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iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Which phone wins?

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Our iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 face-off should help you decide which device is best overall — and which phone is best for you. 

These aren't the flashiest models either phone maker offers — that would be the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Galaxy S22 Ultra — but as the entry-level models in their respective lineups, the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22 are the phones more people will turn to. So it just makes sense to see which one winds up on on top.

The iPhone 14 certainly can make a compelling case for the best phone among these two devices. Even though Apple has stuck with a variation on last year's A15 Bionic chipset for the iPhone 14, the new handset figures to outmuscle the Galaxy S22. The camera setup has seen some changes as well to improve low-light photography, and Apple has added some new safety features.

But don't discount the Galaxy S22 even if it feels like that phone has been out for ages. (In reality, it only arrived in the spring.) Its processor may not be as fast as what Apple packs inside the iPhone, but the Galaxy S22 delivers solid performance, and unlike the standard iPhone 14, you'll find a telephoto lens on the back of Samsung's phone and a 120Hz display.

This iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 face-off looks at how the phones compare, along with some head-to-head testing

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Specs

iPhone 14Samsung Galaxy S22
Starting price$799$799
Screen size6.1-inch OLED (2532 x 1170)6.1-inch AMOLED (2340 x 1080)
Refresh rate60Hz48Hz - 120Hz
CPUA15 BionicSnapdragon 8 Gen 1
RAM6GB8GB
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB128GB, 256GB
Rear cameras12MP wide (f/1.5), 12MP ultrawide (f/2.4)50MP wide (f/1.8); 12MP ultrawide (f/2.2); 10MP telephoto (f/2.4) with 3x optical zoom
Front camera12MP (f/1.9)10MP (f/2.2)
Battery size3,279 mAh3,700 mAh
Battery life9:287:51
Charging speed, wired20W25W
Size5.8 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches5.7 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches
Weight6.1 ounces5.9 ounces
Color optionsMidnight, Starlight, Blue, Purple, Product [RED] Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold, Bora Purple

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Price and availability

There's nothing separating the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22 in terms of cost. Both phones start at $799 for a 128GB base model. Upgrading the S22 to 256GB of storage tacks on only $50, while you'll need another $100 to get that amount of storage on an iPhone 14. Apple does include a 512GB option, which is missing from the S22.

Both phones are available from a variety of carriers and retailers. The best iPhone 14 deals and Galaxy S22 deals can help you save money on either device. Be aware that if you buy an unlocked iPhone 14 directly from Apple, you can expect to pay another $30 on top of the base rate — that's an extra fee Samsung doesn't charge for its phone.

Because it costs less to upgrade to 256GB and there’s no surcharge for getting the phone unlocked, the edge goes to the Galaxy S22 here. 

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Design

Neither the iPhone 14 or Galaxy S22 reinvent the wheel when it comes to phone design. In fact, you could even call them dead ringers for their predecessors and not be called out for it.

That's a little disappointing in the iPhone 14's case, since Apple did mix things up on the iPhone 14 Pro models by ditching the notch on those phones' displays and going with a new Dynamic Island cutout feature instead. The notch remains on the iPhone 14, taking up as much space as it did on the iPhone 13.

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22

Galaxy S22 (left) and iPhone 14 (right) (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22 have similar sizes — the iPhone's slightly taller —  and Samsung's phone is about 0.15 ounces lighter. Both phones use a mixture of glass and metal for their materials.

Some features do help the two phones stand out from one another. The S22 has an in-display fingerprint reader while Apple skids out on that, relying entirely on Face ID unlock your phone and handle mobile payments.

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The most noteworthy iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 design difference could boil down to a SIM card tray — the S22 has one, and the iPhone does not, at least not for models in the US. The iPhone 14 relies solely on eSIM technology, and while that's certainly convenient for switching phone service, international travelers may prefer to swap out physical SIM cards, particularly in countries where carriers have yet to embrace the eSIM movement.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Display

The iPhone 14 and the Galaxy S22 feature similarly sized displays — both are 6.1-inch OLED panels, with the iPhone 14's resolution (2532 x 1170) a bit sharper than the S22's (2340 x 1080).

Yet, the Galaxy S22 can automatically adjust its refresh rate, scaling up to 120Hz when you'll see the benefit of smoother scrolling or more immersive graphics and ramping down to 48Hz when the screen is more static to preserve battery. The iPhone 14 doesn't adjust its refresh rate at all, as that's a feature Apple reserves for its Pro models.

