Best daily deals
Best daily deals

Links on Android Authority may earn us a commission. Learn more.

samsung galaxy s22 standing by fern close up
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
aa2020 recommended

Samsung Galaxy S22 review: The best, in a small package

Samsung isn't going big, but it still hopes you'll bring this phone home.
By
March 7, 2022
aa2020 recommended

Samsung Galaxy S22

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is a triumph for small phone lovers everywhere. It matches the larger Galaxy S22 Plus in almost every category, but is far more comfortable for one-handed use. The Galaxy S22 is otherwise a strong contender for the best small flagship, maybe ever, though the weakened battery life is a painful Achilles' heel.

Retail price: $799.00

$799.00 at Samsung

What we like

Refined, compact design
Small yet sweet display
Impressive camera setup
Unrivaled Android update support

What we don't like

Weak battery life and charging
Limited storage options

Our scores

Battery
Display
Camera
Performance
Software
Design
Audio
Value
aa2020 recommended

Samsung Galaxy S22

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is a triumph for small phone lovers everywhere. It matches the larger Galaxy S22 Plus in almost every category, but is far more comfortable for one-handed use. The Galaxy S22 is otherwise a strong contender for the best small flagship, maybe ever, though the weakened battery life is a painful Achilles' heel.

We’ve watched phones grow larger and larger for a while. For a few years now, it has felt like a new, bigger display was a requirement for a flagship to “improve.” Just look at the Google Pixel 6 — it picked up nearly half an inch over the Pixel 5. Smaller displays still exist, though they’re often reserved for more affordable devices. Now, we might be starting to see a little bit of size fatigue. Instead of going bigger, the Samsung Galaxy S22 series shrinks in a few key places. Let’s find out if the decisions have paid off in our Samsung Galaxy S22 review.

Samsung Galaxy S22
Refined, compact design • Small yet sweet display • Impressive camera setup
See review
MSRP
SAVE
$699.99
$100.00
$699.99 at Amazon
See review
About this Samsung Galaxy S22 review: I tested the Samsung Galaxy S22 for ten days. It ran Android 12 on the January 2022 security patch with One UI 4.1. Android Authority purchased the unit for this review.

What you need to know about the Samsung Galaxy S22

samsung galaxy s22 display calendar app
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 (8GB/128GB): $799 / £769 / €859 / CA$1,099
  • Samsung Galaxy S22 (8GB/256GB): $849 / £819 / €909 / CA$1,169

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 trio launched as the latest installment of its Galaxy S series at the February 2022 Unpacked event. While the Galaxy S22 Ultra fully embraces its Note-like tendencies, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are classic Galaxy S devices. The Galaxy S22 follows in the footsteps of the Plus, eschewing the Ultra’s S Pen support and retaining the Contour Cut camera housing first seen on the Galaxy S21 range.

Of course, the similarities don’t stop there. As the Galaxy S22 Plus does battle with Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro and the Google Pixel 6 Pro, the Galaxy S22 takes on the vanilla iPhone 13 and Pixel 6. It stays comfortably below the $1,000 mark with scaled-down specs to make weight.

The Galaxy S22 marks a new generation of flagships — ones that get smaller rather than larger.

Samsung offers two configurations of the Galaxy S22, both with 8GB of RAM. You’ll have your choice between 128GB of storage for $799 or the 256GB model for an additional $50. The Galaxy S22 is widely available in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Pink Gold. That said, you can order straight from Samsung itself for access to four additional hues: Cream, Sky Blue, Graphite, and Violet.

Although the pre-order perks have faded for another year, Samsung still offers some of the best trade-in values in the business. To sweeten the deal, at the time of writing US buyers also get a little bit of Google Play Store cash to put towards apps, music, or movies. If you don’t mind locking yourself into a contract, you can also save a stack of cash when you trade your old phone to a US-based carrier.

See also: Which Samsung Galaxy S22 is right for you?

The Samsung Galaxy S22 sounds like a pretty sweet deal overall, but is it the one to pick? Let’s see how it fared in everyday life.

