Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra hands-on: The best Note ever


Samsung finally brought back the Galaxy Note in February 2022! However, the name is no longer the same. Instead, it is reborn as the Galaxy S22 Ultra which now offers a slot for the S Pen. Otherwise, the smartphone is a full-fledged flagship, offering all the bells and whistles which is typical for the Ultra range, but it does not feature any real innovations apart from the stylus.

Good

  • Feature-rich hardware
  • Comes with integrated S Pen
  • Great workmanship and materials
  • One UI 4.0 is fun to use

Bad

  • Uninspiring design
  • Very little real innovation

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in a nutshell

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is now available for pre-order with delivery officially starting on February 25. As usual, Samsung offers interesting bundled options for those who place pre-orders. If you have placed your order by February 15, you will also receive the Galaxy Buds for free with the smartphone. Prices for the entire Galaxy S22 range with the different storage variants can be seen in the following overview:

Prices of the Galaxy S22 lineup

Model / Memory 128 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
256 GB ROM
8 GB RAM
256 GB ROM
12 GB RAM
512 GB ROM
12 GB RAM
1 TB ROM
12 GB RAM
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra $1,199 $1,299 $1,399 $1,599
Samsung Galaxy S22+ $999 $1,049
Samsung Galaxy S22 $799 $849

As soon as the initial batch of offers is available, we will update the article accordingly here. You can also find our hands-on with the Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ here.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Full Coverage

Design: Uninspiring but functional

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra breaks from the design language of the other current Galaxy S smartphones. Instead of grouping the cameras into an island in the corner, Samsung has integrated the lenses into the case itself. Considering how bulky camera modules can be, this is certainly a remarkable engineering feat.
However, I find the design to be a tad boring. I did not particularly like the individually placed camera lenses
in LG’s Velvet. On the other hand, most users will put on a protective case on the smartphone anyway.

nextpit samsung galaxy s22 ultra burgundy clr2
“Burgundy” is the name of this color, in which the Galaxy S22 Ultra is supposed to make the handset look particularly luxurious. The smartphone is also available in green, black and white shades. Available exclusively via its own online store, Samsung also offer colors like  graphite, sky blue and red – each with a matte finish / © NextPit

The materials used are Samsung’s usual high-quality effort, the case made of armor aluminum that does not creak or crack. Gorilla Glass Victus+ is used both in front and at the back. Thanks to the completely flat bottom, the Galaxy S22 Ultra can stand upright on the table, just like the Sony smartphones once did. At least in windless and vibration-free environments, you do not need a tripod. On the bottom left of the casing, you will find the slot for the S Pen, which is probably the biggest innovation of the Galaxy S22. No matter, we will get to that in detail later.

All in all, the Galaxy S22 Ultra feels great. However, the 6.8-inch smartphone feels like a tiny tablet at times. The new S22 Ultra is even a tad wider and thicker than the already bulky Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, but at least it is a bit shorter.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra display

As just mentioned:
The display of the Galaxy S22 Ultra measures 6.8-inches across diagonally and looks really great
. The Dynamic AMOLED 2X display has a QHD+ resolution and is razor-sharp. The maximum refresh rate stands at 120 Hz. However, the S22 Ultra dynamically adjusts that figure between 1 and 120 Hz in order to ensure that the battery life is prolonged as far as possible. According to Samsung, maximum brightness stands at 1750 nits.

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Among other things, you can set the resolution or the refresh rate in the display settings. The higher it is, the lower your overall battery life. / © NextPit

If you are into accurate color reproduction, you do not have to be scared when you first look at the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Samsung also offers a more neutral version as an alternative to the standard “vivid” color profile.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra special features

The Note is dead, long live the Note!
Last late summer, the Galaxy Z Fold 3 was presented as the successor to the Note, and a few months later, the Galaxy S series gets a pen. With a corresponding slot, mind you!

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The 6.8-inch display invites you to scribble on it. / © NextPit

As in the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the S Pen also has a reduced latency of 2.8 milliseconds in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. In comparison, the Note 20 still had an input delay of 9 milliseconds. with Samsung having also increased the sampling rate from 360 to 480 hertz.

However, there are no major innovations available in terms of the Note’s features, making the S22 Ultra is on par with the Galaxy Note 20 series. Besides the aforementioned specs, the only innovation that we noticed was the much-improved handwriting recognition. You can now convert your handwritten notes into digital text in 88 languages.

