Almost a few months ago, Samsung unveiled what, for more than 10 years, has been its flagship series. The Samsung Galaxy S22+ is presented as the intermediate option between the compact S22 and the tome-sized S22 Ultra that takes over from the mythical Galaxy Note. This is precisely the reason why it may be the most interesting option of the three, both in terms of size and price, in the fine line of 1,42,999 Tk.
At the front, we find important improvements inside the device, in addition to a more refined design and a somewhat continuous line. Will these improvements be enough to compete in a market already full of options? I have had the opportunity to test the phone for a little over three weeks to answer this question.
The return to the plastic of the Samsung Galaxy S21 placed the Korean manufacturer in the crosshairs of criticism from the media and end users. The company seems to have taken good note of this by recovering glass as the main material; a glass that adopts a frosted effect finish to reduce the impact of fingerprints. The feeling in hand is exquisite, probably one of the best in the Android mobile phone catalog. The chassis feels robust and the rear, although somewhat slippery, exudes quality on all four sides.
Suppose we focus on the general lines of the phone. In that case, the differences with respect to the Galaxy S21 series are practically non-existent: the camera module maintains its position and the front part does not change. Of course, Samsung has almost completely gotten rid of the curves, with a totally flat surface both on the front and on the back. The edges still have some curvature, probably to improve the grip on the hand. What is certain is that the phone is less comfortable in hand than its 2021 counterpart, despite being lighter and thinner.
This is mainly explained by the reduction in the physical capacity of the battery, which decreases by 300 mAh compared to the Samsung Galaxy S21+. For the rest, the phone maintains the IP68 certification that protects it from water and dust and uses Corning Gorilla Glass Victus protection on its screen against possible falls and scratches, a screen whose frames are close to the symmetry achieved by Apple in its iPhone thanks to the system that allows you to fold the matrix under the panel itself.
As the good screen manufacturer that it is, Samsung always mounts the best panels on its flagships. In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S22+, we find a 6.6-inch AMOLED screen with Full HD+ resolution, 120 Hz frequency, and a touch refresh rate of 240, enabling Game mode. Is it the best screen that we can find in the high range? Not at all, especially if we look at resolution and response times.
But the most notorious absence has to do with LTPO technology, which allows a range of frequencies from 0 to 120 Hz to be covered depending on the type of content displayed on the screen, with the respective energy savings that this entails. In this case, the adaptive frequency dances between 48 and 120 Hz.
Screen specs aside, the overall experience is downright good. The maximum brightness level, which reaches up to 1,750 units, allows us to view the panel in any situation, either with sunlight falling directly on the phone or in environments with a predominance of artificial light. In this sense, the operation of the automatic brightness is practically perfect, although it tends to be very conservative, placing the brightness level above what our eyes need, at least during the first days of use, since in theory, it learns from our demand.
As for the viewing quality, the Full HD + resolution seems sufficient not to appreciate the pixels at a reasonable distance. On the other hand, the colorimetry that is configured by default is balanced, although we can modify it later through the screen settings. In fact, the panel covers 100% of the DCI-P3 color scheme, so the color representation is as close as possible to reality.
Also worthy of praise is the fluidity of the panel, which can go up to 120 Hz. The buttery sensation when we slide between menus and applications gives us an unbeatable experience. The same happens with the tactile response, with a sensitivity that is sometimes even ahead of the physical touch of the finger without generating false touches, as it happened with other models of the same brand with a curved screen. As for the problems derived from the scrolling of menus and the refresh rate at 120 Hz that other media have criticized, the test unit does not seem to present any defects, so it is not ruled out that it is a specific problem.
With this new generation, Samsung has teamed up with AMD to bring the RDNA 2 architecture of the new generation consoles to its GPUs, which in its adaptation to mobile phones is called Xclipse 920. The graphics module is integrated with the processor, Exynos 2200, developed by the company itself. It is a chip with a tri-cluster structure composed of a single main Cortex-X2 core, three Cortex-A710 cores balanced in performance and efficiency, and four Cortex-A510 cores for less demanding tasks. It is accompanied by 8 GB of RAM and 128 and 256 GB of internal storage of the UFS 3.1 type.