Design: Refined, not reinvented

samsung galaxy s22 ports and sim slot
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Armor Aluminum, Gorilla Glass Victus Plus
  • 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm
  • 168g
  • Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader
  • IP68
  • Stereo speakers
  • Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold, (Graphite, Cream, Sky Blue, Violet — online only)

To the untrained eye, the Samsung Galaxy S22 looks the same as its Galaxy S21 predecessor. The differences are still pretty tough to pick out even to the trained eye unless you have both phones side by side. Samsung chose to refine the details on an already excellent design rather than begin from scratch. Having spent ample time with both phones, I can tell you that nearly all of Samsung’s style upgrades are for the better.

For starters, the Galaxy S22 is tougher than ever. It’s been upgraded with Samsung’s Armor Aluminum frame for better strength, and the days of “glasstic” seem to be behind us. The phone sports flat panels of Gorilla Glass Victus Plus on both front and back. While it may not look all that different from last year, the improved quality is immediate when handled.

Check out: The best Samsung Galaxy S22 cases

Samsung tweaked the shape for its Galaxy S22 slightly as well. The phone is somewhat flattened on all four sides, making it easier to hold. Some have called it a bit too iPhone-like, but there are still subtle curves with Samsung’s polished side rails.

One aspect Samsung has hardly changed from last year is the camera bump. The designers dipped back into the Contour Cut well once again, which blends right into the corner of the phone. Unfortunately, the two-toned designs are no more (unless you buy from Samsung), but the four basic finishes are just as attractive.

Mentioning colorful finishes, Samsung has plenty of them. We picked up the Phantom White version for this review (sadly the Samsung exclusive versions would have taken a bit too long to ship). The Phantom colors are still tough to top, with the satin finish on the back that barely picks up any fingerprints. However, Samsung’s online exclusive Cream, Sky Blue, Graphite, and Violet versions are worth waiting for if you have the patience. They bring back the contrasting two-tone finish, with the Violet version about as close to the Galaxy S21 as you can get.

Overall, this is the most pocketable Samsung Galaxy flagship in years. It packs a slightly smaller display, which means that Samsung could shrink the dimensions to match, making it shorter, thinner, and lighter than the Galaxy S21. The result is a phone that’s easy to use one-handed and doesn’t feel like a brick in your pocket. It doesn’t have quite the compact footprint of the Galaxy Z Flip 3, but you should have no problems toting the Galaxy S22 throughout your day. Despite the similar sizes and shapes, I’d prefer not to call the Galaxy S22 iPhone-like. After all, Samsung’s slight curves make the phone much more comfortable to hold than the sharp iPhone 13 edges.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 begs to be used one-handed.

As for the button layout, Samsung hasn’t changed a thing. You’ll find the same setup as you would have with the Galaxy S21 and its predecessors. That means both the volume rocker and power button remain on the right side, while the left side is a smooth, clean rail. I found that both buttons felt like they were positioned comfortably for one-handed use, even if I had to stretch a bit to raise the volume.

You’ll find the SIM card tray and downward-firing speaker flanking the USB-C port along the bottom edge. Be careful when placing your SIM card, as the eject hole looks almost identical to the microphone, and they sit relatively close to one another (though not as close as they do on the Ultra). You can’t add additional storage via a microSD slot or a secondary physical SIM card, but the Galaxy S22 offers dual-SIM support thanks to eSIM compatibility.

samsung galaxy s22 selfie camera
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

Samsung’s ultrasonic in-display fingerprint reader is back for another year as well. It’s as fast and smooth as ever, even if it takes a few tries to remember the positioning. The fingerprint reader is perfectly positioned for one-handed use once you nail down where to put your thumb.

The Galaxy S22’s earpiece and speaker team up to offer solid Dolby Atmos stereo sound. I had no problems cranking the volume without much distortion, though some crept in when I maxed it out. The low frequencies, like bass, lack punch, but mid-range and high notes come through without issue. If you’re looking to play some tunes while you shower, the Galaxy S22 has you covered, but you’ll want a more powerful speaker or some quality headphones for sustained streaming.