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After the S Pen was a rather improvised inclusion in the Galaxy S21 due to the lack of a pen slot, you have all the stylus functions known from the Note models in the Galaxy S22 Ultra / © NextPit

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra software

Samsung’
s Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with Android 12 and the One UI 4.0 skin.
Samsung fans will immediately find their way around the interface without any trouble, which has been adapted quite a bit compared to vanilla Android. In fact, they should be happy about the numerous new customization options, among other things. We have already written a detailed review of One UI 4.0.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra performance

While in Germany and in the rest of Europe, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will come equipped with the Exynos 2200.
 The SoC had to struggle with all sorts of teething problems and negative coverage, but according to Samsung, it is now supposedly on par with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which will power the US version of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Of course, we will see whether that claim is true in a detailed review.

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Does the Galaxy S22 Ultra offer a good gaming performance? Our review will reveal all! / © NextPit

A new feature of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the smart network control. This prioritizes certain applications in terms of bandwidth and latency. Samsung wants to ensure that video calls and games will always run without any delays, even when running downloads in the background. Battery life can also be conserved in this manner: If games do not require fast responses, the Galaxy S22 Ultra allows longer latencies and is touted to squeeze up to 30% more battery life out of gaming. The Galaxy S22 Ultra naturally supports 5G, the new Wi-Fi standards Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra camera

Samsung is not stingy with superlatives when it comes to the camera, and yet everything remains the same in the Ultra.
Once again, there is a thick camera array at the back including an insane telephoto zoom.

The main sensor of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sports the well-known 108 megapixel resolution. Compared to the Isocell HM3 in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, however, the chip has grown by another 23 percent, which indicates a new sensor. Because in Samsung’s official sensor list, only the Isocell GN2 and HP1 are bigger than the HM3 – and they sport 50 and 200 megapixels, respectively.

Even though Samsung could not answer the question about the sensor conclusively: In any case, you can expect great picture quality from the main sensor in the Galaxy S22 Ultra as well.

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For all the cameras in the S22 Ultra, this chic case needs more holes than a mean Swiss cheese / © NextPit

The rest of the camera setup is also reminiscent of the S21 Ultra, including the main sensor for the sake of completeness:

  • Ultra wide-angle: 12 megapixels, F2.2, 120 degrees
  • Main camera: 108 megapixels, F1.8, 85 degrees, dual-pixel AF, OIS
  • Telephoto camera 1: 10 megapixels, F2.4, 36 degrees (3x), dual-pixel AF, OIS
  • 2nd Telephoto camera: 10 megapixels, F4.9, 11 degrees (10x), dual-pixel AF, OIS
  • Selfie camera: 40 megapixels, F2.2, 80 degrees

There’s not much new to report about the other photo features, either. Of course, there are again various night and portrait modes where the former sports AI-improved resolution, while the latter has an improved depth map thanks to AI. Quite Instagram-worthy now, the S22 now also offers studio light effects for selfies, a selfie night portrait mode and better bokeh effects for pets.

nextpit samsung galaxy s22 ultra iso clr2
The cameras have been given a different design in the S22 Ultra. Chic or shit – what’s your opinion? / © NextPit

For all the AI-heavy effects, a twice stronger NPU is on board. Samsung did not reveal whether that refers to the Snapdragon or Exynos version thought. And of course, the Galaxy S22 also supports Samsung’s Expert RAW app for computational RAWs with 16-bit color depth.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra battery

The battery capacity of the Galaxy S22 Ultra stands at 5,000 mAh, which is exactly the same as in the predecessor.
However, there is an improvement in its charging capabilities: The new Ultra can be charged at up to 45 watts via a cable. According to Samsung, it should take less than 20 minutes to bring the empty battery up to 50% capacity. The Galaxy S21 Ultra only managed charging at 25 watts. However, you will have to buy a suitable charger for the Galaxy S22 Ultra yourself since it is sold separately.

nextpit samsung galaxy s22 ultra vs plus vs vanilla clr2
Still: The S22 Ultra (bottom) charges at 45 watts via cable. The S22+ (center) keeps up with that, while the S22 (top) only manages charging at 25 watts. / © NextPit

Wireless charging is also possible with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Galaxy S22 Ultra supports a wireless charging speed of 15 watts here. Thanks to Wireless PowerShare, you can also charge other devices wirelessly with the smartphone. This is especially convenient for supplying your Galaxy Watch 4 or Galaxy Buds Pro with juice on the go.

Final verdict

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the perfect smartphone for those who want everything and preferably much more as possible. The Ultra smartphone offers a lot of power, a huge and impressive display, one of the most flexible camera arrays on the market. Now, it also holds a stylus in a specially designated slot. In addition, Samsung now promises four major Android updates and five years of security patches, which means updates until 2026 and 2027, respectively!

Of course, there will also be a few minor weaknesses that will certainly become apparent in the coming days and weeks during the review. Will the 5,000 mAh battery last long enough for a day’s work, for example? Can the Exynos 2200 SoC keep up with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset? And why is the device so expensive anyway?



* This article first appeared here

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