iPhone 15 Pro Max, Apple's upcoming crown jewel, is shaping up to be quite the important device for Apple. Refreshed design, new periscope camera, and USB Type-C are just some of the exciting new features that will make the next big iPhone such a milestone release.
And yes, you didn't read that wrong, we are actually comparing the next iPhone with the former Samsung flagship, the
Galaxy S22 Ultra. Why? Well, although the
Galaxy S23 Ultra is much newer and improved in many ways, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is still very capable and could stand its own against whatever Apple can throw in the ring in late 2023.
So, which one would come on top, and more importantly, should Galaxy S22 Ultra consider upgrading to the iPhone 15 Pro Max? Let's delve in and find out.
IPHONE 15 PRO MAX vs GALAXY S22 ULTRA expected differences:
- 6.7-inch (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs 6.8-inch (Galaxy S22 Ultra) display
- 3nm Apple A17 Bionic (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 for Galaxy (Galaxy S22 Ultra)
- 48MP (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs 108MP (Galaxy S22 Ultra) main camera sensors
- 12MP FaceTime (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs 40MP (Galaxy S22 Ultra) selfie camera
- 5-6X optical (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs 3X, 10X optical zoom (Galaxy S22 Ultra)
- S Pen stylus support (Galaxy S22 Ultra)
- 27W (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs 45W (Galaxy S22 Ultra) charging speeds
- Face ID (iPhone 15 Pro Max) vs Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint scanner (Galaxy S22 Ultra)
Table of Contents:
- Design and Size
- Display Differences
- Audio Quality
- Battery and Charging
- iPhone 15 Pro Max: Release date expectations and news
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review: best features
Design and Size
iPhone to score a redesign, Samsung has found its sweet spot
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will be quite different from most of its predecessors, as Apple will shake up the design of the phone a lot. It will be scoring a titanium frame, the rumor mill says, which will make it tougher but lighter, a win-win scenario. The Dynamic Island punch-hole cutout is making a comeback, but the bigger deal at the front of the next large iPhone will be its much, much slimmer bezels.
How thinner, exactly? Think record-breaking levels. As per the rumors, the phone will have 1.55mm-wide bezels, beating the current record-holder, the Xiaomi 13, which has 1.81mm-wide bezels. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, in comparison, has 1.95mm bezels, which might not seem that much, but is still technically wider.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will also have a USB Type-C port at the bottom, a major developing for Apple, which has relied on its proprietary Lightning port for over a decade. Another major change would be the removal of the mute switch and the introduction of a new Action Button. This button will be very similar to the Apple Watch Ultra's customizable button and allow you to map different functions and shortcuts.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra isn't much different, employing a traditional glass sandwich design that does not compromise on the premium feel of the phone. This one comes with a slightly curved display and back plate, which is definitely improving the overall ergonomics of the otherwise quite large Samsung phone. We've heard that the iPhone 15 Pro Max might also use a slightly curved rear backplate for enhanced ergonomics, we'd see how this one pans out.
iPhone 15 Pro Max will likely be available in Space Black, Silver, Gold, and a new deep red color. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, came in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Burgundy, a very solid selection of hues.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will come with a 6.7-inch Super Retina XDR OLED display, of course HDR capable, which will have a dynamically-switchable ProMotion refresh rate that will be able to go up to 120Hz for the ultimate and quite rewarding scrolling experience.
In fact, we don't expect any major changes in the display department of the iPhone 15 Pro Max, and frankly said, we don't think any revisions are currently necessary. If the next iPhone comes with the same display as the iPhone 14 Pro Max, we can expect a superb display, with exceptional maximum brightness, beautiful colors, exceptional contrast, and so on.
Generally, the same can be said about the Galaxy S22 Ultra's 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED display. Samsung's AMOLED displays are usually among the best ones over at the Android side, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra was no different. The only downside of this sharp and vivid display is that it technically can't achieve the same levels of maximum brightness that the iPhone 13 Pro Max and 14 Pro Max hit, so there's a very strong suspicion that the iPhone 15 Pro Max will further widen that gap.
Aside from accommodating the front-facing camera, the Dynamic Island punch-hole is also home to the Face ID paraphernalia. That's right, we will have Apple's facial recognition tech on board, as we don't really expect an in-display fingerprint scanner to make it on board the iPhone 15 Pro Max. Guess what, such a sensor is found on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, allowing you to unlock the phone and authorize payments with your fingertip. A picture-based face unlock is also on board the S22 Ultra.
Performance and Software
Apple's beastly 3nm A17 to demolish Snapdragon 8 Gen 1?
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will most certainly be coming along with the 3nm A17 Bionic chipset. Thanks to its very advanced manufacturing process, this chip will be extremely dense, capable of fitting a few billion extra transistors which will boost the overall performance in a major way. Additionally, a faster chip is a more efficient chip, so we expect that the A17 Bionic will be the key to quite improved battery life for the iPhone 15 Pro Max.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, Qualcomm's 4nm foray was a powerful, yet slightly overheating affair that didn't deliver exemplar battery life. Actually, battery life regressed in comparison with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, so the Galaxy S22 Ultra didn't exactly live up to the major hype prior to its announcement.
In any way, we expect the Apple A17 Bionic to totally beat the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 at everything, both in terms of peak and sustained performance as well as efficiency. That's logical to expect.
