Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro: can Honor beat the Android champ?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro
(Image credit: Samsung / Honor / TechRadar)

The Honor Magic 4 Pro sees the former budget sub-brand emerging from its second-tier status and presenting a genuine flagship contender.

What better way to gauge its likely success than by comparing it against the current big daddy of the scene, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra?

Here’s how the device stacks up against the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which we called “a big, pricey, and generally excellent Android phone” in our 9 out of 10 review.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra hit shops on February 25, 2022. Prices start from $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for the 8GB of RAM/128GB model, moving up to $1,299.99 / £1249 / AU$1,999 for 12GB/256GB, then $1,399.99 / £1,329 / AU$2,149 for 12GB/512GB, and topping out at $1,599.99 / £1,499 / AU$2,449 for the 12GB/1TB top dog.

The Honor Magic 4 Pro will be announced globally on May 12, 2022. We don’t know exactly when we’ll be able to buy the phone, but we do know that prices will start from $899, which works out to around £1,200 / AUS $1,650.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro design

Our reviewer called the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra “an inarguably beautiful device”, and it isn’t hard to see why. With a solid Armor Aluminum frame, this is a much more industrial-looking (and feeling) device than other recent Galaxy S phones.

It’s quite boxy, with flat top and bottom edges and gently curved sides. That makes for quite a contrast with the Honor Magic 4 Pro, which adopts a much curvier design language. It felt decidedly premium in our own hands-on, particularly with its curved display and similarly curved glass rear, sandwiching a polished metal frame.

Both of these phones are pretty large, with the Samsung measuring 163 x 77.9 x 8.9mm, and the Honor coming in at 163.6 x 74.7 x 9.1mm. They’re heavy, too, with the Samsung tipping the scales at 229g, and the Honor weighing 215g.

In terms of color options, the Galaxy S22 Ultra offers a choice of Phantom Black, Phantom White, Burgundy, Green, Graphite, Sky Blue and Red. The Honor Magic 4 Pro will come in Black, Cyan, Gold, White and Orange.

Honor Magic 4 Pro product photo

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

There’s a pronounced difference to the rear design of these two handsets, too. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a relatively flat and unadorned rear, with nary a bulge for the camera system. Honor opts for a much more extravagant approach, with an exaggerated circular camera module holding its various sensors.

The difference is similar around the front, with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra going with a compact punch-hole notch, and the Honor Magic 4 Pro an extended lozenge.

That’s because Honor has implemented a secure facial recognition system, whereas Samsung leans wholly on its ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.

Incidentally, Honor also offers an ultrasonic fingerprint option, so it wins on sheer biometric flexibility.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro display

These appear to be two fairly evenly matched displays, although we’d perhaps say the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has the slight edge.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Both screens are 6.8-inch AMOLEDs with 120Hz refresh rates. Thanks to LTPO panel technology, both can scale right down to 1Hz where appropriate, making them nice and efficient.

The Samsung gets an early win here, with a superior 3200 x 1440 (QHD+) resolution. Honor’s screen “only” gets to 2848 x 1312, although our guess (judging from our experience with the similar iPhone 13 Pro Max) is that you won’t notice the difference in most scenarios.

There’s a potentially larger difference when it comes to peak brightness. While the Honor can hit 1,000 nits, Samsung’s phone can hit a whopping 1,750 nits.

On the other hand, Honor has upped its screen’s flicker rate to 1,920Hz, which should make it look far smoother and more appealing in those low-brightness scenarios.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra packs a hugely impressive quad-camera setup, led by a huge 108-megapixel wide sensor, and backed by a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera plus a pair of 10-megapixel cameras. It also has a dedicated Laser Auto Focus sensor.

In the opposite corner, the Honor Magic 4 Pro offers a triple-camera system with a 50-megapixel wide sensor, a 50-megapixel ultra-wide, and a 64-megapixel periscope telephoto. There’s also a Time of Flight (ToF) 3D depth sensor.

