The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G was unveiled along with its other smaller siblings at Unpacked 2022 event earlier this year. Being the most special of the bunch, the S22 Ultra now has the Galaxy Note DNA infused within with the inclusion of the Galaxy S Pen. This may somewhat be the revival of the Galaxy Note series, but at the same time it isn’t too.
Rather, I think it’s the best of both worlds, combining the photography prowess of the Galaxy S series, with the productivity specialties of the Galaxy Note series. Here’s our take on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G, but before that, let’s see what the device has to offer on paper.
|Display||6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED QHD+|
|CPU||Snapdragon 8 Gen 1|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB|
|Rear cameras||108MP (f/2.2) main, 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide, 10MP (f/2.4) 10x telephoto, 10MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto|
|Front camera||40MP (f/2.2)|
|Video||Up to 8K 24 fps|
|Charging||45W wired, 15W wireless|
|Size||3.1 x 6.4 x 0.4 inches|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 6E, UWB, 5G (mmWave/sub6)|
|Android OS||12, One UI 4|
|Colors||Black, White, Green, Burgundy|
What’s In The Box?
- Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
- Samsung Galaxy S Pen
- USB Type-C Cable
- User Manual
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a very familiar looking flagship device. Of course, owing to its Note roots, the device doesn’t look like the S22 Plus at all. In fact, it takes the Galaxy Note 20 design (the last of the Note series), and enhances it with even more premium materials. Not to say that this is a Note device, but it sure brings something noteworthy to the Galaxy S series.
The S22 Ultra has a solid Armor Aluminum with a near-chrome finish on the outside. The metal is sandwiched between two Corning Gorilla Victus+ glass plates, with the front having a glossy finish while the back is furnished with a refined satin finish. It feels really nice in the hands with the curved side edges, and even with the satin finish, it still has a nice grip when holding it. To further protect the device in and out, it does have a dust and water resistance rating of IP68. It held up nicely when we dripped the phone into the sink filled with water.
When it comes to colour options, the S22 Ultra comes in Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Green, and a new Burgundy colour. We have the Burgundy one for review, but the Green actually looks really nice as well. When offered which colour we’d like to get for the review unit, we had a hard time choosing one.
If it isn’t obvious, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a huge device. It has a 6.8-inch screen, measures 8.9mm thin, and weighs 229g, which is surprising because that makes it lighter than the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max, despite having a taller screen too. On the top, there’s a small cutout for the microphone, while the right side harbors the volume and power button. Taking a look at the bottom, there is the USB Type-C port for data and charging, SIM tray slot, speaker grille, microphone cutout, and the slot for the Galaxy S Pen.
You might think this is a Note device that is disguised in an S series body. But, I beg to differ. Instead of disguise, I’d prefer to think of it as the S series evolving to include Note DNA, namely the S Pen. You’re not giving up any of that S series goodness, but instead on top of that, you’re also adopting the productivity powers of the Note series. Press on that small bump on the bottom corner, and you’ll feel right at home if you were previously a Galaxy Note user. Just that this time round, you’re holding an S device with improved cameras.
The display might be one of my favourite parts about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, apart from the S Pen. Once you’ve held the device in your hand and turned it on, you’re greeted with a 6.8-inch AMOLED panel with a maximum of 3088 x 1440 pixel (WQHD+) resolution. That’s 500 pixels per inch, and it even has a peak brightness of 1,750 nits. That is insane, especially when it’s paired with Samsung’s new Vision Booster technology. Even under direct sunlight, I could still see the clearly without too much glare.
As with previous Galaxy S and Note devices, the S22 Ultra also features adaptive screen refresh rate ranging from the lowest of 1Hz to the highest of 120Hz. Different refresh rates are used in different scenarios, and lower refresh rate helps in battery life management, only giving you the burst of screen smoothness when you need it. For example, 1Hz could be used when you’re writing an email, and 120Hz could be used for when you’re gaming.
It doesn’t matter if I’m scrolling on social media, playing games, or watching a movie on Netflix, everything that comes up on the screen just looks fantastic. Even waking up the screen from sleep excites me, and I haven’t felt that kind of excitement in a while. Not only do visuals look good, but navigating through the device looks great when Samsung’s One UI 4 is paired with that 120Hz refresh rate goodness.
