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Samsung Galaxy S22 First Impressions | Can boring actually mean good?

The vanilla Galaxy S22 brings quite a few improvements over what was an already solid flagship, which begs the question; "Should this be your default choice for an Android flagship in 2022?"

March 07, 2022 / 01:57 PM IST
As the trend of smartphones is gravitating towards bigger, bolder, Samsung has opted for the safer route with the vanilla Galaxy S22. While the Galaxy S22 Ultra leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence, the Galaxy S22 goes the opposite route by making solid improvements to a tried and tested formula. At a starting price of Rs 72,999, the Galaxy S22 comes with a minor price hike over its predecessor but brings considerable improvements over the S21. So without any further delays, let’s take a brief look at the Samsung Galaxy S22.
Samsung Galaxy S22 First Impressions | As the trend of smartphones is gravitating towards bigger, bolder, Samsung has opted for the safer route with the vanilla Galaxy S22. While the Galaxy S22 Ultra leaves no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence, the Galaxy S22 goes the opposite route by making solid improvements to a tried and tested formula. At a starting price of Rs 72,999, the Galaxy S22 comes with a minor price hike over its predecessor but brings considerable improvements over the S21. So without any further delays, let’s take a brief look at the Samsung Galaxy S22.
Unlike the Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 Ultra, the vanilla S22 boasts a compact form factor. The overall design of the Galaxy S22 is similar to that of its predecessor with the ‘Contour Cut’ design for the camera housing. The phone also has chamfered edges that are sharper and rounded to make it feel really good in the hand. The Galaxy S22’s build has also been updated, with Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front and back and an Armour Aluminium frame.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Design & Build | Unlike the Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 Ultra, the vanilla S22 boasts a compact form factor. The overall design of the Galaxy S22 is similar to that of its predecessor with the ‘Contour Cut’ design for the camera housing. The phone also has chamfered edges that are sharper and rounded to make it feel really good in the hand. The Galaxy S22’s build has also been updated, with Gorilla Glass Victus protection on the front and back and an Armour Aluminium frame.
The rest of the design is pretty standard with volume and power buttons on the right side and USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and SIM tray on the bottom. The Galaxy S22 is available in Phantom White, Green, and Phantom Black colours, while the matte finish resists fingerprints quite well. You also get the standard IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. I figured it might be difficult getting used to the small form factor, but the S22 made the transition seamless.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Design & Build | The rest of the design is pretty standard with volume and power buttons on the right side and a USB Type-C port, speaker grille, and SIM tray on the bottom. The Galaxy S22 is available in Phantom White, Green, and Phantom Black colours, while the matte finish resists fingerprints quite well. You also get the standard IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. I figured it might be difficult getting used to the small form factor, but the S22 made the transition seamless.
Samsung uses a 6.1-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel that is sharper thanks to its higher pixel density. The screen also gets quite bright, peaking at 1,300 nits and allowing you to view just about anything under direct sunlight. Unlike the Galaxy S22 Ultra, there’s no LTPO display here, with the refresh rate scaling between 48Hz to 120Hz or you can even lock it at 60Hz. The panel also has great viewing angles and colour accuracy. The in-display fingerprint reader also works pretty well. The Galaxy S22’s screen is arguably one of the best in its class and despite its small size, it doesn’t feel like a compromise.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Display | Samsung uses a 6.1-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel that is sharper thanks to its higher pixel density. The screen also gets quite bright, peaking at 1,300 nits and allowing you to view just about anything under direct sunlight. Unlike the Galaxy S22 Ultra, there’s no LTPO display here, with the refresh rate scaling between 48Hz to 120Hz or you can even lock it at 60Hz. The panel also has great viewing angles and colour accuracy. The in-display fingerprint reader also works pretty well. The Galaxy S22’s screen is arguably one of the best in its class and despite its small size, it doesn’t feel like a compromise.
With the Galaxy S22 series, Samsung trades the Exynos chip for a Snapdragon one. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip here is paired with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. I have to say that performance here is top notch, with the S22 capable of effortlessly handling multi-tasking, while games run smoothly on the highest setting. But although the S22 runs just about as smoothly as any 2022 flagship, Samsung might be in hot water for throttling the performance of apps on its top-tier smartphones.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Performance | With the Galaxy S22 series, Samsung trades the Exynos chip for a Snapdragon one. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip here is paired with 8GB of LPDDR5 RAM and up to 256GB of UFS 3.1 storage. I have to say that performance here is top-notch, with the S22 capable of effortlessly handling multi-tasking, while games run smoothly on the highest setting. But although the S22 runs just about as smoothly as any 2022 flagship, Samsung might be in hot water for throttling the performance of apps on its top-tier smartphones.
For optics, the Galaxy S22 gets a much-needed upgrade. The new 50 MP, f/1.8 primary sensor that uses “Tetra binning” technology to output photos in 12 megapixels. The main camera is paired with a 12 MP, f/2.2 ultrawide shooter and a 10 MP, f/2.4 telephoto unit with 3x optical zoom. Up front, you get a 12 MP selfie camera that can record 4K video at 60fps. The rear cameras can record 8K video at 24fps or 4K video at up to 60fps.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Cameras | For optics, the Galaxy S22 gets a much-needed upgrade. The new 50 MP, f/1.8 primary sensor uses “Tetra binning” technology to output photos in 12 megapixels. The main camera is paired with a 12 MP, f/2.2 ultrawide shooter and a 10 MP, f/2.4 telephoto unit with 3x optical zoom. Upfront, you get a 12 MP selfie camera that can record 4K video at 60fps. The rear cameras can record 8K video at 24fps or 4K video at up to 60fps.
