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Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus impressions: Next-gen flagships for everyone

Samsung's Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus impress with compelling hardware, delightful displays, and powerful performance.
By
February 9, 2022
Samsung Galaxy S22 in Pink and S22 Plus in Blue whole body
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

The Samsung Galaxy S22 family of phones is finally here. These are the main flagship devices from Samsung for the next year and go head-to-head with the likes of the Apple iPhone 13, Google Pixel 6, OnePlus 10 Pro, and more. In such a competitive landscape, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus need to stand out in order to catch the eye of consumers near and far. While Samsung crafted an appealing pair of phones, the pricier and more fully-featured Galaxy S22 Ultra may steal sales from the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. Even so, the smaller two of Samsung’s three new phones offer plenty to like — such as price points that start at just $799.

We spent a short amount of time with both non-Ultra phones ahead of the big day and are here to report on what’s looking good and what’s not in this Android Authority Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus preview.

Read also: Best Galaxy S22 cases | Best Galaxy S22 Plus cases

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
Excellent display • Great performance • Fantastic software support
See review
MSRP
SAVE
$690.00
$309.99
$690.00 at Amazon
See review
Samsung Galaxy S22
Compact design • Impressive camera system • Unrivaled software support
See review
MSRP
SAVE
$749.99
$100.00
$749.99 at Amazon
See review

Hard to tell them apart

Samsung Galaxy S22 colors spread
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Where the Galaxy S22 Ultra is clearly meant for power users, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus are intended more for everyday folks. These phones are more manageable in terms of size and usability, cost less, and yet still manage to deliver on almost all the same flagship-level features we’ve come to count on from Samsung’s Galaxy S series.

Checkout: The history of the Galaxy S series

In terms of appearance, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are a near-direct follow-up to their counterparts in the Galaxy S21 series. This is evident due to the Contour Cut pattern that defines the camera module shape on both phones. Sadly, Samsung did away with what really set the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus apart visually: the two-tone look that blended the color of the metal frame and camera module on some versions. At least that’s the case with the four standard colorways: Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Pink Gold. For those buying directly from Samsung.com, there are also Cream, Graphite, Sky Blue, and Violet models that restore the two-tone look. Otherwise, the camera module looks almost exactly like that of last year’s S21. You’ve got three oversized lenses arranged vertically with a flash offset away from the module. I like the low-key bezeled rims inside the camera cutouts.

The S22 family is uniform in color across the surfaces and functional elements of the design. The Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus have the same matte rear panels as the S22 Ultra. Some people prefer matte while others prefer glossy. This year, it’s matte. Overall, they’re a bit less flashy and thus less fun.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus display with plant
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

As for buttons and ports, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus mirror the S22 Ultra here too. For example, the power button and volume toggle are on located the left side. These buttons work very well. Samsung stuck the USB-C port, SIM tray, and one of the two speakers on the of the phone. The only thing missing is the S22 Ultra’s S Pen that it has adopted from the defunct Note series.

The rounded shape of the metal frame and thin profile really help these phones sit in the hand comfortably.

The Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus feature smaller displays (6.1 and 6.6 inches, respectively) than the Galaxy S22 Ultra and this helped Samsung keep the overall dimensions more in check. The Galaxy S22 measures 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm and weighs 168g while the S22 Plus measures 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm and weighs 196g. The rounded shape of the metal frame and thin profile really help these phones sit in the hand more comfortably than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The phones easily slip into pockets and are generally easier to use than the Ultra model. For some people, that may be the most important thing.

As for protection, the phones are the same mix of Armour Aluminum and Gorilla Glass Victus Plus as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Long a staple of the Galaxy S series, the phones both also have an IP68 rating for resistance against dust and water.

Other than the small difference in size between the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus, these phones are practically identical which makes them hard to tell apart. So much for individuality. It’s clear that Samsung didn’t go overboard in redesigning these two. Instead, it kept things mostly on par with last year’s models while making subtle nips and tucks here and there.

