Because of the S Pen, which was a distinguishing feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note series, it was a well-liked line. With the release of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the brand officially died, but Samsung wasn’t done with its features. S Pens were introduced on the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold 3, and this year’s Galaxy S22 Ultra is the Note revived under a new name.
DISPLAY AND HARDWARE A GALAXY S FLAGSHIP IS THIS? The Galaxy S22 Ultra doesn’t first resemble a Galaxy S device in the slightest. Well, that appears to be a Note. That was undoubtedly done on purpose, but it makes this phone stand out significantly from the rest of the S22 lineup. The S22 Ultra doesn’t blend in with Samsung’s other phones due to its squared-off corners, flat top and bottom rails, and curved display sides. It was undoubtedly a fantastic marketing and fan service move to stick with the familiar Note design, but I think it was a mistake. I much preferred that Samsung stick more closely to the design of the first Galaxy S, which I’ve always thought is more aesthetically pleasing and ergonomically sound.
However, it’s tough to deny that this phone is incredibly nicely made. The phone’s overall weight is increased by the Armor Aluminum frame, which is weighty in all the right ways. On the front of the phone, the frame practically disappears into the curved glass, while the back has matte glass that is silky to the touch without surrendering any grip. Naturally, I would still encourage anyone purchasing this device to skin or pick up a case . This phone requires a firm hold only by virtue of its size, but the hardware is a little too sleek to deliver it. A more gripping, matte side rail would be quite beneficial in that sense.
The device’s bottom rail, which houses the S Pen silo, has a small speaker grill, a USB-C connector, a microphone, and a SIM card slot running around it. There is only one physical SIM slot on the US unlocked model I’ve been testing, and there is, as usual, no room for a microSD card. The phone’s left side is entirely empty, while the right side features the volume rocker, power button, and a cutout for the mmWave 5G radio. Another microphone and a tiny slit for the earpiece are located on the top rail, which is above the glass that covers the display.
The physical hardware has a very high quality feel to it. Compared to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, the phone is thicker overall, making way for a larger 5,000 mAh battery and a camera module that doesn’t protrude as far from the rear of the device. Each of the four rear cameras is divided into a tiny module, and a flash and a few more sensors are included for good measure. It has a nice appearance and is often easy to hold. I wish Samsung had opted for a more conventional camera bump, but the rough edges of the cameras, the crazy amount of dust they soon gather, and the weird appearance it gives cases make me wish they did.
SAMSUNG HAS THE BEST DISPLAYS AS USUAL. The display itself, though, is the main attraction. In a word, the 6.8-inch 1440p SuperAMOLED panel is spectacular. It is big, colorful, and especially dazzling. Samsung increased its display’s maximum brightness capability to an astounding 1,750 nits. In actuality, that produces a display that is simple to view even on the hottest days. The iPhone 13 Pro’s maximum brightness, in contrast, is 1,200 nits. The 120Hz refresh rate, which is always a delight, enhances the experience.
Period. Samsung smartphones have the greatest displays.
I do have one major problem, though. Glass has a curvature to it. This design approach, which dominated the Android market for years, frustrates users by adding superfluous side reflections to the display. Samsung’s touch rejection for the curved sides is undoubtedly excellent, with very few usability difficulties.
The S Pen, the S22 Ultra’s defining feature, is the genuine deal here. The S Pen is physically harder to use around the sides of the display because of the curved glass edges because it can easily slip down the side if you come too close to them. Although I’ve always questioned the use of curved edges on a gadget intended for pen-and-paper handwriting, at this point it’s plain absurd. For a few years, Samsung has been removing these sharp curves from its Galaxy S family. The S22 and S22 even have glass that is totally flat. It is absurd to have curved glass on the only stylus-equipped gadget in the range, and it is past time that this fad was abandoned forever.
TECHNOLOGY AND PERFORMANCE ONE UI SPEEDS ALONG WITH THE LATEST QUALCOMMS The company’s Android phones have particularly benefited from Samsung’s One UI. The updated skin still heavily favors Samsung’s vision over Google’s, but it is completely functional.
On the whole, Samsung offers a good experience with One UI’s take on Android 12. The Galaxy Watch 4 and the company’s tablet portfolio, as well as other Samsung gadgets, feel quite coherent while using Samsung’s apps. In contrast, Google’s apps largely have a natural feel, and capabilities like Nearby Share are highlighted appropriately.
