Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review
By Yvonne
2022-10-14

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a big, powerful and attractive Android phone that puts the power of the S Pen inside, and will turn heads with its astounding camera performance.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a powerful and beautiful Android phone. The phone is versatile, capable of handling important tasks, writing notes and gaming. It also has big, large-screen browsing and a great camera. Space Zoom allows you to zoom in and out, which makes it even more useful. All these features will cost you a lot.

The pros

  • +

    Amazing zoom and cameras

  • +

    Great little S Pen

  • +

    Beautiful screen with buttery smooth texture

Related Reading: Sony Xperia 10 IV review

Cons

  • -

    Prices high

  • -

    There is no microSD slot

  • -

    Better battery life

Related Reading: Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3 review: The first cheaper foldable phone

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Two-minute review

We might consider the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra the most outstanding smartphone ever if we only looked at its cameras, and in particular the digital and optical zooms.

This is not the case. Every handset has its own design, features and components. But taken together, the Samsung Galaxy Series-Galaxy Note is an outstanding, massive Android phone that ticks every box, yet delivers many more features than what you might ever need or want.

It is a reinterpretation of Samsung's previous Note device, while also being more forward-leaning. The hybrid is truly a marvel. There will be no complaints about the ultra-high-resolution, 6.8-inch screen, which offers brilliant colors and smooth motion at 120Hz, but is smart enough to stop down all the way to 1Hz, when that's all you need, to save on battery life.

Strong camera array. It's not an overhaul of Galaxy S21's existing camera system but it is still very impressive. It's arguably even better - Space Zooms and Optical are marvels of modern technology.

The S Pen is also a favorite of ours, so we are thrilled to see it integrated into the Galaxy range. This pen does so much and is a blessing for mobile productivity users.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra full back

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Specs

Display:6.8 inches, Quad HD+
Dimensions 77.9x163.3x8.9mm
Weight: 229G
Screen refresh120Hz
Screen brightness: 1750 nits
Glass: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+
Water Resistance:IP68
Selfie camera: 40MP resolution
Main Camera:108MP Resolution
Telephoto camera with2 10MP resolution sensors
Ultrawide: 12MP resolution
Battery: 5000mAh
Memory: 8GB and 12GB options
Storage:128GB 256GB,512GB or 1TB

Samsung's One UI 4.1 software works well, even though it can duplicate browsers, photos and messaging apps. The real highlight here is Expert Raw, an app from Samsung that allows you to access all camera controls, capture RAW-format photos and let you save them. Also, Google Duo video-conferencing app, both free and available for download, does a great job of showing the phone's versatility and power.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon8 Gen 1 processor performs well (although it is not as fast as Apple's A15 Bionic). We couldn't find any app that felt slow or unsatisfying on the mobile monolith.

The battery life was mixed. Although we did manage to get 18 hours of continuous use, we were not sure if the huge 5,000-mAh battery or high-performance energy-efficient CPU would give us more.

This is the type of device that will make you forget everything before it. You'll be uncomfortable if your screen is smaller than you used. You'll be amazed at how Apple didn't figure this out if you have ever struggled to photograph the moon. You can now wish that your phone had a bit more power for those image editing tasks.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra, although it is part of Samsung's S22 lineup and looks nothing like its siblings. It can be described as a Galaxy Note with a new, shiny coat. Although it does feature a bolder and larger camera array, it is a subtle adjustment to the Note aesthetic, or as Samsung may call it the "Note Experience". This adjustment makes it the most powerful Samsung phone.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Price and Release Date

  • Starts at $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM
  • Up to 1TB storage options, with no microSD slots for expansion

The device combines both the best features of Samsung's S Series with the Note's industrial design and more advanced capabilities. It's not cheap. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at $1,199.99 / £1,149 / AU$1,849 for 128GB storage and 8GB of RAM.

There are naturally bigger storage options (that also include more RAM), which can take you all the way to a 1TB model ($1,599.99 / £1,499 / AU$2,449 ). 256GB will run you $1,299,99 / £1,249 / AU$1,999, and 512GB is $1,399.99 / £1,329 / AU$2,149.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

You need to choose your storage options carefully, as none of the Samsung Galaxy S22 smartphones come with a microSD slot that can be used for expanding your storage.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra prices

Configuration US price UK price AU price
8/128GB $1,199.99 £1,149 $1,849
12/256GB $1,299.99 £1,249 $1,999
12/512GB $1,399.99 £1,329 $2,149
12GB/1TB $1,599.99 £1,499 $2,449

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Design & Display

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Screen

  • OLED screen is 6.8 inches with WQHD+ resolution
  • Armor Aluminium frame with Gorilla Glass Victus+
  • S Pen in silo on the phone

The 6.8 inch Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is an incomparable device. Its Note roots mean that it doesn't look like the Galaxy S22 Plus. The original Galaxy Note 10 design is retained, but it's enhanced with premium materials.

