels6.7-inch LTPO OLED; 3,120x1,440 pixels; 10-120Hz
Pixel density 501 ppi512 ppi
Dimensions (Millimeters) 77.9x163.3x8.9 mm163.9x75.9x8.9 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 229 g7.41 oz; 210g
Mobile software Android 12Android 12
Camera 108-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 10-megapixel (telephoto) 10-megapixel (telephoto)50-megapixel (wide), 12-megapixel (ultrawide), 48-megapixel (telephoto)
Front-facing camera 40-megapixel11-megapixel
Video capture 4K4K 30, 60fps (rear), 4K 30fps (front)
Processor Snapdragon 8 gen 1Google Tensor
RAM/Storage 8GB + 128GB ; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 512GB; 12GB + 1TB 12GB +128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Expandable storage NoNo
Battery 5,000 mAh (45-watt wired charger)5,003 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-displayIn-display
Connector USB-CUSB-C
Headphone jack NoNo
Special features 5G (mmWave, Sub6), bundled S Pen, 100x Space Zoom (digital), 10x optical zoom, 47-watt charging support5G (mmWave, Sub6), Wi-Fi 6E, Ultra-wideband, 30-watt fast charging, Magic Eraser, Motion mode, Real Tone, Face Unblur, Cinematic Pan, five years of OS and security updates, IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, Gorilla Glass Victus (front and back)
Price off-contract (USD) $1,200 (128GB)$899 (128GB)
Price (GBP) £1,149£849
Price (AUD) AU$1,849

Samsung's latest flagship superphone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, packs an impressive lineup of specs including a quadruple rear camera, a big, vibrant display and the S Pen stylus from the Galaxy Note series. It comes with a high price, but those of you looking for one of the best Android phones around should have this phone on your shortlist. 

Read our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review.

Andrew Hoyle/CNET

Google's Pixel 6 Pro won a coveted CNET Editors' Choice award when it launched last year thanks to its awesome camera, solid performance and slick design. It's still one of the best phones around and it's well worth considering if you're looking for a smooth Android 12 experience.