Samsung Galaxy S22 review: Sleeper powerhouse | Digital Trends

Rear panel of a white Galaxy S22 Samsung Galaxy S22
MSRP

$799.00

Score Details

“The Galaxy S22 is a fairly capable phone that should be on top of your Android phone buying list thanks to its handy build, top-notch performance, capable cameras, and long-term software update policy.”

Pros

  • Pleasingly compact and sturdy build
  • A gorgeous flat OLED screen
  • Best-in-class Android OS upgrade policy
  • Reliable cameras
  • Fluid performance

Cons

  • Small battery that drains quickly
  • Charging speeds really need a boost
  • Ultrawide camera has a distortion quirk
  • Runs hot quickly under load

Samsung Galaxy S22, the most low-cost device in the company ’ s 2022 flagship series, has flown under the radar. The korean electronics colossus reserved all the illusion stuff for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which besides carries the heavy Note bequest on its shoulders. But that doesn ’ triiodothyronine mean the vanilla Galaxy S22 deserves to live in its shadow. In fact, this is one unassuming earphone that hits heavier than its weight. here ’ s the kernel about the phone before you decide to give Samsung a few hundred dollars from your wallet .

Design and build quality

The Galaxy S22 hasn ’ t seen anything in terms of aesthetic refinements. For folks coming from the Galaxy S21, Samsung ’ s latest flagship looks plain bore given the about identical design. But put it against any other flagship call out there, and the Galaxy S22 will hold its own .
The Phantom White trim that we have for review is quite stunning, thanks to the chopper blank rear panel that provides a subtle contrast against the metallic shininess on the rails and camera island. The telephone is besides up for grabs in a stun apparition black shade, aboard green and backbone pink colors. But it ’ s the white that truly exudes a distinct aura of a agio device with a minimalist appeal .
Rear panel of Samsung Galaxy S22
But it ’ s not merely about the looks. The build choice is ace american samoa well. Samsung has eschewed the Galaxy S21 ’ s fictile back jury in favor of a glass sheet that is protected by a layer of Gorilla Glass Victus on top. After having used the device for over three weeks without any protective cover, I couldn ’ t find any scuff marks on the rear panel. however, the display was another fib. After a few days of use, it had visible signs of child scraping all across .
The Galaxy S22 ’ mho display is another beautiful sight, with uniformly thinly bezels on all sides. It looks gorgeous and puts the notch-loving iPhones to shame. The baron and bulk buttons offer a satisfactory chink and are placed comfortably within reach. Of course, it helps that the Galaxy S22 ’ s imprint gene is refreshingly compact and tips the scales at just 167 grams .
Packing a 6.1-inch screen, the Galaxy S22 is not precisely little. But compared to the beefy Max and Ultra class phones out there, the Galaxy S22 presents itself as one of those rare phones that won ’ t stretch your palms or fingers excessively much. Falling in the lapp size territory as the Pixel 4a and iPhone 14, the Galaxy S22 offers an unbeatable mix of terrific in-hand feel and pocket-size size .
In hand picture of Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung has besides switched to using an x-axis haptic motor for its latest flagship. The vibration feedback is smoother and evenly distributed throughout the whole body, but the saturation has taken a hit. Comparing it against the Galaxy S21, there is a tangible difference, but it ’ s a subjective argue. Some users prefer a stronger and localized vibration feedback, while others prefer a softer but more undifferentiated haptic reaction. personally, I prefer the Galaxy S22 in this example .
Samsung has besides made a few compromises to achieve that relatively compact form factor. The 3.5mm earphone jack is again a no-show, as is the microSD circuit board slot for memory expansion. And yes, the television camera demote still makes the phone careen when it ’ second lying on a bland surface .

