The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the latest flagship smartphone from the tech giant, packing top-of-the-line features and specs that make it a standout option for 2023. With powerful performance, an exceptional camera system, stunning display, and Samsung’s signature design, the S22 Ultra aims to be the ultimate Galaxy smartphone.
But with its hefty price tag, how does the S22 Ultra compare to other premium flagships like the iPhone 14 Pro Max and Google Pixel 7 Pro? Is the S22 Ultra worth the investment for power users and creatives looking for the best of the best? This detailed review takes an in-depth look at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra to see if it truly lives up to the hype.
Overview of Key Galaxy S22 Ultra Features
Before diving into the details, here is a quick rundown of some of the most notable features and specs of the Galaxy S22 Ultra:
- Display: 6.8″ QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with 120Hz adaptive refresh rate
- Camera: Quad rear camera system with 108MP wide, 12MP ultra-wide, 10MP telephoto (3x optical zoom) and 10MP telephoto (10x optical zoom) lenses
- Performance: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, up to 12GB RAM and 1TB internal storage
- Battery: 5,000mAh battery with 45W fast charging, 15W wireless charging
- S Pen: Integrated S Pen with low latency and added functionality
- Design: Premium glass and aluminum build with curved display and IP68 dust and water resistance
- Connectivity: WiFi 6E, 5G, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC
- Software: Android 12 with One UI 4.1
With top-shelf components across the board, the S22 Ultra brings significant upgrades over its S21 predecessors. But specs alone don’t make a great smartphone. Read on for a detailed evaluation of how these features come together in real-world use.
Design – Sleek, Premium, and Water-Resistant
The Galaxy S22 Ultra borrows design cues from the retired Galaxy Note line, featuring a curved display and integrated S Pen that slots neatly into the bottom frame. The result is an elegant yet functional industrial design ideal for productivity and creativity. Some key design aspects:
- Premium build – Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the front and back panels with an aluminum frame feels solid and durable. The phone has an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.
- Massive display – With slim bezels all around, the expansive 6.8-inch screen dominates the front for an immersive viewing experience. Excellent one-handed usability for a phone this size.
- Curved edges – The curved edge display cascades beautifully on both sides and gives the Ultra a seamless, polished look. Less risk of screen cracking compared to sharply angled edges.
- S Pen slot – The integrated S Pen slot and silo complements the productivity focus and business aesthetic. Pen eject/retraction feels smooth.
- Camera design – The prominent, multi-lens rear camera array blends neatly into the top left corner. Lenses don’t protrude too much.
- Buttons and ports – Volume and power buttons are easy to reach on the upper right frame. USB-C charging port and slot for S Pen stylus on the bottom.
- Colors – Phantom Black, Phantom White, Burgundy, and Green colorways give customers nice options for personalization.
If you want a phone that intertwines form and function beautifully, the S22 Ultra delivers in spades. The design stands out from the crowd while retaining best-in-class durability and water resistance.
Display – Bright, Smooth, Immersive
The display is easily one of the best features of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. It’s a true stunner that immediately catches the eye. Key qualities of the spectacular 6.8” Dynamic AMOLED panel include:
- 6.8-inch size – Big enough for comfortable content consumption and multitasking without being unwieldy. 91.7% screen-to-body ratio.
- WQHD+ resolution – Sharp 3200 x 1440 resolution display with 500+ ppi pixel density. Everything from text to videos to games look incredibly crisp and detailed.
- 120Hz refresh rate – Smooth, fast 120Hz screen refresh rate feels responsive when scrolling and animating. Automatically adjusts between 1Hz and 120Hz to conserve battery.
- 240Hz touch sampling – Ultra-responsive touch sensitivity for lag-free interaction when gaming or drawing with the S Pen.
- Peak brightness up to 1750 nits – Amazing max brightness levels ensure excellent outdoor visibility in direct sunlight. Also hits deep blacks with 268 nits minimum brightness.
- HDR10+ certified – Vivid, true-to-life colors and exceptional contrast with wide dynamic range capabilities and local dimming. Top-notch viewing experience.
- Eye comfort shield – Adaptive blue light filter protects eyes by limiting eye-straining blue light emission from the screen.
