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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Review: The best Android flagship for the mainstream consumer

I think it’s fair to say that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is for a certain type of consumer that’s willing to carry a bigger and heavier phone in return for a premium camera experience and a built-in S Pen, all while paying a premium for it. That’s great for those people that consciously seek the extra and the overkill. But for everyone else, there’s the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and the Galaxy S22.

Having used the Galaxy S22 Plus for about a week now, I’m confident in saying that this is the best mainstream Android flagship phone available in the US. After all, there aren’t a whole lot of other options here in the United States. The OnePlus 9 series didn’t impress with its lackluster camera – thanks to the Hasselblad partnership being initially software-based – and the OnePlus 10 series isn’t here yet. Google’s Pixel 6 is plagued with UI issues, and when you remove those two key competitors, you’re pretty much left with Apple.XDA-Developers VIDEO OF THE DAY

And let’s be clear about something. The camera system on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is no slouch, packing a 50MP f/1.8 sensor that’s capable of beautiful imagery. Naturally, those pictures look incredible on the 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED display. It’s a stylish and capable device in a market that frankly, isn’t as competitive as it used to be. When it comes to premium Android flagship phones, you can’t beat the Galaxy S22 Plus.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus: Pricing and availability

While existing orders of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus have already started to ship, new orders are being pushed back beyond the February 25 release date. Still, no matter where you order from, you wouldn’t have to wait more than a couple of weeks.

Official pricing is $999 for the 128GB model and $1,049 for the 256GB model, but retailers like Best Buy and even Samsung itself are offering deals that get you a free storage upgrade, so you get to buy the 256GB version for $999. You can expect to see a lot of deals like that throughout the lifetime of the device, so be on the lookout for Galaxy S22 Plus deals.

As for the colors that the Galaxy S22 Plus comes in, there are a total of eight. If you get an unlocked model from Samsung.com, you can get it in Graphite, Sky Blue, Cream, and Violet. Those colors won’t be available anywhere else. As for what you’ll get if you buy it anywhere else, such as from your carrier, your options are Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Pink Gold. For this review, Samsung sent us a Pink Gold model. Also, you’re probably going to want to get a case for your brand-new S22 Plus, so feel free to browse our best cases collection.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus: Specifications

Display6.6-inch FHD+*Dynamic AMOLED 2X DisplaySuper Smooth 120Hz refresh rate (48~120Hz)240Hz Touch Sampling Rate in Game ModeVision BoosterEye Comfort Shield AI based blue light control*Measured diagonally, Galaxy S22 Plus’s screen size is 6.6-inch in the full rectangle and 6.4-inch with accounting for the rounded corners; actual viewable area is less due to the rounded corners and camera hole.
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
SecurityUltrasonic Fingerprint
Dimensions and weight75.8 x 157.4 x 7.6mm, 196g
Camera12MP Ultra-Wide Camera• F2.2, FOV 120˚50 MP Wide Camera• Dual Pixel AF, OIS, F1.8, FOV 85˚10MP Telephoto Camera• 3x Optical Zoom, OIS, F2.4, FOV 36˚10MP Front Camera• F2.2, FOV 80˚
Memory8GB RAM + 256GB8GB RAM + 128GB
ChargingUp to 45W Wired15W WirelessWireless PowerShareUSB-IF compliant
OSAndroid 12One UI 4.1
Network and connectivity5G, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E (Galaxy S22+) / Wi-Fi 6(Galaxy S22), Wi-Fi Direct Bluetooth v 5.2
SensorsAccelerometer, Barometer, Fingerprint Sensor, Gyro Sensor, Geomagnetic Sensor, Hall Sensor, Light Sensor, Proximity Sensor
Water resistanceIP68

* IP68 is based on test conditions for submersion in up to 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes. Rinse residue/dry if wet. Not advised for beach or pool use.

Price$999.99 / $1,049.99

About this review: Samsung USA sent us the Galaxy S22 Plus (Snapdragon) for review. It did not have any input in the contents of this review.

Design and display: The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus looks a lot like it did last year

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus looks nearly identical to its predecessor, with the triple-lens camera housing merged into the corner of the device. The big difference is that it’s not two-tone anymore, so you don’t have a Phantom Red device with the gold-colored camera housing. On the Galaxy S22 Plus, the camera housing matches the rest of the chassis.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Review: The best Android flagship for the mainstream consumer

It’s not news, but there’s no headphone jack to be found on the chassis. Samsung hasn’t included one in a few years now, but it’s worth noting just in case the device you’re upgrading from has one. You’ll probably want to invest in a pair of wireless earbuds as well.

