Apple and Samsung have both refreshed their flagship base-model phones this month, so it's a great time to be thinking about upgrading... or is it?
As of last week, the Galaxy S22 is now available in Australia – the base model of Samsung's latest flagship S series. The smallest of the three phones in the new S Series, the latest model has been forced to find a balance between price and performance to stay competitive with Apple's iPhone 13. That's a hard task, especially as iPhone 13 was one of our Most Anticipated Phones of 2021.
Whether you're buying, swapping or looking to upgrade, let's take a look at some of the core features that impact usability across the two devices and uncover the best value when it comes to the Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13.
For Samsung, the Galaxy S22 is a completely new upgrade from the S21, whilst for the iPhone 13 the only changes announced this month is cosmetic - in a nutshell "it now comes in green". Apple won't update the spec of the phone until their product cycle completes around September/October, and it's worth noting that the price of the iPhone in Australia is still $100 more than the S22. With that in mind, let's focus on the Galaxy S22 for a minute.
The Galaxy S22 brings a new chipset which aims to improve the performance of the phone whilst reducing its power consumption (and thus improving battery life). The cameras have also been treated to some higher spec, with the main camera and telephoto camera both better in terms of capability compared to the Galaxy S21.
That said, the S22 shows Samsung is treading lightly with this model, taking an evolution approach rather than revolution. If you already own the Galaxy S21 it's probably hard to justify upgrading, as the outer casing is identical and most of the technical upgrades aren't game-changers.
But if you're committed to having the latest and greatest in base-model phones, let's go a bit deeper in search of what works best for you.
If You Value Capturing Memories
Camera capability is a big selling factor these days, and both the iPhone and Galaxy S22 put camera quality front-and-centre in most of their marketing. Short films shot entirely on mobile devices aren't uncommon, and Samsung celebrated this in their Make Nights Epic video at launch:
Most people aren't going to understand the key technical differences of f-stops, sensor size and optics, nor will they care. If your criteria is "will this take a good photo for my socials" then the answer is yes. Both models have smart software to track faces and improve focus.
The only real lifestyle advantage of the Galaxy S22 over the iPhone is the 8K video capability (iPhone 13 only does 4K) and the telephoto lens. Samsung have improved the optical zoom as well, so sharpness and detail are maintained when you zoom in. If you're someone who likes taking photos up close or sports action, then this might be the edge you're looking for to dictate your choice.
If You Value Watching Movies
This is the tightest race of all the categories, and the good news is you won't make a bad choice with either phone. In terms of screen size, both come in at 6.1 inches diagonal, but there's two technical differences. iPhone wins in the resolution stakes, with more pixels in the screen to provide more detail and sharpness when you're watching Netflix, Disney+, or just home movies. Samsung however have gone with a higher refresh rate of 120Hz, which means action and motion playback is silky smooth to watch.
Weighing up what matters most to your cinematic experience in these two spaces is a personal choice, but to the average user neither of these features is going to make or break the purchasing decision.
If You Value Battery Life
Let's look at the numbers - the Galaxy S22 has a 3700 mAh battery, whilst the iPhone 13 has a 3227 mAh battery. On the surface, it seems like the S22 should last at least 10% longer than an iPhone. But this is where Apple's power-efficient A15 processor comes in and shows how it can do more with less.
Despite the smaller capacity, the iPhone will generally last longer than the S22 thanks to the energy-saving architecture and power-management smarts. It's not a radical advantage, but if an extra 30-odd minutes of battery per charge makes the difference in your world, it might swing your sense of value toward the iPhone.
Also, both models can be charged wirelessly.
If You Value Raw Facts
If you're a numbers person with a soft spot for a spreadsheet, then let's dive into the brain-numbing data that shows us the simple technical truth. Numbers don't lie, and the specs between the two phones show there's not a whole lot of overall difference to give either model a clear winning position of best value.
Samsung Galaxy S22
2340 x 1080
2532 x 1170
Max. refresh rate
up to 120Hz
up to 60Hz
70.6 x 146 x 7.6
71.5 x 146.7 x 7.65
174g (6.14 ounces)
128GB, 256GB, 512GB
50MP (f/1.8) wide, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 10MP (f/2.4) telephoto
12MP (f/1.6) wide, 12MP (f/2.4) ultrawide
4K @ 60FPS
4K @ 60FPS
8K @ 24FPS, 4K @ 60FPS
4K @ 60FPS
Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, facial recognition
Water and dust protection
5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2
5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0
S22 vs iPhone 13
In The End
The tightness between these two phones is great for consumers as it shows a healthy competition in the market. It really comes down to your needs and personal preference, which is a great position for buyers to be in. If you have other Apple devices, it's probably worth keeping to their eco-system to get the most from your phone. Similarly, if you like the freedom and customisation of Android then the Galaxy S22 is probably the way to go.
Ultimately, both are great phones and worth of their position as market leaders.