Don’t miss: Our guide to all the phone accessories you’ll ever need

The durable IP68 rating is no stranger among Samsung flagships. It’s been a regular for a few years now, and it ensures that a 30-minute swim in up to 1.5m of water won’t fry your phone.

Samsung might have hit the sweet spot for the Galaxy S22. It’s certainly not too big, but it’s not too small, either. This is a flagship-tier handset you can use one-handed without sacrificing build quality, the cameras, or raw performance. It feels like an excellent counterpunch to Apple’s domination among six-inch flagships; certainly more so than the Galaxy S21 did thanks to the premium upgrades. Even if the Samsung Galaxy S22 hasn’t changed the smartphone game, it’s a reassuring sign that smaller Android flagships still have a chance.

Display: Small…

samsung galaxy s22 buttons and home screen
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • 6.1 inches, Dynamic AMOLED 2x
  • 2,340 x 1,080 resolution
  • 425ppi
  • 19.5:9 aspect ratio, 120Hz refresh rate

Usually, when something shrinks, it’s met with a fair bit of grumbling. Take a favorite bag of chips, for example. Nobody wants fewer chips, do they? Samsung’s decision to shrink the Galaxy S22 just a tiny bit pays off pretty nicely this time.

The phone measures 6.1 inches on the diagonal, 0.1 inches smaller than the Galaxy S21. It also dropped a few pixels — from 1,080 x 2,400 down to 2,340 — but the pixel per inch density increased from 421 to 425. Samsung also kept the 120Hz variable refresh rate, even if it doesn’t go quite as low as initially rumored.

Learn more: What to know about display terms and specs

All of the tech specs lead to what shouldn’t come as much of a surprise: the Galaxy S22 has one impressive display. You can find other phones with sharper displays, but you don’t need much more than Full HD+ on a 6.1-inch panel. The Samsung Galaxy S22’s color profile feels pretty good out of the box. It doesn’t feel oversaturated and should work for most people. However, if you’re not satisfied, you can always try one of a few preset profiles or customize your look. Not everyone will have to — or want to — but the option is there.

Samsung Galaxy S22 routines standing
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

As far as the refresh rate is concerned, Samsung’s flagship offers a 120Hz variable base setting. That means it adjusts based on the content of your display to minimize power draw without sacrificing a smooth experience. It can go as low as 48Hz, which is good but far from the lowest we’ve seen from phones with LTPO displays. If you prefer a consistent experience, you can lock the display at 60Hz. It should boost your battery life, though you’ll lose the smoothness when scrolling through the UI and supported apps.

Samsung's decision to shrink the Galaxy S22 just a tiny bit has paid off pretty nicely.

If you’re hoping to test out some high-level mobile games, you’ll want to use Samsung’s Game Launcher. It supports a touch sampling rate of 240Hz, along with a whole host of other features that we’ll hit later. The 240Hz rate doesn’t quite catch the dedicated gaming beasts, but it’s pretty responsive for an everyday flagship.

All told, this is one pretty sweet display. It’s smaller than last year but no less mighty. Samsung dropped a few pixels, but you’d be hard-pressed to find them, and the vanilla Galaxy S22 easily keeps pace with its larger siblings. It even offers a slightly better pixel density than the Galaxy S22 Plus.

Performance: …but mighty

  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • Adreno 730
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB / 256GB non-expandable storage

Like its Galaxy S22 siblings, the vanilla model comes in two variants: one with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and the other with Samsung’s own Exynos 2200. You’ll find the Snapdragon version in the US and select markets, while the Exynos model is the go-to in certain global markets, including Europe. Despite the new naming convention, it’s not hard to track the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 as the successor to 2021’s Snapdragon 888.

