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Samsung Galaxy S22+ Review: Dependable Mainstream Flagship But Not Disruptive
Galaxy S22+ is the second most expensive smartphone in Samsung's 2022 flagship smartphone line-up. Starting at Rs. 84,999, the handset is powered by the best-in-business Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC and promises a 4-year software upgrade cycle. There's no distinguishing feature such as a QHD+ display, 100x zoom or crazy-fast 120W fast-charging; however, the handset still managed to impress me with its solid day-to-day performance.
- Premium Looks & Sturdy Build (IP68 & Gorilla Glass Victus+)
- Excellent Display
- Good Overall Cameras
- 4-Years Software Upgrade Promise
- Smooth Performance
- Expensive For The Hardware On Offer
- Slight Heating & Throttling Issues
- Battery Life Could Have Been Better
If you are planning to buy a premium Android flagship from a non-Chinese smartphone brand, read out our review of the Galaxy S22+. Our review unit came in a stealthy-looking Phantom Black color variant in 8GB/128GB configuration.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Design- Sleeker & Lighter Than Galaxy S21+
Looks-wise, the Galaxy S22+ doesn't bring any major noticeable changes when compared to its predecessor. However, the fine refinements in the overall design aesthetics make you feel the difference in handling and ergonomics. The handset is a bit wider but shorter in length and a tad lighter (196g) in weight. It is also slightly sleeker than the Galaxy S21+. These marginal changes in structural dimensions improve the overall usability.
And since the phone has a flat display and slightly curved edges, it fits perfectly in one hand and ensures a confident grip. Your handling experience may vary because I am switching from a bigger smartphone with a curved display- the gigantic Galaxy S22 Ultra. The silky-matte texture at the hack makes the phone a bit slippery and I would recommend you to get a good quality third-party case since Samsung isn't offering one in the box.
Durability Standards & Color Variants
As far as the build quality is concerned, the phone feels very sturdy, thanks to the aluminum frame and solid overall build quality. Both the front and back of the handset are protected by a layer of the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus. The smartphone is also IP68 certified for protection against water and dust. You can buy the Galaxy S22+ in three color variants- Phantom Black, Phantom White, and Green.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Display Specifications
I was expecting a QHD+ panel this year but Samsung reserved it for the S22 Ultra. The Galaxy S22+ gets a 6.6-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. It is still one of the best displays on a flagship but lacks those extra pixels of a QHD+ panel.
Should you worry? Not really because the naked eyes can't make out that particular difference in pixels per inch. Moreover. Samsung's latest FHD+AMOLED panels offer impressive overall clarity.
HDR10+ Enabled & 1750nits Peak Brightness
The 1080p display still produces lively colors and has excellent viewing angles. Since it supports HDR10+ and has a peak brightness of 1750 nits, you can stream high-quality content on OTT platforms and won't face any visibility issues even while using the handset under direct sunlight. The panel is also protected by a layer of Corning's latest Gorilla Glass Victus Plus.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Cameras Hardware
Camera performance has got a major upgrade this year. Compared to last year's Galaxy S21+, the Galaxy S22+ features a bigger 50MP primary lens with an f/1.8 aperture, which lets in more light to offer brighter and crisper images. The main camera is accompanied by a 12MP ultra-wide sensor with f/2.2 aperture and a 10MP telephoto sensor with f/2.4 aperture capable of 3x optical zoom and 30x digital zoom. The phone can record 8K 24fps, 4K/1080p 60/30fps videos.
Better Daylight Results
- The images captured in the daylight show excellent details. Both 12MP pixel-binned and 50MP high-res. images show better contrast and improved dynamic range.
- Color science has also improved which gives you more realistic colors than before.
- Thanks to a better 10MP telephoto lens, the phone captures sharper zoom images. The 3x optical zoom images are very crisp and detailed. Even the 10x images are very much usable. You can go up to 30x but anything beyond 12x is barely usable.
Improved Portraits But Low-Light Photography Still Needs Fine-Tuning
- Similarly, portraits now look better with improved subject isolation and a pleasing bokeh effect. Better software processing now results in better skin tones and overall textures.
- I have mixed reviews for the low-light photography. While the bigger 50MP sensor lets in more light in the challenging conditions to create brighter images, the pictures look over-processed in most cases with boosted sharpness and clipped highlights. Some parts of the frame appear softer than usual. Also, the sensor struggles to focus on closer subjects in darker scenes. Vivo and Apple phones offer better sensor performance in similar conditions.