For both work and play, it’s hard to beat the S22 Ultra’s display. It sets a new standard for flagship smartphone screens with its gorgeous clarity, smooth motion, and incredible brightness.
Cameras – Professional-Level Versatility
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is equipped with a powerful quad rear camera system to match its premium price tag. With a 108MP primary wide sensor, dual telephoto lenses, and 12MP ultrawide camera, this system offers incredible versatility for both daytime and night photography.
Primary 108MP Wide Camera
- 108MP resolution – Enormous resolution allows for sharp, detail-rich photos. Also uses pixel binning to combine pixels for improved low-light sensitivity.
- F/1.8 aperture – Fast aperture lets in ample light for quality shots in all conditions. Captures great bokeh background blur in portraits.
- Optical image stabilization (OIS) – Reduces shakiness and blur from hand tremors when shooting. Enables steady photos and videos.
- 8K video recording – Capture ultra-sharp 8K video at 24 fps for big-screen playback. High resolution for zooming and cropping flexibility.
- 12-bit HDR photos – Wide dynamic range preserves highlight and shadow details.
12MP Ultra-wide Camera
- 120-degree field of view – Ultra-wide angle lens fits more scenery into each shot. Helpful for landscapes, architecture, or group photos.
- Dual Pixel autofocus – Fast, accurate autofocus even in low light conditions. Critical for crisp night mode shots.
Dual 10MP Telephoto Cameras
- 3x optical zoom – Excellent for portraits. Gets you closer to the action without quality loss. Hybrid Optic Zoom up to 10x.
- 10x optical zoom – Crazy long zoom range to capture far away subjects. 100x Space Zoom with AI Super Resolution.
- OIS – Combination of OIS and AI stabilization provides steady zoomed shots.
Camera & Video Features
- Night mode – Dramatically brightens and enhances low light photos while reducing noise. Works on all lenses.
- Portrait mode – Artistic background blur to make people stand out. Advanced AI segmentation.
- Pro/Pro Video modes – Manual camera controls for pros and enthusiasts. Adjust ISO, shutter speed, exposure, etc.
- 50MP pixel-binned mode – Combines pixels for very high-quality 12MP photos. Great dynamic range.
- Panorama mode – Seamlessly stitches together multiple shots into extra wide panoramas.
- Fun modes, filters – Customize your photos with fun effects, filters, and automatic image enhancements baked in.
- Powerful AI – Intelligent scene optimization, face detection, lighting adjustments, and more.
- Dual recording – Simultaneously capture photo and video with both front and rear cameras.
- 8K video snap – Extract high-res photos from 8K video in post.
Clearly, the S22 Ultra leaves nothing to be desired when it comes to mobile photography and videography. For both basic shots and professional-level control, these pro-grade cameras offer it all.
Performance – Blazing Fast Speed
Speed and power are two other standout features of the Galaxy S22 Ultra thanks to its cutting-edge hardware and software integration. Here are the core performance factors:
- Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip – The latest and greatest processor from Qualcomm delivers elite performance for everything from gaming to multi-app multitasking.
- 8GB/12GB RAM options – Plenty of memory ensures smooth simultaneous running of multiple demanding apps.
- OneUI 4.1 software – Samsung’s clean, responsive Android 12-based software has lots of customization options.
- Liquid cooling system – Advanced thermal management prevents overheating and thermal throttling during processor-intensive tasks.
- Vapor chamber cooling – Additional vapor chamber keeps the large battery cool for safe, consistent operation at fast charging speeds.
- WiFi 6E support – Ultra-fast connection speeds, lower latency, and reduced interference with WiFi 6E router.
- 5G connectivity – Download movies in seconds and stream high-bandwidth content through fast 5G networks.
- Link to Windows integration – Tight cross-device syncing with Windows PCs via the Your Phone app.
Performance is never a concern with the Galaxy S22 Ultra regardless of your workload. It blazes through intensive games, downloads content at incredible speeds, and lets you seamlessly multitask without slowdowns.