All these specifications translate into practically perfect performance when developing any task. The opening of applications is practically instantaneous, while the fluidity within them brings us closer to the experience of a high-end computer thanks to the 120 Hz refresh rate. Although the RAM memory may seem scarce compared to other competing models, Samsung’s management for multitasking keeps most activities in the background. On more than one occasion, I have been surprised to find an open Instagram conversation, for example, after five or six hours.
This does not mean that the performance is exempt from errors and specific problems. Sometimes the phone has unexpectedly closed applications like Firefox, the browser I use by default. When we access a web page with automatic video playback active, the screen will turn off and stop responding to any touch, forcing us to unlock it and close the application in question.
As for the experience with Samsung Dex, the platform that allows us to convert the interface of the device into that of a computer to use by connecting it to an external monitor, the performance is correct, although it does not feel as fluid as the general interface when experiencing some other slowdown when opening apps. But the most critical point of the Samsung Galaxy S22+ does not have to do with this type of scenario, but rather with the games, probably due to a lack of optimization on the part of the developer companies.
In titles like Call of Duty Mobile, the graphics settings of the game do not allow us to change the quality of the textures, enabling the ‘Low’ option by default. Something similar happens with Asphalt 9, in which, despite allowing us to change the quality of the graphics, some saw teeth caused by a mess in antialiasing are generated. In the latter, I also appreciated certain slowdowns in the crash animations.
I have tried to update the version of the games and the operating system and the problem persists, so it is not a specific error. Interestingly, the international version of the phone with a Qualcomm processor is capable of running these games at the highest quality and without major problems. The good news is that the thermal management of the components allows us to maintain gaming sessions for hours without noticing a significant increase in temperature. In my case, it has never exceeded 34º C.
The last point where Samsung deserves special attention is in the software section since we find Android 12 under the latest version of the company’s customization layer, One UI 4.1. Also, because the company has promised to update its devices for at least four years from the time of its departure. If we limit ourselves to the versions with a change in numbering, this Samsung Galaxy S22+ could be updated to Android 16.
Despite the fact that they are still far from what Apple provides, they have the most widespread support on Android after the Google Pixel. Recall that Google announced with the release of the Pixel 6 and 6 Pro that it would update its two devices for five years.
It’s time to talk about the photographic section of the Samsung Galaxy S22+. Before getting into the matter, it is convenient to know the specifications that are behind each of the sensors that make it up. And it is that, as is the case with the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+, the vitaminized version shares the cameras with the Samsung Galaxy S22, the Ultra version being the one that receives most of the news of this new generation. In other words, both terminals share the same trio of cameras, formed, like last year, by three sensors on the back of 50, 12, and 20 megapixels.
The first acts as the main sensor and has an f/1.8 focal aperture. combined with the mechanical stabilization system. This sensor grows up to 23% compared to the main sensor of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 + and increases its resolution by 38 megapixels, while the secondary 12-megapixel camera maintains a wide-angle lens with up to 120o of width and a focal aperture of f/2.2. The last sensor that completes the trio of cameras in the Samsung Galaxy S22+ has a resolution of 10 megapixels and an f/2.4 focal aperture, as well as optical image stabilization.
Compared to that of the Samsung Galaxy S21, we lose resolution, and the ability to capture light is less. Leaving aside the technical sheet of the phone, how has the experience been with its three cameras? Balance is the word that best defines it. And that is a lot to say.
First of all, the main camera allows us to play with practically any situation. During the day, the management of highlights and shadows allows us to play with contrasting scenarios, with defined skies and correctly exposed landscapes. As for colorimetry, despite the fact that the colors may seem somewhat saturated if we look at the images from the phone’s own screen, the truth is that quite a bit of balance is kept if we do not use specific modes, such as Food mode. The autofocus is simply perfect: instantaneous speed and always on point.
The most curious of all is that this balance of colors, dynamic range, and exposure is maintained in all cameras, something that is especially appreciated when recording video alternating between sensors. What does this mean? That there is no significant change in the values of the images is the case with most third-party cameras, where it is normal for the camera with a wide-angle lens to suffer from certain chromatic aberrations. The only company that knows how to maintain this harmony in its products is Apple. And if there is something in which this Samsung Galaxy S22+ can compete, it is precisely in this aspect. Does this mean that we will always get the same results on all cameras? Nothing is further from reality, starting with the aforementioned secondary camera.
