The Samsung Galaxy S22 trio arrived earlier this week to take their place as the rulers of the Korean company’s line of bar phones. The Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ both get updated main cameras and slightly tweaked sizes, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first Samsung phone to feature a built-in S Pen since the Note20 Ultra in 2020.
Galaxy S22 and S22+ now adapt better to their positions
The Galaxy S22 and S22+ come with revamped camera setups from their predecessors, including a significantly larger main sensor and proper telephoto lenses instead of relying on the digital zoom of a 64MP sensor. These, along with the new chipsets that bring a major boost to computational photography, promise to deliver a significant improvement in image quality.
But arguably the biggest change is the slight tweak to screen sizes and dimensions that allows these two to fit better into the lineup.
Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+
The Galaxy S22 is over half a centimeter shorter than the S21 and slightly narrower. This brings it closer to the Galaxy S10e than its predecessor and makes it the first truly compact Samsung flagship in three years.
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ has also shrunk a bit, which has helped it distance itself a bit better from the Ultra member of the lineup. It probably won’t entirely avoid the anonymity that comes with being the middle child, but it can be seen as a viable choice for those who find the Ultra too big instead of just serving as a consolation for those who find the best dog too expensive.
The flatter frames of the S22 duo compared to the Galaxy S21 and S21+ also make them a little more compact, even if they affect grip a little. And with Gorilla Glass Victus (a newer take on that), the fronts and backs have a more premium vibe too.
Galaxy S22 Ultra – king of the S series and protector of the notes
The Galaxy Note series is seemingly gone for good, but its legacy lives on. Last year, the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Galaxy Z Fold3 supported the S Pen, but without a built-in case on either phone, few people bothered to get one.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra embodies the spirit of a Galaxy Note much better and even its design is more akin to the Note 20 Ultra than to the S21 Ultra. With the second half of the year’s flagship spot reserved for foldables, it’s better to have a best of both worlds Note and S-series flagship than no Note at all. In fact, it might be better that way, even if there was no folding problem.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The top Galaxy S and Galaxy Note models were becoming redundant, with the only difference being the addition of an S Pen slot. The S9+ and Note9 had the exact same camera setups, the S10 5G and Note10+ had almost the same setups (slightly different lenses), and the S20 Ultra/Note20 Ultra only had different telephoto lenses.
With the S22 Ultra, Samsung is also returning to a more aggressive curved screen and a squarer overall shape. There’s a good reason for that, too – the S Pen silo means it can’t be tapered like the S21 Ultra.
The jury is still out on the Galaxy S22 Ultra camera
With the S22 and S22+, the main cameras are updated to a large 50MP sensor with improved OIS. The telephoto cameras are also natively 3X telephoto compared to the previous 64MP hybrid solution of the S21 and S21+. It is therefore quite reasonable to expect them to take better photos and videos than their predecessors.
The S22 Ultra, on the other hand, has largely identical camera hardware. In fact, the only differences are the smaller sensors on its telephoto lenses. However, we all know the importance of digital photography for the image quality of modern smartphones. Samsung claims that its software changes provide a significant improvement in low-light photography and videography, but we won’t know for sure if that’s true until the reviews are released.
We also have yet to see if these software improvements carry over to the Galaxy S21 Ultra as well.
Software updates can now compete with Apple
Android smartphone makers have recently shown interest in extending the life of their devices through firmware updates, but neither has Samsung. The company not only exceeded the previous “norm” of two major Android upgrades, but also often releases the monthly security patches even before Google updates its Pixels.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Samsung follows by offering four years of One UI updates and five years of security updates. Only Google promises this kind of support, and it only includes three major updates.