Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review: triumphant return of the Note super smartphone

Deal Score+1
Deal Score+1

The feature-rich phablet features a stylus, long battery life and unparalleled camera zoom, now made from recycled materials

⏳ The smooth matt glass back and aluminium frame are available in a range of colours but look particularly monolithic in black. Photograph: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

With the superphone Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung has brought back all but the name of its popular Note line, outfitting it with a built-in stylus and last year’s 3x and 10x optical zoom camera. Priced at £1,149 ($1,200 / AUD 1,849), it’s one of the priciest non-folding phones you can buy, but it packs features you just can’t get on other phones and will have software for at least five years. Get updates more than any other. another android. The S22 Ultra is nothing like the S22+ or other “S-Line” models. Instead, the new Superphone updates the design of 2020’s Note 20 Ultra, complete with an “S Pen” stylus that fits snugly onto the bottom of the for storage and charging.The top and bottom are flat metal, while the glass back and front are curved on the sides to meet an aluminum band. It’s a really big and imposing phone, but relatively easy to hold and use. handle it one-handed without accessories, but in the long run you’ll probably reach for a popsocket or similar on the back. 1750 nits of brightness (a standard measure of screen brightness), making it easier to read in direct sunlight than competitors.


  • Main screen size: 6.8in QHD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X (500ppi) 120Hz
  • Processor: Samsung Exynos 2200 (EU) or Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (US)
  • RAM: 8 or 12GB of RAM
  • Storage: 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB
  • Operating system: One UI 4.1 based on Android 12
  • Camera: Quad rear camera: 108MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP 3x and 10x telephoto; 40MP front-facing
  • Connectivity: 5G, USB-C, wifi 6E, NFC, Bluetooth 5.2, UWB and GNSS
  • Water resistance: IP68 (1.5m for 30 mins)
  • Dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm
  • Weight: 228g

Longer battery life.

⭐ Phone fully charges in 63 minutes and reaches 50% in 22 minutes with a 45W PPS USB-C charger (AC adapter not included). Fast wireless charging (15W) and reverse wireless charging are available. The S Pen is inserted into the bottom right of the phone. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

In the US, the S22 Ultra comes with Qualcomm’s standard-for-2022 top Android chip, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, while in the EU it comes with a Samsung Exynos 2200. Overall performance was excellent – it was handling multiple apps on the screen at all times. once without slowing down, although it wasn’t noticeably faster than last year’s already nimble models. Exynos 2200 gaming performance was more variable than Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 competitors. More than 40 hours between charges, including three hours with 5G, with screen set to FHD+ resolution and active use for more than 6.5 hours with a variety of apps, the camera, Chrome, Spotify, 2.5 hours Netflix and some gaming. Increasing the screen resolution to the maximum QHD+ reduced screen time by about an hour. The phone should easily get through the heaviest of days or two if used more sparingly, which is longer than most of its competitors except for the 48+ hour iPhone 13 Pro Max.

under-display fingerprint sensor

⭐ The under-display fingerprint sensor is fast and responsive, making it easy to unlock your device or authenticate payments. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Samsung does not provide estimated battery life. Similar devices typically retain at least 80% of their original capacity for at least 500 full charge cycles. The phone can usually be repaired. The battery can be replaced by authorized service centers. But the phone only gets a three out of 10 in the iFixit repair rating.Various internal components are made from 20% nylon or recycled plastic. Samsung offers exchange and recycling programs for older devices. The company publishes annual sustainability reports, but no impact assessments for individual products.

OneUI 4.1

⭐ OneUI has several additional features to support the S Pen on top of regular Android, including helpful tips on using its advanced features. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The S22 Ultra comes with OneUI 4.1 which is based on the latest version of Android 12 and unlike some rivals it gets quick updates. The Ultra has various software customizations to accommodate the S Pen stylus. This includes handwriting recognition, various writing and screenshot tools, translation support, and gestures, including using the S Pen as a remote control or magic wand to perform actions. For quick notes, marking up documents or screenshots, or doodling, the S Pen is second to none.The S22 Ultra will receive at least five years of software updates from launch, including four major Android version updates and monthly security patches, making it one of the longest running Android devices and right behind more than six years of support Apple. for your iPhones.


⭐ The camera app offers simple point-and-shoot shooting with various automatic modes, but also has full manual control and the ability to save RAW and JPEG files. The S Pen can also be used as a remote shutter release. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The S22 Ultra shares the same quad-camera setup as the 2021 S21 Ultra, with not one but two optical zoom cameras delivering equally impressive results. The 108MP main camera produces 12MP images by default and is one of the best balanced and detailed images available with improved low-light performance compared to last year’s model, although faces can sometimes be too bright at night. The 12MP ultra-wide is good too, with better low-light performance and image sharpness, and the 10x 12MP cameras are still the stars of the show. Both are more detailed and produce clearer, sharper images with less obvious image processing than last year.The 3x zoom is ideal for photographing people or objects up close, while the 10x zoom offers significant magnification to close the distance to things you can’t physically move to. Airplanes in the sky, ships at sea, or distant landmarks are all within reach now. The pictured camera lens protrudes slightly from the glass back of the S22 Ultra. Unlike most smartphones, the five camera system modules simply protrude from the frosted glass back without any bulges or dents. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The GuardianYou can continue with digital zoom in addition to 10x optical zoom. Up to 30x shots are very good with less grain and better color than last year, while up to 100x zoom results in improved detail and sharper object outlines. It still looks like an oil painting, but if you’re calm enough you can spot a license plate at full zoom during the day. The macro mode for close-ups works well, while the selfie camera is one of the best in the business, taking great shots in a variety of lighting conditions. Some competing cameras are better at individual things, but as a package there’s no other phone that can match the adjustability and killer zoom of the S22 Ultra’s camera system.


The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra costs £1,149 ($1,199.99/AUD1,849) with 128GB of storage. To compare, the Galaxy S22 is £769, the S22+ is £949, the Z Flip 3 is £949, the Z Fold 3 is £1,599, the Google Pixel 6 Pro is £849 and the iPhone 13 Pro Max is £1,049. /p>….


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