Due to the limitations of the sensor, the dynamic range and the brightness level are affected when the lighting conditions are somewhat complex. For example, indoors and at night, the loss of detail and exposure is so evident that we are forced to use the main sensor or the night mode that is automatically activated if the scene requires it. Be careful, this mode does not do any wonders since, depending on the stability of our hand, the exposure time will range between 3, 6, and 9 seconds.
The results will depend precisely on this value, although the phone certainly has a lot of room for improvement in night photography. The reason? The level of brightness obtained is not as successful as that of Huawei, Google, or Apple. On the other hand, the washing that Samsung does on the textures spoils any iota of detail in the photographs, with a fairly marked watercolor effect. If we use a tripod to play with astrophotography, the images that we can get are quite impressive.
Unfortunately, the app limits the exposure time to 30 seconds even in the complete absence of motion. It is recommended to make use of a Bluetooth trigger or the timer function of the application itself for this. If we want to photograph the Moon, we will have to resort to the third camera, which has a telephoto lens with three optical magnifications and up to thirty when combined with digital photography.
In general, the results when we capture our satellite are quite different, since they will depend on how well we hold the phone. When we use this camera, Samsung enables a focus lock mode that allows us to stabilize the camera at one point, as was the case with the last generation Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Once we capture the snapshot, the Samsung process comes into play, a process that can save us any photograph of the Moon but that, in any other situation, can spoil all those scenes in which we have abused the zoom. In this aspect, the results obtained by phones like the Huawei P40 Pro are much better, both because of the level of optical zoom and because of the processing power of the phone.
Samsung has really done a good job in portrait mode. Although the phone lacks a ToF sensor, the company now manages the separation of subject and background with the generation of depth maps, which leads to a much more natural blur and a more accurate cut on paper. On paper, the results are also spot on, with blur applied gradually, producing a bokeh more akin to that of a conventional DSLR camera.
This applies to animals and people as well as objects. Of course, when the hair is separated from the head, the processing tends to ignore said separation, generating artifacts with focus and others with blur. In any case, it is recommended to use the sensor with a telephoto lens since, by its very nature, the results will always be better than those of the main sensor. Of course, portrait mode allows us to choose between the two cameras.
The experience in this case is exquisite. All the harmony that we were talking about before rises to its maximum expression when we play with the different cameras of the device, where the colorimetry and part of the exposure are maintained at all times. Samsung’s good work with stabilization brings it closer to the iPhone than ever before, especially on the secondary camera and telephoto lens. As if this were not enough, the company allows us to activate a mode that it has called “Super stable” that further reduces the vibration of the phone, with a result very similar to what we could obtain with a tripod.
During the night, the intervention of the software is slightly appreciated by the aberrations that are generated by damping the movement, generating a sensation of butter similar to that of other phones in the same range. Of course, due to the limitations of the sensors, the main sensor is the most recommended of the three to make video recordings in complex situations or in complete darkness, since the light level of the remaining two is very poor. A special mention goes to the possibility of making recordings in 8K quality at 24 FPS, where the quality of the sensor comes to the fore.
Although the stabilization system and the ability to focus are maintained, unless we have a screen or equipment that is capable of reproducing such an amount of information, its usefulness is practically nil. In fact, the device itself plays the video with certain slowdowns. To give us an idea of the quality, 15 minutes of video occupy more than 145 MB. There is nothing.
The Live Portrait mode is another mode that deserves special attention and that Samsung debuts with this new generation. As its name indicates, it simulates quite an apparent portrait mode, whose blur is applied automatically to the background. As with the same mode for photography, artifacts start to appear in areas with hair, so it is recommended to shoot on a tripod with hair tied up.
With 10 megapixels and a focal aperture of f/2.2, the results are very similar to those obtained with the main camera. good treatment of highlights and shadows, as well as color management. On the skin, there is a certain washing of the textures that we cannot deactivate, a washing that is applied a posteriori, and that can slightly dirty the final result. When we activate Portrait mode, the separation of the subject and the background is done more or less accurately, although the hair management is equally erratic at certain points. It should be noted that Samsung natively crops the frame, so if we want to enjoy a wider angle, we will have to enable said expansion manually.