Camera

Samsung has armed the Galaxy S22 with an upgrade 50-megapixel independent television camera, assisted by a 12-megapixel ultrawide snapper, and a 10-megapixel telephotograph television camera with 3x ocular rapid climb output. Selfie duties are handled by a 10-megapixel independent camera. To put it merely, these cameras mean business .
The chief camera produces crisp pictures with impressive colors, tight contrast, plenty of details, and asperity. Samsung has apparently tweaked the color chemistry this year, as the “ Signature Samsung Saturation ” has been toned down significantly. Colors are a set closer to the real shades of an aim, and far from the oversaturated mess of older Samsung phones. surface details are retained well and subject separation is besides on sharpen .
I was particularly dazzled by the portrayal mode. The camera did an impressive caper at edge detection and rendered a courteous depth of battlefield impression. evening the studio lightning effects for portrait shots turned out to be in the like league as the iPhones. furthermore, the telephotograph camera besides did an impressive subcontract capturing portrait shots .
The ultrawide camera was no unlike, retaining color uniformity against scenes captured by the main television camera. however, one area where it faltered was the falsify, specially with analogue elements in the prototype. Take a look at the indoor shoot clicked by the Galaxy S22 and its Ultra variant ( below ), both of which employ the lapp ultrawide camera hardware, but only one has that eldritch warping effect around the edges. Despite being shrill and well-exposed, the ultrawide photograph taken with the S22 looks as if its angular symmetry has been crushed .
Galaxy S22 Ultra ultra-wide sample
Ultrawide sample clicked by Galaxy S22 Ultra
There is no macro camera here, but the chief television camera takes some stun close-up photos. If you want to go close, the telephotograph television camera is your supporter. The zoom camera does a applaudable job at macro photography. Just make sure that you have actually stable hands or the telephone is rested against sterilize support, because the focus lock gets finical at airless roll .
It ’ sulfur great to see that Samsung has ported nox mode support for all three cameras, but it ’ s the 50-megapixel main snapper that brings the best out of this lowlight photography trick. The chief television camera succeeds at discerning objects in the skeleton, even in extremely iniquity scenarios, and brought out colors with a healthy accuracy .
The ultrawide camera takes a couple of seconds longer to capture night modality shots, but the results are not adenine dramatic as those captured by the chief television camera. The 3x telephotograph camera goes a little excessively aggressive at boosting the line, which besides results in a more farinaceous photograph at the price of miniature. On the positive slope, the surface textures appear more legible .
Of course, Samsung has besides baked in a assortment of television camera tricks such as Single Take, portrait video, Director ’ mho View, and Super Slow-Mo, among others. Director ’ mho scene lets you capture a scene from both the front and second, offering the appliance of using all three rear cameras .
The 10-megapixel selfie camera besides does an satisfactory job, but compared to the buttocks cameras, it has a leaning to lighten the clamber tone and boost the saturation even without any filters. however, some users actually prefer the more punchy looks of their self-portraits that are bespoke for social media .
Night mode selfies are well-executed when it comes to exposing more details and colors, but they are a tad noisier and softer compared to lowlight shots clicked by the rear cameras. The difference can be stark in some scenarios, as shown in the samples below :
Galaxy S22 low light selfie standard mode Galaxy S22 Selfie night mode
Coming to video capture, they are plenty of options, both in terms of inning rate and resolution that goes all the way up to 8K. however, I found 1080p at 60 frames per second gear ( federal protective service ) to be the gratifying smudge in terms of color accuracy and stabilization. I had some fun with super slow-motion manner, which produced some impressive clips in day, but low-ight and indoor scenarios still result in a band effect in such videos .
overall, the Galaxy S22 has a very capable set of cameras that is right up there against the iPhone 13, except for the latter ’ mho more impressive videography chops. however, the Galaxy S22 offers the total versatility of a 3x telephotograph television camera that produces good results in both long-range and close encounters .

Screen

Samsung Galaxy S22 punch hole display
Samsung has armed the Galaxy S22 with a 6.1-inch HDR10+ Super AMOLED display with an FHD+ ( 2340 adam 1080 pixels ) resolution and 120Hz refresh rate. now, there ’ s a keystone remainder in the underlie senior high school refresh rate technology employed by Samsung on the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the vanilla Galaxy S22 .
While both the phones can hit a top out of 120Hz, the Galaxy S22 can only drop to a minimal of 48Hz, while the LTPO technical school at the heart of the Ultra sibling allows the screen freshen rate to go a humble as 1Hz depending on the on-screen content, saving some battery juice in the process .
After some initial confusion, Samsung revised the spectacles tabloid and clarified that the Galaxy S22 ’ s blind freshen rate can fall equally gloomy as 48Hz. But that, besides, appears to be an inaccurate estimate. I enabled the native screen refresh pace overlay to check the values when the telephone is sitting idle and noticed that the freshen rate dropped to a stable 24Hz. evening in the YouTube app, the review rate dropped a low as 24Hz, while early UI interactions happened at 120Hz.