Armor aluminum is used to frame the structure. It resists twisting and remains rigidly solid. The metal has been polished to an almost-chrome exterior and sandwiched between Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ plates. Both the front and back glass are high-gloss. The satin finishes do an adequate job at repelling fingerprints. Its IP68-rated phone body was able to withstand the rain and water that we splashed on it.

These finishes are available in seven colors: Phantom Black and Phantom White as well as Graphite, Sky Blue, Red, Green, Graphite, Sky Blue, Sky Blue, and Graphite. We love the dark green, but have fallen for the mysterious Phantom Black on our test device.

We mentioned that it is quite a large phone. The dimensions of the phone are 163.3x77.9x8.9mm. This is larger than the 6.7-inch Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max. However, it weighs in at 229g which makes it lighter than Apple’s largest handset. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is not suitable for small hands. Although the Galaxy S22 Ultra's curved edges are comfortable to hold, the Galaxy S22 Ultra feels slippery like a fish.

The device has two flat surfaces: one at the top, and the other at the bottom. Top plane is made up of a solid slab of metal with one small hole that can be used as a microphone. The SIM slot and USB-C charging port are located on the bottom. (The phone comes with a USB cable, but not a charging brick- BYOB will be a thing). Speaker grilles can also be found here.

You can confirm that it is an S Series Note by pressing the bump at the base. The familiar, light S Pen will then pop out. This is all a Samsung S Pen needs, and it's no sacrifice for the new Galaxy S22 Ultra. We'll be covering the stylus more later.

Another highlight is the 6.8 inch AMOLED screen. The screen supports up to 3088x1440 pixels (WQHD+), which is 500ppi. On the iPhone 13 Pro Max's 6.7 inch 2778x1284 screen, 458ppi is found. The default resolution of the S22 Ultra is 2316x1080 (FHD+), but Samsung claims that it uses less battery life. However, halfway through our tests, we changed to WQHD+, and noticed very little, if any, performance degradation.

The display can smoothly switch between a smooth 1Hz refresh rate and a silky smooth 120Hz. Apps, games, videos, and other media all look great on it. This adaptive technology is difficult to spot because 1Hz could be used as a home screen, word processor or for gaming, and 120Hz may be needed for gaming.

It is important to remember that smooth imagery is best. Low refresh rates are used to save battery. If nothing's moving, there is no reason to change the screen for more than 100 times per second.

The screen maintains visibility in direct sunlight with a peak brightness level of 1750 nits. This is thanks to Samsung's Vision Booster technology. This will affect your battery life and daily performance.

The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner is located under the screen about a third from the edge. It was easy for us to register our finger and unlock our phone using it. Samsung also offers facial recognition as a biometric security method, however, it warns you that it is not as secure as fingerprints or PIN.

A small hole is also made through the screen to allow for the front-facing 40MP camera.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Cameras

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera array

  • The main camera has a 108MP resolution with an f/1.8 aperture. It also features an 85-defree FOV
  • 2 telephoto lenses, each with 10MP sensors.
  • Zoom up to 10x and Space Zoom up to 100x

People will say "So it's basically the new Samsung Galaxy Note?" We have to turn the phone over to reveal the camera array. This is the same as the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

This isn't a Frankenstein's monster smartphone design, but it's not. The S22 Ultra's five lens array looks great because Samsung removed the contour box. It was positioned a few millimeters above the S21.

They look almost identical, not just because they are similar. Two 10MP Telephoto Lenses are available: One is f/2.4, with a 36 degree field of view (FOV), and one is f/4.9, with an 11-degree FOV. A 12MP Ultrawide has a 120 degree FOV and a 108MP Main Wide Camera (f/1.8), which features an 85-degree FOV.

The technology behind these lenses was upgraded. The image sensors are the same as the S21 Ultra. However, Samsung has made some improvements to optical image stabilization and digital image stabilization for a more reliable Super Steady system. This has led to better performance for all lenses but particularly in the zoom area.

