Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review: The best Android phone you can get

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The smartphone landscape has not changed much over the past few years. There are a handful of new smartphone makers and many solid midrange and budget options we never had before. But overall, the flagship smartphone market is still dominated by two major players, Samsung and Apple. OK, you can throw in Google, but they’re only included due to name recognition. While Samsung and Apple dominate the head of the smartphone snake, it is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra dominates the Android beast’s head.

Estimated reading time: 0 minutes

I am sure there will be an argument that will invoke the Pixel and perhaps the OnePlus flagship phones. But I think the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best Android phone you can get right now. While it does have some shortcomings, what devices don’t? The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is hands down the best of the best and stands up to everything the iPhone can throw at it. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is it if you want the best flagship Android phone currently available.

Specifications

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has the following features and specifications:

CPU/GPU

  • Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4 nm)
  • Adreno 730

Display

  • Size (Main_Display)173.1mm (6.8″)
  • Resolution (Main Display)3088 x 1440 (Quad HD+)
  • Technology (Main Display)Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • Color Depth (Main Display)16M

S Pen Support

  • Yes

Camera

  • Rear Camera – Resolution (Multiple)108.0 MP + 10.0 MP + 12.0 MP + 10.0 MP
  • Rear Camera – F Number (Multiple)F1.8 , F4.9 , F2.2 , F2.4
  • Main Camera – Auto FocusYes
  • Rear Camera – OISYes
  • Rear Camera – ZoomOptical Zoom at 3x and 10x , Digital Zoom up to 100x
  • Front Camera – Resolution40.0 MP
  • Front Camera – F NumberF2.2
  • Front Camera – Auto FocusYes
  • Main Camera – FlashYes
  • Video Recording ResolutionUHD 8K (7680 x 4320) @24fps
  • Slow Motion960fps @HD, 240fps @FHD

Memory

  • RAM Size: 12GB
  • Storage Size: 128GB (more options available)
  • Available Memory: Varies by storage size

Network/Bearer

  • Number of SIMDual-SIM
  • SIM sizeNano-SIM (4FF), Embedded-SIM
  • SIM Slot TypeSIM 1 + SIM 2 or Embedded SIM
  • Infra2G GSM, 3G WCDMA, 4G LTE FDD, 4G LTE TDD, 5G Sub6 FDD, 5G Sub6 TDD
  • 2G GSMGSM850, GSM900, DCS1800, PCS1900
  • 3G UMTSB1(2100), B2(1900), B4(AWS), B5(850), B8(900)
  • 4G FDD LTEB1(2100), B2(1900), B3(1800), B4(AWS), B5(850), B7(2600), B8(900), B12(700), B13(700), B17(700), B18(800), B19(800), B20(800), B25(1900), B26(850), B28(700), B66(AWS-3)
  • 4G TDD LTEB38(2600), B39(1900), B40(2300), B41(2500)
  • 5G FDD Sub6N1(2100), N2(1900), N3(1800), N5(850), N7(2600), N8(900), N12(700), N20(800), N25(1900), N28(700), N66(AWS-3)
  • 5G TDD Sub6N38(2600), N40(2300), N41(2500), N77(3700), N78(3500)

Connectivity

  • USB InterfaceUSB Type-C
  • USB VersionUSB 3.2 Gen 1
  • Location TechnologyGPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo, QZSS
  • EarjackUSB Type-C
  • MHLNo
  • Wi-Fi802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax 2.4G+5GHz+6GHz, HE160, MIMO, 1024-QAM
  • Wi-Fi DirectYes
  • Bluetooth VersionBluetooth v5.2
  • NFCYes
  • UWB (Ultra-Wideband)Yes
  • PC Sync.Smart Switch (PC version)

OS

  • Android 12

Sensors

  • Accelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor

Physical specification

  • Dimension (HxWxD, mm)163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9
  • Weight (g)228

Battery

  • Internet Usage Time(LTE) (Hours)Up to 20
  • Internet Usage Time(Wi-Fi) (Hours)Up to 21
  • Video Playback Time (Hours, Wireless)Up to 20
  • Battery Capacity (mAh, Typical)5000
  • Removable – No
  • Audio Playback Time (Hours, Wireless)Up to 81
  • Talk Time (4G LTE) (Hours)Up to 40

