The new $1,199 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the most powerful Android phones yet, but it's not as fast as the latest iPhone 13 Pro Max in various benchmark tests. Yes, I know that sounds familiar, but Apple just keeps maintaining its performance lead with its A15 Bionic chip.
That's not to say the Galaxy S22 Ultra isn't fast. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in our unit, paired with 12GB of RAM, paced this flagship to very good results in a wide range of tests. Note, however, that the base model S22 Ultra comes with just 8GB of RAM, and you have to pay $100 more for 12GB.
The good news, at least during the Galaxy S22 pre-order period that runs until February 24, is that you can upgrade to the 256GB/12GB model for the same price as the entry-level 128GB/8GB S22 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Geekbench 5
|Processor||Geekbench 5 single core score||Geekbench 5 multicore score|
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra||Snapdragon 8 Gen 1||1,240||3,392|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||Snapdragon 888||1,123||3,440|
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||Google Tensor||1,027||2,760|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max||A15 Bionic||1,720||4,549|
Geekbench 5, which measures overall CPU performance, spits out two numbers: single-core and dual-core. The Galaxy S22 Ultra averaged 1,240 on the single-core portion of the test, which beats the Galaxy S21 Ultra (1,123) and Google Pixel 6 Pro (1,027). However, the iPhone 13 Pro Max finished with a much higher 1,720.
Strangely, our Galaxy S22 Ultra review unit turned in a lower multi-core score of 3,392 than the S21 Ultra's 3,440. The newer Ultra still pulled ahead of the Pixel 6 Pro's Tensor chip (2,760). Once again, the iPhone 13 Pro Max dominated the field with a mark of 4,549.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: 3DMark Wild Life (graphics)
|Score||Frames per second|
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra||9,984||59.8 fps|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||5,739||34.4 fps|
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||6,682||40 fps|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max||11,418||68.4 fps|
To evaluate graphics performance we turn to the 3DMark Wild Life Test. We generally rely on the Unlimited portion of the test, as that runs off screen for a better gauge of a phone's true GPU potential.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra showed a dramatic improvement over the Galaxy S21 Ultra in this test, notching an average 3DMark score of 9,984 and a frame rate of 59.8 fps. Compare that to 5,739 and 34.4 fps for the S21 Ultra.
The S22 Ultra also soundly beats the Google Pixel 6 Pro, which mustered 6,682 and 40 fps on the same test. Nevertheless, the iPhone 13 Pro Max still comes out on top with an average of 11,418 and 68.4 fps.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Video encoding test
|Adobe Premiere Rush transcode time (Mins:Secs)|
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra||0:47.43|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||1:02|
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||00:48|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max||0:25|
We also run real-world tests that mimic activities you'd perform in everyday usage of your phone. This one involves video transcoding using the Adobe Premiere Rush app. We take a 4K video clip and convert it to 1080p, timing how long it takes each phone to finish the task.
Once again the Galaxy S22 Ultra vaulted well ahead of last year's phone with a time of 47 seconds, as the S21 Ultra took 1 minute and 2 seconds to complete the same task. The Pixel 6 Pro finished in 48 seconds, which is comparable to the S22 Ultra, while the iPhone 13 Pro needed only 25 seconds.
Geekbench ML (machine learning)
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra||434||2,039||3,132|
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra||425||1,675||1,118|
|Google Pixel 6 Pro||300||1,376||1,745|
|Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max||915||1,587||2,663|
Every phone maker now touts the machine learning and AI capabilities of their phones, and Samsung is no exception. So how does the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 inside the S22 Ultra stack up?
We used the Geekbench ML app, which includes computer vision and natural language processing tests that model real-world machine learning tasks and applications. The tests measure the machine learning performance of a phone's CPU, GPU and NPU.
Surprisingly, the Galaxy S22 Ultra finished ahead of the iPhone 13 Pro Max in this test, notching a CPU score of 434, 2,039 for GPU and 3,132 for NPU. The iPhone fared better for CPU (915) but fell behind on GPU (1,587) and NPU (2,663). The Pixel 6 Pro's Tensor chip trailed Samsung on all three tests.
The NPU performance from the S22 Ultra was also nearly 3x that of the S21 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S22 benchmarks: Bottom line
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's benchmark scores tell you something about its performance, but not everything. Based on my experience with the phone, it feels super responsive, and of course there's also camera performance, our S22 Ultra display testing and battery life.
But when it comes to raw performance, the S22 Ultra's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip delivers a sizable gain in GPU firepower, and it encoded video significantly faster than the S21 Ultra. The Geekbench single-core score was faster than the S21 Ultra but I don't get why the multi-core score was lower this time around. (We'll be conducting more tests to be sure.)
What Samsung hasn't done is overtaken the iPhone 13 Pro Max as the fastest phone around. Apple's A15 Bionic chip remains in a class of its own when it comes to CPU, GPU and video encoding tasks, though it fell behind the S22 Ultra on a couple of machine learning tests. Reportedly, Qualcomm is pushing to get an updated version of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 out sooner than usual, as the Plus versions of its top-of-the-line silicon usually doesn't appear until the second half of the year.
Be sure to see our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review to see how well this phone stacks up in all aspects versus the competition.