Refresh rate of Samsung Galaxy S22 display
But that is not to take anything away from the standard Galaxy S22. In fact, the entry-level Samsung flagship offers one of the most beautiful screens on a high-end Android telephone. Viewing angles are capital, sunlight discernability is besides impressive, and colors plainly pop out. The Natural preset in expose mode retains the truthful colors, but it ’ s the rebuff bump in saturation offered by the Vivid manner that truly brings out the best of this screen .
I compared the Galaxy S22 against the Galaxy S22 Ultra on a few synthetic tests for band, contrast, viewing angle, and saturation. The vanilla Galaxy S22 held its own against the Ultra translation on all counts, and merely slightly lost edge when comparing contrast blocks in the light regions of the color scale .
amazingly, the standard Galaxy S22 fared better than the Ultra form ’ second screen ( effigy below ) in the backlight control testing for rendering grayscale blocks against a dark background. Another difference is that the Galaxy S22 ’ south display is slightly colder with a blue touch, while the S22 Ultra prefers warmer color chemistry with more aggressive auto-brightness controls .
Samsung Galaxy S22 and Ultra display comparison
The deep blacks offered by the AMOLED panel polish when Dark Mode is enabled. Over the course of using the device, I didn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate feel the need to crank up the luminosity to consume content, flush under direct sunlight. Watching HDR content was a gladden on the screen. But do keep in beware that lone HDR10+ and HDR HLG back is available, and not Dolby Vision .

Software

The Galaxy S22 tested for our review runs One UI 4.1 based on Android 12 with the May security bandage on top. The looks are companion, but the digest for Android 12 ’ s Material You theming is a fresh aesthetic perk up. Based on your wallpaper, icons in the notifications shade and other native UI elements adjust their color consequently, with some pleasant transparency effects in tow .
The know is quite refined though, and there are a short ton of helpful features that are missing on stock Android. One UI 4.1 wasn ’ triiodothyronine much of a functional upgrade, but it introduced a handful of new features such as Smart Calendar, which automatically recognizes dates and times in messages and suggests them as calendar entries .
Home screen of Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung Pay has besides been beefed up, as it can now store driver ’ south licenses ( handiness may vary ), car keys, and movie tickets among early things. There ’ s besides a new extra luminosity toggle that lets users crank up the brightness if they deem it less than perfect. however, the auto-brightness system needs to be disabled for it to work. Widget stack is another newly feature that saves cherished screen real number estate and works flawlessly .
The Edge panel has besides been refined and offers a long ton of handy tools such as choose and saving a dowry of the on-screen content without having to fiddle with the edit controls in the Gallery app. I particularly loved using the native GIF manufacturer tool, which turns a choose dowry of the on-screen action into a GIF about instantaneously .
But the biggest advantage of buying the Galaxy S22 is Samsung ’ s promise of delivering four years of Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates at a quarterly or semiannual cadence. That ’ s a class more than what Google promises for its own Pixel smartphones, and a bazaar bit higher than what rival Android smartphone makers from China have to offer .

Performance

The Galaxy S22 comes in two flavors – one with Qualcomm ’ s modern Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 arrangement on a nick and the early packing the in-house Exynos 2200 processor. Our review whole was the Qualcomm discrepancy, but regardless of the chip inside, performance across both units is at the summit .
The phone breezed past every undertaking I threw at it. I tried some of the most demanding games out there with the graphics settings maxed out, and the phone handled it with ease. The system on a bit does its job merely adenine well as one would expect from flagship silicon, but the Galaxy S22 ’ s compact size besides means space is extremely constrained under the hood, and that takes a toll on the thermal performance here .
Throttling on Samsung Galaxy S22
The central processing unit performs competently, but the heat it produces finally chokes the performance. Just take a front at the performance graph above and how it downgrades within 15 minutes of putting it through a synthetic try examination .
The relatively subscript thermal hardware besides affects the Galaxy S22 ’ s benchmark performance when compared to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which reached a multi-core tally of 3106 on Geekbench, while its smaller sibling could only manage a score of 2932 in our tests .
I noticed that the shutter button occasionally became unresponsive after taking a bunch of photos or capturing high-resolution video. Frame drops and jitters were besides obtrusive after playing Call of duty : mobile at point graphics settings for about 40 minutes .
Be it demanding games or intensifier camera use, the Galaxy S22 besides gets hot pretty quickly, specially in the upper region. The metallic inning besides doesn ’ metric ton aid with blocking the heating system generated by the innards. however, the telephone never sent a warn message for killing an app ascribable to high temperatures .