While there quite a bit of testing yet to be done, the Galaxy S21’s main camera handles detail and colours extremely well. The bigger sensor tends to capture more light but is wider than most primary sensors, which is odd considering there’s already an ultrawide shooter.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Cameras | While there is quite a bit of testing yet to be done, the Galaxy S21’s main camera handles detail and colours extremely well. The bigger sensor tends to capture more light but is wider than most primary sensors, which is odd considering there’s already an ultrawide shooter.
There’s a new and improved night mode as well, which snaps pictures quicker. Images can also be enhanced using AI with the “Remaster Picture” options. There’s new 16-bit RAW file support and an improved portrait mode, which does take the Galaxy S series uncomfortably close to the king of portraits, the iPhone. Additionally, the Super Resolution mode and Night Mode can be used directly in the Snapchat app.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Cameras | There’s a new and improved night mode as well, which snaps pictures quicker. Images can also be enhanced using AI with the “Remaster Picture” options. There’s new 16-bit RAW file support and an improved portrait mode, which does take the Galaxy S series uncomfortably close to the king of portraits, the iPhone. Additionally, the Super Resolution mode and Night Mode can be used directly in the Snapchat app.
We will dive deeper into the aspects of the selfie camera and video performance on the Galaxy S22 in our full review. But for now, here are some samples taken on the Galaxy S22.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Cameras | We will dive deeper into the aspects of the selfie camera and video performance on the Galaxy S22 in our full review. But for now, here are some samples taken on the Galaxy S22.
The battery was the only area where I found the Galaxy S22 to be lacking. The 3,700 mAh battery here is just about enough to get through a full day under average use. While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip is the best in its class, it runs pretty hot when you are indulging in heavy workloads like gaming, so you can expect a much higher power draws in such instances. When idle, the battery consumption is much slower. However, battery life was not so much of an issue as charging, which seems fine at 25W, but with no power adapter included in the box I was left charging it through the laptop or using a power brick from another brand, which doesn’t give you the full 25W support. You might want to get a 25W Samsung adapter here.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Battery | The battery was the only area where I found the Galaxy S22 to be lacking. The 3,700 mAh battery here is just about enough to get through a full day under average use. While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip is the best in its class, it runs pretty hot when you are indulging in heavy workloads like gaming, so you can expect much higher power draws in such instances. When idle, the battery consumption is much slower. However, battery life was not so much of an issue as charging, which seems fine at 25W, but with no power adapter included in the box, I was left charging it through the laptop or using a power brick from another brand, which doesn’t give you the full 25W support. You might want to get a 25W Samsung adapter here.
Samsung has delivered in terms of software on the Galaxy S22 or the Galaxy S22 series in general. The S22 runs Android 12 with Samsung's One UI 4.1 interface, which is just getting better with time. I’d go as far as to say that One UI is the most reliable skin for Android. Samsung is also guaranteeing four years of major Android updates, which is higher than the three offered by Google and only falling short of the Fairphone.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Software | Samsung has delivered in terms of software on the Galaxy S22 or the Galaxy S22 series in general. The S22 runs Android 12 with Samsung's One UI 4.1 interface, which is just getting better with time. I’d go as far as to say that One UI is the most reliable skin for Android. Samsung is also guaranteeing four years of major Android updates, which is higher than the three offered by Google and only falling short of the Fairphone.
In my short time with the Galaxy S22, I have to say that it certainly makes a compelling case for “best compact smartphone”. But apart from that, there’s nothing special about it, Samsung is using a tired and tested formula. While there are noticeable improvements in the camera, performance, display, software, and design departments, these aren’t generational upgrades. The improvements simply right the wrongs of the Galaxy S21. But that’s just it; the Galaxy S21 was an excellent phone when it launched, which makes the S22 a solid upgrade.
Samsung Galaxy S22 First Impressions | In my short time with the Galaxy S22, I have to say that it certainly makes a compelling case for “best compact smartphone”. But apart from that, there’s nothing special about it, Samsung is using a tried and tested formula, which works like a charm. While there are noticeable improvements in the camera, performance, display, software, and design departments, these aren’t generational upgrades. The improvements simply right the wrongs of the Galaxy S21. But that’s just it; the Galaxy S21 was an excellent phone when it launched, which makes the S22 a solid upgrade.
The safe route actually works very-well for Samsung’s most affordable S22 phone. It is also worth noting that all the upgrades on the S22 come at an almost insignificantly higher price hike from the S21. For a more in-depth look at the Galaxy S22’s performance, camera capabilities, battery life, and software, stay tuned for our full review. To conclude this quick hands-on review, I have to say that the Galaxy S22 seems like the most practical choice for an Android flagship smartphone in 2022. In my mind, it is the flagship you can buy without any hesitation of limitations.
Samsung Galaxy S22 First Impressions | The safe route actually works very well for Samsung’s most affordable S22 phone. It is also worth noting that all the upgrades on the S22 come with a minor price hike from the S21. For a more in-depth look at the Galaxy S22’s performance, camera capabilities, battery life, and software stay tuned for our full review. To conclude this quick Galaxy S22 hands-on review, I have to say that the S22 seems like the most practical choice for an Android flagship smartphone in 2022. Yes, it is a bit boring, but that works in the S22's favour as it gets just about everything right and very little, if anything, wrong.
Carlsen Martin
first published: Mar 7, 2022 12:37 pm
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