The base Galaxy S22 Ultra starts with 8GB of RAM, and guess what, rumors point out that the same will apply to the iPhone 15 Pro Max as well, which will be scoring a bump from 6GB RAM to 8GB RAM of the fast LPDDR5 type.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra was also the first phone to offer four years of major software updates. As it arrived with Android 12, the phone is expected to be updated to Android 16. Meanwhile, Samsung will offer security support for five years, or until 2027.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will be launching with iOS 17 out of the box, and we expect Cupertino to grace its next showpiece with at least five years of major software and security updates, though in the best case scenario we'd expect support until the end of the decade.
Apple to finally come to the periscope party
The main camera of the iPhone 15 Pro Max will continue being a 48MP one, but will reportedly utilize a larger sensor that could potentially improve the overall image quality by a lot. In mobile photography, sensor size is one of the main keys to improved imaging capabilities in either good or bad lighting conditions, so Apple using a larger sensor fills us with hope that the iPhone 15 Pro Max could be drastically better than its predecessor in all the various imaging scenarios.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, comes with Samsung's previous camera, helmed by the 108MP main camera. That one was generally good, though it had some excessive oversharpening in some situations, as well as the tendency to lift up the shadows and deliver somewhat gloomy and bleak-looking photos.
It's been a while, and while most Android manufacturers have explored periscope cameras on their phones, Apple has sort of stayed away from those cool new far-zooming cameras. This is about to change with the iPhone 15 Pro Max, which will likely come with a 5X or 6X periscope camera that will let you zoom quite far and take photos of far-away subjects. Great!
However, the Galaxy S22 Ultra employs the second iteration of Samsung's periscope lens that debuted a year prior on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. It is a 10X periscope that lets you zoom far, and in tandem with the digital zoom feature of the phone, lets you zoom in to 100X. Surely, images at such ridiculous magnifications are barely usable, but for bragging rights alone, you can't really beat the Galaxy S22 Ultra, or its successor, or even its predecessor! Here's to hoping Apple will deliver less impressive but more sensible zooming solution.
The ultra-wide lens of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a standard 12MP one with a relatively small 1/2.55" sensor, but it is capable of capturing quite a lot of scene in the frame. We haven't heard anything specific about the iPhone 15 Pro Max's ultra-wide camera, which means that we'll likely get the same camera as the one on the iPhone 14 Pro Max.
At the front, the Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with an impressive 40MP selfie camera, which was very good. Have in mind that the Galaxy S23 Ultra's 12MP selfie camera achieves slightly better results despite having lower resolution. The iPhone 15 Pro Max is also expected to come with a 12MP FaceTime camera; no specific improvements are hinted for that one.
Audio Quality and Haptics
The Galaxy S22 Ultra, which came with a bottom-firing speaker and an earpiece, failed to make a strong case for its loudspeaker quality, giving slightly emphasized highs but the mid and base frequencies lacked oomph, which was unfortunate.
Meanwhile, most iPhone Pro Max models since the iPhone 12 Pro Max have had exemplar loudspeaker quality, delivering richer and fuller sound with lots of depth, making them one of the best-sounding phones you can get, period. We see no reason why this wouldn't be the case for the iPhone 15 Pro Max as well, so we generally expect excellent audio quality.
Battery Life and Charging
Big hopes for the iPhone 15 Pro Max
We don't know how large the iPhone 15 Pro Max battery will be, but it should generally reside in the 4,200-4,300mAh ballpark, possibly slightly smaller than the one on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. Battery life, however, will likely be better thanks to the anticipated jump in efficiency of the 3nm Apple A17 Bionic chipset.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra came with a large 5,000mAh battery but didn't wow us with its battery life. It fared worse than its predecessor in our custom battery tests, and fared particularly unimpressive in our custom video playback test, with an overall endurance of just 7 hours and a half. The phone's gaming score of slightly above 10 hours was impressive though.
The iPhone 15 Pro Max will likely arrive with 27W wired charging and 15W MagSafe wireless charging. Not very spectacular charging speeds are expected out of those specs, as most of the iPhone's competitors will likely charge much faster.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is no different––its 45W wired charging support lets it fully charge in one hour, a neat round number. Wireless charging of this one is capped at 15W; the phone also supports reverse wireless charging allowing you to quickly top up your accessories.
Although the iPhone 15 Pro Max specs are still up in the air and definitely subject to change (nothing is official until it's official), we can sort of compare the upcoming
iPhone 15 Pro Max vs Galaxy S22 Ultra's specs to determine which one has the upper hand.
|iPhone 15 Pro Max||Galaxy S22 Ultra|
|Size, weight||159.86 x 76.73 x 8.25 mm||163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm|
|6.8" Dynamic AMOLED 1440 x 3088 pixels|
|Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
12MP 5X-6X zoom
10MP 10x zoom
10MP 3x zoom
|Battery||4323 mAh*||5000 mAh|
Summary and Final Verdict
The iPhone 15 Pro Max is setting itself as the yardstick for all other phones to match against in late 2023 and early 2024. With improved performance thanks to the foray into 3nm territory, a new periscope camera, as well as refreshed design, USB Type-C, and a new titanium build, the iPhone 15 Pro Max will likely take its well-deserving spot at the upper portion of the top charts.
Have in mind that all of this will be $100 more expensive than previous years, as Apple is rumored to be planning a price hike for the first time on the iPhone Pro Max series.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a slightly aging but still capable former flagship that can still be considered a good buy, especially if you find a killer deal on the former Samsung pride and glory.