The upgrade to Android 12 is responsible for Samsung’s software’s two largest modifications compared to last year’s version. With the introduction of Material You, Samsung owners now have the opportunity to modify the accent colors of the operating system and any associated apps so that they more closely match their wallpaper. I discovered that the S22 Ultra actually has this turned off by default, so I had to either change my wallpaper or go into the personalization settings to apply the accent colors. Samsung has definitely chosen to deploy Material You in a method that prioritizes consistency over flash. This is also apparent in Samsung’s apps, which essentially only provide the barest amount of accent support.
The other major adjustment concerns privacy. A number of new privacy features are included in Android 12 including dashboards that display which apps are utilizing specific permissions, indicators for camera/mic access, and more. Although Samsung does stray from Google’s guidelines on a handful of these, the overall experience is still excellent.
Samsung is also offering a significant upgrade right out of the box in the US. Starting with the Galaxy S22 series, Google Messages has taken over as the standard messaging program on Samsung devices. Just minutes after setting up their phone, Galaxy owners will now continuously have access to RCS thanks to this upgrade. It’s an excellent improvement to make for a market that is still so dependent on SMS. Although it is still installed, Samsung Messages is no longer the default app.
Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU inside is a beast in terms of performance. The 12GB of RAM on my test device allowed for quick multitasking and this phone handled any task I could throw at it with ease. Samsung did reduce the RAM in the base model to 8GB, but I don’t believe most people will notice the difference. If so, Samsung’s RAM Plus feature, which converts extra storage into usable but somewhat slower RAM, can help close the gap.
Additionally, Samsung’s software offers a few extra benefits that you won’t find elsewhere. There are a few new video calling options in Google Duo, and just as on previous Galaxy smartphones, you can choose Link to Windows in the quick settings to enable speedy pairing with a PC. Full screen mirroring is one of the extra features available for this.
The S22 Ultra felt more reliable overall when compared to the Pixel 6 Pro when it first released, although that judgement should be qualified by the fact that Google’s phone was running a really problematic launch code. The two, though, were roughly equal in terms of fluidity. The S22 Ultra is comparable to the Galaxy Z Fold 3 when it was first released, but I’m hopeful that the extra performance headroom will help this phone age a little more gracefully. My Fold has been considerably slowed down by the upgrade to Android 12 and months of continuous use.
The software’s biggest annoyance? Even if you’re actively using that device, Samsung will continue give you messages about purchasing its newest phones despite reducing adverts in some of its apps.
THE BEST ANDROID SUPPORT IS PROVIDED BY SAMSUNG. Although Android 12 is the first upgrade the Galaxy S22 Ultra receives, it won’t be the last. For four years, Samsung will provide this phone with significant Android updates, and for up to an additional year after that, security fixes. Effectively, the Galaxy S22 Ultra will receive Android 16 support, with a slim chance of receiving Android 17 if the company is feeling kind. This support will last until at least some time in 2027.
The Google Tensor-powered Pixel 6 series, which offers only three years of major upgrades and the same five years of security patches, cannot compete with this update policy for Android at the moment. The improvements reduce the price of the S22 Ultras, which originally cost $1,199, to around $240 for each supported year of use. Even though Samsung could do more to catch up to Apple’s iPhone, given that you’ll pay the phone off in three years on your typical carrier plan here in the United States, I’d call that a pretty good price.
S PEN A GALAXY NOTE WITHOUT THE NAME. In addition to its superb functionality, Samsung’s S Pen has earned fame for being the only specialized stylus for a premium smartphone that also offers a place to store it. Due to the absence of such storage silo, the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Fold 3 were inadequate Note replacements; however, the S22 Ultra brings it back.
That is actually the key selling factor in this case. You receive a S Pen along with a storage option. The rest of the experience is essentially the same as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra that we evaluated in 2020. The S Pen input on the screen is really natural and fluid. Although Samsung claims the S22 Ultra has even lower latency, this difference is difficult to notice in normal use, and some apps make excellent use of it. The quick menu with shortcuts that the stylus makes possible also serves a purpose all of its own.
Samsung has designed the S Pen this time such that the tip changes color with the rest of the phone. Sadly, the Phantom Black color of my device means that it doesn’t display this design option, but the stylus itself is still black. Despite the pen being so little, this iteration also gives the stylus a lovely matte surface that is gripping and comfy. When compared to what the Note 20 Ultra offers, it’s a significant improvement.