The only actual port on the device is the USB Type-C port on the bottom. While the Galaxy S22 Plus does support 45W wired charging, something that’s new to this generation, you’ll also have to buy your own charger.

This is a pain point. Companies like Samsung and Apple stopped shipping chargers in boxes, citing e-waste as a concern and the fact that frankly, everyone already has chargers. However, the charging technology gets better and better, so that old charger that you have isn’t quite taking advantage of one of the talking points that you just paid a thousand dollars for. If not shipping a charger in the box was really about e-waste, then maybe these companies would accept trade-ins of your old chargers.

The device does support wireless charging through the glass back, of course.

On the right side, there’s a power button and a volume rocker. And that’s about it.

Now, onto this beautiful 6.6-inch display. While the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus look nearly identical aside from the size (the Galaxy S22 has a smaller 6.1-inch display), there’s more to it than that. The display on the Galaxy S22 Plus is one of the key things that’s different between the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus.

Both devices offer FHD+ 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED displays, which is fantastic. If you’ve owned a flagship Galaxy smartphone in the last five years, then you know that you’re going to get a best-in-class display experience. The animations are smooth thanks to the refresh rate, and the colors are bright and vibrant thanks to the AMOLED technology. The hole-punch cut-out is small, so the camera doesn’t feel intrusive. It’s a delightful experience.

The big difference between the Galaxy S22 and the S22 Plus, however, is that while the Galaxy S22 has the same 1,300-nit display that the Galaxy S21 had, the Galaxy S22 Plus now goes up to 1,750 nits. That’s a pretty big deal, and it’s an improvement for outdoor performance. When you take this thing out in bright sunlight, you won’t have any trouble at all seeing what’s on the screen.

Camera: The Galaxy S22 Plus is best-in-class for a mainstream flagship

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus has a completely new camera system from the one found in the S21 Plus. Last year, Samsung used a 12MP f/1.8 sensor the the main camera, and a 64MP zoom lens. The Korean firm took an opposite approach with the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus this year, with a higher-resolution main sensor and a lower-resolution zoom lens. The ultra-wide is still 12MP f/2.2.

But now, there’s a 50MP f/1.8 lens and a 10MP f/2.4 3x zoom lens, which for one thing, offers larger pixels when using that telephoto lens. It also uses tetra-binning (also known as quad-binning) to merge four pixels into one for better low-light performance, and also makes use of the 50MP image to improve it even more.

About half of the samples I took were during the day, and half were either low-light or nighttime. Zoom goes up to 30x, which is nice, although the 100x on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is out of this world. I was also really impressed with low-light performance, mainly that I didn’t have to do anything special for pictures to come out good.

One thing I really want to point out is that Samsung has gotten a lot better with realistic photos than it has been in the past. Despite frankly magnificent hardware, I’ve never been willing to carry around a Samsung phone because the photos always looked too unnatural because they were so saturated. This year, I feel like that might actually be solved. I feel good about using this camera without having a backup device with me, and that’s really saying something considering how I’ve previously felt about Samsung smartphones.

Samsung Pay and Vaccine Pass

Samsung has a bunch of new Samsung Pay features, although these aren’t exclusive to the Galaxy S22 series in any way. They include support for keys (car, home, office), student IDs, and my personal favorite, Vaccine Pass.

To set up Vaccine Pass, at least in New York State, you can just scan the QR code that’s found in the state’s app. Now, you can easily pull it up in Samsung Pay whenever you need it.

Samsung Pay is pretty great though, especially since the Korean firm continues to add new features to it. Unfortunately, MST support isn’t there anymore, as that was the one thing that set the tap-to-pay functionality apart from competitors. Still, adding things like vaccine proof, ID cards, and keys is pretty cool.

Performance, Battery Life, and Charging: It’s fast and it lasts all-day

Those two bullet points are really all you need to know. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus comes with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset (in the Americas, Africa, and some parts of Asia), which means that performance is as good as it gets. It has Qualcomm’s triple ISP, new Snapdragon Elite Gaming features, and much more. Because of the chipset, it does, however, get hot sometimes when you’re playing those games. I noticed it a lot when running benchmarks. However, users in Europe and some select regions of Asia will be getting the Exynos 2200 processor, and we’ve noticed some glaring performance issues on that processor. Those aren’t present on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 units, and we’re happy with the flagship performance to this end.

