The tale of the tape is quite stark when directly comparing the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S22+. It’s heavily in favor of Google’s latest and greatest smartphone in most areas courtesy of a higher resolution 120Hz AMOLED display, higher base RAM allocation, and even a bigger battery.
The Galaxy S22+, as Samsung’s middle kid, may not be the finest of the bunch, but it’s still a $999 phone that competes more directly with the $899 Google Pixel 6 Pro than the S22 Ultra. So, which is the better overall purchase? In some ways, comparing the Galaxy S22 Ultra to the Pixel 6 Pro is unfair, given that the Galaxy S22 Ultra is an entirely different beast from the “normal” Android flagship. In terms of price and specifications, the Galaxy S22+ is more comparable to Google’s current top-tier smartphone.
Just looking at the display specifications you’d wager that the Pixel 6 Pro has a better screen. However, if you like flat displays and tiny bezels, the Galaxy S22+ may have a lower resolution AMOLED but it’s far superior for usability. The peak brightness is also almost double that of the Pixel 6 Pro too, which means that the Galaxy S22+ is great for just about any environment possible. The Pixel 6 Pro still has an excellent screen and one that is still higher resolution and super fluid.
No smartphone is used on paper though, and the Galaxy S22+ includes a better processor. In some global regions, you’ll get the 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or the Exynos 2200. Google’s own Tensor processor was co-developed with Samsung but uses the 5nm architecture. There is a performance gulf but one that is actually less noticeable in daily use.
In terms of hardware design, the Galaxy S22+ and Pixel 6 Pro are at very different ends of the spectrum. Google’s quality control has been under fire for a few years but the Pixel 6 Pro is undoubtedly a premium product that feels very “Samsung” in its execution. The Galaxy S22+ simply iterates on the S21 series but with more touches to make it a better overall package. It even has a wider array of colors to choose from should you want more finishes to decide between. Samsung has recently tweaked update promises for flagship lineups and this means that while the Pixel 6 Pro and Galaxy S22+ both shipped with Android 12, you can actually expect the latter handset to get a longer official support window.
Pixel 6 Pro long term review: Managing the unbearable weight of expectation. Because both smartphones utilize in-display fingerprint scanners, the biometric unlock method is tied directly to the screen. The Galaxy S22+ uses an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, while the Pixel 6 Pro uses an optical reader. While updates have improved the fingerprint scanner on the Pixel, unlocking the S22+ is lightyears ahead and the experience is seamless.
The Pixel 6 Pro is currently eligible for the Android 12L update, which includes tweaks to take better advantage of larger displays. All Galaxy S22 series handsets shipped with One UI 4.1, which is based upon Android 12. One UI is a very different experience from the lightweight Pixel version of Android 12 and 12L, in that it offers more features that Pixel phones have traditionally lacked. It’s also important to note that the Pixel 6 series has also suffered from some update issues and bugs that you simply will not find on the Galaxy S22+.
It also lacks some of the more prominent changes added with the Material You overhaul or offers watered-down alternatives. A prime example is the Color Palette feature which works in a similar way to the wallpaper-based Dynamic Color theming found on all Pixels running Android 12 officially. Elsewhere though you get a wealth of extra options that have just started to come to AOSP builds. Samsung certainly stuffs One UI with added options that are often way ahead of the curve.
Google has marketed the Pixel 6 Pro with certain features like Magic Eraser already exists in the Samsung Gallery app as “Object eraser.” that’s just the tip of the iceberg as Samsung stuffs One UI 4.1 full of extra functions and features that you likely won’t find anywhere else. In other areas, such as the core UI, Samsung has excelled in reachability all without changing too drastically from Android 10 through to Android 12. This is certainly something that Google could learn from with future Android releases. The kicker here is that Samsung has decided to oust Google as the update champion on Android with an extended upgrade schedule. While both devices ship with Android 12, the Samsung Galaxy S22+ will be eligible for updates up to and including Android 16 and One UI 8. Conversely, the Pixel 6 Pro will be updated to Android 15 and then receive a further two years of security patches. If you value longevity, it’s a no brainer which device to pick.
On paper, you would expect the 10% larger internal cell of the Pixel 6 Pro to outlast the Galaxy S22+ but in practice, it’s not quite as pronounced. The lifespan on both devices is fairly similar owing to the higher resolution Pixel 6 Pro screen. Neither phone has terrible longevity but nor are they the longest lasting on Android. You don’t get a charger in the box of either phone, which is an annoyance given that to access the fastest charging method a dedicated charger is required. Despite claiming 30W maximum charge speeds, the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro’s “real” wired charging speeds are much lower. Disappointingly, even with the new charge brick, you can only achieve 21W and 23W peak charging speeds with the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro respectively. The S22+ has faster 45W wired charging speeds with an added accessory but thanks to the new Pixel Stand the 6 Pro has faster wireless charging speeds available.