I’ll be honest though. The S Pen never really appealed to me. I can see its value and can see why so many people adore it, but I’m not one of them. I’ve grown to adore that my Galaxy Z Fold 3 can accommodate a S Pen, but I only use it occasionally. After using it once, I might not need to use it again for a week. The S22 Ultras pen seemed about the same to me even though it was always within reach. It’s a helpful tool, but not for everyone and certainly not for me.
However, it is a feature that enhances a fantastic phone; its existence is in no way disruptive. Therefore, the Galaxy S22 Ultra may still be the perfect phone for you even if you don’t like the S Pen.
NO CHARGER IS INCLUDED FOR CHARGING AND BATTERY LIFE Let’s get down to the point: The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s battery life is good all around. Since I started using the phone, I’ve been averaging between four and six hours of screen time daily from 8:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. to midnight, with those figures slowly creeping up as the phone has learnt how I use it. Messaging, social media apps, and online browsing make up the majority of this Wi-Fi-based use. When games are included, the outcomes aren’t significantly altered.
Personally, I’m extremely pleased with these outcomes, and they largely outperformed comparable phones. My Pixel 6 Pro, which frequently requires a charge by 7:00 p.m. if it is to survive the rest of the night, is certainly outlasted in terms of endurance. In my experience, this is frequently true of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. As a result, even though the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s battery life may not be the best available, I’ll still rate it an overall success when compared to other phones. In contrast to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which in my tests was more likely to be above 30% by the end of the night, the S22 Ultra is typically down to the low 20s or even the teens by that time, making it a downgrade. Although it feels better than I recall the Note 20 Ultra feeling, it has been too long for me to really decide either way.
It’s difficult to charge in this case. On the one hand, the Galaxy S22 Ultra enables fast charging up to a staggering 45W, easily outcharging devices like the Pixel 6 Pro and Apple’s newest iPhones. On the other hand, if you want to approach those speeds, you must get a charger. Your old smartphone’s charger won’t deliver anywhere close to 45W, for sure. Additionally, as has been customary, only a USB-C cable is provided in the box rather than a charger. Although there are several third-party chargers available that can do the job, it would be wonderful if Samsung included one for free or at a reduced price when you purchase this gadget.
A SAFE, FLEXIBLE THIRD PLACE IS CAMERA Over the past few years, Samsung’s position in the competition for the best smartphone camera has remained largely constant. The Galaxy S21 Ultra from 2021 was a capable and adaptable shooter that, overall, was superb but occasionally fell short. It should come as no surprise that the Galaxy S2 Ultra is in the same situation given that it uses almost the identical set of sensors.
In my testing, the primary 108MP camera produced good results, particularly in sunny outdoor settings. Quality soon deteriorated indoors, although Samsung’s low-light performance appears to have significantly improved, if possibly not as much as the marketing claims. However, it is evident that the business has changed its approach to color, since the S22 Ultra regularly favors warmer tones as opposed to the S21 Ultra’s cooler hues.
10x Primary Primary Primary Primary Ultrawide
Evening Mode (ambient lighting is generally dark in the room)
Primary A dog, particularly one with black fur, is among the best tests for a smartphone camera, in my opinion. I have two of those, and while I was generally happy with the results, I must admit that I was never as surprised by the pictures as I was with the Pixel 6 Pro. AI-assisted Samsung cameras frequently distorted the details and shadows of my two pets. Even though it’s a feature I myself seldom use, portrait mode, which has been updated to better handle dogs on this phone, was pretty good.
Unsurprisingly, moving objects are one of the main sources of inconsistency. The quality of these images varies greatly. They are undoubtedly incredibly challenging for a smartphone to adequately capture, but we have already seen competitors find a solution.
The quality of zoom is another significant area that needs work. The 10MP 3x and 10MP telephoto cameras on the Galaxy S22 Ultra are the same, but both are clearer and less distorted this time around. Additionally, stabilization has been enhanced, making it much simpler to snap 30x and 100x images.
Google Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra has one more trick up its sleeve in the form of Expert RAW, a photography experience that gives users complete control over ISO, shutter speed, and a number of other settings. This largely defeats the point of shooting with a smartphone in the first place, although it works fine if you know what you’re doing with it. Nevertheless, it’s lovely to have and good to see Samsung making efforts to make it better.
However, there are other issues that Samsung may deal with in the typical camera experience. The viewfinder, which still doesn’t accurately depict the final photo, is one area where I’d really like to see Samsung make some significant advancements. It is now one of my greatest complaints about the Samsung camera.