How do they stack up? Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 series doesn’t rock the boat in terms of RAM or storage, for better or worse. Both versions offer 8GB of RAM, which is enough to keep up with most tasks. It would have been nice to see a 12GB option for some additional future-proofing, but that’s restricted to the high-end Galaxy S22 Ultra. There’s no storage option beyond 256GB, which you might burn through if you’re running around capturing 4K videos all day, but will be sufficient for most. There’s no microSD slot either, so it’d have been nice to see a 512GB variant to match the maxed-out iPhone 13. Maybe next time, Samsung — it was an option back on the Galaxy S10 series, after all.

Having spent some time testing the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered Galaxy S22 I can tell you it is a more than capable performer. I daily drove it for about ten days (running on Verizon’s network) and never saw an issue. Most of my usage comes from social media and streaming — be it music or video — and the phone kept coming back for more. It did get a little warm occasionally, but only if I was bouncing between streaming and a game in quick succession. In spite of some drama over alleged app throttling, the Galaxy S22 packs plenty of punch for almost any everyday use case.

See also: The best phones for gaming

As for benchmarks, we put the Galaxy S22 through the wringer. It ran our usual barrage of tests with decent results. Certainly not best-in-class results, but the single and multi-core GeekBench results were in the same ballpark as the Galaxy S22 Plus. Overall, the Galaxy S22’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 delivered CPU results close to those of Snapdragon 888 devices while lagging behind Apple’s in-house Bionic A15 processor. Over on the GPU side, the Galaxy S22 managed to make up ground and then some. The real gains this generation will be felt with graphics-intensive apps and demanding 3D games. However, in a stress test of 20 runs, the 3DMark scores dropped considerably, so extended play sessions won’t necessarily keep up the pace as the heat starts to rise.

Moving past the benchmarks, you might want to think about connectivity when you consider the Galaxy S22, too. US buyers will find 5G support across the board in both mmWave and sub-6GHz flavors. The only missing piece is ultra-wideband support. The wireless tech is available on both of the phone’s siblings, and while its use cases are limited at the moment, it’s a shame it’s not included here to match the Pixel 6.

The Galaxy S22 packs plenty of punch, even if it's a bit behind the S22 Plus and Ultra.

As for other connection options, the Samsung Galaxy S22 offers Bluetooth 5.2 and Wi-Fi 6 support. Both are fast and reliable, but the Wi-Fi 6 is a step behind the Wi-Fi 6E of the more premium models. Again, it would have been nice to see the Galaxy S22 match its siblings, but Bluetooth 5.2 is as good as it gets, and Wi-Fi 6 is still plenty fast.

While it may be powerful enough, the Samsung Galaxy S22 isn’t the flagship for power users. It offers the same great everyday experience with a little bit less of the sheer force you find in the Galaxy S22 Plus and Ultra.

Battery: Significant shrinkage

samsung galaxy s22 battery display
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • 3,700mAh
  • 25W wired charging
  • 15W wireless charging
  • Wireless Power Share

Samsung’s decision to go small has worked out so far. The Galaxy S22 is easier to hold, well-built, and the display is just as good as the Galaxy S22 Plus. But let’s talk about one of the biggest concerns that comes with a diminished form factor: a smaller battery.

2021’s Galaxy S21 packed a 4,000mAh battery that delivered pretty solid results in our testing. It wasn’t the biggest battery for a 6.2-inch device, but it had no problems lasting beyond a day. Now, the expectations are higher for a flagship-tier phone, even if it’s a relatively affordable one. Apple’s identically priced iPhone 13 achieves impressive results thanks to excellent power management. Meanwhile, Google finally went big on the Pixel 6 cell and exorcized its own battery demons. That makes it all the more head-scratching that Samsung would pivot and drop below the 4,000mAh mark for its latest flagship.

So you feel you were short-changed.

Unfortunately, the concerns carry weight this time. The 3,700mAh cell is small even by small Android phone standards, and the impact on battery life is noticeable. I could make it through a workday without too much issue, but that’s mainly because I naturally used my phone less on those days. Once or twice, I managed to finish the day with about 30% of the battery remaining based on light usage. Most of my use was scrolling social media, responding to messages, and streaming Spotify in the background, which gave me around three-and-a-half to four hours of screen-on time. That’s already an alarmingly low total.