Battery Life – All Day Endurance
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra packs a beefy 5,000 mAh battery—the largest yet in an S series flagship. Combined with an efficient processor and intelligent software optimization, it delivers excellent battery life:
- 5,000 mAh capacity – Biggest battery in an S series model yet. More than enough for a long day of use.
- All day endurance – Comfortably lasts a full day (18+ hours) of heavy use with mixed activities. Screen-on time of 7-8 hours is achievable.
- 45W wired charging – Recharges to ~65% in just 30 minutes with optional 45W charger. Can fully charge from 0 to 100% in 60-75 minutes.
- 15W wireless charging – Fast wireless top up without cables using Qi chargers.
- Wireless PowerShare – Wirelessly charge accessories or other phones by sharing excess battery.
- Adaptive battery optimization – AI monitoring improves lifespan and reduces excess background drainage.
- Lower idle drain – Impressive standby time thanks to an efficient processor and Samsung’s software enhancements.
With moderate use focused on the essentials, you may even be able to stretch it to 1.5-2 days between full charges. For the vast majority of owners, battery life won’t be a pain point.
S Pen Integration – Unleash Your Inner Artist
One of the most unique traits that sets the Galaxy S22 Ultra apart is its integrated S Pen stylus. Tucked neatly into the bottom frame, the S Pen transforms the Ultra into a portable digital canvas primed for creativity and productivity.
Low Latency and Precision
- Less than 2.8ms latency – Realistic pen-on-paper feel with virtually no lag. Writing and drawing feel instantaneous.
- 4,096 pressure levels – Incredibly precise stylus pressure detection lets you vary stroke thickness naturally.
–0.2mm stylus tip – Same ultra-fine tip as the Note’s S Pen. Draw and write with accuracy.
Handwriting and Note Taking
- OCR text conversion – Automatically convert handwritten notes into digital text for easy exporting.
- Air Actions – Control apps with gestures like rotating or flipping the S Pen.
- Samsung Notes – Intuitive note taking and media incorporation with the S Pen optimized Notes app.
- Screen off memos – Instantly jot down quick notes or to-do lists without unlocking.
Drawing and Editing
- Expert RAW – Edit photos with precision using the S Pen for adjustments and local edits.
- Adobe apps support – Use the S Pen to draw, edit, and manipulate media in apps like Lightroom and Photoshop.
- CANVA integration – Create stunning graphics and designs in a fun, user-friendly interface.
- PENUP community – Share your drawings and see creations from other artists in Samsung’s creative social space.
- Live messages – Animate greeting cards and messages by drawing and adding effects in real-time.
Multitasking and Control
- App Edge Panel – Quickly launch favorite apps or functions from the edge of the screen.
- Screen write – Annotate and draw on screenshots to add context.
- Smart select – Outline and extract specific areas of the screen to collect, share or pin.
- Air view – Hover the S Pen over items to preview content or see extra information.
- Presentation control – Control slideshows and media playback discreetly with the S Pen as a remote.
The seamlessly integrated S Pen takes the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s versatility to the next level. From basic note taking to digital art, the S Pen enables creativity, productivity, and control in one responsive, highly accurate package.
Software Experience – Packed With Extras
The Galaxy S22 Ultra comes loaded with Samsung’s feature-packed One UI 4.1 software overlay running on top of Android 12. Key software features include:
- OneUI 4.1 – Clean, intuitive interface with extensive customization options via themes, icon packs and layouts.
- Android 12L – Underlying OS optimized for large screen devices like tablets and foldables.
- Dynamic theming – Colors and system accents adapt automatically based on current wallpaper colors.
- Object eraser – Easily erase unwanted objects and distracting backgrounds from photos.
- Privacy dashboard – See which apps are accessing permissions like location, camera, microphone. Selectively turn them off.
- Private share – Encrypt images before sharing and set viewing limits or expiration dates.
- Expert RAW camera app – Powerful manual camera controls and RAW photo capture.
- Bixby Routines – Automate device behaviors and actions based on specific triggers or situations.
- DeX mode – Use the S22 Ultra like a desktop with monitor, mouse and keyboard.
- Link to Windows – Mirror phone notifications and activities on a Windows PC.