Audio and Video

  • Stereo SupportYes
  • Video Playing FormatMP4, M4V, 3GP, 3G2, AVI, FLV, MKV, WEBM
  • Video Playing ResolutionUHD 8K (7680 x 4320) @60fps
  • Audio Playing FormatMP3, M4A, 3GA, AAC, OGG, OGA, WAV, AMR, AWB, FLAC, MID, MIDI, XMF, MXMF, IMY, RTTTL, RTX, OTA, DFF, DSF, APE

Services and Applications

  • Gear SupportGalaxy Buds Pro, Galaxy Buds Live, Galaxy Buds+, Galaxy Buds2, Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Fit2, Galaxy Fit e, Galaxy Fit, Galaxy Watch4, Galaxy Watch3, Galaxy Watch, Galaxy Watch Active2, Galaxy Watch Active, Gear Fit2 Pro, Gear Fit2, Gear Sport, Gear S3, Gear S2, Gear IconX (2018)
  • Samsung DeX SupportYes
  • Mobile TVNo

What’s In The Box

  • Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
  • Charging cable
  • Manuals and Documentation

Design

samsung galaxy s22 ultra 3-min
Jerry approves of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra design.

Samsung deserves a lot of praise for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra design. It is easily the best-looking smartphone on the market, even better than the iPhone; we know that is subjective. But this is no surprise to us as Samsung has been making excellent designs for years.

The materials are of high quality incorporating aluminum and glass. Our review unit came in the Phantom White color, and Samsung offers seven colors to choose from. These colors include Phantom Black, Burgandy, Green, Phantom White, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red. We think white is the best option as it shows less fingerprinting.

The back of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is frosted glass with Phantom White under it. The camera array is neatly stacked at the top left. It does protrude slightly, so there is a slight wobble when laid flat on its back. Samsung’s logo is subtly printed at the bottom along with the IMEI number.

The front of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is everything we’ve expected from Samsung. The bezels are to the edge on top and bottom. The side bezels melt into the frame, and the display is gently curved into the sides. I have a love-hate relationship with these sorts of displays. More on that later.

The camera is center top and utilizes a pinhole punch, which looks fine. The frame is made of polished gloss aluminum, and the top of the frame houses an antenna and microphone. The bottom of the frame houses the SIM card tray, antennas, speaker, another microphone, and that familiar S-Pen. This is where Samsung has merged the DNA of the now-deceased Galaxy Note and the S22 series. Effectively, this is the new Galaxy Note.

The left side of the frame has more antenna bands and nothing more. The right side of the frame houses the power button and volume buttons, all of which have excellent tactile feedback. There is another antenna on the right side and the 5G antenna.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a big phone, but thanks to its elongated aspect ratio, taller than an iPhone, it fits comfortably in hand. But the polished aluminum frame and glass make it slippery, not a con considering almost every flagship is built this way.

Everything about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra design screams premium, as well as it should, considering the price. I have no qualms about calling the S22 Ultra the best Android smartphone on the market. Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best-designed Android smartphone you can buy right now. I would consider the S22 Ultra nicer than the iPhone 13 Pro Max in aesthetic design.

Display

Vibrant and bright display, typical Samsung.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a more than ample 6.8″ display. Samsung has been hovering around this size display for the past few years. I would like to see them bump up to 7″ or possibly 7.1″. I think it is doable along with maintaining usability. Many pundits would claim that anything 7″ and up is tablet territory. I would have agreed with that several years ago, but today, I think we could be pushing smartphones to just over 7″ with good usability.

The S22 Ultra houses a dynamic AMOLED 2X adaptive 120Hz display equipped with Samsung’s new “Vision Booster” technology that automatically adjusts the screen to the lighting around you. Samsung says Vision Booster will help users better view their content in bright and low-light conditions.

Samsung claims this display has 1,750 nits of peak brightness and 1,200 nits in high brightness mode. GSMArena reports that the 1,750 nits claim only applies to “small patches of lit-up area.” They measured 1,266 nits under the standard 75% APL. This is still brighter than the iPhone and all other Android phones. I was happy with the brightness of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra screen. I could see the display on bright sunny days without issue. There is some glare every so often, but that’s expected on any smartphone.

Scrolling is excellent, thanks to the display’s adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. Samsung says the S22 Ultra automatically adjusts the minimum starting rate from 10Hz to 1Hz, saving energy. All gestures work fluidly on the S22 Ultra display with no lag or visible stutter.

Colors are as vibrant as ever on this AMOLED display. This is Samsung’s bread and butter. They have been doing screens for years and have made their formula for bringing out vibrant colors, keeping blacks deep and inky, and making whites clean and crisp.