On the weekends, when I pushed the phone a little harder taking photos (something that strangely slurps a lot of juice), streaming audio to my car, and using navigation assistance, I found myself resorting to power saving pretty often. Even if I started from a full battery in the morning, it was down to around 10% or below when I was ready for bed — and this was without playing games. Dip into any demanding mobile games for an extended period and you’ll be reaching for a charger much earlier in the day.

While the Galaxy S22’s Plus and Ultra siblings charge at up to 45W wired speeds, the vanilla model is capped at 25W. Even still, you’ll need a USB Power Delivery PPS-compatible unit to reach those speeds. There’s no charger in the box, so you’ll have to spend a little extra to supply your own — you can find a list of our recommendations here. The silver lining of having a smaller battery is that the 3,700mAh cell fills up reasonably quickly even at 25W speeds. I found that it took a shade over an hour — around 65-70 minutes — to go from empty to full. If you’re in a bit more of a rush, the Galaxy S22 grabs about 60% of its charge in half an hour.

Although the Galaxy S22 lags in wired charging speeds, it matches its siblings with 15W wireless charging. My Qi charging pad can reach those speeds, but the Galaxy S22 needed just under 90 minutes to go from empty to full. The phone also supports 4.5W reverse wireless charging if you need to boost your smartwatch or earbuds in a pinch.

The Galaxy S22’s battery is its Achilles’ heel, as you can probably tell. It’s smaller than last year and slower to charge than its current siblings. If you’re a light user, you can probably swing it, but it may not be enough if you’re a heavy gamer or avid photographer.

See also: The best phone charging accessories

Camera: Big camera energy

samsung galaxy s22 rear cameras
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • 50MP, Dual Pixel AF, OIS, (f/1.8, 1.0μm)
  • 12MP ultrawide, (f/2.2, 1.4μm, 120-degree FoV)
  • 10MP telephoto, 3x optical zoom, OIS, (f/2.4, 1.0μm)
  • 10MP front camera, (f/2.2, 0.7µm, 80-degree FoV)
  • 4K video up to 60fps, 8K up to 24fps

At first glance, the Galaxy S22 camera looks identical to its predecessor. It still offers three lenses, and they’re still stacked in the corner. But unlike in recent years where the Ultra variants enjoyed the more significant changes, this year the littler guys scored a pretty big win. Even better, the Expert Raw app isn’t just for Ultras anymore.

Before we get into the wonderful world of Expert Raw, let’s talk hardware. The Galaxy S22’s primary lens is a 50MP wide option, a massive leap over the 12MP sensor from last year, though it pixel bins to 12.5MP. We’re not just talking more megapixels, though, the sensor itself is larger — 1/1.56-inches compared to last year’s 1/1.76-inches.

Photography terms explained: ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and more

It also offers a 12MP ultrawide camera, carried over from the Galaxy S21 series, and a 10MP telephoto lens. The telephoto lens provides 3x optical zoom, which is a nice upgrade over the Galaxy S21 that relied on hybrid zoom for anything beyond 1.1x. It’s honestly not a bad change — all three cameras still perform admirably. The front-facing selfie lens offers a 10MP resolution, matching the Galaxy S22 Plus.

As we’ve learned, the software is just as essential as hardware, and the Galaxy S22 gets all of the bells and whistles. You can test out a whole heap of shooting modes, including Single Take to capture video and stills simultaneously. Samsung is also talking up its “Nightography” AI and camera glass with low-reflection nano-coating for better results in the dark.

Although the vanilla Galaxy S22 is the smallest member of the trio, you’d hardly know based on the camera results. They match what the Galaxy S22 Plus can do, as the two share their camera setups right down to the last megapixel. You can trust the primary shooter to get the job done in just about any condition. I had no issues with wonky white balances or crushing shadows, and the color recreation is accurate. Yes, Samsung still loves its saturation, but it’s not completely overblown like some competitors anymore. The natural bokeh impressed me, which you can see in the image of a window box above.

