Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max speed test will surprise you

Published Mar 7th, 2022 3:36PM EST
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Image: Samsung

If you buy through a BGR link, we may earn an affiliate commission, helping support our expert product labs.

We saw the first Galaxy S22 benchmarks during the preorder period, and the results were not shocking at all. The iPhone 13 crushed the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2200 in those tests, with the latter trailing behind the iPhone 11 from over two years ago. But now we have the first real-life speed test comparison between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And the results might surprise you.

Combined, the benchmark results and the new speed test comparison should give you an idea of what the Galaxy S22 series phones are capable of. And the good news is that the result is a lot closer than you’d think.

The app performance controversy

We can’t discuss Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max speed tests without looking at Samsung’s app performance controversy. Galaxy S22 users discovered something on the new phones that throttles the performance of thousands of apps.

But Samsung ensured that benchmark apps were never slowed down.

This prompted Geekbench to ban all Galaxy S22 phones from its Geekbench 5 test, alongside older Samsung flagships.

Samsung confirmed the throttling issues, saying that it’ll release a software update to fix the problem.

The real-life speed test

As we’ve explained before, the real-life speed tests that appear on YouTube aren’t scientific. For consistency purposes, we’ve looked at speed tests from PhoneBuff over the years, as the YouTuber has the same standard test for all phones like the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

As you’ll see in the video at the end of this post, we’re looking at how fast the two handsets open the same set of apps in the same order. Some of them are simple web apps. Others are more resource-intensive, putting the CPU and GPU to the test.

The point of the test is to see how fast a phone loads a series of apps for the first time (lap 1) and then how quickly it reloads the same apps (lap 2). A robotic arm is in charge of opening the apps the help remove human error.

Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max Speed Test
Pixel 6 Pro vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max speed test. Image source: YouTube

Before we look at how the Galaxy S22 Ultra fared against the iPhone 13 Pro Max in this speed test, we’ll remind you of the most recent results.

We saw a similar comparison a few months ago between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Pixel 6 Pro (image above). Google’s phone held its own, but the iPhone 13 is still the faster phone.

Separately, we saw a similar comparison between the iPhone 13 Pro Max and the Galaxy S21 Ultra when the former came out. The iPhone 13 Pro Max was the clear winner, as you can see below.

iPhone 13 Pro Max Speed Test
iPhone 13 Pro Max vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra speed test. Image source: YouTube

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

This brings us to the latest speed test, which features the Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max.

The “race” is closer than ever. The Galaxy S22 Ultra shows that it’ll deliver a significant performance boost over its predecessor.

Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max from last year still comes out on top. But the difference between the two phones is down to less than 3 seconds.

That’s excellent news for the Galaxy S22 phones. In real-life conditions, they’ll effectively be just as fast as the iPhone 13 phones.

But there is one thing the speed test doesn’t measure, and that’s throttling.

In light of the recent performance controversy, it’s safe to assume that the default Galaxy S22 behavior will include speed throttling during significant resource use.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max speed test
Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max speed test. Image source: YouTube

Reducing performance means the phone will not overheat. All phones will throttle performance in apps and games that consume a lot of resources. That way, the phone can cool down

But it would be interesting to see how soon the Galaxy S22 starts throttling performance compared to iPhone 13 Pro Max. That’s because the S22 would also throttle regular apps even when heat isn’t an issue.

There’s also one more thing to consider. The Galaxy S22 Ultra in this speed test has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. It’ll be interesting to see if the Exynos 2200 can keep up with the iPhone 13 Pro Max’s A15 Bionic as well as the Snapdragon chip did.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.