Galaxy S22+ Video Camera Performance
- The Galaxy S22+ has a feature-packed video camera system. You can shoot 4k 60fps videos with all three lenses. Basic yet workable stabilization is offered on all three lenses, which adds value to the overall package. You can enable super steady mode for 1080p videos on the main sensor and the wide-angle sensor. Results are undoubtedly stable but at the cost of some details and clarity.
- The 4K and 1080p videos come out crisp and show an excellent dynamic range. Some over-processing can still be seen in the form of extra sharpness but the overall results are impressive. The phone also captures excellent 4k and 1080p videos with its 3x optically zoom camera. In fact, the 3x telephoto videos look even better than the videos shot from the main camera.
Hardware & Software Specifications
Similar to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Galaxy S22+ is also powered by the octa-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. You can buy the smartphone in two configurations- 8GB RAM/128GB storage and 8GB RAM/256GB storage. There's no 12GB RAM variant, which is a bit surprising as most Chinese smartphone brands offer 12GB RAM at an even lesser price point. The smartphone runs Android 12 out-of-the-box and comes with a promise of four years of software upgrades.
Since Samsung doesn't ship its flagships with microSD card slots, make sure you buy the right variant depending upon your storage needs.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Performance
The Galaxy S22+ feels blazing fast in the day-to-day routine, which isn't surprising considering the hardware it packs underneath. Be it UI navigation, recording 4K videos, switching between a myriad of running apps, or playing games, the powerful hardware ensures a lag-free performance round the clock. I don't think 12GB RAM would be required as the 8GB RAM with some virtual RAM seems more than sufficient for everything you wish to do on this smartphone.
However, it is worth mentioning that the 12GB variants of the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro and the Xiaomi Mi 12 Ultra will cost lesser than the base variant of the Galaxy S22+.
Slight Heating & Throttling Issues
Moving on, similar to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Galaxy S22+ also warms up with graphics-intensive games, long 4K video recording, and strenuous tasks. Also, the games like Asphalt 9 only returned 30fps at somewhere 94 to 95 percent stability. Some handsets perform marginally better with similar game titles, for instance- the iQOO 9 Pro delivers far better gaming performance than the Galaxy S22+. Even the 2021's Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra (SD888) delivers a very stable gaming performance.
However, it is worth mentioning that Samsung's focus is on delivering a stable all-around performance rather than just acing the gaming performance. This shows in the day-to-day usability as the Galaxy S22+ never gave us any reasons to complain.
Samsung Galaxy S22+ Software
As far as the software is concerned, the OneUI 4.0 is full of customization features and utilities such as themes, wallpaper-based color palette, edge panels, customizable notification styles, newly added interactive widgets, and a lot more. The user interface is clean and the settings menu is neatly designed. The only thing that needs some fine-tuning is the camera app. You will feel minor jerks while switching the lenses or opening pictures from the camera app itself.
Also, Samsung's idea of pushing its ecosystem notifications is quite bothersome on a premium flagship device.
Battery Life And Charging
Samsung hasn't made any significant improvements in the battery department. In fact, the battery cell's capacity has been reduced by 300mAh as compared to last year's 4,800 mAh. But despite the smaller battery size, the Galaxy S22+ lasts as long as its predecessor but not any longer. The handset can last a day and a half with one full charge on moderate usage. Play some BGMI/Asphalt 9 sessions or spend too much time streaming videos and you would need the charger before calling it a day.
And since there's no charging brick in the box, you need to spend some thousands to buy an official adaptor if you don't have one handy. The charging speed has improved and matches that of the flagship Galaxy S22 Ultra's 45W standard. One full charge takes around 50 minutes, which is almost double what some Chinese smartphones are offering in the year 2022.
Samsung has very smartly packaged the Galaxy S22+. This phone isn't for users who fancy cutting-edge mobile innovations such as 120W fast-charging or game-centric hardware features. Instead, the phone delivers a rock-solid day-to-day performance without giving you any major reasons to complain. The four-year software upgrade cycle is simply the icing on the cake. Overall, the Galaxy S22+ isn't disruptive, it is dependable and that's what makes it a solid package.
You can buy the handset at a starting price of Rs. 84,999. If you find this price steep, the iQOO 9 Pro at a starting price of Rs. 64,990 is worth considering. Or you can just wait for OnePlus and Xiaomi to unveil their 2022 flagship smartphones in India. These handsets will also save you some thousands with their comparatively lesser retail price and in-box accessories.