Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ – which is for you? (review)
The Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ are essentially the same phones under the bonnet. You either get a 6.1″ screen (more pocketable and lighter) with a 25W charge or a 6.6″ screen and a larger battery with a 45W charge. The rest – camera, processor, RAM and storage are the same.
To position these phones, the $1249 S22 is in the lower-premium bracket, the $1549 S22+ is mid-premium, and the $1849 S22 Ultra is upper premium. The only real Australian competitor is OPPO with its soon-to-be-released FindX5 series, although we hear Motorola may have something up its sleeve.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ are evolutions over last year’s S21-series. There is no compelling reason to upgrade if you own a 2020 S20 or 2021 S21 unless you want to trade these in. Evolution, not revolution, is boring. Samsung is suffering the same as Apple with its Tick-Tock-Tock policy (three to four years between redesigns) that offers little incentive to upgrade. Let’s hope the S23-series is revolutionary.
Having said that, the S22 series are great phones offering the best tech you can currently get. They are especially significant as Australia gets the Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1 processor instead of the Exynos 2200 that we usually get here. I am not sure why we typically get Exynos, but our 2021 flagship of the year was the OPPO FindX3 Pro (SD888) that piped Samsung S21 Ultra (Exynos 2100) at almost every post.
Better buy genuine, or 5G won’t work
We issue a strong warning that you must buy a genuine model with Australian firmware if you want to use 5G. Read Don’t buy a grey market phone to ensure you get the Australian model.
It is easy to identify the Australian version – usually under Settings, About Phone, Legal Information, Regulatory compliance, you will see the Australian RCM C-tick mark.
New review format for 2022 – both a short overview and deep-dive
We have reflected on how best to present our deep-dive reviews, now unique to CyberShack. Our readers tell us they want this detailed level of information to make purchasing decisions.
Deep-dive reviews have two aims:
First, to test the s*it out of the phones. We run more than 70 tests (many repeated three times) over a week to ensure accurate data you can rely on. You won’t find more accurate data on phone reception signal strength (a city or rural capable phone), battery life, screen, Wi-Fi performance, CPU/GPU performance, throttling under load and importantly, how it sounds.
Second, to do this, we have developed a database with more than 300 facts and test results for all phones we review in 2022. It will be invaluable for objective comparisons. So, at the end of this review is the data and an explanation of why it rates. Following is a maximum 5-minute read summarising our findings for those that just want the facts.
5-minute review – Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+
This review covers both phones because they are essentially the same, and we only have an S22+ to review (and the US model SM-906U1 to boot). You can safely assume that the rest is the same apart from small variances in battery life and charge time.
You can always go to the same headings in the deep dive section if you need more information.
Slimmer and lighter
The 6.1″ S22 at 167g is light and pocketable, and I suspect it will be more popular because of this. The 6.6” S22+ is 10mm taller and 197g. Interestingly these are 19.5:9 ratios meaning slightly wider than 20:9.
Screen – 6.1 or 6.6″ – bright and colourful
Samsung calls this 120Hz adaptive, but in reality, these phones switch between 48/96/120Hz, unlike the S22 Ultra, which is adaptive from 1-120Hz. It is no big deal having minimal impact on battery life.
My main issue is that these devices use 8-bit 16.7 million colours, whereas the OPPOsition has 10-bit 1.07 billion colours. While Samsung can claim almost 100% sRGB, the DCI-P3 (movies) Wide Colour Gamut is 100% of 16.7m colours – not 1.07 billion.
Our screen brightness tests (nits) were revealing too. Naturally, Samsung claims the highest nits number, but HDR10+ content or Hi-Brightness is on a tiny portion of the screen. In reality, the S22 downmixes HDR10+ content to HDR10 and the S22+ just reaches HDR10+ specs.
For typical use, these are bright 400 nit screens that are daylight readable, and being AMOLED has an Always-on-Display and good Blue light protection.
Processor – SD8 Gen 1 is the best and fastest 2022 SoC
While the Qualcomm versus Exynos debate still rages, the preference is for Qualcomm over Exynos. We are lucky!