We have never seen zoom abilities like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra on a smartphone camera. The 3x and 10-x optical zooms are solid, but also provide clear images of faraway objects in sufficient clarity to allow you to crop out details with minimal pixelation.

You'd notice significant artifacts on your images with the Space Zoom at 30x, and even 100x, in earlier versions of Samsung's technology.

These images look amazing, even though they aren't immediately obvious. These images can still be shared, even though you cannot crop too many without them becoming a Picasso-like mess.

This is partly due to the stabilization. At 100x it basically controls the lens and keeps a subject in focus (such as the moon). Although it can sometimes feel like you aren't in complete control, the stabilization does a great job at reducing shakes.

Some new pixel magic is also available for wide and super-wide images. Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra introduced Adaptive Pixel. The Adaptive Pixel is a nona-binning technique that takes nine pixels and combines them to create better colors and contrast.

It also combines the full resolution from the 108MP wide angle original. The lens gets auto-focus assistance from what appears to be a fifth lens, but it is actually a Laser Auto Focus Sensor. The little red laser light can be seen peeking through the glass if you pay attention.

We were able to capture great images, even though we noticed a slight oversaturation.

For a 10MP high-quality image, the front-facing camera uses tetrabinning, which combines four pixels to create one.

Samsung also makes it possible to do 'Nightography' with its lenses, stabilizer, image sensors and algorithms. Although we aren't keen on the term "Nightography", the phone has excellent night-time and low light photography skills. The phone can lighten the night sky and capture your face even in low lighting. It also has long exposure skills.

With the Portrait mode, which is able to distinguish stray hairs and a background of bokeh from the front and rear cameras, portraits are done well by both the front-and rear cameras. Samsung explained that this was due to the new depth mapping technology. Presets that allow you to make a virtual background (a color that is chromakey so that it can be replaced later), are quite useful.

High-quality 4K video can be shot at 60fps and 8K at 24fps. The results were excellent.

The phone's Portrait Video abilities were not as impressive, and it isn't nearly as good or fun to use than Apple's iPhone 13 line. (It needs to have a face to be able to work). We don't think the auto-framing feature, which zooms in on people to preserve them in focus, is very useful.

We love the Samsung video capabilities. Unlike an iPhone, you can shoot video and hit pause to continue. All of this while saving your entire video in one file. Apple needs to add this feature ASAP.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: S Pen

  • Light and flexible
  • Notes on the lock screen

Apart from the amazing cameras, there's a reason why you would spend more money on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It has an integrated S Pen. You can hide the versatile and light stylus within the phone's body. It's tiny, lightweight, and easy to slip into the handset.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen

The S Pen allows you to take notes and open your phone to access an eight-option slide-in menu.

You can take notes and view them. Make smart choices of what you see on the screen. Send live messages and draw on screen. PenUp is a place where you can share your work with other people.

These features all work exactly as they are advertised and allow you to quickly grab content, mark it up and share with your friends or coworkers.

The S Pen, in our opinion, is an extremely useful tool. It's also small enough to be used for drawing, which we think makes it a very effective instrument. Sketchbook was opened and we had fun drawing. The pen and the screen both recognize pressure and angles.

S Pen can also be used as a productivity tool. The system converted the notes into text by allowing us to write some notes in Samsung Notes. The system didn't miss any word.

The S Pen is versatile and can be used for many purposes. However, it follows the 80/20 rule: most people will only use 20% of its features.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Software

  • Android 12 With Samsung OneUI 4.1
  • Certain apps like Messages can be duplicated by Google and Samsung versions

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Android 12 smartphone is a great phone and an excellent Android handset. However, it also runs One UI 4.1 which the most recent version of Samsung's Android software. This overlay is not designed to replace pure Android. It duplicates certain utilities like the photos app and offers tons of useful software tools like Samsung's new Wallet.

Samsung has strong onboard video and photo editing capabilities. The ability to remove objects from photos magically is something we love. We used this feature on a picture of donuts, where instead of having them all, we selected each one of them and then removed them from our original photo. Although there were a few artifacts that the software left behind, it was hard to see what they actually did before digitally removing a donut.

You can also download the Expert Raw app for free. This app gives you all the professional shooting tools like ISO, white balance and shutter speed. It lets you take raw images that you then edit in Adobe Lightroom.

