Samsung Galaxy S22 series caters to a wide range of consumers - including high-end shoppers and mid-range ones. But the Galaxy S22, which went on sale in India recently, makes a solid impression with its pricing and a powerful spec sheet. Does it step on the S22 Ultra's eliteness? Not at all! The S22 plays well in its own territory and even wins to a large extent.
It's true what they say — good things come in small packages. That said, the Galaxy S22 is right up your alley if you want a solid flagship that's not burning a hole in your pocket. The S22 starts at Rs 72,999 in India.
Quick glance at S22's specs
- 6.1-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X 120Hz display
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU
- 8GB DDR5 RAM
- 256GB UFS 3.1 storage
- 3,700mAh battery with 25W fast charging
- IP68 water and dust resistance
- 50MP+12MP+10MP triple rear camera
- 10MP Contour cut front camera
- Android 12-based OneUI 4.1
Design and Display
Samsung Galaxy S22 is definitely one of the better looking ones. It's got this classy vibe, which gives a premium impression of the phone. Right from taking the phone out of the box to using it as a daily driver, the phone's compact form factor and premium design left us impressed. Since the S22 Ultra and S22+ measure 6.8-inch and 6.6-inch, respectively, the 6.2-inch S22 feels like a mini model. Except it's not. The display size is comfortably large to accommodate all your needs.
The in-hand feel of the S22 is sublime. After having used some "giant" phones, the palms will actually be thankful for once. The Aluminium frame is ever-so-slightly curved, it will look flat, but also give a good grip in hand. Adding to the durability, the S22 has Gorilla Glass Victus protection on both sides.
While I'm told the green has a striking appeal, the white hue is not too bad. The milky frost glass back is identical to the iPhone 13 Pro's Silver model. The camera module is similar to the S21, housing three sensors. The rest of the phone is pretty standard, but it's worth noting that the the power and volume buttons are quite easily reachable. The USB-Type C port, one of the stereo speakers and the SIM card slot sit at the bottom. The second stereo is concealed well in the earpiece. The phone's design allows it to achieve IP68 dust and water resistance, putting our minds at ease.
Coming to the compact display of the S22, it's one that stands up to Samsung's standards. The Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O display with Vision Booster is a visual delight for consuming multimedia and playing games. The evenly slim bezels outlining the display are barely noticeable. On daily usage, outdoor visibility is incredible, even at this peak summer season. The 120Hz adaptive refresh rate does a fine job at delivery smooth animations.
Overall, Samsung Galaxy S22 is a winner in terms of design and the display is a natural star.
Performance and software
Samsung Galaxy S22 is powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, which is paired with 8 gigs worth of RAM to deliver optimum performance capabilities. During our review, the S22 performed exceptionally well, no lags, no frame drops in games, and multi-tasking with ease. But the phone does run hot on some occasions, like charging and playing graphics-intense games. But if the phone got to a point where it was unbearably hot, a quick rinse under the tap will cool things off. That's one way we found the IP68 to be extremely useful.
While the S21's performance is at par with competition (despite the reports of app throttling), those coming from 2020 flagships or some 2021 phones will instantly feel the bump in performance. But it is no match for the iPhone 13 series. The app launches are snappy and the overall user experience more refined.
A huge part of refining that user experience is the software. The S22 runs Android 12-based OneUI 4.2, which is now much closer to stock Android with thoughtful customisable options that are not intrusive or excessive. Users can choose between Samsung or Google apps for the daily apps. Dive into the settings to explore a whole new arena of customisations, some of which aren't new to Android 12 OS. But what's really important is the S22 gets up to 4 years of OS upgrades and 5 years of security updates.
The dynamic colour theming goes all the way down to the app icons, which looks pretty cool. There are many other features like the Smart Widget, Discover feed on a swipe, customisable gestures, and more. The Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner worked without any hiccups, as you would expect from a flagship. We didn't rely on face unlock feature, but for the sake of testing, it did work with snappy speed.
Samsung Galaxy S22 features a triple camera setup, but the sensors are actually bigger, which is great for low-light shooting. There's a 12MP ultra-wide sensor paired with 10MP telephoto camera and a 50MP wide-angle lens, which gives up to 3x Optical Zoom. On the front is a 10MP selfie camera.
The S22 performed wonderfully. The stills are sharp and crisp, colours are vibrant and a bit on the cooler tone. Although there's up to 30x zoom, it comes with a lot of noise. The inclusion of various modes, such as Pro, Panorama, Super Slow-Mo, Hyperlapse, Food Mode, Portrait Mode and Director's View come in handy depending on what you're shooting.
The S22's portrait mode was particularly good. It produced excellent bokeh shots, with the subject in good focus with details and vibrant colour tone. It managed to differentiate the background quite well in daylight shots, whereas there were some hit and miss shots in dim lighting.
After being impressed by the S22 Ultra's night shooting capabilities, we had our expectations from the S22. And boy, it didn't disappoint. There's definitely improved low-light performance, with reduced lens flare and good colour restoration. We noticed ignorable amount of noise in the photos shot in the dark with Night Mode in all supported lenses.
Finally, the Ultra-wide shots came out pretty decent as well. It surely added a dramatic effect the extent of our liking. Even in low-light, it managed well. But there's slight distortion around the edges, which can be overlooked while reviewing the picture as a whole.
Check out a few samples below:
Battery and charging
The small size of the Galaxy S22 means the battery it houses is small too. Having used the phone as the daily driver, we can say the battery is not the best feature of the S22. The 3,700mAh battery is best suited for average usage, whereas heavy usage will require you plugging the phone in for a refill. We consistently got around 4 hours of on-screen time. If you put the phone through intense gaming sessions, binge-watching series or go about your day with heavy usage of social media, internet browsing, IMs, calls, etc, you'll barely make it through the day. But the size of the battery had already set our expectations, so there were no surprises.
However, we really wished Samsung had offered faster-charging support even though it didn't include a power brick in the box. The phone charges at 25W, which fairs behind the current competition. Brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi are setting some serious goals on this front and Samsung could really benefit from higher watts of charging support.
I hate that I loved the Galaxy S22 so much. Its compact design is something you'll immediately fall in love with. Then there's the whole powerhouse inside that sealed chassis. The cameras are excellent and the display is a viewing pleasure. The battery of the S22 is not its pride and the charging speed is something that really needs to be improved if Samsung is asking for Rs 70K for its flagship. But if you overlook these shortcomings, the S22 is worth settling for. You may not find much value in upgrading from S21, but it's definitely an upgrade if you're levelling up from smartphone game to a higher budget.