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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Review – It’s Worth It!

REVIEW OVERVIEW

Price / Value
85 %
Specs
95 %
Unique Features
95 %
Camera
95 %
Battery
95 %
Overall Performance
95 %

Don’t like reading? Check out my video review on YouTube instead.

Check out my video review on YouTube.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a flagship device that looks and feels premium. However, it also has a premium price tag attached as well. If you consider that you get four years of Android updates and five years of security updates, then the price is easier to stomach. If you keep the phone for 4 or 5 years, the cost of ownership is around $260 USD per year based on the 12 GB + 256 GB variant of the phone.

This review is based on a phone that was purchased for personal use. This review is not sponsored, and I have not received a review sample.

Price & Value

On the Samsung site, the base model of the S22 Ultra, which offers 8 GB of RAM & 128 GB of storage, is $1199.99 USD. The next level up has 12 GB of RAM & 256 GB of storage for $1299.99. The price goes up from there for the 512 GB & 1 TB variants, and they all continue to offer 12 GB RAM. The phone used in this review is the 12 GB + 512 GB variant.

Some links may be referral links, which means I earn a small commission for qualifying sales. There is no additional cost to you.

Package Contents

In the box, you get the phone, USB Type C charging cable and a SIM card eject tool. There is no included fast charger, case or pre-applied screen protector. When you pay such a premium price, the unboxing experience feels quite lacklustre.

s22 ultra box package contents
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Package Contents

Build Quality & Styling

The design of the S22 Ultra is Samsung’s best design to date. While the screen curves on the right and left sides into the aluminum frame, it is slight, and the phone has a mostly squarish shape. I’m a massive fan of the squarish and boxy type look in a world of all-rounded and curved cellphones.

The build quality feels premium with its heft. There’s no creaking, and it just feels like a solid phone. While the phone is large, it doesn’t feel crazy big in hand. I don’t have large hands, and I can still use the phone easily. Now, I can’t reach the top of the screen from the bottom, so I have to let the phone slide a bit to get access and then slide it back. It’s still pretty easy to manipulate, but I do that with a clear case for added grip. It also feels pretty well balanced, and I haven’t had to quickly snap the phone up to prevent it from falling over.

s22 ultra curved screen front
S22 Ultra – Front Curved Screen

The front of the phone has Gorilla Glass Victus+, which is the newest version of Gorilla glass The top of the screen houses a small cutout for an impressive 40 MP selfie camera.

The phone’s right side has a volume button and power button, both of which have a polished finish. The left side of the phone has no buttons.

s22 ultra cameras back cover
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Rear Cameras

The back of the phone is what gives this phone its standout appearance – a quad-camera system without a raised camera module or camera bump. I’m a huge fan of the look. The camera’s lens have a black ring just below the lens glass, which contrasts nicely against the white back.

The back is also made of Gorilla Glass Victus+. There is a matte type of finish, which helps make fingerprints less prominent when looking from a distance. However, at certain angles, you’ll still see them.

S22 Ultra bottom ports
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Bottom Ports

The bottom of the phone is where you’ll find the SIM card tray, type C charging port, speaker and S Pen.

S22 Ultra Specifications

If you need an explanation for some of the specs below, check out my Ultimate Phone Buying Guide here.

  • 5000 mAh Battery
  • 6.8″ Dynamic AMOLED Screen (1440 x 3088 pixels)
  • 120 Variable Refresh Rate
  • 500 PPI Density
  • 12 GB RAM – Review Model (8 GB on the base model)
  • 512 GB Storage – Review Model (Available from 128 GB to 1 TB)
  • Snapdragon 8 – Gen 1
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • Rear Cameras: 8K @ 24fps, 4K @ 30 or 60fps, 1080p @ 30,60, or 240fps, 720p @ 960fps, HDR10+
  • Front Camera: 4K @ 30 or 60fps, 1080p @ 30fps
  • Adreno 730 GPU
  • Quad Camera Setup
    • 108MP @ f/1.8, 23mm wide
    • 10MP @ f/4.9, 230mm telephoto – 10X Optical Zoom
    • 10 MP @ f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto) – 3x optical zoom
    • 12 MP @ f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide) – 170 FOV
  • Front Facing Camera – 40MP @ f/2.2, 26mm (wide)
  • 45W Fast Charging, 15W Wireless Charging, 4.5W Reverse Wireless Charging
  • USB Type-C – Gen 3.2
  • Under Display Fingerprint Reader
  • Dual Nano Sim Cards
  • IP68 Rating Dust & Water Resistance
  • NFC Capable
  • Dimensions: 6.43 inches x 3.07 inches x 0.35 inches
  • Weight: 229 grams (0.5 lbs)

S Pen Features

The S Pen is not why I bought this phone, but I can start seeing some of the benefits of using it. While I haven’t figured out all of the S Pen features and tricks, I have used the S Pen’s button to trigger the shutter for photos and videos. Double-clicking the S Pen button also allows you to switch between the front and rear cameras, which comes in super clutch if you’re sitting away from the phone, or have it on a tripod or stand for a vlog or talking head style video.

