Samsung Galaxy S22+ Brilliant but just a few gotchas

8/10

Summary

Samsung Galaxy S22+ REVIEW

The new Galaxy S22+ sports amazing design and features but, writes PAT PILCHER, just a couple of gotchas lower its final rating.

8/10

From $1599

Samsung’s newly launched Galaxy S22+ might be the middle child of their line-up, but that doesn’t mean it should be forgotten while the more affordable S22 or well-spec’d S22 Ultra grab all the headlines.

After two weeks with it, the big takeout I got is that the S22+ should be called the “just-right phone”. It’s got a roomy and gorgeous display and a big battery, but it’s also small enough to be very usable. It mightn’t be the most expensive of the S22 line-up, but it has a decidedly premium look and feel.

The S22+ can be had in white, black, green, or pink gold. Its camera bump is quite distinctive. In the hand, the S22+ packs a decent amount of heft (195g), so while it isn’t going to tear pockets and purses, it still has a solid and well-crafted feel, much like a good Mount Blanc pen. An alloy sideband combines with gorilla glass Victus plus on its front and back (there’s none of this plastic nonsense like with the S21).

As a “Plus” device, the S22+ isn’t small. Measuring 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm, the chassis gives plenty of room for its gorgeous display (more on this later). Like its Galaxy siblings, there’s a USB-C slot on its bottom (the 3.5mm headphone jack is however conspicuous in its absence). The power button and volume controls are on the right-hand side, allowing for easy one-handed use. The only downside with the S22+ design is that it doesn’t feel super comfortable. Its palm-stretching size isn’t as big an issue as you’d think. That said, hard angular edges dig into your hand when using it, especially for extended browsing/calls sessions.

Gorilla glass Victus handily makes the S22+ more durable than the S21. It’s far more scratch resistant and is more likely to bounce when dropped (we still recommend you buy a good phone case). It’s also IP68 rated, which means using it in a dusty or wet environment won’t hurt it, and it’ll survive the odd dunking too.

The biggest selling point of the Galaxy S22+ is its camera rig. Its Portrait mode is hard to beat. While it sports the same background blur as the Portrait mode of most other brands, it can pick out details such as fine hair and keep them. Then there’s also the sizeable number of filters available. If you’re not much of a photographer, the Single Take feature picks the best photo from a burst mode shoot, helping you take a great shot with minimal effort.

The S22+ comes with the same four cameras as the S22. You get a 50MP f/1.8 shooter, a 12MP f/2.2 ultrawide snapper and a 10MP f/2.4 telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom. Around the front sits a 10MP f/2.2 camera. The 50MP sensor does great things with night shooting. Shooting outdoors after the sun had vanished produced some surprisingly decent snaps. I found that while shooting on gloomy days, I got vibrant colours. Good exposure levels were a given too.

Video can be shot in 8K, which is great if you are one of the lucky few to own an 8K telly. Thankfully 4K video at 60fps is supported too. With 4K video, you have surprisingly effective video stabilisation. As good as the cameras are on the S22+, there is no periscopic zoom. This means that digital zoom tops out at just 30x.

Being a product of one of the world’s biggest display makers, it isn’t a huge surprise that the S22+ packs a great AMOLED display. It measures 6.6-inches diagonally and has a discrete punch-hole cut-out for the front-facing snapper. The bezels surrounding the screen are tiny. Interestingly, the S22+ comes with a resolution of 1080 x 2340 (FHD+). Given its sizeable sticker price, I’m surprised that it doesn’t sport the same 1440 x 3088 resolution screen as the S22 Ultra. FHD+ is likely to be more than adequate for most uses, and on-screen action is helped along with a 120Hz refresh rate that keeps everything looking silky smooth. In terms of colours and brightness, everything pops. The display cranked out an impressive 1,750 nits with brightness settings maxed out. In short, everything looks super crispy and vivid.

The S22+ is a big brand-name flagship device. Unsurprisingly, it commands a big brand premium price. These range from $1599 (8GB and 128GB of storage) to $1699 (256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM). That’s not a small amount of money, but it is about right for a flagship phone. While you do get one hell of a lot of smartphone for your money, there is a catch, but more on that later.

The New Zealand version of the S22+ packs Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU/chipset. This is great news for consumers as benchmarks reveal that the Snapdragon version runs cooler and quicker than the Exynos units sold in the EU. For gaming and other demanding apps, the S22+ is an excellent choice. In use, it barely ever broke a sweat and had no problems juggling apps. This is helped along with a generous dollop of 8GB of RAM. Storage comes in at 128GB or 256GB, but there’s no expandable storage.

The S22+ is powered by Android 12, with a liberal helping of Samsung’s One UI. Samsung has committed to giving the S22 line-up four years of software updates. In theory, you could be running Android 16 in 2026 along with all its relevant security updates. Android 12 and the One UI are a good combination. Features such as Material You (which tweaks the user interface to match your phone’s wallpaper) are present. One UI adds a much-needed layer of gloss and simplicity.

The S22+ has a 4,500mAh battery. Clever energy-saving features such as real-time screen resolution and refresh rate tweaks based on user activity help get the S22+ through a full day’s use. Even with more demanding tasks such as gaming or media streaming, the S22+ still ran for a full day and had some juice left in its tanks.

Samsung says that the phone can fast-charge at 45W. I didn’t test this because of a key gotcha. It doesn’t come with a charger, which is disappointing given its pricing. It supports 15W wireless charging, and you also get reverse charging at 4.5W.

The S22+ is a gorgeous device. Samsung paid a lot of attention to its design, which gives it a premium look and feel. The only fly in the design ointment is its hard edges, making it less comfortable for extended use. On the specs front, you get one hell of a lot of phone, including a gorgeous display and impressive camera set-up. The decision by Samsung to drop their Exynos CPU and switch to Qualcomm silicon in New Zealand is a real bonus too. The final gotcha is a lack of included power adaptor, which is vital for fast charging. This and the ergonomics issue hold back an otherwise brilliant smartphone from scoring what could have been a 10/10.

https://www.samsung.com/nz/smartphones/galaxy-s22/buy/

 

Would you like to support our mission to bring intelligence, insight and great writing to entertainment journalism? Help to pay for the coffee that keeps our brains working and fingers typing just for you. Witchdoctor, entertainment for grownups. Your one-off (or monthly) $5 or $10 donation will support Witchdoctor.co.nz. and help us keep producing quality content. It’s really easy to donate, just click the ‘Become a supporter’ button below.

 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

*

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.