Samsung’s telephoto lens may have trimmed its megapixels from last year, but the 3x optical zoom is a clear boost for long-distance shots. As you can see in the image of an ice sculpture, the color and clarity have hardly changed from one lens to the next. Details haven’t started to soften yet, and there’s no noise. In fact, there’s not much noise at all until we hit a few of the low light shots later.

You should have no complaints about the ultrawide camera, which offers 0.6x zoom compared to the primary camera. There is a bit of distortion which comes from the 120-degree field of view, but that’s the price you have to pay to fit in more details. I found no issues with the color — compare the standard image of a pretzel with the ultrawide version to see what I mean.

It’s straightforward to run through Samsung’s full range of focal lengths. Whenever you change your zoom, the Galaxy S22 brings up a menu to let you jump as close as 30x with the tap of a button. Of course, everything above the telephoto’s 3x optical zoom relies on digital zoom with a little bit of AI assistance. I was pretty impressed by Samsung’s stabilization help. Once you reach 10x zoom or above, the camera app opens a small window that you can tap at any time to activate stabilization. It feels a little bit like trying to lock in a target in a video game, but it’s very effective once you get the hang of it.

You have two lens options for portrait mode — the primary and the telephoto. My Galaxy S22 seemed to default to the 3x zoom, which works well but often made me take a step or two back from my subject. Samsung’s bokeh is a bit softer in the 1x portrait, likely to fit additional subjects in the picture. However, once you move to the 3x, there’s little doubt about the image’s subject. You can also see that the lion’s face looks a bit punchier in the telephoto portrait above.

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 selfie camera isn’t up to the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s level, but it will still suit most people. I found that it captured enough detail any time of the day, though the night selfies picked up a little more grain. Both night selfies were taken away from streetlights, but the post-processing yields a good result. Much like what we discovered in our Galaxy S22 Plus testing, you’ll have to switch to a multi-person selfie for the full 10MP resolution — single-person selfies drop down to 6.5MP by default.

Samsung’s Night mode is another success for the Galaxy S22 series. You can see its impact in the image comparison above, and it’s available from 0.6x to 3x focal lengths. Crystal clear results become a little more difficult as you zoom, but only because you have to hold the camera so still. There’s still some noticeable glare on bright lights, but only in wider shots. If you were to focus on a candle in a window, Night mode tends to balance the glare nicely.

Samsung's upgraded trio of lenses delivers, both day and night.

As for video, you can once again trust the Galaxy S22 around the clock. It’s capable of up to 8K at 24fps, however, you’ll burn through your limited storage in a hurry at that resolution, so 4K at 60fps will be a better bet for most. I had no issues with video quality, and the stabilization impressed me once again. You can technically push the selfie camera to 4K video at 60fps, too, but it’s not as sharp as the rear camera array. You’re probably better off recording blindly with the rear camera and memorizing where the buttons are.

Most users will rely on Samsung’s default camera app, and for a good reason. It’s packed with shooting modes, powerful Pro settings, and more. You can control plenty of settings from the top (or left) edge of the viewfinder, while the bottom (or right) side manages your shooting mode. Many of the Pro settings like ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are challenging to control quickly, but Samsung’s auto mode is excellent out of the box. It’s a much different approach than, say, Google’s simplistic Pixel camera app, but it works well for the photographer who wants the option for total control.

Samsung Galaxy S22 expert raw
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

And if you need even more control, it’s time to add Expert RAW app to the mix. It keeps most of the settings in familiar positions, but you’ll notice that the shooting modes are gone. Instead, you get direct control over Samsung’s Pro settings, including the white balance. Expert Raw captures RAW images, which are much easier to edit in programs like Lightroom. It was previously limited to the Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra, but Samsung is slowly opening broader support.

Don’t miss: The best camera phones you can get

The Samsung Galaxy S22 offers a premium camera experience from top to bottom. It’s identical to the Galaxy S22 Plus, which itself isn’t too far behind the S22 Ultra. It also has no problem keeping up with the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6, even if Samsung takes its own approach to performance and processing. Samsung’s saturated colors can be pleasing to the eye, and you can always tinker with the settings to get your perfect profile.