Taking notes with the S Pen feels very responsive, and there is no noticeable delay when writing. The S Pen also fits nicely into the bottom of the phone. A simple press ejects the pen out slightly. Then it must be pulled out the rest of the way. I like this approach because it reduces the pen’s chance of mistakenly falling out. The phone will also ask you if you have the pen with you when it doesn’t sense the pen near it. At least you’ll have a clue that you should look for it if you didn’t put it back in place.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra - S Pen
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – S Pen

Screen Performance

The screen on this phone will make most users happy. It has a max peak brightness of 1750 nits but is peak brightness, not sustained brightness. There is an option in the menu to enable extra brightness for outdoor use in direct sunlight. There are no issues using this in direct sunlight with the correct settings enabled.

The screen allows for variable refresh rates from 1 Hz to 120 Hz. I’ve only seen the screen go as low as 24 Hz, even when I looked at a static screen. Not sure why I haven’t seen it drop below 24 Hz.

The resolution maxes out at 1440 x 3088 pixels, which is decent. Coming from a Sony Xperia XZ Premium with 3840 x 2160 pixels and an 807 PPI, you kind of get spoiled.

Camera Performance

S22 Ultra Quad Rear Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Quad Rear Cameras

I like the cameras that Samsung chose because it covers pretty much any situation you’d need. The 13 mm (120˚ field of view) ultra-wide camera is so much fun to use. I came from a phone that didn’t have an ultra-wide, and now that I have access to an ultra-wide, it’s almost all I want to use now.

The rest of the rear cameras are the 108MP wide camera, 10MP camera with 10X optical zoom and a focal length of 230mm, and another 10MP camera with a 3X optical zoom and a focal length of 70mm. All cameras focus quickly with the laser autofocus module. Photos are sharp, and colors aren’t overly saturated.

Here are a few example snaps:

The selfie camera produces quality photos. There is excellent background separation. I’ll leave it there because I’m not a huge selfie taker.

s22 ultra selfie background separation
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Selfie Background Separation

Video Quality

Video quality is terrific when shooting in 8K and 4K modes. I don’t see myself using the 1080P video modes since there is a noticeable quality difference. 8K video can only be shot in 24 FPS. 4K video can be shot in 30 FPS or 60 FPS. 1080P allows for shooting in 30, 60 or 240 FPS. There is also an option to show super slo-mo video at 960 FPS, but the quality is only at 720P, which is not usable.

There are also some additional video modes, such as hyperlapse, pro video, slo-mo and super slo-mo.

Here are some video examples: https://youtu.be/O2f1FS_N3nY?t=553

Gaming Performance

Gaming performance is flawless. I didn’t experience crashes or stuttering while playing COD mobile, Genshin Impact or PUBG. The phone does get noticeably warm, but it’s never to the point where it’s uncomfortable to hold. A Game Booster mode can be turned to allocate maximum resources to the game by disabling calls, notifications, and other distractions. It is funny when it presents the option to turn on Game Booster any time I open up a scrabble game.

Battery Life

I’ve heard mixed things about the battery life, but since I haven’t used many other phones to compare to, I’m satisfied with how long the battery lasts. I can easily get a day of use, with the brightness setting between 70 to 80%. I also keep Bluetooth turned on 24/7, the variable refresh rate option and using the max resolution on the phone.

The phone is rated for 45 watts of fast charging. However, I could only get between 27 to 30 watts of charging when using a third-party GaN 45 W charger. I couldn’t secure an official Samsung 45 watt charger because they were out of stock when I purchased the phone.

I was able to gain 25% of battery life after 10 minutes of charging at an average charging rate of around 28 to 29 watts.

Storage

The base model of the S22 Ultra comes with 8 GB RAM and 128 GB storage. The next model up has 12 GB RAM and 256 GB storage. Choose carefully because there is no expandable storage option unless you use USB OTG, but who wants to do that.

Sound Level & Clarity

The sound gets really loud. It’s so loud that I usually only keep it around the quarter mark or half way mark at most. I haven’t found a need to put it on full blast yet. Btw, when I tested it at full blast, I didn’t notice audio distortion. Maybe the AKG tuned speakers was a good choice.

Can I Recommend It?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra - Rear Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra – Rear Cameras

I normally would have a hard time recommending such an expensive phone when there are so many other alternatives featuring the newest Snapdragon CPU, large amounts of ram and a high number of cameras. I’m usually a Sony fan, and I respect phone manufacturers who give up things like a headphone jack expandable storage, all while maintaining an IP68 rating. However, the more I’ve used the S22 Ultra, the more I find myself enjoying it, despite those shortcomings.

While the price is high, if you can hold onto it for 4 or 5 years to take advantage of the 4 years of Android updates and 5 years of security patches, the price makes sense compared to trading up to a new phone on a new contract. If you get the 12 GB version with at least 256 GB, then it should last another 4 or 5 years. I don’t foresee apps getting that resource-intensive in the next 4 or 5 years that would render this phone to be labelled as slow.

I think the design and appearance of this phone really set it apart from all other rounded type phones. Once you slap a case on these rounded phones, they kind of all look the same. So I think this phone is worth it for the high-end specs, capable quad-camera setup, and super bright screen, which makes daylight use a breeze.

Did I miss anything in my review? Leave me a comment below or on my YouTube review, and I’ll be happy to answer your question.

Some links may be referral links, which means I earn a small commission for qualifying sales. There is no additional cost to you.

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Adrian
Adrianhttps://demcrumbliesreviews.com
Adrian is a tech lover that enjoys helping people make the most of their tech in a simplified way.

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