Samsung announced a new set of Galaxy S22 smartphones, along with a trio of tablets under the Tab S8 lineup to round out its latest flagship devices. The three phones are the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22.
They are all successors to their previous versions, and appear to be largely iterative updates rather than big upgrades. Samsung unveiled them all today at its virtual Unpacked event. I managed to get a look in advance, and reviews will come to the blog soon.
About the Galaxy S22 Ultra
The flagship of the three phones, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, this is the premium of the bunch. It’s also the first time Samsung includes an S Pen into a phone that’s not a Galaxy Note. That’s right, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has its own holster for the pen, and that makes it feel like a Note.
The pen matters for more than that one reason. The Ultra is the only one of the three phones that supports it. Samsung also improved the pen’s performance by reducing the lag even further from 5.6 milliseconds to 2.8 milliseconds. That puts it just a wee bit closer to emulating the feeling of pen and paper. Air Actions also apply, meaning you can use the pen’s button to control certain functions. Not to mention gestures for control over the camera.
The phone’s design is very similar to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, except for a couple of things. You get a flatter back, except for elevated rings around the lenses. It is the “flattest” Ultra phone Samsung made since the Galaxy S10 back in 2019. Samsung wisely continues to use the same matte back that not only feels nice, but also looks great most of the time. Colours include black, white, green and burgundy, with a few others to come.
The 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X is very similar to last year’s display, including the 120Hz refresh rate. What I’m curious to see is how the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor will work. It’s supposed to be more powerful, yet equally power-efficient, which would improve battery life. I’ll be testing that to find out.
Samsung will also offer some variances in storage and memory. Starting at 128GB, there will also be 256GB, 512GB and even 1TB options. Note that the phone does not have a memory card slot to expand it further. RAM also starts at 8GB, or you can go to 12GB.
The 108-megapixel f/1.8 standard wide lens returns for another round this year, along with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, plus the 10-megapixel telephoto with 3x optical zoom, and 10-megapixel with 10x zoom. Samsung is also continuing with its Space Zoom feature to really zoom in, though I’m not sure quality will get much better.
Software plays a big part in this. Samsung says its software and artificial intelligence (AI) is so much better that you will notice the results once you start shooting. That includes night and low-light images, plus Pro mode, which now has an accompanying app from the Galaxy Store called Expert RAW.
Even video got some love, with new tracking features to stick onto a subject, as well as better HDR for more vibrant footage. Samsung also says it will be easier to shoot at night and keep details intact.
About the Galaxy S22+ and S22
As in the past few years, these two represent more accessible options from a functional and pricing perspective. Starting with the Galaxy S22+ in the middle, this device sports a 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, a tad slimmer than last year. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S22 also gets a bit smaller at 6.1-inches, making it a little easier to wield as the “small” phone in the bunch. Key note here: both of these devices do not work with the S Pen. Current colours are phantom black, phantom white, green and pink gold.
Both phones, however, do run on the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor the Ultra does, and with lower-resolution screens, battery life should be better, though I’ll wait to test them to confirm that. They also share the same design principles, basically making them carbon copies of each other, except for the size.
Even the cameras bear a lot of similarities. There is the more noticeable camera bump in the back, housing an array that is the same in either device. There’s a 50-megapixel primary camera, plus a 12-megapixel ultra-wide, 10-megapixel telephoto and 10-megapixel periscope telephoto lens. The front camera is a 40-megapixel shooter. These are slightly different from last year’s models, but like with the S22 Ultra, we’re supposed to be improvements by way of the updated software, too. Until I get to capture some photos with them, I can’t weigh in on that yet.
Samsung announced all of them today, and you can get your hands on them soon. Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S22+ and S22 are available now, and they’re officially out on February 25.