When it comes to camera quality, Google’s Pixel and Apple’s iPhone are head-to-head. Both models may easily be considered the best stills cameras available, but Samsung continues to lag behind them both. The Galaxy S22 Ultra will sometimes outshoot both of these cameras, but due to its patchy performance, unfavorable viewfinder drawbacks, and other annoyances, it is locked in third position. the positive news In today’s smartphone photography market, third place is terrific because it still implies you’re getting a capable and superb shooter.
WHAT IS VIDEO QUALITY LIKE? For Samsung smartphones in recent years, at least in comparison to the majority of the Android ecosystem, video quality has been somewhat of a strength. Frame rate, HDR, and other changes have all been improved for the Galaxy S22 series by Samsung.
The largest issue in my case, though, has been a lack of opportunities to fully appreciate its capabilities. In the dead of winter, a mix of unfavorable weather and unsightly surroundings produced some really unimpressive recordings, but I’ll let the results speak for themselves. They are decent in a bubble, in my opinion, but an iPhone will always win hands down.
Even though it doesn’t happen very often, it’s still mildly frustrating that the camera can’t switch lenses while recording 4K footage. As you can see at the conclusion of the clip above, switching to a 10x telephoto lens is entirely digital and requires pausing the recording.
SPEAKERS OF TIDBITS One of the largest screens currently available on a standard smartphone is found in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which makes it an excellent media consumption device thanks to its excellent screen and long-lasting battery. The speakers, on the other hand, were at best average. They sound fine, are fairly loud, and are reasonably clear. The speaker is, however, extremely simple to hide thanks to the flat edge of the bottom frame, and the earpiece counterpart can’t keep up when that happens.
HAPTICS The most underappreciated sort of feedback from a smartphone, in my opinion, is haptic. It was a region that Android manufacturers had long ignored, but in recent years, it has finally begun to receive the right attention. Though not particularly outstanding, the haptics of the Galaxy S22 Ultra are not at all unpleasant. Although there is a deep thunk to the vibrations, I thought the Pixel 6 felt more comfortable overall.
BLUETOOTH, CALL QUALITY, AND SIGNAL Given my job, I spent the most of the 10 days I had the Galaxy S22 Ultra under test at home. On the overall, though, the results of my tests for call quality and cell service across T-network Mobile’s were positive. Callers had no problems hearing me on their end because to the S22 Ultras earpiece speaker. Furthermore, the signal strength was unwavering. For further details, refer to a prior deep-dive that revealed the S22 Ultra to be particularly effective in low-signal settings. I didn’t see any significant variations between this year’s devices and last year’s in my neighborhood, but given those results, this gadget is a significant improvement over earlier models in terms of its cellular connectivity.
In my tests, Bluetooth performance on the S22 Ultra was excellent, as predicted, rounding out the radios. The numerous earbuds I tested and the Galaxy Watch 4 on my wrist both operated wonderfully, with no obvious disconnect or lag concerns.
LAST THOUGHTS THE BEST THERE HAS EVER BEEN IS THIS NEW GALAXY NOTE. The Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t exactly a whole different phone, in actuality. It effectively takes the Galaxy S21 Ultra from the previous year, fits it inside the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and then adds a new chip to finish it off.
Is it a difficulty? In no way. Even though it lacks the brand , it actually makes for the finest Galaxy Note ever.
Combining the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note flagships makes sense because they have been getting closer for years. Personally, I would have like to see an improved S21 Ultra with a S Pen slot as opposed to a Note design rebirth, but as far as mergers go, this one works. It combines some of the most advantageous features from both phones. the brand, availability, and cost of a Galaxy S device with a Note-inspired S Pen and design.
The greatest premium Android phone you can buy right now is the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Overall, it offers the finest user experience for the majority of users because to its pleasing and usable software, respectably reliable cameras, and superior battery life in comparison to other solutions. The $1,199 price tag is also completely within reason, and many people will be able to get this device for far less because to Samsung’s incredible trade-in offers and the unavoidable reductions.
If you’ll truly use the S Pen or make the most of the camera array, it will be well worth the money. That comes with a large asterisk because the Galaxy S22 is a much more affordable phone with similar specifications, a better design in my opinion, and updated camera technology that rivals the S22 Ultra in performance. Although the Ultra is still the go-to for a no-compromise phone, this year’s Ultra is not as clear a victor as its predecessor.
On February 25, Samsung will begin offering the Galaxy S22 Ultra, S22 , and S22 to the general public. Preorders can be made right now.