If we focus on video recording, Samsung’s good work with stabilization is maintained at the cost of losing the angle of view. In this scenario, the control of the highlights is somewhat more erratic, with a tendency to overexposure if we find ourselves with sunny landscapes or with a good amount of natural light.
It’s time to talk about autonomy and charging. If we take a look at the technical sheet, we find a 4,500 mAh battery, in addition to a 45 W fast charging system and a 15 W wireless charging system that is also compatible with energy sharing. How about the experience in day-to-day use? correct. No more.
With the combined use of the camera, games such as Call of Duty Mobile and Asphalt 9, and applications such as WhatsApp, Telegram, Gmail, YouTube, Twitch, Spotify, Twitter, and Google Maps, the maximum autonomy is one day with the configured frequency of the panel at 60Hz. The average number of screen hours is 7, although this figure can vary depending on the brightness level and the use of mobile networks.
If we opt for a variable refresh rate, the autonomy is slightly reduced to 6 and a half hours of active screen. In short, good work by Samsung in this regard, although the figures are far from what other mid-range models obtain. On the other hand, we do not find an LTPO panel in use, so the frequency modulation is not carried out in the full range of 120 Hz since it is limited to 48 Hz. In other words, the energy efficiency of the screen could be higher, resulting in more comfortable figures.
What about the weight? Because we do not have a charger, the charging speed will depend on the power of the source to which we connect it. I have tried to connect the phone to three chargers from different brands (Apple, Huawei, and Xiaomi) with capacities of 61, 45, and 33 W, and the experience has been the same in all cases: 1 hour and a half from 0 to 100%. The solution? You can purchase a charger directly from the company, which is unheard of in this price range.
Coverage is still an issue with Samsung processors.
One criticism that I have always maintained of Exynos processors has been that of coverage. Living in a residential area, the mobile network range is limited outdoors, where it is customary to lose at least 50% of the signal.
In the case of the Samsung Galaxy S22+, coverage has always danced between the first and second lines. To this, we must add that the phone loses the mobile data connection on a recurring basis, which has forced me to restart the device on more than one occasion when I went outside. I do not rule out that it is a software problem, although it has not received any type of update during the three weeks that I have been able to test the terminal, despite the fact that the error persists after having updated the device a couple of days ago.
Regarding the rest of the connections, the general experience is positive. In addition to being compatible with 5G networks, the phone has Bluetooth 5.2, WiFi 6E, and NFC connections. In general, the range and stability of the WiFi network are good, even with the router several meters away, with walls and a floor in between. In the case of the Bluetooth connection, I have tried to connect Huawei FreeBuds 4 headphones, and both the sound quality and the synchronization speed have been satisfactory.
On the other hand, the GPS connection is accurate and fast when located indoors. When we use the phone as a driving assistant, the positioning is done in real-time without major problems.
Samsung makes use of its ultrasonic fingerprint sensor again to protect the privacy of the Galaxy S22. The response time is instantaneous and the margin of error is practically nil even if we have a wet or dirty finger, as it does not depend on cameras or light sources. To this, we must add that the recognition surface is wide and superior to that of optical sensors.
As for the facial recognition system, the experience is not so positive. Depending exclusively on the camera, the position of the face must coincide with the position that we have registered at the time of its configuration. In fact, it is best to record the same face two or three times at different angles. During the night, this system becomes practically impracticable, since we do not find ToF or infrared sensors.
After analyzing the phone in detail, it is time to draw conclusions, which, as usual, depend largely on the price. At the time of writing these lines, the cheapest version (8+128 GB) of the Samsung Galaxy S22+ is priced at 142,999 Tk (officially).
Leaving aside the economic value of the phone, the next question we would have to ask ourselves has to do precisely with the differences with respect to the 2021 model. Are these improvements decisive enough to opt for the most recent version? Answering this question is at the discretion of each one. What is a fact is that the Samsung Galaxy S22+ is objectively superior if we ignore, perhaps, the autonomy section.
It is also a fact that we are facing one of the best high-end exponents in the Android mobile phone catalog, although we must not stop being critical of the brand in order to improve aspects such as autonomy, the inclusion of a fast charging charger, the coverage, or the expansion of the models with the Qualcomm processor to the international market.