Samsung Galaxy S22 review

Galaxy S22 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Galaxy S22's display outshines the iPhone 14's in another key way — literally. While the iPhone 14 is plenty bright, promising a peak brightness of 1,200 nits in HDR, the Galaxy S22's brightness peaks at 1,300 nits. We also found colors more vibrant on the Galaxy S22 when setting that phone's display to Vivid mode. Those colors were more accurate, too, given the Galaxy S22's Delta-E score of 0.22 to 0.25 for the iPhone 14. (Number closer to zero are better.)

iPhone 14

iPhone 14 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

You'll certainly enjoy looking at the iPhone 14's screen when it's time to watch videos, look at photos or play games. But the Galaxy S22 offers a great display, too, and a dynamically adjusting display rate gives it the edge over what Apple's phone offers.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Cameras

The iPhone 14 sees some key camera improvements, particularly when it comes to low-light photos. While the new phone still uses a 12MP sensor for its main camera — only the iPhone 14 Pro models get a beefed-up 48MP shooter — the sensor itself is physically larger with 1.9 micrometer pixels and a faster f/1.7 aperture.

That means better photos in low light and better action shots than before. A 12MP ultrawide camera captures more of the scene and promises better low-light performance, too.

iPhone 14

iPhone 14 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

But the Galaxy S22 offers something the iPhone 14 doesn't — at least not unless you spring for a more expensive Pro version. There's a 10MP telephoto lens on the back of the Galaxy S22, joining the 50MP main camera and 12MP ultrawide shooter. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 review

Galaxy S22 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As a result, the S22 can pull off a 3x optical zoom, while the iPhone 14 is limited to a 5x digital zoom. (The Galaxy S22's digital zoom goes up to 30x, but who's counting?)

You can see the benefit of a zoom lens when my colleague Mark Spoonauer took these shots of the Chrysler Building using the iPhone 14's 5x maximum zoom. The iPhone 14's colors are much true-to-life, and it captures a lot more detail. But that's at the expense of the sky in the background, which is a much deeper shade of blue in the S22 shot. If we were to keep zooming in with the S22's telephoto lens, we'd capture even more detail than the iPhone 14 is capable of.

For the most part, though, the iPhone 14 benefits from the hardware changes Apple made to the phone's cameras and the new Photonic Engine that calls out more detail during image processing. The leaves and petals of these dipladenia flowers are more detailed in the iPhone's rendition. You can make out water droplets that blend into the background of the S22 shot.

The iPhone 14's photo-processing prowess is very much on display in this portrait shot of Mark Spoonauer. Both phones do a good job of separating Mark from the background, though if you ask me, the Galaxy S22 goes a little overboard with highlighting the subject to the point where it looks like we've Photoshopped Mark into his own backyard. The S22's blur is a little over-aggressive, too, whereas the iPhone 14 shot feels more natural and stylish.

Apple gave the TrueDepth camera on the front of every iPhone 14 model a boost, adding autofocus and widening the aperture to let in more light. Perhaps, that explains how the iPhone 14 handled sun and shadows in this selfie of Mark. The iPhone 14 does a little better keeping Mark's face lit while the Galaxy S22 seeks to obliterate shadows altogether, over-smoothing Mark's face in favor of more consistent tones. (Look how consistent the grass in background of the S22's image is — it's patchier in the iPhone 14 photo, but probably more realistic.)

I'm hard-pressed to pick a winner in this shot testing the night features on both camera phones. The shot of Star Wars figurines was captured in a very dark room so the fact that the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22 produced any recognizable image is commendable. I think the S22 does a slightly better job of making more of Darth Vader's mask emerge from the shadows. But I also think this shot highlights the low-light improvements Apple made with the iPhone 14 — there's no way an iPhone 13 captures a shot this distinct.

On the video front, the iPhone 14's new Action mode is a really strong addition, providing smoother video capture even when you or your subject are on the move. Stacking footage shot by an iPhone 14 on top of Galaxy S22 video with that phone's Super Steady mode, the iPhone video looks smoother and more colorful.

If the iPhone 14 only had a telephoto lens, this photo face-off would be a walkover for Apple's camera phone. Instead, the contest winds up being a little closer, though this is still a clear Apple win.

Winner: iPhone 14

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Performance

Apple's dominance in raw performance numbers doesn't change, even though the new iPhone 14 uses an older processor, last year's A15 Bionic. While that chip powered all four iPhone 13 models, Apple's actually turned to the one found in the Pro models to power this year's flagship. 

