Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review: A merger of two galaxies
By: Alex Chub | 31.05.2022, 14:57
Samsung decided not to completely kill the Note line, but actually added its advantages to the current flagship smartphone Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It combines the main features of the top-end Galaxy S: advanced cameras, a screen and a flagship processor, which are joined by the S Pen stylus and a more rigorous case design. It turned out one of the most technologically advanced flagships at the moment. The smartphone received a magnificent and incredibly bright screen, one of the best on the market. The rear camera system is as functional as possible and perfectly shoots in almost any conditions. The new flagship Exynos 2200 processor boasts very high performance, enough for any demanding tasks or games. But it also heats up very noticeably at the same time. To all of the above, it is worth adding that the smartphone has protection against dust and water according to the IP68 standard, as well as loud and high-quality stereo sound. Of the claims to the smartphone, you can present a modest battery life. Although for flagships this is a familiar situation. Now you can pre-order a smartphone and get Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro as a bonus. The price of the junior modification with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of internal memory is $ 1,194.
Flagship Android smartphone with the maximum of modern technological features. With a chic 6.8-inch 120 Hz AMOLED screen, a powerful processor, excellent cameras and an S Pen stylus. Battery capacity is 5000 mAh, fast wired and wireless charging is supported. Case has IP68 protection rating
Traditionally, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra came to our office without a box or kit. But you should not expect anything special: a standard set for all Samsung flagships in recent years. A smartphone, a cable with Type-C connectors on both sides, a protective film on the screen (apparently, not in all regions), a tray eject tool and documentation.
What does the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra look like?
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra differs significantly from last year's Galaxy S21 Ultra, and from its younger brothers in the line. It looks like the new rebranded Galaxy Note. The strict rectangular shape, as well as the chopped top and bottom edges, are immediately associated with the latest released Note models. The front panel is occupied by a large 6.8-inch screen with slightly curved side edges. There were no false positives during the period of use. The bezels around the screen are minimal. The front camera is in a round hole in the middle of the top of the screen. Samsung is not yet experimenting with under-screen front cameras. All this is protected by Gorilla Victus + glass. Samsung claims that the Galaxy S22 line received it first.
The frame of the smartphone, of course, is metal and has a rounded shape on the side faces. They decided to make it glossy, in contrast to the matte glass of the back panel. The power and volume buttons are in their usual place, on the right side. Despite the impressive dimensions of the smartphone, the height of the buttons is optimal, both for the right and left hands. In any case, with the average size of the palm.
There is practically nothing interesting on the upper edge of the smartphone: only an additional microphone and a thin plastic insert for stable operation of the antennas.
All important functional elements fit on the bottom: an external speaker, a USB Type-C connector, a microphone, a tray and an S Pen stylus. It is located closer to the left side and it is convenient to remove it when using the smartphone with the right hand. If you use a smartphone with your left hand (like me), then when you remove it, your thumb will rest slightly on your palm.
By itself, the S Pen is almost the same as what was in the latest Note. The design is the same, but now it has a matte finish. It has a single mechanical button. The tip is slightly spring-loaded, making it easier to write and draw. It feels like you are writing with a pen on paper.
The tray is unremarkable: two places for SIM cards and a seal to prevent moisture from getting inside. By the way, the configuration we visited also supports eSIM.
There is only one controversial design decision: the rear panel. More specifically, the rear camera block. By itself, the back panel is made of frosted glass, pleasant to the touch and does not collect fingerprints too much.
The rear block of cameras is made in the form of five separate round modules protruding about a millimeter above the back cover (four cameras and a laser rangefinder). The solution is reminiscent of last year's inexpensive Galaxy A32. I liked the option with a common protruding block more, and the dust near the individual modules is collected much more actively. But this is purely a matter of taste.
The smartphone turned out to be large and weighty (228 g), in the best traditions of Galaxy Note flagships. There is protection against dust and water according to the IP68 standard.
How good is the screen?
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra features a side-curved Dynamic AMOLED 2X display, which is made using LTPO technology and supports an adaptive refresh rate of 1-120 Hz, as well as a sensor readout rate of 240 Hz. The diagonal is 6.8 inches, resolution - 3088x1440 and the pixel density is about 500 ppi. There is support for HDR10 + and Dolby Vision standards. They promise a peak brightness of 1750 cd / m2 and a color gamut of 100% of the DCI-P3 color space. In us triplets, you can choose between a dark and light theme (or activate automatic switching), adjust the brightness (there is a high brightness mode), select the screen refresh rate, turn on eye comfort (automatically adjust the color temperature depending on the ambient light), color display mode (rich and natural, aka sRGB), adjust the interface scale and font.
Always on Display with a bunch of dials and color settings is present.
Samsung's flagship smartphones have always had great screens, and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is no exception. It is visually very good, and this is confirmed by hardware tests. When using the "Saturated" color scheme, the maximum brightness in manual mode was impressive 688.649 cd/m2, the color gamut is really much wider than the sRGB color space, and all steel indicators are very close to the reference ones.