Under the display is also the embedded fingerprint sensor, and I still think that is the best, most natural and ergonomic position to place a biometric authentication device. It is an ultrasonic fingerprint reader, and in our testing, registering a finger and subsequently unlocking the device with fingerprint has been a fast and smooth process. On the top, there’s the keyhole notch that houses the 40MP selfie sensor.
Galaxy S Pen
Seeing how the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first device to incorporate a built-in S Pen, we have to talk about how it performs, right? It’s only natural. And speaking of natural, that’s the key word to sum up how it feels to write/doodle/draw on the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s screen. Each gesture and stroke feels smooth and not at all jittery. It’s not exactly like writing on paper, as you can distinguish and added layer of smoothness due to the reduction of friction on the screen. But, you still get almost the same response time, accuracy, along with pressure and angle recognition.
Now take that smoothness and accuracy from the S Pen, and add in an entire suite of productivity features baked right into the device. It performs really solidly especially when you need to quickly take down some note-to-selfs. I could also scribble some notes and the app would convert my ugly writing into usable, copyable text. It didn’t miss a word, which I find impressive. There’s really a lot you can do with the S Pen, and it adds a whole new dimension on how you interact with the smartphone.
For my case, I found that the longer I use the phone, the more I’d force myself to pick up the S Pen and use its features. Gradually, it became part of my daily lifestyle to always have it at the ready when I’m at work. During my downtime, mostly I’ll just hold the phone like normal.
When it comes to Samsung’s flagship devices, I’ve never had to worry about performance. Which by the way, should be the case for every company’s flagship smartphone. Running on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, paired with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, the Galaxy S22 Ultra never let us down during our time with the device. On normal navigation, there’s never been any hiccups whatsoever.
When it comes to gaming, most of the popular games run just fine on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. But when I load up Genshin Impact on the phone, it’s a different story. And it seems to be the same story for almost all of the Samsung devices we’ve tested. Somehow, it seems like Genshin Impact isn’t optimized to run on Samsung Galaxy devices. Regardless of which graphic quality I set it to, performance always stutters and there’s obvious delay of input too. I’m not sure why this happens, but I hope Samsung could fix this.
In terms of heat management, the phone has a built-in vapor chamber and heat sync material. I’d say the only times the phone heats up is when I’m running the benchmark tests, gaming for long period of time, and when I’m recording video on the phone. Sure, these are more demanding tasks for the phone, but good news is it doesn’t heat up to the point of scalding. It’s only mildly warm around the camera array area.
While benchmark numbers are indicative of the phone’s performance, it doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. It also comes down to how well the UI is optimized and how it takes advantage of the device’s available hardware. Here are the benchmarks we’ve run on the Galaxy S22 Ultra:
The camera has always been the signature of the Galaxy S series devices, and it still rings true in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra, I’m super glad Samsung decided to remove that contour box that bumped up the camera bump by a whole 1mm. Now, it’s a lot thinner, and looks a lot better without it, even though it may leave the camera lenses a bit more bare. That said, laying the phone on a flat surface doesn’t cause too much wobble, and the phone doesn’t slip around uncontrollably.
For the camera setup, this time the Galaxy S22 Ultra has two 10MP telephoto lenses, one with f/2.4 and 36-degree field of view (FOV), while the other has f/4.9 with an 11-degree FOV. Completing the setup is a 12MP ultrawide angle lens that has a 120-degree FOV, with a 108MP main sensor furnished with f/1.8 and an 85-degree FOV.
On top of receiving an upgrade on image processing ,as well as the optical and digital image stabilization front, Samsung’s zooming photography also got an upgrade. The 3x and 10x optical zoom offers clear photos even from a distance, but the 30x and 100x Space Zoom is where it offers remarkable zoom performance. Once you’re above the 30x zoom threshold, the lens would lock in onto your target and stabilizes the image for you to get a clearer shot. This is also so you won’t look like you’re trying to summon satan while doing mid-air gestures.