Let’s not kid ourselves. Samsung makes the best displays on any smartphone available today. The company makes displays for Apple and other smartphone makers, so it stands to reason that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra display would be the best of the best Samsung can make.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has the best display of any smartphone. Manufacturing displays is what Samsung does, and they’re continually improving their design and technology.

Software

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra runs Android 12 with Samsung’s One UI 4.1 over the top. There are still individuals who have nothing good to say about Samsung’s user interface. I used to be one of those individuals back in the time of TouchWiz.

I’ve since overcome my stubborn thoughts and started closely looking at and using Samsung’s One UI. One UI began a little rocky, but Samsung has made something worth using. I no longer need to grab a custom launcher and customize my experience. That said, I understand there will be some who cannot bring themselves to part with their favorite custom launcher; thankfully, you can still do that here. But custom launchers take additional processing power, and I am glad that Samsung has finally made a beautiful and usable UI.

Samsung has always had a theming option, but until recently, it was limited to its themes, icons, and wallpapers. Now. You can use custom icons from the Playstore to theme One UI without needing a custom launcher. You also have more grid sizing options and many other customization options, including matching the system UI colors to your wallpaper.

One UI also expands its security features with permission usage. You can manage app permissions easier in the privacy tab in settings. In this tab, you can see what permissions each app has and what the app is accessing. You can limit permissions or deny them all. This might affect how certain apps behave, but it is an excellent option. It’s probably evident by now, but I am a fan of One UI, and I think most people will love it.

As we mentioned before, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with Samsung’s S-Pen. Along with the S-Pen comes software geared toward that piece of hardware. Two of these software features include the following.

  • Convert to text: Convert handwriting into clear, easy-to-read notes, available in up to 88 languages.
  • Quick Note: Attach or link to the content in a note while using apps such as Internet, Gallery, or Messages, so you can share content faster.

The S-Pen allows you to draw and take notes within dozens of apps. The S-Pen has been around since the first Galaxy Note. Some find it very useful, while others rarely use it. It’s nice to have the option, even if you don’t use it much. My favorite S-Pen feature is using it as a remote for the camera. This allows you to set up a shot with you in it and take the photo using the button on the S-Pen. The S-Pen and software are a bonus, and I think it was a good move for Samsung to marry the Note and S series together. Here’s a quick video from Samsung on some of the features of the S-Pen.

Samsung has also made it so you can easily share between Galaxy devices. Like Apple’s AirDrop, this ecosystem allows you to collaborate between your devices and others. This feature is optimized for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Tab S8 series of tablets. You can transfer files or videos from one to the other and even pick up in an app from one device to the other.

Finally, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is running Android 12. There isn’t much to say about Android. Google has continually improved the operating system and runs smoothly on the S22 Ultra.

Overall, the software experience on the S22 Ultra is excellent. While many may disagree, I think One UI 4.1 is fantastic, and most users will enjoy using it.

Performance

Our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU paired with the Adreno 730 GPU and 8GB of RAM. Other storage options are available, and RAM can be maxed out to 12GB.

The days of slow running and underperforming flagship Android phones have basically come to an end. At least when it comes to Samsung’s phones. Performance is strong, and the CPU/GPU/RAM combo can keep up with everything you can throw at it.

From basic tasks like web browsing, email, messaging, and note-taking; to more intensive tasks such as conference calls, streaming content, and gaming, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra takes it all in stride. I found there to be zero lag, zero stuttering, and nearly no wait time for apps to load and become available.

Overall, the S22 Ultra performs as well as it should, considering the playing field it has chosen to compete on.

Speakers/Sound

samsung galaxy s22 ultra 3-min

Speakers on flagship phones have improved a lot over the years. Most of these flagships are now packing stereo speakers, and the S22 Ultra is also.

The sound is better than most less expensive smartphones, but I was disappointed to find they were not as good as other flagships, including some older models of the S22. The iPhone 13 Pro Max speakers and the Galaxy Z Fold3 are much better than the S22 Ultra can muster.

I’m not entirely sure why Samsung missed this, I would not have minded if the speakers were on par with last year’s models, but they seem to sound much thinner and not as punchy as previous years. They work great for conference and speakerphone calls, but music and movies aren’t as impactful on these speakers.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra speakers are fine, but they fall short of being flagship-level speakers, a misstep I hope Samsung addresses next year.

