Home Latest News Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review: the ultimate camera phone – Business Insider

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review: the ultimate camera phone – Business Insider

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Samsung’s Ultra series of phones are known to go beyond the typical premium phone, mostly by offering a fourth camera lens that offers 10x zoom and a massive screen. And now, the company’s latest Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with a stylus called the S Pen, pushing it even further ahead of the pack. 
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is undoubtedly the best Android phone you can buy in the US, and considering its $1,200 price tag, I expect nothing less. 
The S22 Ultra looks nothing like the other S22 phones in the series. Instead of Samsung’s latest design language with flatter edges, the S22 Ultra has the usual rounded edges and a sharp flat top and bottom with a sharper rectangular design. It’s immediately reminiscent of the Galaxy Note 20 series from 2020.   
While it may look like an older model in the Note series, it’s still a classy design adorned in premium metal and glass. The back glass has a frosted matte finish while the metal frame is a shinier metal, and it looks and feels positively premium. 
Unlike the S22 series at large, the S22 Ultra doesn’t have a design element for the camera module, where the camera lenses simply stick out on their own. I love this simple, stylish design and it helps make the S22 Ultra one of the best-looking phones you can buy. 
The bezels around the display are as thin as ever, contributing to the overall ultra-premium vibe of the S22 Ultra. However, the display’s edges still curve ever so slightly. It’s a tired design element that’s been knocked by several reviewers, including myself, whenever Samsung employs it. It’s bad because the edges of the screen at the curve are darker than the flat part, and it’s noticeable with anything even mildly bright on the screen, including videos. It also makes the screen feel narrower. Samsung really should ditch the curved screen edges. 
I rarely encounter bad displays on phones, but I’ve yet to see a phone maker beat Samsung here. The S22 Ultra’s screen is simply stunning, which isn’t surprising, nor is it even exciting when looking back at Samsung’s history of excellent phone screens — it’s just expected, and Samsung always delivers. 
With the S22 Ultra, you get the option to bump up the resolution from full-HD 1080p (FHD) to quad-HD 1440p resolution (QHD). It’s sharper than FHD on the other S22 models, but that extra ocular stimulation has a detrimental effect on battery life. I’d recommend any S22 Ultra user to stick to FHD — QHD honestly doesn’t look that much better, and you’ll be getting better battery life, too. 
Unsurprisingly for a premium Android phone in 2022, the S22 Ultra’s screen also supports a 120Hz refresh rate. That means the display can refresh itself up to 120 times per second, making for smooth animations while swiping around Android and apps. The screen can also reduce its refresh rate all the way down to 1Hz when displaying something static, which helps reduce battery consumption, as high refresh rates suck up battery life.
Under the display is Samsung’s advanced ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. The sensor usually works well and quickly to unlock the phone, but there are times when it simply will not register my fingerprint, and I resort to tapping in my pin. It’s a pretty frustrating aspect of the S22 series for me, but this doesn’t seem to be a widespread issue.   
The S22 Ultra runs apps and games quickly and smoothly, and I have no complaints about its performance. 
Our S22 Ultra review unit with 256GB of storage has 12GB of memory (RAM), which is more than the 8GB RAM on the base model with 128GB storage. More RAM means the phone can keep more apps running in the background without needing to fully reopen the app when you return to it.
Our S22 Ultra unit scored an average of 1,112 for single-core performance and 3,312 for multi-core performance. That’s on par with the results I saw on our S22 Plus review unit, which has 8GB RAM and uses the same Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. It goes to show that more RAM won’t always result in better performance, and you’ll be fine with the base model with 8GB RAM if you know that 128GB of storage is enough for you. 
I put the S22 Ultra through our typical battery test, which involves streaming a continuous YouTube video at the phone’s maximum brightness and at the display’s default FHD resolution. The S22 Ultra lasted 13 hours and 22 minutes, which is lower than expected.
It’s not terrible, and it’ll easily last a day for most people, but I really expect longer battery life from such a large, top-tier phone. The iPhone 13 Pro Max completely trounced the S22 Ultra here with its 20 hours and 18-minute battery life in the same test. 
The S22 Ultra is capable of up to 45W charging speeds, which is good to have during heavy usage for quick boosts in battery charge. With that said, Samsung doesn’t include a 45W charger, or any charger, in the box. You can use chargers you’ve amassed, but if none of them support 45W charging and you want to make the most of the S22 Ultra’s top charging speeds, you’ll have to buy a new charger.
The S Pen is a take-it-or-leave-it accessory that’s great for those who like it, and it doesn’t get in the way for those who have no interest in it. Some additional good news for people who don’t really want an S Pen: it doesn’t cost you anything extra: the S22 Ultra costs the same as the S21 Ultra without the S Pen. 
The S Pen and its enclosure also aren’t taking up precious space that could have been used for other important components, like a bigger battery, either. The S22 Ultra has the same 5,000mAh battery as last year’s S21 Ultra. 
I’m not a major S Pen user, but I used to love it while testing Samsung’s Galaxy Note series back in the day. It’s nice to quickly jot down a sudden thought or idea that I know I’ll forget later by simply pulling out the S Pen and noting it down, all without unlocking the phone or tapping anything to open a note app. 
It’s also nice to get more precision for certain tasks, like editing or drawing on a photo. I’m not much of a drawer, but the S Pen in the S22 Ultra feels incredibly responsive and accurate.
Even though I love it, I never feel like I need it, and I always reverted back to regular finger tapping after I was done testing the S Pen. Like I mentioned above: Galaxy Note fans will love it, and everyone else will basically forget it’s there. 
Cameras are one of the major highlighting features in Samsung’s Ultra phone series, especially the signature fourth lens that offers 10x zoom, and the S22 Ultra doesn’t disappoint. That extra 10x zoom camera makes the S22 Ultra the most versatile camera phone you can buy in the US, as it lets you take clear photos of objects/subjects from further distances. 
With that said, the S22 Ultra doesn’t feel like it’s offering that much better camera quality than most other premium phones in the latest release cycle, or even much of an improvement over last year’s S21 Ultra. That’s to say you’ll be happy with the cameras on pretty much any premium phone available to you in the US, but the S22 Ultra’s fourth lens is certainly a differentiator.
Below are some samples of the S22 Ultra’s photos in good lighting. 
 If you’re not interested in the S Pen, a 10x zoom lens, or the S22 Ultra’s $1,200 price, the $1,000 S22 Plus is the next phone that comes to mind. It has an excellent triple-lens camera with the same performance, and it’s $200 less than the S22 Ultra. Don’t expect impressive battery life here either, as it’s rather middling. You can read my S22 Plus review here
 Otherwise, Google’s Pixel 6 Pro is the next best alternative for Android users. It has an excellent triple-lens camera and good battery life, but it settles lower than the S22 series at large due to Google’s shorter support window for Android and security updates. Samsung promises five generations of Android for its S22 lineup, while Google merely offers three. I haven’t yet reviewed the Pixel 6 Pro, but it’s overall similar to the Pixel 6, which I reviewed here
 Premium phones with high price tags aren’t your only option. I love Google’s $450 Pixel 5a 5G, as it’s overall an excellent phone that comes with a premium set of cameras, great battery life, and good performance. You can read my Pixel 5a 5G review here
Thanks to its design, cameras, performance, fourth 10x zoom lens and S Pen, the S22 Ultra is the most versatile and best Android phone money can buy in the US. Your battery life expectations may not be met, but it’s not bad, either, and fast charging certainly helps.


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He is well known among his circle for his incredible attraction towards smartphones and tablets. Charles is a python programmer and also a part-time Android App developer.