They both will play any mobile game, and throttling was 21% over 15 minutes – more than acceptable except that the case gets hot under load.
One major disappointment is the lack of a microSD card for internal memory expansion. But worse, external USB-C SSD storage cannot mount as internal storage, severely limiting its use for videographers or vloggers who will quickly use the 128GB (100GB free). Android 12 supports videos to 10GB (30 minutes 4K@30fps or 120 minutes 1080p@30fps) but watch out for overheating.
Comms – slight difference
The S22 has Wi-Fi 6, and the S22+ has Wi-Fi 6E. Both need Wi-Fi 6 and /or 6E routers to achieve maximum speed. Our reference router is a NETGEAR RAX200 Wi-Fi 6 AX1100 12-stream to test speeds. Its currently the fastest Wi-Fi 6 router and provides solid reliable signal strength to the absolute limits of 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands as well as VHT160 link aggregation.
Both connect to Wi-Fi at 2400Mbps (Maximum). But there are unexplained variances from -24dBm (signal strength – lower is better) to -38dBm, and we experienced this a 2, 5, and 10 metres. I am sure Samsung will fix this pre-release firmware issue.
It has the latest Bluetooth 5.2, Dual Band GPS (accurate <4m), NFC and the S22+ has an Ultra-wideband chip that may one day unlock your car or home (not today).
USB-C 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps) supports ALT DP (display port) and DeX, so you can use a USB-C to HDMI cable and get 4K@60Hz or wirelessly cast to a TV.
Samsung has lost the dual ringtones (one for a SIM and one for the second SIM or eSIM), a significant requirement for dual SIM users. Australia only gets a single SIM and eSIM model – not DS dual SIM.
We assumed Samsung would have the LTE and 5G bands on its spec pages, but Samsung AU does not. When will it learn that some people need to know everything about their devices?
Optus provided us with the information (based on the SM-S910E and SM-906E models for Australia), supporting all 4G Australian and most world bands. In 5G is supports all Australian sub-6 (N78) and 5G Low-bands for all three carriers.
No S22 model supports mmWave (interesting as the S21 Ultra did), but frankly, that is a non-event in Australia anyway.
Signal strength was good at -85 to -95dBm and up to 3.2pW (picowatts = 1000 femtowatts) for the nearest tower. It found a second tower at -104 to -107dBM and up to 39.8 fW (femtowatts). So it’s a good city or suburban phone and probably good in low-bar areas.
Note: Telstra awards Blue-tick rural use certification based on its retail network. It has awarded it to the Samsung S21 FE, which our tests don’t support. Yes, it has a strong tower with one signal up to 7.9pW, but it does not find other towers. I would be gobsmacked if the Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ gets Blue-tick.
Battery – 3700 and 4500mAh down from the S21-series
The new Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1 4nm SoC is more power-efficient than the previous 5nm SD888, but that is no excuse to reduce battery capacity.
PC Mark 3.0 battery test is one of the more accurate tests for heavy use, and it gives 9 hours and 9 minutes on the Adaptive setting. GFX Benchmark T-Rex is a good 1080p video benchmark, and it gives 11 hours and 36 minutes. Our video loop on-device storage, 50% screen and aeroplane mode was 12 hours and 12 minutes. 100% drain screen-on was 4 hours and 32 minutes. These are not spectacular times, and both devices need daily charging.
It does not have a charger (grrr, Samsung is penny-pinching), so go and buy a GaN (Gallium Nitride) PD intelligent Charger of at least 30W (it charges at 25W) for the S22 and 45W for the S22+. Alogic has a two-port USB-C 68W for $84, and you can get 4-port 100 and 200W for not a lot more.
It supports Qi wireless 15W charging, and you can get charge pads for about $60 and use one of the GaN ports above.
Sound – acceptable bright vocal signature
The speakers cannot reproduce low-or-mid bass, so there is no ‘oomph’ needed for bass-heavy music. Low-and-mid-Mid is not strong either, but high-mid and low-mid treble are. The result is Bright Vocal (bass recessed, mid/treble boosted) – for vocal tracks and string instruments, but it can make them harsh.