Not quite Note-worthy

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus dispaly in hand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Samsung gave its signature phones class-leading displays that look and perform great, but they don’t quite impress as much as that of the larger Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Unlike the S22 Ultra, which has curved glass along the side edges, the glass covering the front of the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus is flat. Bezels are kept to a minimum, but you can still see them. The punch-hole camera cutout centered near the top edge is fairly small.

The Galaxy S22’s panel measures 6.1 inches across the diagonal and the Galaxy S22 Plus’s panel measures 6.6 inches. Both screens are 0.1 inches smaller than those of their respective Galaxy S21 series counterparts, but they carry over the same FHD+ (2,340 x 1,080) resolution. It’s a bummer that Samsung has continued to scale back the resolution from the QHD+ that was available to the S20 series. Ah well. Aspect ratios are 19.5:9 each, compared to the 20:9 ratio of the outgoing Galaxy S21 series.

Brightness, contrast, and color all looked very good.

Both Dynamic AMOLED 2x screens feature the same high-tech alphabet soup of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. For example, you’ll find a variable 120Hz refresh rate that switches from ~1Hz up to 120Hz to provide balance between performance and longevity. The screens also include a 240Hz touch sampling rate. This feature, which is available only when the phone is in Game Mode, helps gameplay due to the quicker response to touch input.

Samsung Galaxy S22 angled display in hand
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

On the whole, the screens look excellent. In a quick comparison, the displays compared favorably against the Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max when I held them side-by-side. Brightness, contrast, and color all looked very good. The AMOLED pushes out plenty of light and viewing angles were great. The other high-end feature Samsung mentioned is the new AI-controlled way the screens handle not only brightness, but white balance and color tone to always match the surrounding environment. That helped the screens fare well under harsh lighting, though we were unable to test them outside.

Check out: Display types and technologies explained

The Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus have fine screens that are more than suitable for the price segment. Some competing devices may offer more pixels, but Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED still leaves an impression.

It’s what’s inside that counts, right?

Samsung Galaxy S22 in Pink with display
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Where the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a total spec monster across the board, Samsung kept things in check with the more affordable Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus. They make a small number of concessions that may cloud up your judgement of the two phones, though they are by no means hobbled.

Before we get to the hardware, though, we have to talk about the software. The Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus ship with One UI 4 based on Android 12. Surprisingly, the phones will receive four years of OS-level upgrades and five years of security updates. This automatically makes Samsung the Android class leader when it comes to long-term support for its hardware. The One UI 4 running on the sample units we tested was the same as that which is currently available to Samsung’s older devices, and the company didn’t call out any special new features.

Moving onto the cameras, the three shooters are identical across the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. You’ll find a 50MP main camera that bins down by a factor of four to produce 12.5MP images. There’s also a 12MP ultrawide for those big scenes you want to capture as well as a 10MP telephoto camera with 3x optical zoom and up to 30x Space Zoom. Selfie lovers will note the 40MP shooter hidden in the punch hole on front. You can record video at resolutions up to 8K from the rear camera and up to 4K from the front camera, which is the same as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Samsung loaded the S22 family with plenty of new software features to improve photography. We look forward to evaluating them in our full review, especially the main camera, which should offer a decent upgrade over the two previous generations of the vanilla and Plus models.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus in black camera closeup
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Believe it or not, Samsung actually reduced the size of the phones’ batteries when compared to the Galaxy S21 series. The Galaxy S22 has an anemic-sounding 3,700mAh battery while the Galaxy S22 Plus has a more substantial 4,500mAh battery. By comparison, the Galaxy S21 had a 4,000mAh battery while the Galaxy S21 Plus had a 4,800mAh battery. When asked, Samsung said it constrained the battery sizes in order to meet design and thermal requirements.

Samsung Galaxy S22 series: Hot or not?

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As for charging speeds, things are not on the level between the two phones. The Galaxy S22 Plus charges at a speedy 45W with the right charging brick. Too bad the phone doesn’t actually ship with a charger in the box. The Galaxy S22, however, charges at a slower 25W. Wireless charging for both the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus is limited to 15W. Again, Samsung said charging speeds are limited to keep thermals in check.

