Amazing Don’t ignore this middle child available in Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Samsung Galaxy S22 lineup has finally launched to much fanfare across the globe. And the device we have for review here is the middle child – the Galaxy S22+. The middle child of every Galaxy S lineup has a tough job, it must do enough to outmatch the base model but not so much that it overshadows the Ultra model. And we think the S22+ succeeds in doing just that. Priced at Rs 84,999, the Samsung Galaxy S22+ comes with some minor yet meaningful upgrades over its predecessor – the S21+ – such as improved cameras, faster charging, and a slimmer build. Nevertheless, questions such as how does the phone perform and is it worth your hard-earned money still need to be answered. And we’re about to answer all of that and more in this review.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Review: Build and design
Compared to last year’s S21+, the new Galaxy S22+ has gotten a bit shorter, slightly wider and thinner. Weighing 196g, the phone is also lighter than its predecessor. Unboxing the device isn’t much of an experience really, since all you get is a USB Type-C to Type-C cable, a SIM ejector and some documentation. The box is made out of recycled paper and has minimal plastic in the packaging. However, choosing to drop the charging brick, the case, and even the pre-applied protective screen guard means that users will need to buy them separately thereby having to ship 2-3 parcels instead of one, which is counterproductive from an environmental standpoint. The phone ships in three colours in India – Phantom Black, Phantom White and Green.
Samsung is known for its aesthetically designed devices, with an exception of the S20 series. The S22+ is no different and the company makes some minor design refinements opting for the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” strategy. The phone looks very similar to the S21+ and retains the chic Contour Cut design for the camera module that blends into the frame well.
On the front, slim bezels outline the flat display and there’s a punch-hole cutout for the selfie camera. The aluminium frame is still slightly curved, unlike the flat iPhone side frame. The phone is quite slippery and not the most comfortable to hold though. So, it is best to use the device with a case for some added protection. The back has a silky matte texture and is resistant to fingerprints. Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ protects both the front and back of the device, making it more resistant to drops. You also get IP68 dust and water resistance for protection against environmental elements.
At the bottom, you have the USB-C charging port, the right side houses the volume and power buttons while the top features the SIM tray. The phone houses an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor that is adequately snappy and accurate as well. Overall, the phone isn’t too much of a departure or upgrade from the previous-gen model and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Review: Display
Like its predecessor, the Galaxy S22+ has a flat, 6.6-inch display Dynamic AMOLED 2x display with FHD+ resolution. The device comes with a variable refresh rate from 48Hz – 120Hz, so it doesn’t have an LTPO panel, unlike the top-of-the-line S22 Ultra that offers a 1Hz – 120Hz variable refresh rate.
With a resolution of 1080 x 2340, the S22+ isn’t offering anything path-breaking but the display still looks gorgeous with excellent visibility even in harsh sunlight. Samsung claims that the device is capable of reaching 1,750 nits of peak brightness but that is only under very specific circumstances. We measured 860 nits of peak brightness on the S22+ which is plenty bright both indoors and outdoors. The display’s colours pop and look punchy. It is a treat to consume content on this phone despite only having an FHD+ resolution. The stereo speakers available also add to the immersiveness.
The device supports HDR10, HDR10+ and HLG but is missing Dolby Vision. It also comes with Widevine L1 certification, so you can easily stream high-definition video on streaming services. The automatic variable refresh rate keeps things feeling smooth and this helps with battery life as well.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Review: Performance
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ packs flagship-grade specs with some improvements over its predecessor – the S21+. The phone is powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC in India that runs on a 4nm process. It also has an integrated 5G modem. Although the chip is powerful, it only offers a marginal performance bump over last year’s Snapdragon 888. The chipset is coupled with 8GB RAM and up to 256GB UFS 3.1 storage. We got the 128GB internal storage variant for review. Sadly, there’s no expandable SD card slot, so what you buy is what you’ve to work with, period. Needless to say, the specs look pretty beefy on paper, although 8GB RAM could be considered low for a modern-day flagship but the company has included some vRAM action.
