Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review | The best Android phone of 2022

by W. Andrew Powell
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with case

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is officially my favourite Android phone, and as a Galaxy Note lover, it’s the phone that easily replaces the last phone that I loved this much, the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

For every power user out there, the Galaxy S22 Ultra gives you everything you could want, from excellent cameras, and great features, with serious upgrades over the Galaxy S21. It’s a powerhouse for photography, video, gaming, and more.

Here’s my full breakdown on what I loved about the Galaxy S22 Ultra, what you need to know, the top features, and why I think it’s perfect for professionals.

Top Features

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with S Pen

S Pen: Compared to the Galaxy S22 and S22+, the S22 Ultra comes with the Galaxy S Pen, with big improvements for speed, and low latency. For note takers, artists, and anyone who likes to provide feedback on documents or images, it’s a fantastic tool.

Cameras: The S22 Ultra cameras are all incredible, from the 40 MP selfie camera, to the 108 MP wide-angle camera, and the telephoto and ultra wide cameras. The top upgrade for cameras though is the larger sensor for the wide-angle camera, and the AI processing that improves all your results, from video and portraits, to night shots.

Display: It’s no surprise that, once again, Samsung takes the prize for the best screen and overall display. The 6.8″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with Quad HD+ resolution is utterly gorgeous, it’s bright, and it’s a dream for gaming, watching movies, and all around use.

Price, Options & Colours

The S22 Ultra is available with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB of storage for $1,649.99. However, for $1,789.99, you can get the phone with 256 GB of storage and 12 GB of RAM, and that’s what I highly recommend to give you enough storage space and power.

The phone is also available in 512 GB and 1 TB models.

Colours include Burgundy, Green, Phantom White, and Phantom Black, plus Graphite, Sky Blue, and Red exclusively from Samsung.

While both Phantom White and Black are my favourites for the standard colours, and because they stand out so much, I absolutely adore the phone in Graphite. It’s a remarkably smart looking pearly grey.

As pictured above, I also really loved Samsung’s new cases for the S22 Ultra. The strap made the case a bit chunky, but it still fit in my back pocket and the strap made it easy to grip the phone, keeping it steady for shooting video and photos.

Display & Design

Samsung really nailed everything for the S22 Ultra’s display and design. There’s nothing to complain about.

In terms of brightness, the S22 Ultra reaches 1750 nits of peak brightness with Vision Booster mode, and it really makes a difference against glare and bright conditions. The feature will impact your battery life somewhat, but for using the phone outdoors it’s an excellent feature.

As I mentioned in the top features, the display is mesmerizing, and it will make you want to use live wallpaper just to enjoy the colour, depth, and vibrant screen every time you unlock the phone.

Watching movies on the display, and gaming were both noticeably brighter, bolder, and more vivid than your average smartphone, and thanks to the 6.8″ display, it’s a great overall experience.

The phone’s design is sturdy, comfortable, elegant, and eye catching, from the rounded edges to the well designed back cover that hardly shows fingerprints at all.

For both the front and rear side of the phone, Samsung is using Corning Gorilla Glass Victus with an Armour Aluminum frame, and it’s IP68 water and dust resistant.

I also love the way Samsung has adapted the camera array. On previous phones, the array block looked and felt a bit too chunky, while the S22 Ultra goes for a cleaner, simpler design. A case is still highly recommended to protect everything, but I will say that the camera array only sticks out slightly.

Cameras

The first thing I look for in any phone is the cameras, and Samsung has done a lot to make the images and videos you’ll capture with the S22 Ultra better in every way.

For starters, the processor and AI offer a suite of upgrades when you’re shooting. Auto framerate detects when the lighting changes in a scene to optimize the shooting speed, in terms of frames per second, while the processor cleans up noise in images and video to make them brighter and clearer. That even includes when you’re taking portraits at night.

The phone also corrects shake in video for the smoothest video I’ve ever captured, even in more challenging conditions.

In every situation I shot in, from bright to dark, the results were clearer and brighter, and the zoom is truly remarkable for how clear it is, even at 30x and 100x. The best results still come in at up to about 10x, because of the optical zoom, but you can get clearer results when zooming in, more than ever before, especially in daylight.

For photographers, the Expert RAW camera mode offers a major improvement to shooting images with the phone, allowing you to adjust your settings how you like to shoot, just like on a regular camera, and then edit the DNG file in Adobe Lightroom.

I could go on and on about the cameras, photos, and video, but the bottom line is that I was impressed in every way. Samsung has made a lot of progress in making the results stand out.

And, as Note fans will already know, the S Pen makes it possible to set the S22 Ultra on a tripod or hold it in one hand, and then press the S Pen button to take a photo. Air commands also let you change modes, and do a lot more without even picking up the phone.

Battery & Performance

The S22 Ultra’s 5,000mAh battery is one of the main reasons I love the phone too. Thanks to the battery and 45W charging, when it’s charged with a Samsung power adapter, the phone lasted all day for me, and that was a challenge given how much I used it.

If you’re going to game, take photos, and watch videos for a lot of your day, the results may vary, but when you’re doing a little bit of everything, the phone easily lasted me from morning to night with just one charge. I’m a slightly heavy phone user, so that’s what I tend to expect. Some users may find that the phone lasts more than a day, but the bottom line is that the phone’s battery is large enough to meet expectations.

The phone also feels fast, jumping between apps, editing and outputting images in Lightroom, and playing games. The 8 GB of RAM goes a long way with the 4nm chip, and with the overall reliability I expect from Samsung, it’s a compelling experience for work or play.

Final Notes

While the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a pricey phone, it’s also dependable, and it features the best of everything in any Android phone, and just about the best of any phone out there.

The single complaint I have with the S22 Ultra is that I wish it offered a microSD slot to add in external memory options. That’s why I would recommend the 256 GB or 512 GB model, especially for avid photographers, so you don’t run out of space.

If the price ends up being your biggest concern for the phone, the Galaxy S22 is a great alternative at a lower price, just without some of the top-tier features.

Watch my hands-on review with the Galaxy S22 Ultra and scroll down for sample photos captured with the phone.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Gallery

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