Samsung Galaxy S22 side edges
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
Galaxy S22 side edges

Then there are the processors. In many regions around the world, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus will ship with the Samsung Exynos 2200. Meanwhile, in the US and select other countries, the phones will boast the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC. Samsung hadn’t specified the exact breakdown of which countries will get which version of the phone at the time of writing. Either way, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are among the first wave of devices to ship with these chips from Samsung and Qualcomm. Whichever processor you get, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus come with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of internal storage. Oddly, the pair don’t offer the higher RAM/storage combos available to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Both phones felt fluid and quick when we assessed them, but we’ll need more time to deliver a verdict.

More reading: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Samsung Exynos 2200

When it comes to connectivity, there are some disappointing differences between the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus. Both phones have solid 5G (both mmWave and sub-6GHz) representation and Bluetooth 5.2, but only the S22 Plus has Wi-Fi 6E and ultra-wideband on board. The Galaxy S22 drops to Wi-Fi 6 and loses UWB. Bummer.

Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus specs

Galaxy S22Galaxy S22 PlusGalaxy S22 Ultra
Display
Galaxy S22
6.1-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Flat display
19.5:9 aspect ratio
FHD+ resolution (2,340 x 1,080)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (48Hz to 120Hz)
240Hz touch sampling rate
Galaxy S22 Plus
6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Flat display
19.5:9 aspect ratio
FHD+ resolution (2,340 x 1,080)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (48Hz to 120Hz)
240Hz touch sampling rate
Galaxy S22 Ultra
6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED
Edge display (curved)
19.3:9 aspect ratio
QHD+ resolution (3,088 x 1,440)
120Hz adaptive refresh rate (10Hz to 120Hz)
240Hz touch sampling rate
Processor
Galaxy S22
US: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Global: Exynos 2200
Galaxy S22 Plus
US: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Global: Exynos 2200
Galaxy S22 Ultra
US: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
Global: Exynos 2200
RAM
Galaxy S22
8GB
Galaxy S22 Plus
8GB
Galaxy S22 Ultra
8GB or 12GB
Storage
Galaxy S22
128GB or 256GB
No microSD card support
Galaxy S22 Plus
128GB or 256GB
No microSD card support
Galaxy S22 Ultra
128GB, 256GB, or 512GB with additional 1TB option
No microSD card support
Power
Galaxy S22
3,700mAh battery
25W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Galaxy S22 Plus
4,500mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Galaxy S22 Ultra
5,000mAh battery
45W wired charging
15W wireless charging
No charger in box
Cameras
Galaxy S22
REAR:
- 50MP wide (1.0μm, ƒ1.8, 23mm, 85-degree FoV)
- 12MP ultrawide (1.4μm, ƒ2.2, 13mm, 120-degree FoV)
- 10MP telephoto (1.0μm, ƒ2.4, 69mm, 36-degree FoV, 3x optical zoom)

FRONT:
- 10MP wide (ƒ2.2, 23mm, 80-degree FoV)
Galaxy S22 Plus
REAR:
- 50MP wide (1.0μm, ƒ1.8, 23mm, 85-degree FoV)
- 12MP ultrawide (1.4μm, ƒ2.2, 13mm, 120-degree FoV)
- 10MP telephoto (1.0μm, ƒ2.4, 69mm, 36-degree FoV, 3x optical zoom)

FRONT:
- 10MP wide (ƒ2.2, 23mm, 80-degree FoV)
Galaxy S22 Ultra
REAR:
- 108MP wide (0.8μm, ƒ2.2, 23mm, 85-degree FoV)
- 12MP ultrawide (1.4μm, ƒ2.2, 13mm, 120-degree FoV)
- 10MP telephoto (1.12μm, ƒ4.9, 230mm, 11-degree FoV, 10x optical zoom)
- 10MP telephoto (1.12μm, ƒ2.4, 69mm, 36-degree FoV, 3x optical zoom)
- Laser autofocus

FRONT:
- 40MP wide (ƒ2.2, 23mm, 80-degree FoV)
Video
Galaxy S22
REAR:
- 8K at 24fps (main lens only)
- 4K at 60fps (all lenses)

