On February 9th, 2022 came Samsung’s first Galaxy Unpacked event of the year, and with it, the unveiling of their latest series of flagship smartphones; the S22, the S22 Plus, and the S22 Ultra. The latter debuts a striking, square-edged yet curved design, an in-built and more responsive S Pen, plus faster charging and a host of impressive camera upgrades, but that’s not all.
It seems that the S22 Ultra is the tech giant’s hybrid answer to their discontinued Galaxy Note series, combining the best bits of the S22 series and the most recent Note design. We review the S22 Ultra’s specs and performance, below.
S22 Ultra design and display
The S22 Ultra has a 6.8-inch display (dimensions: 163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9mm), sure to spark interest in on-the-go media, gaming, and illustration fans. At 229g, it is larger yet lighter than the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max.
With Gorilla Glass Victus+ cloaking the front and rear of the phone, the S22 Ultra provides the best protection Corning can offer against scratches and drop damage and is well-finished for fingerprint resistance. Completed by a sturdy Armor Aluminum frame, this handset earns an IP68 rating, meaning it is fully protected against dust, sand, and could survive being under 1.5 metres of water for up to 30 minutes.
Thanks to the Dynamic AMOLED display and default Full HD+ screen resolution (with WQHD+ capabilities), you’re in for a truly immersive experience, whether you’re watching Netflix or playing your favourite game. Throw in a variable refresh rate of 1Hz to 120Hz and your S22 Ultra can show you smooth movement through complex apps but will conserve battery where a higher refresh rate isn’t needed. Keen to use your smartphone while you’re out and about in the sun? The screen has a max brightness of 1750 nits.
On the base of the S22 Ultra, you’ll see a small protrusion indicating the S-pen’s hideaway, alongside the USB-C port and the sim card slot – all in all, an inobtrusive design, which doesn’t take away from the phone’s minimalist feel. Gone is the rear camera’s island home, as the lenses sit right inside the frame of the phone.
S22 Ultra camera system
A quad-camera set-up consists of a 108MP main lens, a 12MP 120-degree ultra-wide, and two 10MP telephoto lenses which offer 3x and 10x optical zoom, and 30x and 100x space zoom – with unbelievable results. Significant improvements have been made to optical image stabilisation for crisp and clear photography even in low light, and digital image stabilisation, the latter counteracting blur caused by trembling hands, particularly notable in the stable display while you’re in 100x zoom.
Samsung hasn’t made zoom quality their only camera focus, however; the brand has also launched Adaptive Pixel technology with the S22 Ultra, which combines nine pixels into one for enhanced contrast and colour vibrancy, especially remarkable in darker conditions. Round the front, the 40MP selfie lens combines four pixels into one for great-quality shots.
Bonus points: if unsteady hands are a constant source of frustration for you when striving to enhance your photography skills, the S-pen also functions as a remote trigger, so you can minimise blurring and get out from behind the camera, too.
S22 Ultra hardware and power
The S22 Ultra is powered by Samsung’s new, premium 4nm chipset; the Exynos 2200, which, according to the tech giant, will “enhance overall app experience” and “enable the ultimate mobile phone gaming experience”. An Android 12 phone, the S22 Ultra also runs One UI 4.1, the newest iteration of the brand’s Android software to allow users access to the latest Samsung tools and apps.
Featuring a large, 5000mAh battery, the S22 Ultra’s charge will last around a day with typical usage according to Samsung – not to be sniffed at for such a sizeable phone. Invest in a 45W charger, previously incompatible with the S21 series, and you’ll just need 20 minutes to return to 50% battery. Wireless charging is also available.