Samsung A22 5G REVIEW
PAT PILCHER reviews a nicely priced Samsung smartphone that has a lot to recommend it along with a few flaws.
Affordable 5G phones are a dime-a-dozen, so the question on the tip of my tongue when I got my paws on Samsung’s reasonably priced A22 5G phone was this: Does it have what it takes to stand out in a very crowded market?
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It’s certainly one of the more affordable 5G phones in Samsung’s NZ line-up. Not only does it support 5G thanks to its MediaTek Dimensity 700 chipset, but it also sports a spiffing 90Hz Full HD+ display.
From a design perspective, the Galaxy A22 5G is a mixed bag. Its front is marred by chunky bezels and a chin. Around the back, it looks surprisingly slick with a low profile 4 shooter camera bump adorning a satin-smooth plastic rear. Its glass front and Tupperware back are sandwiched in an alloy band that houses the A22’s power and volume controls, the charging port, audio jack and speaker grill.
Being a mid-range phone, saving a few bucks here and there goes a long way. Achieving this saw Samsung forgoing an under-screen fingerprint sensor and instead opting for a side-mounted jobbie on the power button. This isn’t a bad move as the sensor proved to be both fast and accurate. Best of all, it allowed me to unlock and power up the A22 in one smooth motion.
Its display is a TFT LCD screen, which handily has a 90Hz refresh rate and full HD+ resolution. Being a Samsung LCD, the display isn’t too shabby at all. While you won’t quite get the inky deep blacks, searingly bright whites or super vivid colours of OLED, you still get butter-smooth scrolling. Everything also looked crispy and detailed, thanks to the displays Full HD+ resolution.
The sound quality is what you’d expect from a tiny downward-firing speaker. It’s not super loud but is adequate for ringtones and notification alerts. Cost-cutting meant there were no earbuds in the box, but there’s a 3.5mm audio jack, which is a rarity nowadays. Another conspicuous absence is Samsung’s Adapt Sound. This is a real shame as Adapt Sound tweaks audio output and customises it for your particular hearing preferences. Because of this, it makes a mahoosive difference to audio. That said, there is Dolby Atmos support. While it is less useful than Adapt Sound, it does add some oomph to audio.
The A22’s triple rear camera setup (a 48MP main shooter, a 5MP ultra-wide camera, and a 2MP depth sensor) were surprisingly capable considering its affordable sticker price. Test photos from the main shooter provided plenty of detail, had good exposure and accurate colours. Picture noise was also generally low. I was especially impressed with the A22’s night mode. It managed to capture decent night pictures that were not only reasonably detailed but had little picture noise.
If that’s what is good, the not so good comes in the form of the ultra-wide shooter and 8MP selfie camera. Ultra-wide photos tended to suffer from image noise – even in daylight photos. Selfies from the 8MP sensor also looked washed out.
When it came to shooting video, the A22 did a fine job. It can capture video in slightly higher than HD resolution. To my inexperienced eyes, videos looked about the same as FHD. Detail levels are plentiful and colours reasonably accurate. That said, in low light conditions, images looked soft.
The MediaTek Dimensity 700 CPU powering the A22 also acquitted itself well. While I noticed the odd stutter in the camera app, slowdowns were rare. The A22 worked fine with games and other demanding apps.
The A22 runs Android 11, which is skinned with Samsung’s One UI 3.1. It’s the same UI that powers Samsung’s flagship devices. There’s one crucial difference in that it lacks apps such as Bixby, screen recorder, Samsung Pay and others. Why Samsung chose to lobotomise the UI on the A22 is a mystery, as there is more than enough horsepower on tap to run them. Samsung has also committed to giving the A22 at least two OS upgrades and three years of security updates, which is reasonable and should cover the life expectancy of the A22.
Under its hood is a 5,000 mAh battery. With heavy use, I managed to wring a full day and a bit of battery life. It lasted two full days with light use, which isn’t too bad at all considering the A22 is a 5G device with a 90hz display.
So, does the A22 have what it takes to carve out a space in the ultra-competitive affordable phone market? There’s a lot to like. This takes the form of a silky-smooth display, solid battery life, and decent camera. I’d have scored the A22 a 10 out of 10, but it was held back by its cut-down UI and chunky bezels. Considering the 128GB model sells for a pocket pleasing $399, these are all acceptable compromises.