Samsung will release its new Galaxy S22 smartphone range this March. PAT PILCHER with exactly what you need to know.
It’s that time of the year again when Samsung launches new Galaxy phones – this year it’s the S22 range. The new phones range from the S22, S22 Ultra and S22 Plus, and as a bonus, the Galaxy note also makes a comeback (well sort of).
Prices for the S22 start at $1299 for 128GB and $1399 for 256GB; for the S22+ $1599 for 128GB and $1699 for 256GB; and the S22 Ultra, $1999 for 128GB, $2099 for 256GB and $2399 for 512GB.
That said, if you want to save some money but still get Samsung flagship functionality, there are some pretty good options. Deals can be had on the Galaxy S21 as retailers seek to clear their stocks and there is also the rather excellent Galaxy S21 FE that Witchdoctor gave a 10/10 rating to.
If you’re in any doubt, ask your wife, spouse or partner. Size matters. None of this is lost on the folks at Sammy. The S22 hardware isn’t small. Even the smallest device, the Galaxy S22 packs a sizable 6.1-inch display, while the Galaxy S22 Plus sports a 6.6-inch screen, and Galaxy S22 Ultra has a palm-stretching 6.8-inch AMOLED display.
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Size aside, the S22’s display blasts out 1300nits of brightness and this goes up to 1750nits on both the S22 Plus and Ultra. Samsung was unable to comment on the S22’s usefulness as a tanning clinic accessory.
As with the S21 range, the S22 range comes with a maximum screen refresh rate of 120Hz, but this can scale down in real-time using AI to extend battery life. The AI doesn’t stop with the screen either. Depending on usage, the AI can place the phones wi-fi/Bluetooth and cellular into a rest mode to further conserve energy. Samsung says that users such as gamers are able to potentially wring out an additional 30 per cent of battery life with no noticeable impacts on performance.
Superficially, the S22 and S22 Plus look almost identical to their counterparts in the S21 lineup. As you’d expect from Samsung, the design language used comes with skinny bezels and rounded edges/corners. The Ultra departs from the formula slightly with no noticeable camera bump beyond the lens covers themselves. While the Note range is now DOA, the S22 Ultra has taken up the mantle and has a holder in which sits an S Pen stylus, just like the note.
The S22 range has an armour aluminium band that sandwiches Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the front and back. Any plastic used is also from recycled ocean plastic. Staying with the environmental thing, packaging has been cut back by 19 per cent and is now 100 per cent recycled. Nice!
On the colour front, you can have your S22 in any colour you want as long as it is green, black or white (the S22 Ultra can be had in Burgundy while the S22 and S22 Plus are also available in Pink Gold).
If there is one feature that deserves special mention across the S22 range it has to be the camera setup. This time around there are quite a few nifty features. These include the ability to have detail from 108MP images combined with light/colour info from 12MP images to create a more detailed and brighter image that doesn’t take up a metric shit tonne of valuable storage. There are also dual telephoto lenses (both of which have a 10MP sensor, although one uses a 3x optical zoom while the other has 10x digital zoom for crisp zoomed photos. Most excitingly of all is optimised low-light night shooting.
This night shooting mode comes courtesy of the 108MP sensor which has bigger pixel elements that can capture 1.23 times more light than those on the S21 Ultra. This is married up with Multi-Frame image processing which blends multiple shots for what appears to be pretty decent low light snaps. Extra smarts have been added to Portrait Mode. It’s been levelled up so that while backgrounds are blurred, even single strands of hair on the subject’s head are in focus. It’s pretty impressive stuff.
On the video front, the S22 Ultra can capture 8K @24fps and has AI-based Autofocus, a Super Steady System for less noticeable camera shake and HDR for more accurate colour capture. A quick play with the S22 Ultra at the launch event produced crisp video that handled camera shake with no problems at all.
The S22 and S22 Plus have a 50MP main shooter, a 12MP ultrawide and 10MP telephoto. They also come with a 10MP selfie camera.
Under the hood, there have been some major changes too. The in-house developed Exynos CPU is gone-burgers. This time around, all S22 phones sold in NZ will use a 4nm Snapdragon 8 gen 1 CPU, which is both super-fast and efficient. Along with the latest Snapdragon silicon, you also get 8GB of RAM on the S22 and S22 Plus, and up to 12GB on the S22 Ultra (for models with 256GB or more storage). This should be welcome news for NZ Samsung fans as the Exynos was often criticised for running too hot and not being particularly brilliant with battery life.
Speaking of battery life, the S22 Ultra comes with a 5000mAh battery that can charge to 50 per cent in less than 20 minutes. The S22 has a 3700mAh battery, and the S22 Plus has a 4500mAh battery. Annoyingly fast charging needs a fast charger and there isn’t one included in the box, so you’ll have to cough up some extra cash for one of those.
The S Pen bundled with the S22 Ultra has been given an overhaul too. Latency (the time between you scribbling on screen and it displaying) has been reduced to 2.8ms. This might not sound like a huge deal but in practice, I found it did make for a smoother writing experience. Where my much-loved Note 10 struggles to decipher my hastily written scribblings into recognisable text, I found my handwriting was converted into text with reasonable accuracy and speed on the S22 Ultra. In short, if you’re looking for a flagship Android phone, your options just got a whole lot more compelling.
* The Galaxy S22 range is available for pre-order and will be released March 4.