As far as benchmarks go, I ran my usual tests of Geekbench, AnTuTu, and GFXBench. Interestingly, the Geekbench test scores were lower than that of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 device that we tested at Snapdragon Summit, particularly in multi-core. I got 1,216 on single-core and 3,126 on multi-core, while the reference design got 1,235 and 3,758, respectively.

For AnTuTu, I came up with a grand total score of 834,344, with that breaking down to 212,908 in the CPU category, 317,993 in the GPU category, 157,493 in the memory category, and 145,950 in the UX category. In GFXBench, the S22 Plus for 112fps on the Manhattan Offscreen tests, while the reference device got 221fps.

But that’s enough about benchmarks. All we have to compare the device to is Qualcomm’s own reference design, which was created to run benchmarks on. Samsung’s S22 series is the fastest series of Android phones on the market right now. That’s mainly because the company’s top U.S. competitors – Google and OnePlus – haven’t released devices with newer chipsets yet. Right now, if you want performance, you go Samsung (as long as you get Snapdragon and not Exynos).

Battery life is pretty great too. To put it simply, I was never below 25% at the end of a 24-hour day. In testing, I’d go from wake-up to wake-up. By default, the screen is set to 60Hz and the AoD is off; those are two things that I changed right away. When I say that I got all-day battery life in 24-hour periods, it’s with the 120Hz feature and the always-on display turned on. If you do game, you can expect these numbers to drop, but overall, I have been very happy with the battery life and it fits within my definition of all-day battery life.

While battery life was fine, the Galaxy S22 Plus charges rather oddly. New to this generation is 45W charging support, which from our testing, actually charges slower than the previous generation’s 25W charging. For this, I used a 25W Samsung TA-800 charger, and I used a OnePlus Warp Charge 65 charger, which supports 45W Power Delivery PPS too. It’s unclear why the lower wattage charges the device faster, but there’s no reason to believe that Samsung’s own 45W charger would do any better. Neither one comes in the box, but if you’ve got an old 25W charger lying around, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to purchase the 45W at this time, although that could perhaps change with firmware updates. Either way, Samsung remains behind the curve of other OEMs which have been offering significantly higher charging speeds.

Switching to a Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus from an iPhone

Ever since I came to XDA last April, I’ve been an iPhone user. Since I was to be focused on laptops and computing, I was no longer in that world of constantly reviewing new phones, bouncing around the Android ecosystem. I finally settled down on one device, and it was an iPhone.

Personally, I think that if you’ve got an iPhone and you’re looking for something new that you’ll find on Android, I think Samsung is the way to go. Moreover, formost iPhone users, I specifically think that the Galaxy S22 or Galaxy S22 Plus is the way to go.

The reason is the ecosystem. Few companies put this much effort into creating the full-stack experience for your lifestyle. That includes not only the smartphone, but the smartwatch, the laptop, the earbuds, and in fact, with Samsung, it’s even more. That’s because Samsung makes smart TVs and all kinds of smart electronics that work with your Samsung device.

As an iPhone user, you might be tempted to get a Google Pixel because it’s first-party hardware, and when the hardware-maker also makes the software, great things happen, right? That’s not always the case. Don’t expect everyone to be as good as Apple at that; if it were easy, it would be a lot more common for smartphone-makers to make their own operating systems.

Like I said earlier, I think that the Galaxy S22 or S22 Plus is the switch to make as well. I really believe that the Galaxy S22 Ultra is for people that specifically want to spend a lot of money on a camera that can do 100x zoom, or want a built-in S Pen. The Ultra is a niche product, and if that’s your thing, it’s amazing and you should go for it.

Apple has never really made anything that’s competitive with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Cupertino firm boasts 3x lossless zoom, and despite years of Apple Pencil support that’s now on all iPads, iPhones still don’t support it. An iPhone, whether it’s the Mini or the Pro Max, is a great all-around phone for the masses, just like the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus.

Who should buy the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus?

The general theme of this review has been that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is the best mainstream Android smartphone that you can buy. Naturally, it’s not for everyone, just as no product is.

When it comes to who should and who shouldn’t buy one of these, this is pretty easy to break down. The Galaxy S22 Plus is the Android phone to get unless you’re getting the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It’s also the one to get if you’ve made the decision to switch away from an iPhone.

Both the iPhone 13 Pro and the Galaxy S22 Ultra are great phones, and I’d never say you should switch from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy. But if you’re making that decision, this is the one you should switch to.

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