Fortunately, a Dolby Atmos decoder (downmixes to two speakers so there is no 3D spatial height) and a decent EQ can pull back the high treble a little for a better music experience. It also nicely widens the sound stage past the phone.
Want to know more about sound? Read How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key).
Build – Gorilla Glass Victus+ is tough
It is very well-made and should be a keeper. Warranty is 1-year which we think should be longer – OPPO and Google offer 2-years.
Android 12 and three updates
Samsung UI 4.1 is the grease over Android 12’s cogs, making it a pleasure to use. Getting Android 14 and four years of security patches is one of the better policies.
Samsung tries to draw you into its world with Galaxy Apps, Samsung Account and Backup. There is nothing wrong with that, and you can avoid these if you don’t want Samsung to know what you do. We strongly recommend using the Google app alternatives to make it easier if you ever want to exit the Samsung world.
Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ camera – both the same
Samsung is pushing Nightography – low-light photography, and it is impressive. But it requires about a 4-second exposure, so you really need a tripod to get the best results.
- Daylight and office light shots are excellent with natural colour, fast focus, and exposure.
- Office Light shots – ditto
- Low light – very good with good detail, but colours suffer a little
- Night mode takes a few seconds to take the shot – hold it very still. The result is a binned low light shot that can be impressive
- The 3X optical zoom was good to 20X – 30X was a stretch.
- Bokeh was fine.
- Daylight and office video was above average with solid colours, exposure, good autofocus (primary lens) and OIS.
- Low-light video was noisy. As usual, it is best to shoot in 1080p@30fps, which was perfect.
- Selfies were excellent with Dual Pixel Phase Detection Autofocus (PDAF).
- Camera samples are at the end of the deep-dive review
The S22 Ultra with the Exynos SoC scores 131 on the DXOMARK with OPPO FindX3 Pro at 131 and Google Pixel 6 at 132. We expect the S22 and S22+ to be around 120.
CyberShack – Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ are excellent premium grade smartphones
The 5-minute review simply points out salient features. You can jump to the end for more details. If you have $1249 or $1549, you currently cannot buy a better handset. But, and it is just a cogitative dissonance but, for all their features, there are some excellent phones at a lesser cost.
- The 6.4″ Samsung S21 FE at $999 (6/128GB) or $1099 8/256GB does pretty well everything these do, although, in its review, I did say find the extra $250 and buy the S22 if only for the later tech
- Google Pixel 6 and 6 Pro (6.4″ 8/128 $999 or 8/256 $1299) or (6.7″ 12/128 $1129 or 12/256 $1499) certainly give the Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ a run for their money with better warranty and camera.
- The OPPO FindX5 series will launch at the end of February and may just have superior specs for lower costs.
- Motorola may have an SD8 Gen 1 phone soon
If the trade-in offers and pre-order bonuses don’t draw you in, you may want to wait for a month or so.
