- Beautiful Build, reminiscent of Note Series
- Amazing Display as always
- The S Pen is finally back, for good
- Jack of all trades
- Now a Qualcomm Powered Phone for Malaysia
- We no longer get the Exynos
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 doesn't instill a lot of confidence
- 128GB requires a lot of discipline to use
We have said too much about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, in fact, wrote about the phone a lot more than we should. But I promise this is pretty much the last article and in fact the most important one at that. Without further ado, let’s just jump right into our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Review.
Design and Build
The S Series has always been known for its curvy design whereas the Note series is popular for its edgy and boxy design that pretty much turns a lot of heads. Now we know that the Note Series is dead, Samsung decided to merge the S and the Note to create the proper Ultra one would ask for and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra does exactly that. From the design, which is smooth on the sides where the rails and the glass are blended in very well, to the nice edgy and boxy looking design, not only it brings back the nostalgia we have had with the note but does it right in every way possible.
This time around, Samsung isn’t including a screen protector, nor it comes with a case – so, I’d strongly suggest that you do get a case and a screen protector first, if you haven’t already as the back glass isn’t just slippery but if you were to be a wee-bit careless, chances are you are going to scratch it.
Samsung displays are currently the benchmark for displays in general because of how vivid, beautiful and hits the right mark for one who loves a perfect display really. That said, the S22 Ultra comes with a 6.8” Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display that looks stunning in every way possible. Thing is it doesn’t stop there. The S22 Ultra gets a peak brightness of 1750 nits and now the minimum starting refresh rate begins at 1Hz (vs. S21 Ultra which started at 10Hz).
The display also boosts by increasing the color contrast when you are outside, making it easier to use. The already great display is now upgraded to the very granular level, making it a much more adaptable display in scenarios and at the same time be able to give you that best experience possible.
We aren’t going to dive into deep here with the S Pen because we did a complete separate review on the S Pen – which you can click here to read. But that said, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra brings back the S Pen and now stays within the phone instead of outside the phone. It’s the tool Note Fans have been waiting for. Oh and now there’s a new Lamy S Pen too.
Specification and Performance
In term of specification, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra we received comes with the following:
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Processor
- 8GB RAM | 128GB Internal Storage (Non-expandable)
Now what you see above is neat in terms of specification, except for one – storage. To be very frank, 128GB is quite literally the smallest capacity you can have on your phone these days and given how fast it fills up to the brim, not because of your data but apps are getting bigger, the 128GB is a bit of a pain to deal with. One thing I did do and carried with me all the time is my Kingston DTMax which is a USB-C 1TB Drive that helps me transfer data immediately to my external storage. It’s not that 128GB is little, you will need a lot of discipline to use that storage as efficiently as possible.
Perfomance-wise, Samsung has removed the performance throttling with the help of an update which in my opinion is not going to end up well given that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is a hot processor to begin with – which we broke down in our other article focusing solely on the performance. Now, you do get like 20000 more points than before, but at what cost really? When a phone gets hot a lot, that’s the easiest way you can kill a phone really – so, given that now its uncapped, makes me worried. Again, it’s not something we can share right now as we’d have to use the phone for a long run which I will, after I get a bigger capacity S22 Ultra as the S22 Ultra’s 128GB is not for me.
The camera on the back of the phone has been shifted a bit – while it still has the same configuration as the last year’s S21 Ultra, the S22 Ultra does have some tweaks done to it – the main shooter is now a 108MP unlike the last round where the Telephoto was the higher 108MP. Following that we have three more cameras, 12MP Ultrawide, and two more 10MP which helps with the 3x and 10x optical zoom. On the front, the phone has a massive 40MP Selfie shooter.
Thing is that: the camera, while it may seem that it has some marginal upgrades, this is all you need really, and they have added some software tweaks which makes the experience more enjoyable. Like for instance, the nightography is such a pleasure to use – click here to see our pictures and in the video department, there are some software tricks to keep you in the frame and in focus. It’s like centerstage but for mobile. I love that.
Although the S22 Ultra struggles a little more as compared to my S21 Ultra, because this is an issue, I noticed only with Snapdragon powered phones. The S21 Ultra, given that it’s a year old, takes pictures instantaneously and you won’t miss a shot. The S22 Ultra’s ISP is slow, chances of missing a shot is very high to a point that when you hit the shutter, you’ll realize that the phone takes a few seconds delay and then captures the image. We thought this was just a S22 Ultra thing, but as it turns out, during our time where we took an impromptu trip with our friend, who is reviewing the S22+ on her site, she, too had the same issues. Even the S22 I had at hand, went through the same.
We won’t know how different the Exynos powered S22 Ultra does, but man, that would have been an amazing phone to review given its new GPU and ISP as well.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery, same as last year and there’s no difference in that. But here’s the issue with it, the battery life with the S22 Ultra, isn’t particularly great as I anticipated. Despite my light usage and just using the usual day-to-day stuff, the phone gave about 6+ hours of screen on time which is very little when the S21 Ultra, till date gives an extra hour or two more, which again begs the question on how battery intensive the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processors are.
You can get some extra battery life out of the phone if you turn the adaptive refresh rate to 60Hz but that still doesn’t match as what the S21 Ultra offers. All I can hope at this point is that Samsung fixes this with an update.
Here’s the thing, regardless of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 issue you notice in this review, I have to say that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is still a fantastic phone in the last two years we have witnessed from Samsung. Combining both the S and the Note isn’t something I wanted to see but given with the whole shortage and other issues we are noticing lately, it’s the best way to satisfy both users at the same time.
Whatever you do, get the bigger capacity S22 Ultra, even if you do get the S22 Ultra 128GB, make sure to have lots of discipline to use the storage carefully. For me, I am truly happy that I got my S Pen back. Also, now that Samsung has perfected the S22 Ultra, where is it going to go from here?
Special thanks to Samsung Malaysia for gracing us the Galaxy S22 Ultra for making this review and other content happen.