FRONT:
- 4K at 60fps
Galaxy S22 Plus
REAR:
- 8K at 24fps (main lens only)
- 4K at 60fps (all lenses)

FRONT:
- 4K at 60fps
Galaxy S22 Ultra
REAR:
- 8K at 24fps (main lens only)
- 4K at 60fps (all lenses)

FRONT:
- 4K at 60fps
Audio
Galaxy S22
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
Galaxy S22 Plus
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
Galaxy S22 Ultra
Stereo speakers
Dolby Atmos support
Connectivity
Galaxy S22
5G (mmWave + sub-6GHz)
Wi-Fi 6 (ax), Dual Band
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC support
Galaxy S22 Plus
5G (mmWave + sub-6GHz)
Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC support
Ultra-wideband support (UWB)
Galaxy S22 Ultra
5G (mmWave + sub-6GHz)
Wi-Fi 6E (6GHz)
Bluetooth 5.2
NFC support
Ultra-wideband support (UWB)
Security
Galaxy S22
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
4 x 9mm size
Galaxy S22 Plus
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
4 x 9mm size
Galaxy S22 Ultra
Ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor
4 x 9mm size
Software
Galaxy S22
Android 12
One UI 4.1
Galaxy S22 Plus
Android 12
One UI 4.1
Galaxy S22 Ultra
Android 12
One UI 4.1
S Pen support
Galaxy S22
No
Galaxy S22 Plus
No
Galaxy S22 Ultra
Yes, with storage slot
Materials
Galaxy S22
Gorilla Glass Victus Plus front and back
Armour Aluminum frame
Galaxy S22 Plus
Gorilla Glass Victus Plus front and back
Armour Aluminum frame
Galaxy S22 Ultra
Gorilla Glass Victus Plus front and back
Armour Aluminum frame
Durability
Galaxy S22
IP68 certified
Galaxy S22 Plus
IP68 certified
Galaxy S22 Ultra
IP68 certified
Dimensions and weight
Galaxy S22
146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm
168g
Galaxy S22 Plus
157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm
196g
Galaxy S22 Ultra
163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
229g
Colors
Galaxy S22
Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold

Online exclusives: Cream, Graphite, Sky Blue, Violet
Galaxy S22 Plus
Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold

Online exclusives: Cream, Graphite, Sky Blue, Violet
Galaxy S22 Ultra
Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Burgundy

Online exclusives: Graphite, Sky Blue, Red

Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus preview: Lots to like

Samsung Galaxy S22 in black rotated onb ook
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Not everyone wants the biggest phone in the market. Many are content with a slightly more compact device that offers most of the same features for a little bit less cash. That’s where the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus stand in relation to the high-end Galaxy S22 Ultra. Samsung’s newest flagships are powerful and capable devices that look good and should cover the bases for the vast majority of buyers out there. They are each, in their own way, appealing alternatives to the likes of the iPhone and Pixel. Whether or not the non-Ultra Galaxy duo can draw people away from even more affordable options remains to be seen.

Samsung's newest flagships are powerful and capable devices that are appealing alternatives to the likes of the iPhone and Pixel.

Android Authority will be testing the latest devices from Samsung over the weeks ahead. We look forward to providing full reviews of the S22 Ultra, S22 Plus, and S22 shortly.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
Excellent display • Great performance • Fantastic software support
The best sofware support on Android phone.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus sits between the smaller Galaxy S22 and the more feature-packed S22 Ultra. It's a premium device that outperforms its siblings in a few key areas. The performance is top-notch, the camera system is impressive, and the software support is the best you can get on an Android phone.
Samsung Galaxy S22
Samsung Galaxy S22
Compact design • Impressive camera system • Unrivaled software support
The cheapest and smallest phone of the series
The Samsung Galaxy S22 offers almost everything you get with the S22 Plus but in a smaller package. It's a great choice for those looking for a high-end phone with a compact footprint. The display is great, the cameras are impressive, and the software support is the best you can get in the world of Android.