In "Natural" mode, the color gamut is close to sRGB, the color reproduction is also very good, but not as accurate as in "Vivid". The maximum brightness is slightly lower, but the figure is also very impressive: 642.693cd/m2.
Comparison with other models:
Brightness of the white field, cd/m2
Black field brightness cd/m2
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip3
Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3
Xiaomi 11T Pro
ASUS ROG Phone 5
Samsung Galaxy S21+
Samsung Galaxy S21
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra
Sony Xperia 1
Huawei P30 Pro
Samsung Galaxy S10
What are the unlock methods?
The standard set is responsible for unlocking the smartphone using biometric data: a fingerprint scanner in the screen and face recognition with the front camera. As befits a flagship, the fingerprint scanner is ultrasonic. Over the past couple of years, Samsung flagships sometimes had problems with the scanner at the exit, which were later repaired with updates. In the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, it immediately works perfectly: accurately and very quickly. Comparable in speed to classic capacitive scanners. face recognition rWorks quickly in good light conditions. In additional settings, there is "accelerated recognition" (less secure, which the smartphone reminds you of), preventing recognition with your eyes closed, and increasing the brightness of the display in low light.
What about performance, memory, sound and autonomy?
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (as well as the entire current flagship line) has the new flagship Samsung Exynos 2200 processor installed. Traditionally, the version with Snapdragon is not brought to us. Exynos 2200 is an octa-core 4nm processor that includes one core ARM Cortex-X2 at 2.8 GHz, 3x ARM Cortex-A710 at 2.5 GHz, and energy efficient 4x ARM Cortex-A510 at 1.7 GHz. The Xclipse 920 accelerator developed jointly with AMD on the RDNA 2 architecture, providing support for ray tracing and Variable Rate Shading (VRS), is responsible for the graphics, for the first time on a smartphone. It looks interesting, but miracles do not happen and you should not wait for some kind of "revolution". As for RAM, there are options with 8 and 12 GB. The expansion function is supported by a 2/4/6/8 GB drive. Built-in storage - 128/256/512 GB UFS 3.1 standard. A 1TB version will be available in some countries. We visited the youngest version of 8/128 GB. The smartphone, and the processor, are still quite fresh and it’s still difficult to somehow unambiguously evaluate: more relevant performance indicators will be clear after a couple of updates, both smartphone firmware, and applications, games and benchmarks. But for now let's see what we have at the moment. Judging by the test results, the processor is very productive, but the gap from last year's flagship Snapdragon 888 is very small. Yes, and it would be more appropriate to compare with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, but there has not yet been a single model with it in the editorial office.
The CPU Throttling Test showed that under prolonged loads, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra heats up significantly and performance drops. In a 15-minute run, it dropped to 77%, while the smartphone next to the camera warmed up significantly. Not to an uncomfortably hot state, but not a little warm either. In real tasks (including games and using the camera), overheating is not observed.
Smartphone interface "flies". Heavy applications in any quantities work and run very quickly. With games, it's too early to judge: you need to wait for the appropriate updates. Shadowgun Legends allows you to set the graphics settings to the maximum and runs smoothly without any lags. CoD Mobile, on the other hand, only allows you to set a high frame rate in the settings, but only low quality is available. Of course, at low settings there are no brakes and cannot be. NFS No Limits is crashing for the time being. Utilities Game Launcher and Game Booster are traditionally present. There are priority settings, performance settings, the ability to turn off notifications, as well as tools for creating screenshots and videos.
A set of wireless interfaces without surprises: dual-band Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz, Bluetooth 5.2 LE and NFC for contactless payment. The smartphone can work with global positioning systems GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, BDS. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra can play stereo sound, the second speaker is used as a conversational. It sounds loud and quite high quality (considering the fact that this is a smartphone). It is also worth adding a fairly powerful vibration motor. Branded music player has all the usual features plus Dolby Atmos (including game mode), UHQ Upscaler enhancer (apparently works only with branded headphones) and Adapt Sound to adjust the sound for yourself, taking into account age.
Despite the fact that now the S Pen is hidden in the smartphone case, the battery capacity has not changed since last year: all the same 5000 mAh. It supports 45W proprietary fast cable charging (the S21 Ultra only supported 25W), 15W wireless charging, and 4.5W reverse wireless charging. Unfortunately, there is no branded PSU in the editorial office and it is not possible to measure the speed of 45 W charging. As for autonomy, the results are mediocre: the smartphone survives until the evening (or late evening), but no more. With standard everyday tasks (messengers, mail, browser, social networks, calls, and so on) plus about an hour of music via Bluetooth and 20-25 pictures on the camera, 20-25% of the charge remains by 7 pm. With games you can land much faster. Yes, you can use power saving modes, reduce the screen refresh rate to 60 Hz, but this will not fundamentally change the picture.
What's with the interface?