CyberShack Smartphone comparison v 1.1 (E&OE)
Only S22 differences to S22+ shown in first column
|Model||Samsung Galaxy S22||Samsung Galaxy S22+|
|Price 2||8/256GB – $1349||8/256GB – $1649|
|From||Samsung Online and approved retailers|
|Country of Origin||Korea|
|Test date||17/02/2022 (Test conducted on SM-906U1 US model)|
|Other models not for Australia (Don’t buy)||SM-S901B, U, U1, W, N, 0, or any model ending in DS (dual sim)||SM-S906B, U, U1, W, N, 0, or any model ending in DS (dual sim)|
|Type||Dynamic AMOLED 2X|
|Flat/Curve/2D/3D||Flat with centre O-hole|
|Resolution||2340 x 1080 (1080p)|
|Screen to Body||87.40%||88.43%|
|Colours bits||16m 8-bit|
|Refresh Hz/adaptive||48, 96, 120MHz screen and 240MHz touch in game mode only|
|Response 120Hz||TBC <10ms GtG||TBC <10ms GtG|
|Nits typcial/test||800 (740)||1200 Hi-Brightness (720)|
|Nits max/test||Claim: 1300 (Test 1100)||Claim: 1750 HDR10+ content only (Test 1290)|
|DCI-P3||Vivid approx. 60% (100% 16M colours)|
|Rec.2020 or other||RGB and temperature adjustment|
|Delta E (<4 is excellent)||1.17||1.84|
|HDR Level||Plays HDR10+ downmix to HDR10||Plays HDR10+|
|Blue light control||Yes|
|PWM if known||All AMOLED uses PWM 250Hz approx|
|Always on Display||Yes|
|Accessibility||Full suite of enhancements|
|DRM||Widevine L1 1080p HDR10|
|Screen protection||Gorilla Glass Victus+|
|Comment||Bright and colour accurate screen. Refresh is not so much adaptive as fixed at 48/96/120. It is disappointing it is not a 10-bit screen.|
Processor, GPU, RAM and storage
|Brand/Model||Qualcomm SD8 Gen 1|
|Cores||Octa-core (1×2.8 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.50 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A510)|
|Geekbench 5 Single-core||1221|
|Geekbench 5 multi-core||3416|
|Like||About 15-20% faster than the same Exynos in the S21 series|
|Open CL||6027 (Adaptive)|
|Like||About 15% slower than Exynos 2100|
|RAM/type||8 LPDDR5||8 LPDDR5|
|Storage/free/type||128 UFS 3.1 (approx 100GB free)||128 UFS 3.1 (approx 100GB free)|
|CPDT internal seq. Read||1390|
|CPDT internal sew. Read/write||258.3|
|CPDT external (mountable?)||Won’t test – seen as external storage but can’t mount as internal storage|
|Comment||Without mountable storage, seen as internal storage, videographers and vloggers will soon run out of space.|
|Comment||Acceptable throttle rates, but the device gets hot to hold|
|Wi-FI Type/model||6 AX BCM4389C1 VHT160||6E AX BCM4389C1 VHT160|
|Test 2m -dBm/Mbps||-24 to -38, 2400 variable|
|Test 5m||-56 to -58, 866 to 1088 variable|
|Test 10m||-61 to -63, 612 to 816 variable|
|USB type||3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)|
|ALT DP/DeX/Ready For||Cable and Wireless Dex|
|Accelerometer||Yes – combo with Gyro|
|Gyro||Yes – combo with Gyro|
|Comment||While Wi-Fi speeds are excellent, there were unexplained variations in dropping speed or increasing -dBM|
LTE and 5G
|SIM||Single SIM and eSIM|
|Ring tone single/dual||Single|
|Wi-Fi calling||Carrier dependent|
|4G Bands||Provided by Optus (as Samsung and Telstra do not publish full specs) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 17, 18, 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 32, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66|
|Comment||All Australian and most world bands|
|5G sub-6Ghz||Optus – ditto. N1, 2, 3, 5, 7, 8, 12, 20 25, 28, 38, 40, 41, 66, 77 78|
|Comment||All sub-6Ghz and 5G low-bands|
|Test Boost Mobile/Telstra|
|Tower 1 -dBm/fW or pW||from -85 to -93 and 501fW to 3.2pW|
|Tower 2||from -104 to -107 and 13.9 to 39.8fW|
|Comment||Good strong signal but inadequate reception antenna strength from adjacent towers. Good City and Suburbs phone|