Honor Magic 4 Pro product photo

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

Samsung has been the zoom king in recent years, but Huawei used to give it a run for its money in the periscope lens stakes. Now it appears that Honor will be taking on that mantle.

Still, with one of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s 10-megapixel telephoto lenses extending to an impressive 10x zoom, it would appear to have the advantage. Honor’s telephoto only hits 3.5x.

Indeed, our reviewer said that the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s zoomed-in shots “simply blow away anything we’ve ever seen before from a mobile phone camera”. Good luck topping that, Honor.

With the wide sensor, Samsung uses a nona-binning technique that takes nine pixels of information and combines them for better color and contrast. The result: “Virtually every image we shot looked great, even if we did detect a hint of over-saturation”.

Honor could get the bragging rights if it can create more balanced, natural shots, then. To that end, Honor is focusing on its phone’s improved AI algorithms, with the claim of improved HDR shots.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

Honor has made some video advances with the Magic 4 Pro, too. It packs industry-first 10-bit Log 4K video recording in 60fps, and a Magic-Log Pro mode that apparently preserves more original detail and dynamic range information.

It can’t hit 8K footage like the Samsung, however – although who really wants or needs that?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro performance and specs

These look set to be similarly powerful phones, although the Honor Magic 4 Pro would seem to have a slight advantage.

Both feature the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip; however, Samsung only equips some of its phones with this. If you’re in the US, you’ll get the Snapdragon, while customers in Europe and Australia will get the Exynos 2200.

The latter home-brewed chip isn’t a million miles away from the Snapdragon, but tests suggest it isn’t quite as powerful. Not that you’re likely to notice in regular use.

Honor Magic 4 Pro product photo

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)

We reviewed the Snapdragon model, but we’ve also spent a good amount of time with the UK’s Exynos 2200 model. Sure enough, the latter doesn’t quite match up to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 rivals in benchmarking terms, although it still feels nice and speedy.

Both phones offer either 8GB or 12GB of RAM, but the Samsung provides more storage options. You get four overall: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB. Honor, on the other hand, offers only two choices: 256 or 512GB.

One other hardware spec to note is the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s S Pen. It comes bundled with the phone for the first time (it’s basically a Galaxy Note), being housed in a special slot on the underside. Note everyone will want to make use of this, but if you feel compelled to physically scrawl notes or make sketches, it’s the best system of its kind on a phone.

Both companies give you fairly weighty custom UIs based on Android 12. With Samsung that’s One UI 4.1, while the Honor uses Magic UI 6. We described One UI 4.1 as “mostly good” in our review, while the jury remains out on Magic UI 6.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra drawing with the S Pen

(Image credit: Future)

One thing’s for sure – both companies like their additional apps, and neither has any qualms about duplicating what’s on offer from Google. The operative word here is “busy” – but we’ll hold our final judgment on the Honor’s software offering for now.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Honor Magic 4 Pro battery life

Samsung has given its latest flagship phone a 5000mAh battery, which is much larger than the Honor Magic 4 Pro’s 4600mAh cell.

In our tests, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s battery was good for a full day of varied activity, which was rather underwhelming.

It will be interesting to see how the Honor fares with its smaller battery; but, remember, that it also has a less sharp display to run.

In recharging terms, the Honor appears to have a clear advantage. It provides an impressive 100W charger in the box, which is good for 0 to 50% in just 15 minutes.

Samsung supports slower 45W charging in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and it doesn’t even give you the brick.

Honor also supports 100W wireless charging to Samsung’s 15W. It isn’t a particularly impressive showing, all things told.

Honor Magic 4 Pro product photo

(Image credit: Basil Kronfli)


The Honor Magic 4 Pro has it all to do to overhaul the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which we rated as one of the best phones of 2022 so far.

Honor’s flagship has got a lot going for it, however. It will be quite a bit cheaper than the Samsung, more than competitive in terms of power and design, and we’re hopeful that it’s going to provide a strong camera experience too.

With the Samsung being a known (and excellent) quantity, we have to give the advantage to it. But there’s a big Huawei-shaped hole in the market that Honor looks well equipped to stroll through.