You can check out the full-resolution camera samples in this Google Drive folder.

Software: One-UI-derful

samsung galaxy s22 themed apps
Ryan Haines / Android Authority
  • Android 12
  • One UI 4.1
  • Four years OS updates, five years security updates

Out of the box, the Samsung Galaxy S22 runs Android 12 and the One UI 4.1 skin on top. Both are as good as it gets in early 2022, but Samsung’s flagship will have no problem staying current for a good long time. No, Android 12 won’t last forever, but Samsung’s update promise almost will. It’s committed to bringing four years of Android operating system updates to the device, along with five years of security patches. For those keeping track at home, this tops Google’s three years of OS updates and five years of security patches for the Pixel 6. You’ll probably be ready for a new phone long before the Galaxy S22 is ready to ride off into the sunset.

I like One UI 4.1, and it works really well on the Galaxy S22. I’m a big fan of the customization options, like getting certain menus and widgets to color coordinate with your wallpaper. It doesn’t work as well on app icons, but you can conveniently toggle that on or off. Samsung’s apps run butter-smooth, and the Edge panel can be a handy extra once you set it up.

Customize your experience: Samsung Galaxy S22 tips and tricks

However, Samsung hasn’t found its way out of the bloatware forest yet. The phone comes with a few Microsoft apps preinstalled, including OneDrive, Outlook, and even LinkedIn. On top of that, you get all of Samsung’s apps as well as a stack of Google versions, which gives you a little double vision. Luckily, you can delete most of these, but only disable others. For example, even if you prefer Google’s cloud storage, OneDrive is here to stay. That said, we didn’t encounter any ads during the testing period, which was not the case for the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

One UI is excellent on the Galaxy S22, but bloatware and duplicate apps are unnecessary in 2022.

You won’t find S Pen support or storage, but that shouldn’t come as a surprise. It’s reserved for the Galaxy S22 Ultra and would feel like overkill on a phone that’s designed to be used one-handed. However, you can give Samsung’s DeX software a try, which links your Galaxy device to your Windows 10 or 11 computer. I doubt many people will use it casually, but it’s interesting to explore a Galaxy device using a computer mouse.

One UI is one of the most feature-rich Android skins out there, with mountains of settings offer plenty of room for customization there’s seemingly no shortage to what the Galaxy S22 can do. That can be overwhelming and the app redundancy is a slight blemish, but with so much to play with and the very best long-term update promise, it’s impossible to rule software as a reason to avoid the Samsung Galaxy S22.

Samsung Galaxy S22 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

Value and competition

Samsung Galaxy S22
Refined, compact design • Small yet sweet display • Impressive camera setup
Samsung isn't going big, but it still hopes you'll bring this phone home.
The vanilla Samsung Galaxy S22 is subtly tweaked from its predecessor, the Galaxy S21. It has a glass back again (nice!) and features the latest 2022 silicon. It also has an upgraded camera system that should be much better than the 2021 model.

The market for sub-$1,000 flagships is tighter than its ever been. Each new launch comes with a paper-thin margin for error that can easily make or break a phone. As such, it takes an awful lot of punch to be an immediate knockout against the best from Google, Apple, and more. For the most part, the Samsung Galaxy S22 is equipped to go the distance.

Starting at $799, Samsung’s latest flagship has a pretty well-rounded spec sheet and most of the features are refined enough to justify the steep asking price. We haven’t grown tired of a Dynamic AMOLED display to date, and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor easily keeps up. Overall, the Galaxy S22 is the perfect little brother to the Galaxy S22 Plus… at least until the moment it runs out of juice. Battery life really is the only significant caveat here.

Save some money: The best Samsung Galaxy deals

Pre-order bonuses have come and gone, but there are still plenty of ways to pick up the Galaxy S22 for less than full price. You can get top trade-in value from Samsung or one of the leading US carriers, though you may have to lock yourself into a contract. If you’re determined to take the plunge into the Galaxy ecosystem, shopping from Samsung might be the best way to stretch your dollar.