Camera

samsung galaxy s22 ultra 3-min
The rear camera array

I am convinced that flagship cameras (namely iPhone, Pixel, and Samsung) are excellent. They have ever so slight difference in the way they process data and the way they render the final result. But the results are generally always excellent. The consumers’ absolute subjective eye chooses which they prefer over the other. There is no better than the other. There is only what one likes. That may be an unpopular take, but it is the truth.

I’m saying that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra cameras are wicked excellent, and they should be because the competition is also wicked awesome. Samsung still oversaturates their final results; you either like it or don’t. I don’t mind it, and I equally enjoy the more natural colors the iPhone produces.

All of that aside. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera, like many other Android cameras, is chocked full of features. Most people won’t use most of them, but again, they are good options. Here are some features to expect from the cameras on this smartphone.

s22 ultra sample image techaeris 1-min
Wide Angle
  • Nightography: With enhanced AI technology powered by the new NPU, the Galaxy S22 series’ camera is designed to let in more light, draw out details, and capture colors that make your content pop, even in the dark9. Also, when you enter Night mode, you can enjoy powerful nighttime photos.
  • Auto framerate: Auto framerate detects lighting and automatically shifts to an optimal fps speed.
  • Auto framing (video only): The new Auto Framing feature detects and tracks up to 10 people in each video and automatically adjusts the camera’s focus.
  • Portrait Mode: Not new but improved for sure. The new AI Stereo Depth Map helps capture that perfect portrait photo.
  • Expert RAW: Edit in-camera and capture high dynamic range pictures with the Multi-Frame RAW format for post-capture editing. Select settings: ISO, Shutter-Speed, White Balance, EV, focus, and choose between different lenses. Expert RAW must be downloaded separately from the Galaxy Store, for free, before use.
  • Object Eraser: The Object Eraser removes unwanted objects, shadows, and reflections in the background with just one click. AI technology in Photo Editor restores the deleted part to match the surrounding environment after you tap the region you’d like to delete.
  • Photo Remaster: You no longer need to spend time editing photos yourself. The on-device AI does the work for you by analyzing textures, noise levels, and details to enlarge the photo without compromising on quality while improving clarity. It also adjusts brightness and identifies the image noise to revise photos.

Overall, you cannot go wrong with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra cameras. They are among the best, and they are continually improving.

s22 ultra sample image techaeris 1-min
Night Mode around 8:50PM CT

*NOTE: These images have been reduced due to file size limitations on our server.

Reception/Call Quality

There’s not much to complain about or report in this category. Reception and call quality were excellent. I do not live in a 5G area, so I could not test 5G speeds.

Battery Life

Battery life is such as subjective thing that it’s hard to rate. I was able to get a full day with no issues and often ended the day with 40% or more left. This may not be the case for some. We all use our smartphones in different ways; some of us are close to charging sources while others are not.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has excellent battery life for my use, and I could probably get two days of use out of it.

Price/Value

It shouldn’t be a shocker that the S22 Ultra is pricey. It is, after all, Samsung’s flagship phone. But as usual, Samsung manages to pack a lot of value into its flagship. I think it is worth the price.

Wrap Up

Some may not need all of those features or fantastic cameras. Other less expensive options aren’t going to compete head-to-head with S22 Ultra, but many mid-range phones offer good enough features at lower prices.

If you’re looking for the absolute best Android phone in nearly every category, that phone is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. The price of admission is high, but you wouldn’t be reading this review if you were not already aware of the cost.

Last Updated on July 13, 2022.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Starting at US$1199

Design

9.5/10

Display

10.0/10

Software

9.5/10

Performance

10.0/10

Speakers/Sound

8.5/10

Camera

9.5/10

Reception/Call Quality

10.0/10

Battery Life

9.5/10

Price/Value

9.5/10

Nailed it

  • The best looking smartphone on the market, in terms of design
  • Samsung displays are second to none, best display in its class
  • Samsung's UI is better than ever
  • Strong performer and at the top of the class
  • Cameras continue to be the best among flagship smartphones
  • Good reception and call quality
  • Good battery life
  • Value is there and you get a lot for the price
  • Nice array of color options

Needs work

  • Not everyone will like that the display goes all the way to the edge
  • Samsung's UI is not for everyone, but you can change it with a custom launcher
  • Speakers are not as good as the iPhone or even other Android phones
  • Battery Life is good but some users may want more
  • Price is high and some users may not want to pay this much
samsung galaxy s22 ultra featured image-min
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