Firstly to gauge the performance, we ran our usual slew of benchmarks to see where the S22+ stands. In AnTuTu, the phone beats out the iPhone 13 and 13 Pro but it falls behind the Motorola Edge 30 Pro that houses the same SoC. However, it must be noted that when we ran AnTuTu again immediately after the first test, the scores were considerably lower which can be chalked up to thermal throttling since the phone got pretty hot the first time around. PCMarkWork sees the Samsung S22+ fall behind with both iPhones and the Moto Edge 30 Pro racing ahead.
We haven’t included GeekBench scores because GeekBench has delisted the Samsung S22 series amongst others, because of problems with Samsung’s Game Optimizing Service (GOS), for not throttling apps based on usage but based on the app name.
Today we delisted these handsets from the Android Benchmark chart on the Geekbench Browser.
— Geekbench (@geekbench) March 4, 2022
Samsung has issued a response, which you can read below.
Our priority is to deliver the best mobile experience for consumers. The Game Optimizing Service (GOS) has been designed to help game apps achieve a great performance while managing device temperature effectively. GOS does not manage the performance of non-gaming apps. We value the feedback we receive about our products and after careful consideration, we plan to roll out a software update soon so users can control the performance while running game apps.” – Samsung to Android Authority.
In GPU benchmarks such as 3D Mark and GFX Bench, the phone was on par or slightly better than the iPhones but the Motorola Edge 30 completely crushed it here, again with the same SoC and GPU. We also ran GameBench to record gameplay metrics. We played titles such as Asphalt 9 Legends and Call of Duty: Mobile without a hitch, for the most part. The phone, however, only gave us 30 fps on Asphalt 9 at 94% stability while the iPhone 13 and Moto Edge 30 Pro both gave us 60 fps with near-perfect stability and the iPhone 13 Pro ran the game at 60fps at 100% stability. We also ran the CPU Throttling Test and found that the phone throttled to 84% of its performance after 15 minutes and to 77% after half an hour.
Regardless of the benchmark scores and throttling issues, the general day-to-day performance of the Samsung Galaxy S22+ is impressive. There are generally no lags or stutters in the animations and multitasking is a breeze even with only 8GB RAM. However, within the camera app, switching between lenses isn’t very smooth with some jitters encountered. Apple iPhones have nailed this aspect of their phones and we hope Android phones can match up in the future, but that’s not the case now. The phone also becomes somewhat toasty during gameplay sessions or when shooting videos. The cooling system in this phone isn’t as robust as the S22 Ultra and overall, the phone does tend to run a little hotter than what’s ideal. Nevertheless, for most users, the phone provides excellent performance rivalled by only a few others on the market, especially due to the clean software
Speaking of the software, the S22+ ships with Android 12 out of the box with Samsung’s One UI 4.1 on top. One UI 4.1 is a minor upgrade over 4.0 with some new features. The UI is clean, looks fresh and remains one of our favourite Android skins to date. There are some pre-installed apps on the phone including Samsung’s suite of apps, some Google apps and Netflix. The company has also promised a whopping 4 years of Android OS upgrades, all the way to Android 16, and 5 years of security updates.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Review: Camera
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ is a true upgrade over its predecessor when it comes to cameras. Samsung has improved the cameras across the board – especially the wide-angle and telephoto lenses. The telephoto lens now offers true 3x optical zoom instead of the 3x hybrid zoom that was present on the S21+ resulting in more detailed zoomed pictures. The phone features a triple rear camera stack with a 50MP primary sensor with OIS, a 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom and a 12MP ultrawide shooter. The main sensor is larger this year, so it can let in more light than last year’s model.