If you’re still unsure which phone to put in your pocket, we don’t blame you. As we said, the market is pretty crowded. Sticking with Samsung, your best alternative is probably the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus ($999). It’s half-an-inch larger with a significantly larger battery and faster charging, but it keeps almost all of the same great traits of the pint-sized flagship. However, you’ll have to splash at least $200 more to bring it home.

Samsung Galaxy S22 in Pink and S22 Plus in Blue whole body
Eric Zeman / Android Authority

Outside of the Galaxy S22 trio, you might want to think about the Galaxy S21 FE ($699), too. It lands between the S22 and S22 Plus in terms of display size but matches the bigger phone’s battery. You’ll get a scaled-back rear camera trio, but the Contour Cut design keeps the mid-range device within striking distance of the big leagues. The Galaxy S21 FE sports a polycarbonate back and a Snapdragon 888 processor to keep the lights on. It keeps up in terms of software thanks to One UI 4 and Android 12, but the fit and finish keep the price tag a little lower.

If you’re already willing to sacrifice in terms of battery life, the Galaxy Z Flip 3 ($999) will turn some heads. It’s closer to the size of the S22 Plus but easy to pocket when folded. However, it only carries a pair of rear cameras, which can’t always keep up with Samsung’s S series devices.

Check out: The best Samsung Galaxy S22 series alternatives

Once you leave the Galaxy ecosystem, Google’s Pixel 6 ($599) becomes the top Android rival. It’s larger at 6.4-inches, and the design is a bit boxier, but it’s Google’s most affordable flagship in a long time. The Pixel 6 only offers a pair of cameras, but the 50MP primary lens delivers the goods. It also matches the Galaxy S22 in RAM and storage, with up to 8GB and 256GB, respectively. Samsung wins in processing power and the longer update guarantee, but the Pixel 6’s 4,614mAh battery offers much better longevity and, crucially, it’s a whole $200 cheaper to boot.

If you’re not locked into Android at all, the Apple iPhone 13 ($799) is the closest alternative to the Galaxy S22. Both devices offer 6.1-inch displays, though Apple’s notch eats into some precious space. The iPhone 13 has a smaller battery, yet Apple’s highly-optimized silicon lets you squeeze hours and hours out of the cell. Apple is also one of few OEMs that can promise OS and security updates on par with Samsung. The Galaxy S22 has the advantage of a third rear camera, though both devices are capable of some top-shelf results in the photography stakes.

Samsung Galaxy S22 review: The verdict

Samsung Galaxy S22 back panel on cushion 1
Ryan Haines / Android Authority

We can sit here and debate whether a 6.1-inch phone really counts as a small flagship, but I’d say that the Galaxy S22 makes the grade. It’s enjoyable to use with one hand and carefully designed so that almost everything is within a thumb’s reach. Samsung’s latest vanilla flagship is a perfectly scaled-down version of the Galaxy S22 Plus, sharing cameras, displays, and configuration options. It’s refined rather than reinvented, which keeps Samsung right in line with its rivals.

The screen is remarkable, the design is more premium than ever, and Samsung’s wider Expert Raw support even adds a new wrinkle to the already impressive new camera array. Sprinkle the best software and OS update commitment outside of Apple, and it’s tough to ignore the Galaxy S22 if you want a pocket-friendly powerhouse.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is a battery away from being the best small flagship, maybe ever.

However, Samsung’s decision to go small comes up particularly short in the battery department. The 3,700mAh cell can’t keep up against better optimization or sheer size, and the wired charging speed is slower than that of its Galaxy S22 siblings. We could also have used a larger storage option with expandable storage seemingly off the table.

Blow for blow, the Samsung Galaxy S22 is an excellent small flagship. It offers just about everything you could ask for in a market where the trend is to go big at all costs. The vanilla Galaxy S22 doesn’t chase the quirks of Samsung’s more innovative devices, but that’s what makes it shine. It’s small, simple, extremely effective, and a battery away from being the best small flagship, maybe ever.