REVIEW: Galaxy S22+ Will Make You Ditch Your iPhone
Samsung’s new S22 range is everywhere. On the sides of buses driving through the city; on Telstra trade-in ads, and TV commercials. Following the recent success of its Flip3 and Fold3 phones, which has had people flipping phones like they just recovered from Y2K, Samsung’s new ubiquitous S-series range should tempt a further move away from Apple. It seems about time, don’t you think?
The Plus sits squarely in the middle of the three S22 phones: between the flagship S22, shrunken down to slip into smaller pockets, and Samsung’s new Note/phone hybrid, the Ultra. Truth be told, this phone’s biggest competition within the Samsung world isn’t in the S22 range, it’s the S21 FE, which came out mere weeks before this phone, and offers similar bang for buck. Outside of the Samsung world, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the closest competitor to the S22+, and if this range sells like I assume it will, the Plus might have Apple fans thinking twice before upgrading to the iPhone 14.
Stylistically speaking, the S22+ is a beautiful phone, with more than a few similarities to the aforementioned 13 Pro Max. The thin, vertical camera array is elegant (unlike the fly-eye splatter of the Ultra) the flattened display and back panel is sleek, and the phone just feels good in your hands – an underrated feature in the modern phone. The speakers, SIM slot and USB-C port are hidden on the bottom of the phone, and the side bottoms blend nicely into the colourway.
Speaking of colourways, the S22+ comes standard in four beautiful options: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, or Pink Gold. If you buy direct from Samsung, you’ll also have Graphite, Sky Blue, Cream, or Violet options.
A Samsung spokesperson told me that most users opt for a clear case for their S-series devices, and I can see why.
The display screen is where this phone first delivers. With AMOLED 2X technology, a 120Hz refresh rate, and Samsung’s Vision Booster, which upscales the display to 1750 nits, the picture remains vibrant and sharp, even when in bright environments. Jumping between camera-modes, into various apps, scrolling and streaming and gaming, doing my best to outpace the Exynos 2200, the phone remains smooth and responsive.
It seems a curious choice to not offer a 12GB upgrade, especially with the 12GB Ultra being such a separate beast, but — like the lack of microSD — you’ll learn to live with it.
If you’re an Android native, you’ll take to the One UI 4.1, built on the bones of the new Android 12. With prevent generations, Samsung really wanted to push you to move about in its own ecosystem, but here it favours Google Messages over Samsung Messages, and offers four future software updates, bringing you to Android 16 – if you manage to avoid a hardware upgrade before that point.
Samsung’s big push for the Ultra was its cameras, which are mighty impressive to say the least. The Plus has slightly more humble ambitions on this front: with the main 50MP sensor and a 40MP selfie camera, Samsung have vastly improved on the S21, but retains the same 2MP ultra-wide and 12MP 3X-optical zoom telephoto lenses as the S20.
I found when taking photos I defaulted to the 3X-optical zoom telephoto lenses for stills (see above – shot in overcast conditions), while the main camera gave good, sharp action shots, with a fast enough processor to capture most subjects – although pets will often still become a fluffy blur (see below).
Samsung has actually reduced the battery for the S21+, from 4,800mAh to 4,500mAh. To be honest, I didn’t notice any reduction – the phone lasted all day, sat idle overnight, and only needed a charge coming into the next afternoon. This was with regular, constant usage.
S22+ bugbears are likely the same as those I have with the FE: the lack of 3.5mm headphone jack; no microSD slot, forcing you to shell out the extra $100 to double your space or be satisfied with 128GB; the camera bump that prevents the phone from sitting flat on a table.
At 6.6-inches, the smaller-handed may struggle with a comfortable one-handed-hold, but this problem is no doubt why Samsung opted to shrink the S22.
The three models in the S22 range are very different beasts. Despite having the least splashy promotion around it, the Plus is the most useful of the three — not a mini-beast like the S22, not a Note-replacement like the Ultra — the Plus might find itself becoming one of Samsung’s best-selling devices to date, and should give anyone considering the iPhone 13 or 14 serious pause.
Whip-fast and intuitive
Good battery life
Vivid display in all light
Will take a bite out of Apple’s dominance
No headphone jack
No 12GB option