Review and unboxing of the Galaxy S22 Ultra with S-Pen compared against the S22 and S22+
The Galaxy S22 Ultra features a new design and includes the S Pen, making it feel just like a Galaxy Note.
Samsung‘s most expensive nonfoldable phone is taking a lesson from the company’s past.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra, announced on Wednesday alongside the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and the Galaxy Tab S8 effectively replaces the Galaxy Note in Samsung’s lineup.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at $1,200 (£1,149, approx. AU$2,170) and launches on Feb. 25, with preorders live now.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first Samsung phone since the Galaxy Note 20 to not only incorporate S Pen support, like the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Z Fold 3, but also include a physical slot on the phone for stowing the stylus. S Pen fans who bought last year’s Galaxy S21 Ultra had to buy the stylus separately and opt for a specific phone case that could store it. Other upgrades to the phone are more iterative, including steps forward in the processor, camera and screen.
Samsung declined to comment on future products when asked if it would release new Galaxy Note phones in the future. But it did say the company is now thinking of the Galaxy Note as an “experience” more than a product line, and it plans to point Note fans toward the Galaxy S22 Ultra in future.
The Galaxy Note, which debuted more than a decade ago, was an industry disrupter. It popularized bigger screens, and Samsung further distinguished the line with exclusive features that were missing from other Galaxy phones.
But the Note’s place has become less clear. In 2020, Samsung squeezed the Note lineup in between the Galaxy S20 and S20 Ultra. The Note line skipped 2021 entirely. Now, the Galaxy S22 Ultra represents what appears to be a much-needed merging of the Note and the Ultra.
Hands on: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t look or feel much like a member of the Galaxy S series, and that’s because the company has incorporated much of what made its Galaxy Note series so popular into the design of this new phone.
This is the love child of everything that made the Galaxy S series and the Galaxy Note series great, but its looks are inherited entirely from the latter product family. While the brand-new Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus are incremental upgrades over their predecessors, the company has pivoted for its Ultra line.
In 2021, Samsung skipped its Galaxy Note series, and while the company hasn’t confirmed that the product line is gone for good, the S22 Ultra is arguably the final nail in the Note’s coffin. Company execs tell us that, from this point forward, Note is more of an “experience” than a product.
The S Pen stylus and the square design of the Galaxy Note series are here in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and if you’re looking for a top-end smartphone with a stylus in 2022, this is likely to be one of the best you’ll find.
Galaxy S22 Ultra : Camera
On paper, the camera set-up on the S22 Ultra is remarkably similar to that of the S21 Ultra. It features a 108MP f/2.2 main camera with 85-degree wide-angle field of view and a 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view.
There are also two telephoto cameras that are both 10MP. It means the Space Zoom feature has returned on this handset, which allows for a digital zoom up to 100x. In our testing, 100x zoom is still usable, but it’s tough to get a sharp shot when you’re holding the phone in a hand, and the results aren’t particularly usable.
It does mean the other zoom features of the camera are useful though, especially as it means you can zoom in with ease to any level up to 100x. We found the photos were still easily usable at a 10x zoom, for example. Anything after that is using digital zoom, rather than the phone’s optical zoom features.
Galaxy S22 Ultra : Performance and battery life
Which variant of the Galaxy S22 Ultra you’re able to buy depends on where you are in the world; if you live in the US you’ll get a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset inside this phone, while those in the UK or Australia will get Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 chipset.
We’ve yet to test either of these chipsets properly – they’re both brand-new to the market – but we’d expect some top-end speeds and performance. Benchmarking leaks have suggested that both chips will offer only minor improvements over what we saw in the Galaxy S21 series, but even if that’s the case these are going to be two extremely powerful smartphones that can load any apps, games and much more in an instant.
If you’re opting for the cheapest variant of the S22 Ultra, it’ll come with 8GB of RAM, while the more expensive variants come with 12GB; notably, Samsung has dropped the 16GB of RAM option it offered with the S21 Ultra.
We think it’s unlikely that you’ll notice a huge difference between these models, but if you’re looking for the absolute-best performance you may want to invest in one of the 12GB models.
The 8GB model comes with 128GB of storage, while the 12GB models have a choice of 256GB, 512GB or 1TB – note that there’s no microSD support on these handsets, so you’ll want to choose your storage capacity wisely.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra specs
- Price $1,199
- Android version 12, One UI 4
- Display 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED QHD+
- Refresh rate 1-120Hz
- CPU Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
- RAM 8GB, 12GB
- Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
- Rear cameras 108MP (f/2.2) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 10MP (f/2.4) 10x telephoto, 10MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto
- Front camera 40MP (f/2.2)
- Video Up to 8K 24 fps
- Battery 5,000 mAh
- Charging 45W wired, 15W wireless
- Size 3.1 x 6.4 x 0.4 inches
- Weight 8.1 ounces
- Connectivity Wi-Fi 6E, UWB, 5G (mmWave/sub6)
- Colors Black, White, Green, Burgundy
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra display
Samsung just upped the ante for display quality with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. As before, you get a dynamic 120Hz refresh rate, which made for smooth scrolling during our hands-on time. And there’s a 240Hz touch sampling rate that gamers should appreciate.
But there are two notable display upgrades here. The first is that the screen has a peak brightness of 1,750 nits, which could be the brightest we’ve ever seen. (The standard brightness level is 1,250 nits, which is still quite high.)
The other display perk is a new Vision Booster feature, which can adjust the screen’s brightness on the fly throughout the day. This means that you should have no problems using the S22 Ultra outdoors even in very strong sunlight.
When watching a trailer for Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, this Galaxy S22 Ultra’s panel delivered rich colors and wide viewing angles, along with smooth motion during action scenes.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen
The Galaxy S22 Ultra has the smoothest S Pen I’ve ever experienced, and that’s because Samsung has dialed down the latency from 9 milliseconds to just 2.8 ms. So you’re getting a 70% improvement here.
In addition, the Galaxy S22 Ultra uses AI to predict your hand movements and deliver that pen-and-paper feel. I only used the S Pen for a few minutes, but I was impressed with how natural it felt.
The best part is that you don’t have to use a dumb case to store the S Pen as you had to with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. There’s an S Pen holder built right in to the phone.
Samsung has made a few other notable S Pen improvements, including more accurate handwriting-to-text conversions, as well as the ability to quickly save your notes in Microsoft Office docs and emails.
Where to preorder the Galaxy S22 and S22+
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 and S22+ are available for preorder and will begin shipping on Feb. 25.
Colors: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green or Pink Gold
Storage options: 128GB or 256GB, alongside 8GB of RAM.
Pricing: From $799 at Samsung
Colors: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green or Pink Gold
Storage options: 128GB or 256GB, alongside with 8GB of RAM.
Price: From $999 at Samsung
If you preorder an S22 or S22+ by Feb. 24 from Samsung, you’ll be upgraded to the next storage size at no cost. Additionally, you’ll get a $100 Samsung gift card with purchase of the S22 or a $150 credit with the S22+ as a bonus.
as expected, there’s no sign of a microSD card slot, so you’ll need to make sure you get enough storage to last you for as long as you plan on owning the device. One area where there is a bit of improvement comes directly to the Galaxy S22+, with its larger 6.6-inch display.
With Galaxy S22 Ultra, you can capture footage that’s instantly post-worthy — in any lighting conditions. With zooming capabilities that will get you 100x closer to the action,6 Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t just Samsung’s most powerful camera, it’s also the smartest.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra will support 100x zoom. Thanks to the dedicated telephoto lens, when using 1x up to 3x, you will get image quality without losing any details.
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