Although it's not ideal, there is a Messages and a Samsung Messages app. Although the icons are similar they can be used in two different apps. This kind of nonsense will keep Android's messaging system somewhat behind iOS's iMessage. One system is what we want - RCS (Rich Communication Services), which allows for complete cross-app compatibility, is the best.

Samsung is making a lot about Google Duo, the updated video conference utility that Google has launched on the S22 Ultra. It works as promised. A Duo call was made to a friend. It looked and sounded great on both ends. Then, we shared our screens, apps, Twitter and played a YouTube clip that both of us were able to enjoy.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra connecting phone to Windows 11

Samsung has also strengthened its relationship with Microsoft. We were able to add our Microsoft account which includes OneDrive, the Office Suite, and no other issues. Easy to connect our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with Windows 11 was also possible.

The process was initiated on the phone. Next, we needed to go to a URL on our PC. This should have opened automatically but it didn't. We found a QR code. The code was pointed at by the S22 Ultra camera, which then guided us through all the setup steps.

Once the connection was established, we could control the phone from the desktop with our mouse. We even tried Asphalt 9 briefly before it crashed.

Although it was not immediately obvious how these platforms could be combined in such a way to benefit the user in our testing, we believe that the appeal of being able to access data and messages on the phone quickly is a part of what makes them so attractive.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Performance and specs

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with camera app open

  • The world's most popular processor is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Generation 1 4nm process.
  • UK, Australia receive Samsung Exynos2200 chipset

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra performed flawlessly over almost a week-long of intensive testing. This phone is fast and powerful. It uses the 4nm processor, in our case it was the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipet. Australia and UK will receive Samsung's Exynos 2200 chipset. Geekbench benchmarks show that it doesn't perform as well as Apple's A15 Bionic. However, raw numbers don't tell the whole story.

Apple has better numbers, but Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra felt no slower in all areas. The only time we noticed a slight stutter in 8K video playback was when we were using the exact same device.

It is also an excellent and powerful gaming phone. I was able to complete my Asphalt 9 race in Barcelona with no problems.

The call quality was excellent in general. The caller could be heard clearly and the operator confirmed that we had been hearing them. We were using 5G in the US on T-Mobile. It was excellent at times and average at others. This seemed to be dependent on our proximity to an adequate tower.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Battery life

  • Big 5,000mAh battery with wireless charging
  • Did not live up to our battery life expectations

The S22 Ultra has a hefty 5,000mAh battery, wireless charging and similar features to the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The battery was able to withstand a day's worth of activity, roughly from 7am-11pm. However, it did not last as long for high resolution screen settings or mid-range activities.

It was a surprise that such an enormous battery couldn't last for more than a day. The new 4nm chips may not be as efficient as Samsung had expected.

Samsung Galaxy S22 S Pen

It has heat-sync and vapor champer built in. We noticed some heat on the phone's back when we used it for long periods of time to perform a range of tasks including browsing the web, taking photos, and playing games. With some software tweaks, Samsung may be able improve the battery's performance.

The phone does not come with a charging cable, but only the USB-C cables to attach to it. This could be a problem for those upgrading to the Note. The in-the box package does not include a set of headphones. This is a good thing, but it makes you feel that Samsung wants to charge you more for less.

It is not the right choice for everybody, though. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is large and expensive. It might not be the right choice for everyone who wants a great screen and decent photos. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, for those looking to do more with their phone, is able to use Raw photo editing software, make detailed art, and zoom in on images and screens.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Related Reading: Xiaomi Poco X3 Pro review: a budget gaming monster phone

It's a good deal if you...

Are you a productivity junkie
It will be difficult to find a better mobile phone than the Samsung Galaxy S22 ultra.

Are you a compulsive note taker/artist
The S Pen can be used to create fine art, scribbles and marksup.

Photography is your passion
This camera has a great array of cameras, with zooming capabilities that will let you finally capture all the details.

Do not buy it if

Did you think that you would get 2 days battery life?
Although the phone is large, its 5,000-mAh battery is quite impressive. The powerful smartphone's CPU and screen might consume more power than you expected. However, you will be able to do a lot of things throughout the day, from sunrise until sunset.

Your hands are small
It is quite a large phone. The phone is still quite large, even with the curvilinear edges. It is also slippery.

Are you a lover of wired headphones
This phone is not the right one for you if you still use wired headphones with 3.5mm connectors. Samsung has removed the 3.5mm headset jack and does not include a set of wired headphones. The handset is compatible with Bluetooth, wireless earbuds.

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