Samsung Galaxy S22+ review: a good phone that plays it safe | Samsung

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The Galaxy S22+ is Samsung’s big-screened premium phone for 2022, offering top-notch specs and good-quality hardware, but few new or exciting features. It is a safe and solid device.

With an RRP of £949 ($999 / AU$1,549) that doesn’t mean low cost, but it’s £200 cheaper than the £1,149 S22 Ultra superphone that sings and dances with its design Galaxy Note-like. Shop around, though, and you should soon be able to find it for less.

The back of the phone is smooth frosted glass with color-matched aluminum sides and a camera housing, here shown in “rose gold” color. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The S22+ is similar to last year’s S21+ with a flat glass front and back and solid-touch aluminum sides. It looks and feels refined rather than flashy, and although it has a large 6.6-inch screen, it’s easy enough to hold with sharper edges to grip with your fingers and a relatively light weight of 195g.

The 120Hz AMOLED display is fantastic with vibrant colors, good viewing angles, and an extremely high peak brightness of 1,750 nits (a standard measure of screen brightness), which is activated when exposed to direct sunlight, making it easier to see outdoors than its rivals.

Characteristics

  • Main screen: 6.6 inch FHD+ dynamic AMOLED 2X (393ppi) 120Hz

  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 2200 (EU) or Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (US)

  • RAM: 8 GB RAM

  • Storage room: 128 or 256 GB

  • Operating system: A 4.1 UI based on Android 12

  • Camera: Triple rear camera: 50MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x telephoto; 10MP front-facing

  • Connectivity: 5G, dual nano sim, USB-C, wifi 6E, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, UWB and GNSS

  • Water resistance: IP68 (1.5m for 30 minutes)

  • Dimensions: 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm

  • Weight: 195g

Better chips and solid battery life

the usb-c port at the bottom of the samsung galaxy s22+
The phone fully charges in 60 minutes, reaching 50% in 21 minutes using a 45W USB-C PPS charger (AC adapter not included). Fast wireless charging (15W) and reverse wireless charging are available. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

In the US, the S22+ has Qualcomm’s best standard Android chip for 2022, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. But in the EU it has a Samsung Exynos 2200 with the first mobile graphics processor designed by AMD, the company behind the chips used in the Xbox Series X and PS5 game consoles.

When testing the European version, overall performance was excellent, but not noticeably faster than last year’s already speedy models. Gaming performance from AMD graphics was more variable than competitors using Qualcomm, likely requiring optimization for gaming.

The battery lasts about 35 hours between charges, on 5G for two hours and wifi for the rest, using the screen for about five hours in various chat apps, the camera, Spotify, Chrome, and a light spot of game. That’s enough for a good day’s use, but slightly shorter than last year’s model and miles behind Apple’s market-leading iPhone 13 Pro Max, which lasts over 48 time.

Durability

the fingerprint sensor icon displayed on the S22+ screen
The fingerprint sensor under the display is quick and responsive, making it easy to unlock the device or authenticate payments. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Samsung does not provide an expected battery life. Those from similar devices typically retain at least 80% of their original capacity for at least 500 full charge cycles.

The phone is generally repairable. Screen repairs cost £179, while the battery is replaceable by authorized service centres. But the phone only gets a three out of 10 on iFixit Repairability Ranking.

Many internal components are made from 20% nylon or recycled plastic. Samsung offers trade-in and recycling programs for older devices. The company publishes annual sustainability reports but not impact assessments for individual products.

OneUI 4.1

a shelf of app icons displayed on the s22+
One of the useful additions to standard Android is a small shelf with app icons that can be pulled out to the side to open two programs side-by-side in a split-screen view. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The S22+ comes with OneUI 4.1, which is based on the latest version of Android 12 and receives rapid updates unlike some competitors. It’s a polished version of Android that offers lots of customization options and useful tools.

The S22+ will receive at least five years of software updates of release, including four major Android version updates and monthly security patchesmaking it one of the longest-lasting Android devices available and second only to Apple’s six-plus-year support for its iPhones.

Camera

the camera app on a galaxy s22+
The camera app offers point-and-shoot simplicity, but also has a full “pro” mode for manual control and the ability to save RAW files as well as JPEGs. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The S22+ has a triple camera system on the back: a 50MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a 10MP 3x telephoto camera.

The main camera is excellent, capturing very good images in a variety of lighting conditions. Its low-light performance is vastly improved over previous models, brightening up scenes considerably. However, it sometimes loses contrast in the process with a tendency to make people feel like you’ve shined a flash on their face.

The telephoto lens has 3x optical zoom and produces sharper images in good light than last year’s model, but it still struggles to produce bright but heavily processed images in low light.

The ultra-wide camera produces slightly sharper images in good light and handles lower light levels better than before. The 10MP selfie camera did a great job of balancing detail and grain in fairly challenging light, producing nice, detailed photos most of the time.

Samsung’s video capture stays ahead of most Android packs shooting up to 8K at 24fps and with plenty of features including a new auto framing system that tries to keep up to 10 people in focus and shooting at any time. .

Overall, the S22+’s camera is very good, but falls slightly short of the best on the market.

the camera housing of the s22+
The camera housing is molded to the side of the phone for a cleaner look while protecting all three lenses. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Price

The Samsung Galaxy S22+ costs from £949 ($999/AU$1,549) with 128 GB of storage.

For comparison, the Galaxy S22 costs £769the S22 Ultra costs £1,149the Z Flip 3 costs £949the Google Pixel 6 Pro costs £849 and costs Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max £1,049.

Verdict

Everything about the Galaxy S22+ feels premium, but it lacks a certain wow factor, especially next to Samsung’s other £949 foldable phone.

The screen is great, the camera is good, the performance is fast, and the battery life is reasonable. These are all big upgrades over older models, but no more than expected in a high-end phone in 2022.

The S22+ is nicer and easier to hold than many rivals. In theory, it’s more durable, made from stronger aluminum and the toughest smartphone glass available.

It will receive at least five years of software updates from its release, which will make it the most durable Android phone available and slightly behind Apple’s iPhone. It is also the first Samsung phone to be partially made from recycled materials.

Buy it at a sub-RRP price, around the £750-£800 that previous models were readily available, and it’s a lot of phone for the money. Keep it for five years, you can use it safely thanks to security updates and it offers better value for money than many cheaper rivals.

Benefits: 120Hz screen, good camera, One UI 4.1/Android 12, good performance, decent battery life, fast fingerprint scanner, five years of software support, contains recycled materials, premium feel.

The inconvenients: big, expensive, no headphone jack, battery life and camera improved by others, no flashy features.

the back of the galaxy s22+
The phone is attractive, extremely well made with excellent build quality and nice little design touches. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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