Last month, Samsung announced its Galaxy S22 lineup of devices at its Galaxy Unpacked Event. This year was a great year as we saw Samsung announce its Ultra device, bringing back the Note experience, and updating its Tab S serieswith a new Ultra tablet. While more eyes were on the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Tab S8 Ultra than the Galaxy S22, I want to recognize the maturity of the Galaxy S22 and how Samsung has refined the Galaxy S line to be one of the best flagships on the smartphone market.
Design and display
The Galaxy S22 has a similar design to the Galaxy S21, with rounded corners and curved edges. It is slightly smaller than the previous generation, with a 6.1-inch display compared to the Galaxy S21’s 6.2-inch display. With a 0.1-inch difference in display size, the Galaxy S22 is noticeably smaller than the Galaxy S2. Samsung has changed the camera bump as well so that it is not one piece of metal with the chassis. The chassis is Samsung’s Armor Aluminum with a slight curve to it. I have heard many comments saying it resembles or is a copy of the iPhone 13. However, I beg to differ. I think it is a refined look of the Galaxy S21 that makes it a compact and a great device for those who love smaller phones.
It is one of the most comfortable phones to hold in my hand. I believe it is more comfortable than the iPhone 13, even though both devices have similar designs. I currently use the iPhone 13 Mini and the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The iPhone 13 Mini is one of the smallest flagship devices on the market, and I use it for iMessage with my iPhone-addicted family. Although the Samsung Galaxy S22 is larger than the iPhone 13 Mini, I believe it offers more to the user at its size than the iPhone 13 Mini does at its size. I believe the Galaxy S22 has a more comfortable design than the iPhone 13 because the Galaxy S22 has more rounded-edged and has sharper rounded corners. It makes it feel smaller and easier to hold in the palm.
Performance and battery
The Galaxy S22 has a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with 8GB of memory and either 128GB of storage or 256GB of storage. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 with 8GB of memory is more than capable of running multiple apps simultaneously on top of One UI 4’s signature multitasking feature of having multiple apps open at once. Although the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 runs at a higher wattage than the Snapdragon 888, it was not noticeably warmer when running my everyday workflow. If anything, the Galaxy S22 would get warm when charging to full capacity from less than 10%.
The performance jump from the Snapdragon 888 to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is not very noticeable in normal use between the Galaxy S21 or S21FE and the Galaxy S22. However, for businesses that are looking to take advantage of Samsung’s DeX as a semi-desktop replacement for hybrid workflows, I believe the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 shows improvement. DeX is Samsung One UI 4’s desktop environment where apps are able to run in windows, and a keyboard, mouse, and monitor could be used as a desktop. Although it doesn’t provide a full desktop environment experience like Windows, I believe it is useful and has tremendous potential.
My conclusion of the battery on the Galaxy S22 is similar to that of the Galaxy S22 Ultra review. Although the battery size is 300mAh smaller than the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S22 still gets all-day battery life for me. I use Microsoft Office Suite, Google Workspace apps, Outlook, Teams, Otter.ai, and countless other productivity and business apps daily.
The Galaxy S22 has a 12MP Ultra-Wide, 50MP Wide, and 10MP 3x Telephoto camera system on the back. Samsung has really highlighted its night-time photos and videos this year for what it is calling Nightography. The Galaxy S22 does a great job of taking photos in dark places. I see the Nightogrpahy having a hard time in dim areas where the Nightogrpahy mode doesn’t make it look natural.
I do believe the Galaxy S22 has better cameras than the Galaxy S21 and S21FE because of the 16-bit ISP from the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It is capable of taking in 4,000 times the data compared to Snapdragon 888 14 bit ISP. Although I am not a professional photographer or videographer, I believe that the Galaxy S22 takes premium photos and videos that easily rival that of the iPhone 13. The iPhone 13 has a double camera system on the rear, one less camera than the Galaxy S22 for the same price. I have trouble with the autofocus on my iPhone 13 Mini for close-up objects, which has the same came setup as the iPhone 13. They’re just a blurry mess on the 13 mini.
The 50MP Wide and 10MP 3x Telephoto both have OIS, and I have had better success with the focus on the Galaxy S22 than my iPhone 13 Mini.
I am also really impressed with the front-facing camera of the Galaxy S22. We live in an age of video calls, whether that is for family and friends or for business use. I find the front camera quality of the Galaxy S22 to be impressive. I was able to use it in Google Meet on a 5G network, and according to the other end, it was noticeably good quality. I did a call with Jacob Freyman and it was awesome. Oddly awesome quality.
One difficulty of having a lineup of flagship phones is determining how to differentiate between devices. While size is a difference, so is price and features, and being able to balance the right price, features, and size of a lineup can be a challenge. At the price point of $799, I believe Samsung loaded the Galaxy S22 with enough value so that those who want the best of the best can get it without the large size.
Although I said in my original coverage of the Samsung Unpacked Event that I believe Samsung could squeeze in a “Mini” to rival the iPhone 13 Mini, the Galaxy S22 should satisfy fans of small smartphones. It feels better in the hand than the boxy design of the iPhone 13, which in my opinion is only comfortable with the iPhone 13 Mini and with a case. Compared to the iPhone 13 at the same price point of $799.99, it has more cameras, a higher refresh rate display, and a more durable design. Not to mention the 256GB model of the Galaxy S22 is $50 less than the 256GB model of the iPhone 13.
The Galaxy S22 is compact with one of the best displays on the market. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 can perform any mobile task, and even more so with DeX. It has great cameras that I believe are great for video calls and great all-day battery life. Great job, Samsung.
Note: Moor Insights & Strategy Junior Analyst Jacob Freyman contributed to this article.