One UI 4.1 expands upon Android 12 with highly useful additions. You get Samsung’s trademark flexibility and customization together with Google’s latest OS developments.
Overall Performance and Value
|Display||10/10. Superlative quality.|
|Design||9/10. Premium fit and finish.|
|Cameras||10/10. Pro-grade versatility.|
|Performance||10/10. Lightning fast.|
|Battery Life||9/10. All day endurance.|
|S Pen Integration||10/10. Seamless digital art tool.|
|Software||9/10. Packed with extra features.|
|Overall Rating||9.5/10. New benchmark for flagships.|
|Value for Money||9/10. Justifies premium pricing.|
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra offers the complete package – gorgeous display, top-tier performance, advanced quad camera setup, software versatility, and integrated S Pen. There are very few weaknesses here. For power users, content creators, mobile photographers, and productivity-focused professionals seeking the best Android phone experience money can buy, the S22 Ultra delivers.
While not necessarily a major leap over the S21 Ultra, the refined premium design, boosted brightness, improved cameras, Note-like S Pen integration, and cutting-edge internals make the S22 Ultra the most feature-packed Galaxy S series phone yet. It edges out rivals like the iPhone 14 Pro Max in areas like display quality, stylus integration and 10x optical zoom range.
Frequently Asked Questions
How good is the camera on the Galaxy S22 Ultra?
With an advanced 108MP sensor, dual telephotos for 3x and 10x optical zoom, and a pro-grade camera app, the S22 Ultra has one of the most versatile mobile camera systems money can buy. It excels in every area from wide shots to portraits to faraway zoomed shots.
Does the S22 Ultra have a good battery?
Yes, the large 5,000 mAh battery delivers all day endurance even with heavy use. Fast charging capabilities let you top up the battery quickly when running low. Battery life is definitely a strong suit.
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Is the S Pen worth it on the S22 Ultra?
For creative types or productivity-focused users, the S Pen support adds tremendous value. It enables precise note taking, drawing, photo editing, and app navigation that isn’t possible with fingers alone. It’s a key differentiator vs. other flagships.
How does the S22 Ultra compare to iPhone 14 Pro Max?
The S22 Ultra’s display is noticeably better, with higher resolution, brightness and smoother scrolling. Its 10x optical zoom bests the 6x zoom on the iPhone 14 Pro Max. But the iPhone offers longer software support and better CPUs for video editing. Overall, they are close competitors.
Is the S22 Ultra worth upgrading to from S21 Ultra?
Users with an S21 Ultra may not find the upgrades worth it. But coming from any phone older than that, the S22 Ultra offers big leaps in performance, camera versatility, display quality
Who Is the S22 Ultra For?
With its high price tag, niche features like the S Pen, and overkill specs for casual users, the Galaxy S22 Ultra clearly is not for everyone. Here are the user types who can justify an S22 Ultra purchase:
- Mobile photographers/videographers – The advanced camera system enables DSLR-like controls. Perfect for capturing professional-looking content on the go.
- Creators and digital artists – The S Pen support unlocks next-level creativity through drawing, editing, animating and designing.
- Business/productivity users – Note-taking, document editing and DeX mode transforms the S22 Ultra into a portable office.
- Multimedia enthusiasts – The brilliant high-res display provides an immersive viewing experience for videos, movies and gaming.
- Tech early adopters – Samsung fans who always want the latest and greatest specs will appreciate the S22 Ultra.
- Power users – If you frequently push your phone to the limit with demanding apps and multitasking, the top-tier performance is worthwhile.
Final Verdict – The Ultimate Android Flagship
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra represents a new pinnacle for Samsung’s S series and Android flagships in general. With its pro-caliber quad camera setup, Note-inspired S Pen integration, incredible performance, gorgeous QHD+ display and extensive software versatility, the S22 Ultra brings together the best of Samsung’s innovations into one cutting-edge device.
While the very high price puts it out of reach for many buyers, those willing to pay a premium for the ultimate Samsung Galaxy experience will find the S22 Ultra equal to the task. Nothing else matches its intersection of productivity and creativity. For power users and mobile content creators seeking a best-in-class Android phone this year, the Galaxy S22 Ultra shines bright.