Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: which new flagship should you buy?

These are the highest of the high end from two of the biggest Android experts. Which one should you buy?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Samsung)

Today is Samsung Galaxy Unpacked and that means T3 is live blogging the Samsung Galaxy S22 launch. It also means you can watch the Galaxy S22 livestream and see the phones revealed first hand.

Samsung’s Galaxy Ultra phones are the biggest, baddest, most expensive-est phones in its line-up, and they have a strong claim to be the best phones you can buy today. But rival firms haven’t been resting on their laurels, and shortly after the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra goes on sale there will be a new flagship from OnePlus, too, the already leaked OnePlus 10 Pro.

They both look like absolutely fantastic phones, but which one is best? There’s only one way to find out. Let’s see what they have to offer and compare them head-to-head.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: design and display

The big selling point of the OnePlus 10 Pro is its Hasselblad camera, so it’s no surprise to see the camera bump made the focal point – pun fully intended – of the design here. It’s particularly striking in the green model, with the black, square camera bump looking suitably dramatic. The black model is nice too, but it’s less visually arresting.

The OnePlus display is a 6.7-inch curved screen with a punch-hole for the selfie camera, and it’s a LPTO2 AMOLED delivering  dynamic refresh rates from 1 to 120Hz, HDR10+, 1300 nits of peak brightness and a 3216 x 1440 display. Gorilla Glass Victus should keep it safe from harm.

The display in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is bigger still. It’s a 6.8-inch Edge QHD+, a Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with variable refresh rates from 1 to 120Hz and a 240Hz touch sampling rate in game mode. It’s 100% certified in the P3 colour range, has a peak brightness of up to 1750 nits and has a contrast ratio of up to 3 million to one. It’s spectacular and IP68 rated for water resistance.

OnePlus 10 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: processor and storage

No self-respecting flagship ships without the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in 2022 or in the case of Samsung, the equivalent Exynos. In the OnePlus the Snapdragon comes with 8GB/12GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage.

The Samsung has the Exynos 2200 or Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 depending on where you live, and it’s backed with 8 or 12GB of RAM and 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB of storage.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: cameras

OnePlus is very proud of this camera assembly, which boasts a 48MP wide camera with f/1.8; an 8MP telephoto with f/2.4 and a 50MP ultrawide with f/2.2. There’s 3.3x optical zoom, dual-LED dual-tone flash, Hasselblad colour calibration and panoramic HDR. Video is 8K at 30fps or 4K at up to 120fps. Round the front you’ll find a 32MP selfie shooter with f/2.2 and Auto-HDR.

If you thought that was impressive, wait till you see the S22 Ultra. It has four cameras on the back: a 12MP ultrawide with f/2.2m a 108MP wide with f/1.8, a 10MP telephoto with f/2.4 and 3x optical zoom and another 10MP telephoto with 10x optical zoom and f/4.9. Digital zoom, which Samsung calls Space Zoom, is up to 100x.

OnePlus 10 Pro

(Image credit: OnePlus)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: battery and charging

The OnePlus battery is 5000mAh with 80W fast charging, 50W fast wireless charging, reverse wireless charging and USB-PD. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is also 5000mAh, but its charging is up to 45W wired and 15W wireless.

Samsung Galaxy S22

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: software

The OnePlus ships with Android 12.1 and OnePlus’s own ColorOS 12.1, while the Samsung has Android 1.1 and Samsung’s One UI 4.1. The main difference here is that Samsung’s software is made to work with the S Pen, which you can use for controlling apps, navigating and drawing.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: price and availability

The OnePlus 10 Pro isn’t out yet unless you live in China: best estimates suggest it’ll launch in March, and that means for now the pricing information we have is only speculation based on the Chinese prices. They work out at roughly $740/£540 for the cheapest version, rising to $830/£610 for the 12GB/256GB model, but expect currency conversion and tax to take those figures up. Nevertheless the OnePlus should be priced keenly in order to compete with its similarly specified rivals. 

As for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, that is confirmed to start at $1,199 / £1,149.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs OnePlus 10 Pro: early verdict

It’s hard to pick a winner when we don’t yet know what the pricing for both phones will be: relatively minor spec differences become much more important if the prices are very similar. But on specs alone it’s a narrow win for the Samsung: its screen is slightly bigger and a lot brighter and its camera array is more impressive. It’s also available with a lot more on-board storage, although that boosts the price considerably. For now we think we’ll give this one to Samsung – but if the OnePlus turns out to be significantly cheaper, we may have to change our minds.

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written thirteen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote another seven books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com (opens in new tab)).