I've been testing Google Pixel 7 Pro — and it blows away the Galaxy S22 Ultra

Pixel 7 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Future)

There's one question I keep asking myself the more I spend time with the Google PIxel 7 Pro. "How does this thing cost $300 less than the Galaxy S22 Ultra?"

And it's a very legitimate question. After all, as you'll see in our Google Pixel 7 Pro review, this is a very formidable flagship, with some of the best cameras around, about the same size display as the S22 Ultra and a beautiful premium design. And the new Tensor G2 chip is pretty potent while unlocking all sorts of cool features like Photo Unblur. 

Don't get me wrong. My Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra shows why this phone has topped our best Android phone list for months. It offers one of the best and brightest OLED screens ever on a mobile device, swifter performance than the Pixel 7 Pro via its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip and a built-in S Pen.

Our Pixel 7 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra face-off goes into a ton of detail with multiple rounds of competition, but personally I think the new Pixel comes out on top in a big way for two reasons: value and the cameras.

Pixel 7 Pro has better cameras

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a sharper main camera that goes up to 108MP, compared to 50MP for the Pixel 7 Pro. And the Samsung also wins on the zoom front with dual telephoto lenses (3x and 10x). But in terms of overall image quality, I'd give the edge to the Pixel 7 Pro based on my testing. 

Check out the photo samples below. 

Let's start with this portrait mode shot from both phones. The Galaxy S22 Ultra gives me a thinner face (which I'm not complaining about) but I look overly smoothed and my complexion looks washed out. The Pixel 7 Pro's shot is a bit heavy on the shadows, but my skin tone looks more natural and my jacket is a lot more detailed.

In this photo of stained glass lamps, the Pixel 7 Pro's shot is arguably too dark, but I like how it captures more detail and color than the S22 Ultra, which once again it too aggressive in brightening everything up. I wish I could get a photo somewhere in the middle of these two extremes, but the Pixel 7 Pro has the edge here in my opinion.

There are times when the Galaxy S22 Ultra's brightness advantage puts it over the top. And this is one case with this wire art of a dog. I would be more likely to share the Samsung shot then the Pixel 7 Pro image.

Turning to Night mode, the Pixel 7 Pro has a distinct advantage over the S22 Ultra in this shot. For one, it captured the image faster. And the image itself of the hydrangea flower in the dark comes out a lot clearing the Pixel photo. The Samsung image was so blurry I took it twice and it came out the same way.

Indoors the Pixel 7 Pro delivers more natural looking colors and sharper details in the rock on the left side of the image. But I give credit to Samsung for offering a brighter overall shot, especially on the right side of the skull where you can see more teeth. There's just a yellow cast to the shot that shouldn't be there.

The Pixel 7 is more portable

Pixel 7 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

The Pixel 7 Pro and Galaxy S22 Ultra are both big phones, but I like that Google's phone is shorter and lighter than Samsung's. The Pixel 7 Pro measures 6.1 x 3 x 0.35 inches and weighs 7.5 ounces, compared to 6.4 x 3 x 0.35 inches and 8 ounces for the S22 Ultra.

I find the Pixel 7 Pro easier to use with one hand, and it weighs on my front pocket less when carrying it around. My only gripe with the Pixel 7 Pro is that its back is more slippery.

The Pixel 7 Pro is way cheaper

Here's the biggest reason to go with the Pixel 7 Pro over the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Pixel 7 Pro starts at $899 / £849 / AU$1,299 for a base model with 12GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. For $999 / £849 / AU$1,499 , you can jump up to 256GB, or get 512GB for $1,099 / AU$1,599. 

The Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at a much higher $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM. The 256GB version will run you $1,299,99 / £1,249 / AU$1,999, and 512GB is $1,399.99 / £1,329 / AU$2,149. And you can go up to a 1TB model ($1,599.99 / £1,499 / AU$2,449 ), which Google doesn't offer.

Pixel 7 Pro vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: My bottom line

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has some key advantages, including battery life. Samsung's device lasted 9 hours and 50 minutes compared to 8:04 for the Pixel 7 Pro. And Samsung's display gets brighter. But in terms of what you get for the money, the Pixel 7 Pro is my hands-down winner.

The Pixel 7 Pro delivers better photo quality, a great screen and a sleeker design for hundreds less. And especially in this economy, that's a big win. 

Next: Also check out our Google Pixel 7 vs. iPhone 14 camera shootout to see which phone wins.

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.