Image quality wise, the 108MP main camera sensor takes extremely crisp photos and each shot is definitely social media worthy. They’re ready to share straight from the gallery app, but you can always tweak them further to make them look even better. Every shot looks great, but it does tend to lean a bit on the oversaturated side. In low light environment, that’s where the Nightography feature comes in handy. Night shots look clear with minimal noise, and a nice balance of clarity and colour preservation.
To not miss a single moment, Samsung’s Single Take feature is still prevalent in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and with just one tap, the phone takes an array of photos and videos in different styles which you can then choose and edit them later. During our testing, the feature came in handy especially when I’m trying to get cute shots of my cats.
Here are some of the photo samples we captured with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra:
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s stereo speaker system, to be honest, isn’t the best I’ve heard from Samsung. Compared to the rich in depth audio I heard on the S21 Ultra or the Galaxy Z Fold3, the Galaxy S22 Ultra lacked in several areas. It definitely has ample amount of volume to fill up the entire room. However, once it goes past he 80% mark, you can feel vibrations on the device, and the audio frequency starts to overlap with one another.
In terms of quality, the highs are a bit muddy, but it has very clear mids. That means you’re getting really clear vocals for your music and video/conference calls. As for the lows, it doesn’t have as much as kick I expected it to have. Listening to songs from different genres, the bass part is very subdued and doesn’t show itself much. While the speakers didn’t perform up to expectations, it still does its job well.
It’s worth noting that the S Pen also has features that work with music listening. When you have the S Pen with you, you can hold the button on the S Pen and do air gestures to control your music like play/pause, next/previous and even control the volume. This works even when the screen is off, but you’ll need to register each gesture individually. Meaning, for example, holding the button while drawing upwards would increase the volume. You cannot hold the button and continuously draw up to keep increasing the volume. Even so, I find these features to be extremely useful, as there’s no need for me to pickup the phone and can remotely control it.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra comes packed with a 5,000mAh battery and wireless charging feature. On a full charge, I could squeeze a full day’s worth of use. That being said, with the battery specs, I was expecting at least a day and a half’s worth of use with the 4nm Qualcomm chip they were using. But, that doesn’t seem to be the case as I’ve constantly been ending the day at 12 midnight with less than 10% battery left. There are some tweaks you could do like lowering the screen’s refresh rate, brightness, always being on Wi-Fi when you can, and etc to lower your battery usage. But, we hope Samsung would deliver some battery life optimization through future OTA updates.
Keep in mind that the Galaxy S22 Ultra comes only with a USB-C to C cable, and no charging brick. You’ll need to make sure you have a USB-C charging adapter, or claim a free one from Samsung Malaysia with their ongoing promo when purchasing the device. Using the 65W GaN charger that we have, we were able to charge the phone from zero to full in less than two hours.
Wireless charging is also available, and it works as intended so no complaints there. Although, it does warm up a little during charging, as is the case with all other smartphones that charges wirelessly.
After using the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for a couple of weeks, I found it to be more of an S than a Note. It is essentially an S series smartphone at heart, with Note series features coming in as an add-on. And I must say, I’m loving the combination.
While I may love what Samsung has done with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, it may not be for everyone. You need to remember this is a huge device, so those of you with small hands may want to look at something smaller like the S22+ or S22. The battery also doesn’t last as long as we hoped, and there is no 3.5mm audio jack for all you wired earphone lovers out there.
With that out of the way, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is great for those who work on your phone a lot, and are constantly on the go. Using the Galaxy S Pen, it works great if you’re someone who consistently take notes in your daily life. Who knows, you might even grow to love note taking with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Apart from that, the device offers one of the most consistent photography performance from a smartphone, especially to those who don’t want to tinker too much with pro settings.
Interested in getting one for yourself? Here are the prices for the available variants of the Galaxy S22 Ultra in Malaysia. The starting price may start quite steep, but we think it’s a worthy investment that could easily last you at least 3 to 4 years with Samsung’s guaranteed update road map for new devices.
Models RRP Colour Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G 512GB RM 5,899 Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Green, Burgundy Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G 256GB RM 5,499 Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Green, Burgundy Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G 128GB RM 5,099 Phantom Black, Phantom Silver, Green, Burgundy