The primary sensor is capable of bright, detailed photos in daylight with punchy, saturated colours that Samsung phones are known for. The images aren’t as saturated as the S20 and S21 lineup though, and they’re closer to what you see in real life than those models were. The camera has excellent dynamic range with it being able to bring out the details in the highlights and shadows even in tricky lighting conditions. Low light images come out good, there’s some loss in sharpness but the noise levels are pretty low. With night mode active, the images get a boost in detail and even in severely underlit conditions you can get a perfectly usable shot, provided you keep your hands steady. The camera outputs 12MP binned shots but you have an option to switch to full 50MP resolution as well. Check out the gallery below to see some camera samples.
The ultrawide lens produces sharp shots with pleasing colours with some barrelling. The dynamic range is pretty good too, but not as proficient as on the main sensor. Low light wide-angle lens shots aren’t as detailed and have some noise as well. As for the zoom lens, the proper 3x telephoto zoom provides noticeably sharper images than the S21+ did and you even get some usable 10x zoom shots. Anything beyond that isn’t really usable. Portrait shots come out really well with good borders. Occasionally, the shots will blur out a stray strand of hair but the overall quality of portrait shots have definitely shot up in comparison to the previous-gen models.
As for video, the phone can shoot at 8K at 24 fps but we still feel that it is not well-implemented and gimmicky. The other modes, however, such as UHD and FHD output smooth, detailed videos with good colours. They’re certainly not as proficient as iPhone videos, but the quality is no longer unpalatable as was the case only two generations ago with the S20 lineup. The Super Steady mode video is excellent for when you’re shooting on the go and makes a huge difference.
Moving on to selfies, the phone features a 10MP shooter that captures detailed selfies with good colour. The skin tone of subjects also looks very close to real life, which is a plus. Night-time selfies, however, are softer with some noise.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Review: Battery life
It’s safe to say, we were pretty surprised when we found out that the S22+ features a 4,500mAh battery which is smaller than the 4,800mAh cell on the S21+. It is the only real downgrade in terms of features in comparison to its predecessor. However, due to battery efficiency improvements of the new internals, the S22+ does do slightly better than the S21+ in terms of battery life. During our testing, the phone lasted a day and a half on one charge and the day consisted of heavy benchmarking, shooting photos and videos and playing intensive games, so it is pretty impressive. If you’re not a power user, you’re easily looking at a 2-day battery life and approximately 8 hours of screen-on time.
Here are some numbers for reference. Half an hour of streaming Netflix dropped the battery level by 4 per cent and 15 minutes of COD Mobile dropped it by 4 per cent as well. In our video loop test, the phone lasted over 14 hours which is pretty impressive. In comparison, last year’s S21 Ultra managed to last 796 hours in the same test.
As for charging, the device supports 45W fast wired charging but you do not get a charging adapter in the box, just a charging cable. We tested the phone with a 25W Samsung fast charger we had lying around and the phone went from 0-100 per cent in just 54 minutes. The phone also supports 15W fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Review: Verdict
With a starting price of Rs 84,999, the Samsung Galaxy S22+ is what we’d call the Goldilocks phone – just right for most consumers trying to decide between the S22 lineup. There is nothing path-breaking that the phone offers seeing that it comes only with an FHD+ screen and 4,500mAh battery, but it does make minor, yet tangible improvements over last year’s model in almost every area. There are some things that just come effortlessly to Samsung including an excellent display and a solid build, and the S22+ is no different. The camera system is also improved in comparison to the predecessor as well and the battery life, while not the best at the price point, is reliable for most users.
But, some performance issues such as heating and slight hiccups in the transitions in the camera app deter us from recommending this phone over the iPhone 13 – which seems like a more refined package. However, choose the iPhone 13 and you will miss out on a telephoto lens, which is pretty fantastic on the S22+. Overall, we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this phone to any Android lover, especially one who is already comfortable with Samsung’s ever-improving UI. And, 4 years of guaranteed Android OS updates is another jewel in this phone’s crown.