It's flagship Fight Club time: Google brings the battle to Samsung's best Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, with its brand new Google Pixel 7 Pro.
Google's 2022 flagship is considerably cheaper than the Samsung, but the Samsung has a better specification in some key areas. So which one should you be considering spending your hard-earned cash on (noting, also, that the S23 Ultra might appear in around three months)? Here's where the two tech giants' flagships differ.
Price and availability
The Pixel 7 Pro price is £849/$899/AUD$1299. Not only that, but pre-order bundles make it even tastier: you can get a Pixel Watch in Google 7 Pixel Pro deals if you order in advance.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra was released in February 2022 with prices starting at £1,149/$1,199/AUD$1,849. That makes it rather a lot more cash.
Because the Galaxy has been out for some time now, there are plenty of Samsung Galaxy S22 deals to make it more affordable though, so it's well worth shopping around – take a look at the widget below for contract and SIM-free deal options.
Design and display
The Pixel 7 Pro comes in three different colours: Snow (white), Obsidian (black) and Hazel. To this writer's eyes Hazel is the most visually interesting thanks to the contrasting strip around the camera lenses, which is more striking than the one on the black and white models.
The Pixel 7 Pro features a 6.7-inch, 120Hz QHD panel (that's 3,120 x 1,440 pixels). There's Face Unlock thanks to the 10.8MP camera on the front, in addition to fingerprint. It has both wired and wireless charging, and IP68 dust- and water- resistance.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's display is 6.7-inches too, also with an adaptive refresh rate up to 120Hz and QHD+ resolution (that's 3,088 x 1440 pixels).
The Samsung also has face unlock, wired and wireless charging, and IP68 protection. It comes in Burgundy, Phantom Black, Phantom White or Green finishes, with additional colours – Red, Sky Blue, Graphite – available directly from Samsung.
The S22 Ultra also includes compatibility with Samsung's excellent S Pen stylus for scribbling and marking up documents. That's something Google doesn't offer.
Processor, performance and battery
The Pixel 7 Pro has a Tensor G2 processor, which is a new 4nm process chipset, backed with 12GB RAM. It's said to deliver faster voice translation and voice typing, a new AI-powered Photo Unblur feature and faster night-time photography.
Battery size is 5,000mAh with 30W fast charging and 23W fast wireless charging as well as reverse wireless charging and USB PD 3.0.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 also features a 4nm process chipset, with either an Exynos 2200 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 depending on where in the world you live. There's 8GB or 12GB of RAM. The battery here is also 5,000mAh but fast-charging is 45W and fast wireless charging is 15W.
The Google Pixel 7 Pro has a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 10.8MP selfie camera, along with a 48MP telephoto. The main camera delivers improved zoom, up from the 4x optical zoom of the Pixel 6 Pro to 5x optical zoom on the Pixel 7 Pro. It will deliver a maximum of 30x magnification by combining optical and digital zooms. There's also a new Macro Focus mode for close-up shooting, and 4K video at 30/60fps.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has the same lenses as its predecessor, with a 12MP ultra-wide, a 108MP main, and two 10MP telephoto lenses (one with 3x optical zoom and the other with 10x optical zoom). You also get a 40MP front camera for selfies. So there's a lot more resolution and a lot more optical zoom compared to Google's simpler offering. There's an improved Night Mode and the Portrait mode is impressive.
We haven't had the opportunity to put the Google Pixel 7 Pro through its paces just yet, but we do have a very in-depth Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review that demonstrates what an impressive device the Samsung is. In terms of sheer specification the Samsung has the edge in several areas – it charges faster, it has a much more powerful camera system, and the S Pen integration is superb – but it's also more expensive.
Whether it's worth the extra expense will depend very much on what you want your phone to do: if you want the ultimate zoom camera then it's an easy win for the Samsung, but saying that the Pixel's AI-based computational photography is so good that it's not necessarily a clear-cut win. If you want Galaxy Note-style scribble power then the S Pen is a great thing to have too. But so is money, and going the Google route means you'll keep more of it in your bank account.