The Samsung Galaxy S22 has made its grand appearance, and Galaxy S22 deals are already cropping up in advance of the phone's February 25 ship date. But is the latest Samsung flagship worth buying?
On paper, the Galaxy S22 certainly makes a good case to be among the best Samsung phones. While it doesn't boast the same number of features as the higher-end Galaxy S22 Ultra, it's also not as expensive. And the features that are present in the Galaxy S22 — improved cameras, a brighter display and an improved adaptive refresh rate — are the sort of things you'd want to see in a new phone.
This is one rumor we're happy to see not pan out. The Galaxy S22 debuts at $799, the same price as the Galaxy S21 and (not coincidentally) the iPhone 13. Yes, the Pixel 6 can be had for less — $200 less to be specific — but that gap would have been even wider had the Galaxy S22 price ticked upward.
Samsung Galaxy S22: Reasons to skip
Not a big performance boost
The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powering U.S. versions of the Galaxy S22 seems to bring a lot to the table, particularly when it comes to the chipsets new AI engine. But big performance gains don't appear to be among the benefits — that was clear in early Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 benchmarks, and it's panning out as we test the Galaxy S22.
On the one hand, that's not really a big deal. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 certainly offers enough power to handle demanding apps and multitasking, and you won't notice a performance lag when you're using the phone — far from it, really. But at the same time, Apple's current A15 processor is simply faster. And when the A16 chipset inevitably shows up in this fall's iPhone 14 release, the gap should widen further.
The Galaxy S22's battery shrunk
The Galaxy S21 came with a 4,000 mAh battery, but because the Galaxy S22 is slightly smaller than its predecessor, Samsung is opting for a smaller power pack. This year's flagship uses a 3,700 mAh power pack — not a big step down, but a concerning one, given that the Galaxy S21 wasn't exactly a long-lasting phone.
Specifically, the Galaxy S21 lasted a little less than 10 hours on our battery test in which we have phones surf the web until they run out of power. That's about average for a smartphone, but we only got that time when we turned off the S21's adaptive display feature. With a fast refresh rate turned on, the battery test result plummeted by more than 3 hours.
We're not sure that shrinking the Galaxy S22's battery is a recipe for boosting battery life, but Samsung must be banking that the improved adaptive refresh rate will draw less power and that the new chipset will be more power efficient. We're hoping that Samsung is right.
The Galaxy S22 still charges at 25W
Much has been made of the fact that both the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S22 Plus support 45W wired charging, which can get a drained phone to a 50% charge in 20 minutes. Sadly, Samsung left that feature off of the Galaxy S22, which continues to charge at 25W like its predecessor.
That's a respectable enough speed — it's faster than the iPhone's 20W charging speed. But Galaxy S22 shoppers should know ahead of time that by opting for this model, they're giving up the faster charging supported by the more expensive versions of the Galaxy S22.