Battery and charging

Rear panel of a white Galaxy S22
The battery site is on a downhill trajectory with the Galaxy S22. Samsung has shaved 300mAh worth of ion juice from its harbinger, leaving the Galaxy S22 with a relatively small 3,700mAh unit. That ’ randomness one of the smallest batteries you ’ ll find in a modern smartphone launched after 2021, save for the iPhone mini tune. And it actually makes a real deviation in daily habit .
I remained connected to the internet throughout the sidereal day, heavily surfed sociable media, used at least five communication apps, watched a few YouTube television, and listened to music for about three hours each day over Bluetooth headphones. even without any bet on any, the call barely went past a sidereal day .
On days that I had a few television calls, the battery emptied while on the commute back dwelling. But the numbers will vary based on your custom scenarios. I got anywhere between 4and 5 hours of screen time, which is not the best digit I ’ ve seen on a flagship call, even the smaller ones. however, if your phone usage is less demanding and you have cultivated a habit of plugging in your call a soon as sour hours are over, the Galaxy S22 shouldn ’ t sound any alarms .
Speaking of charging, there ’ s no charger in the box. Samsung sells the 25-watt charger individually, which is besides the vertex wired charging speed the earphone has to offer. Again, it ’ s not the best, as the competition has already touched the 120W distinguish at a lower monetary value. Depending on your mailman or preferred retail patronize release, you just might get the 25W charger as a freebie .
Samsung Galaxy S22 splash screen digitaltrends
The charger takes half an hour to fill the vacate tank up to 60 %, while a full charge normally took an hour when the earphone is not in use. Wireless charging documentation is besides on the mesa at a peak electrical power of 15W. I didn ’ metric ton notice any heat issues while juicing up the earphone on a radio charging mat .
While playing Call of duty : mobile at peak graphics settings, the earphone lost about 10 percentage battery juice while the CPU temperature went up by 8 degrees Celcius during a 20-minute school term. The game booster dashboard allows some academic degree of system-level optimization between operation and temperature monitoring, but it doesn ’ t make excessively much of a difference .
What actually bothered me was the idle battery passing. even when the telephone was lying on a table with cellular internet enabled and communication apps running in the setting, the telephone lost closely 10 % to15 % of the battery within a couple of hours. And that ’ randomness with the Adaptive Refresh rate technical school enabled. The May update slightly slowed the baseless battery loss, but it ’ randomness still there .

Price and availability

The Galaxy S22 presently starts at $ 799 on Amazon and is $ 600 with new activation at Best Buy, while Samsung ’ s official web site will take deoxyadenosine monophosphate much as $ 660 off if you exchange an eligible device. Carriers are besides have some aggressive offers that are decidedly worth checking out if you don ’ triiodothyronine want to switch lines .
If you pay the full amount at once for an unlock unit, the 128GB random variable of the Galaxy S22 can be yours for just $ 675 from the Samsung storehouse, while the 256GB translation will cost you $ 725. aside from the usual Phantom Black, Phantom White, green and Pink Gold, the Samsung shop besides has four exclusive discolor options : Graphite, Cream, Sky Blue, and violet .

Our take

The headline says it all — the Galaxy S22 is boringly good. It comes equipped with all the fundamental traits of a saturated Android flagship. For its price, the Galaxy S22 offers dependable cameras with a neat adjust of cool features, a fast processor, excellent build timbre and in-hand feel, and an alone software update policy in the Android ecosystem .
There are a few blemished though. The battery could be bigger with quicker charging speeds and the thermal management is not the best out there. But the more authoritative question is how it measures up to rival phones. Both the iPhone 13 and the Google Pixel 6 undercut the Samsung flagship by a healthy $ 100 or more, and offer polished software married to ace hardware, authentic cameras, and more importantly, much better battery life figures .
But Samsung is trying to make up for it with aggressive offers. There are retail outlets that are bundling the charger for rid with the Galaxy S22 and Samsung itself is handing over a fine-looking exchange bonus .

How long will it last?

The Galaxy S22 is built to last, which is evidenced by the fact that it ’ mho set to receive software updates for the future five years. Samsung has used ace materials such as Gorilla Glass Victus and sturdy aluminum to create an IP68-certified phone. In a nutshell, it can handle a swim in the pool or a few drops from the table. With four reassure OS upgrades, the telephone will keep adding new features and won ’ thymine scrimp on the security aspect either. On the longevity aspect, the Galaxy S22 about matches Apple ’ s venerable iPhones .

What are the alternatives?

The most obvious rival is the Google Pixel 6, which starts at $ 600 and offers dependable cameras and polish software in a neatly designed box. Over in Apple ’ second ecosystem, the iPhone 13 retails at the same price as its Samsung equal. With the iPhone 13, you get a pair of solid cameras, a dependable io ecosystem with long-run software support, and much better battery life figures .

Should you buy it?

On its own, the Galaxy S22 is a fantastic value-for-money smartphone. For Android loyalists hoping to steer clear of the Pixel 6 ’ randomness buggy repute, Samsung ’ south earphone is undoubtedly the best choice. If you ’ rhenium gravitating toward the iPhone 13, the Galaxy S22 leapfrogs it with an extra telephotograph camera, faster charging, a more advanced design, and a less restrictive operate system. so, hera ’ s the concluding verdict : If you are in the market for an Android telephone with clean looks, beneficial cameras, and feature-rich software, but don ’ thymine want to shell out over a thousand dollars, the Galaxy S22 is your best stake .

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