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra runs on Android 12 with the updated One UI 4.1 skin. There is not much new, mainly in the appearance of some interface elements and branded applications. But there are some interesting changes. The smartphone now notifies the user that the app is using the camera or microphone. A corresponding green icon appears in the upper right corner of the screen. In the notification curtain, you can make a quick switch, with which you can prevent applications from accessing the camera. In the same place, in the curtain, the "Output media data" item appeared, with which you can quickly switch between connected audio devices. In the design settings, you can now not only choose the wallpaper, but also choose the appropriate color scheme for the entire smartphone interface.
Otherwise, everything is familiar: desktops, widgets, application menus, an almost standard curtain with some additions. There is a simple mode, as well as the ability to turn off the application menu. Then all applications will be on desktops:
Navigation is both gesture (in two versions) and push-button. The sensitivity can be adjusted. There are also some additional gestures like waking up with a double tap or picking up the smartphone.
The application manager also hasn't changed much. Card carousel. There is a two-window mode, as well as the ability to open applications in a window, adjust their transparency, minimize to a shortcut:
Edge sidebars are present. Pretty much the same as before. Changes are minimal and purely cosmetic.
There is a DeX desktop mode. It supports connection to monitors, TVs and PCs, both via cable and over the air. At the same time, to connect to a PC, it is enough that the smartphone and the computer are connected to the same router, it does not matter if it is via cable or not. By itself, the desktop mode looks and works quite intuitively and is very similar to the Windows interface. So it won't be hard to get used to it. Keyboards and mice are supported, and the smartphone screen can be used as a touchpad.
Some standard applications:
There are not many changes in the new version of One UI 4.1, but in this case there is nothing wrong with this: the shell is very convenient, intuitive and works perfectly.
And what about the S Pen?
The S Pen stylus is equipped with a Bluetooth LE module, a gyroscope, an accelerometer and a single mechanical button. As in the latest Galaxy Note, in addition to taking notes, notes and drawing, it supports working as a remote control. Of the most important improvements: the response time has been reduced to 2.8 ms and the algorithms for predicting the trajectory of the pen have been finalized. This increased accuracy as well as improved handwriting recognition. When using the S Pen for the first time, the smartphone will briefly introduce the main functions and features.
As before, in Samsung Notes you can take quick notes, write texts with instant recognition, use a translator, and so on. There is integration with office applications, the text can be immediately converted into a document. And add quick notes to browser pages. In addition, the S Pen can be used to highlight parts of the screen, create animated sketches, or create live messages. According to subjective feelings, handwriting recognition has become much more accurate and copes even with very "clumsy" handwriting.
You can also use the S Pen as a remote control. In different applications, you can set up different gestures with the stylus in the air for some action. For example, zoom, switching cameras and switching modes in the camera, managing multimedia playback, scrolling through slides in a presentation, and so on.
How good are the cameras?
As befits the very flagship, the set of cameras in the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is extremely impressive. 108 megapixel main module with f/1.8 aperture, 26 mm EGF, 1/1.33", 0.8 µm sensor size, Dual Pixel PDAF, laser autofocus and optical stabilization. The first 10 MP telephoto module, f/2.4, 70mm, 1/3.52", 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDF, OIS with 3x zoom. The second telephoto is periscopic, 10 MP, f/4.9, 230 mm EGF, 1/3.52", 1.12µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x zoom. And a 12 MP ultra-wide-angle camera, f/2.2, 13 mm, FOV 120 ˚, 1/2.55", 1.4µm, also Dual Pixel PDAF. Ffront camera: 40 MP f/2.2, 26 mm, 1/2.8", 0.7µm, PDAF. The smartphone can shoot video up to 8K 24fps. And the maximum zoom ratio is 100x.
The application, if it has changed with the new One UI, is very insignificant. The whole logic is familiar: a customizable carousel of modes (including multi-shot with simultaneous shooting on all cameras, director's video mode and manual shooting modes). All the main controls are placed on the main screen, including flash settings, aspect ratio, video resolution and stabilizer, timer, auto frame enhancement and switching between main cameras. When switching, additional zoom values appear, as well as the possibility of smooth zooming.
As expected, the main camera takes great pictures in almost any lighting conditions. With a wide dynamic range, excellent detail, including in shadowy areas, and, for the most part, natural color reproduction. A little "tinted" are obtained only some pictures in night mode. The originals can be seen here.
The ultra-wide-angle camera loses some ground in night mode in terms of detail (especially at the edges of the frame), but there are no significant blurs or grain. And very pleased with the presence of autofocus:
Telephoto cameras also do a great job. Although at night with hands to make the most clear photo with zoom is another task. 3x zoom:
Telephoto camera 10x:
The 100x zoom in a smartphone really works and it’s real to take a picture with your hands. Below are examples: 1x, 3x, 10x and 100x:
Video in 4K resolution at 60 fps with sufficient lighting is of good quality, with a detailed picture and without significant shaking.
At night, detail is reduced, artifacts of the image processing system and image shaking appear:
Bottom line: five things you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a kind of resurrection of the Galaxy Note line and merging it with the flagship Galaxy S line.
This is one of the most technologically advanced smartphones on the market.
The rear camera system is versatile and can do wonders.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has one of the best screens right now (if not the best).
Battery life is not a strong point of the smartphone.
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