That means the A15 Bionic in the iPhone 14 has a 5-core GPU instead of a 4-core one as found in the iPhone 13's version of the chipset. The result is a modest bump in benchmark results for Apple's new phone over the older model. For our purposes, though, it also means a wider gap between the iPhone 14 and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered Galaxy S22.

iPhone 14

iPhone 14 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

In Geekbench, which measures general performance, the iPhone 4 posted single- and multicore scores of 1,727 and 4,553, respectively, topping the S22'1,204 and 3,348 results. The iPhone 14 also posted a better score in the gaming benchmark we run, churning out 69 frames per second in 3DMark's Wild Life Unlimited test to the S22's 60 fps score. Since the Galaxy S22 actually beat the iPhone 13 on that test, that's a big jump for Apple's new phone.

An upgraded A15 chipset also helped the iPhone 14 finish ahead of the Galaxy S22 in our real-world test in which Adobe Premier Rush transcodes a 4K video. The iPhone 14 finished that task in 28 seconds to the Galaxy S22's 47-second time. That's a noticeable gap.

Winner: iPhone 14

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Battery life and charging

We had high hopes for the iPhone 14 battery life, considering how well its predecessor did on our test last year. But the iPhone 14 took a step back in our battery test, in which we have phones surf the web continuously until they run out of power. 

The iPhone 14 averaged 9 hours and 28 minutes on our test, which is about half-an-hour behind the average for smartphones. Considering how well the iPhone 14 Pro and especially the iPhone 14 Pro do on this same test, we're a little disappointed with that number.

Samsung Galaxy S22 review

Galaxy S22 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Still, the iPhone 14's result is leagues ahead of the time turned in by the Galaxy S22. That phone lasted for 7 hours and 51 minutes on our battery test, which is around two hours worse than the average phone.

Samsung's flagship beats the iPhone 14 in one area involving battery — it charges faster, supporting 25W charging. While that's not as fast as the other S22 models and their 45W charging speeds, it's still better than the 20W the iPhone 14 charges at.

iPhone 14

iPhone 14 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

As a result, a drained Galaxy S22 reached a 60% charge after 30 minutes in our testing. The iPhone 14 made it to 54% in that time.

Winner: iPhone 14

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Software and special features

The iPhone 14 ships with iOS 16 preinstalled, meaning all the top features of that software update — the customizable lock screen, the ability to edit text messages, the updated apps — are there for you to use the first time you fire up the phone. The One UI interface Samsung is building on top of Android 13 is still in beta, so Galaxy S22 owners won't have the latest version of Android until the end of the year.

Samsung Galaxy S22 review

Galaxy S22 (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

At least Samsung has gotten better about software support. Android 13 will be the first of four guaranteed software updates from Samsung for its Galaxy S22 phones, and there's a fifth year of security updates promised, too. With iPhones, you can usually expect five years of updates, so the support gap is closing.

iPhone 14

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

But the iPhone 14 wins this category with a pair of features coming later this fall. All four models in the iPhone 14 lineup support crash detection, in which sensors inside the phone can tell if you've been in a car accident; if so, they'll notify emergency responders.

Similarly, an Emergency SOS via satellite feature will tap into satellite connectivity when there's no nearby cellular tower to let you send emergency text messages to responders as well as to your emergency contacts. While the hope is that you never have to use either of these iPhone additions, they certainly make Apple's phone much more valuable to keep close at hand.

Winner: iPhone 14

iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22: Verdict

An iPhone 14 vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 face-off is surprisingly close, precisely because Apple saved most of the big changes and premium features for its Pro lineup. As a result, the Galaxy S22 can boast the better 120Hz display, and its telephoto lens offers something iPhone 14 owners can only dream about.

iPhone 14Samsung Galaxy S22
Price and availability (10 points)78
Design (10 points)89
Display (15 points)1214
Cameras (20 points)1817
Performance (20 points)2018
Battery life and charging (15 points)1211
Software and special features (10 points)108
Overall (100 points)8785

That said, Apple takes the rest of this camera comparison, and the iPhone continues to outperform the Galaxy S22 even with its older chipset. The software experiences Apple introduces are pretty special, too, with its emergency features helping the iPhone 14 stand out.

Both the iPhone 14 and Galaxy S22 are fine choices for your next smartphone, particularly if you don't want to pay a premium for the more expensive models from either phone maker. But the iPhone 14 rides its cameras, processor and software to a very close victory in this showdown.

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.