|Charger/type/supplied||No – suggest SS 25W or GaN PD||No – suggest SS 45W or GaN PD and must buy a 5W rating cable|
|Qi wattage||5 to 15W|
|Reverse Qi or cable||4.5W|
|Test (60Hz or adaptive screen)||We expect the S22 at 25W charging to be almost double charge times.|
|Charge % 30mins||33%|
|Charge 0-100%||1 hour and 36 minutes (45W)|
| Charge Qi/15W|
|Just over 8 hours|
|Charge||5.5 hours (25W)|
|Video loop 50%/aeroplane||12 hours 12 minutes|
|PC Mark 3 battery||9 hours 9 minutes Adaptive|
|GFX Bench Manhattan battery||Out of memory error|
|GFX Bench T-Rex||696.2m (11.54hrs) 3353 frames|
|Drain 100-0% full load screen on||4 hours 32 minutes|
|Estimate loss at 120Hz||Minimal|
|Estimate typical use||10 hours heavy and 15 hours light|
|Comment||Carry a charger (shame Samsung does not provide one). The Out-of-memory error should not occur on a Qualcomm SoC, and we assume it is due to early firmware.|
|Speakers||Stereo – top earpiece and bottom down-firing.|
|AMP||2 x Cirrus Logic CS35L41 each 5.3W, 1% THD, 8 ohm|
|Dolby Atmos decode||Yes, downmix to two speakers|
|BT Codecs||SBC, AAC, aptX , LDAC|
|Multipoint||Can connect to two devices|
|Dolby Atmos (DA)||Yes – auto, movie, music, voice and games mode|
|EQ||Normal, Pop, Classic, Jazz, Rock and Custom – makes more of a difference in headphones as inbuilt speakers limit what it can do.|
|Mics||2 – with background noise suppression|
|Test dB – all on EQ flat DA off (80dB is ideal)|
|Hands-free||Bottom mic for voice only and top for noise reduction. Hold the phone close as the volume is a tad low.|
|BT headphones||Excellent left-right separation and DA makes quite a difference with DA content.|
|Deep Bass 20-40Hz||No|
|Middle Bass 40-100Hz||No|
|High Bass 100-200Hz||Slowly Building|
|Low Mid 200-400Hz||Slowly Building|
|Mid 4000-1000Hz||Flattening but still building|
|Low Treble 2-4kHz||Peaking|
|High Treble 6-10kHz||Decline|
|Dog Whistle 10-20kHz||Decline to 15kHz, then drop off|
|Sound Signature type||Bright Vocal (bass recessed, mid/treble boosted) – for vocal tracks and string instruments, but can make them harsh|
|Soundstage||2D is as wide as the phone. DA gives it a far wider sound stage|
|Comment||It lacks musically important low-mid-bass, and high bass is late. Mid and low-mid treble are fine for music genres that don’t need a lot of bass|
|Size (H X W x D)||70.6 x 146 x 7.6||75.8 x 157.4 x 7.6|
|Front glass||Gorilla Glass Victus+|
|Rear material||Gorilla Glass Victus+|
|IP rating||68, 1.5m for 30 minutes|
|Colours||Retail: Phantom White, Green, Pink Gold and Phantom Black|
Online: Graphite, Cream, Sky Blue and Violet
|In the box|
|USB cable||USB-A to USB-C rated 3W to charge at 25W||USB-A to USB-C rated 3W – you need a 5W cable to charge at 45W|
|Comment||Well-made, IP68 and should be a keeper|
|Security patch date||1/01/2022|
|UI||One U1 4.1|
|OS upgrade policy||Up to 4 OS upgrades|
|Security patch policy||Regular security patches four years|
|Bloatware||Samsung alternative to Google suite. Microsoft suite and OneDrive (requires subscription)|
|Other||Selection of Galaxy Apps|
|Comment||Excellent upgrade policy and One UI is easy to use. Use Google Apps where possible to enable full backup and restore to Google Drive.|
|Fingerprint sensor location/type||Ultrasonic Under glass|
|Other||Knox and Secure folder|
|Comment||One of the more secure Android devices|
Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ camera
|MP||50 bins to 12.5MP|
|Sensor||Samsung S5KGN3 (not in Samsung Database)|
|Focus||Dual Pixel PDAF|
|um||1.0 (bins to 2.0)|
|FOV° (stated/actual)||85 (74.1)|
|Focus||FF (Fixed focus)|
|FOV (stated/actual)||120 (104.1)|
|Sensor||Samsung S5K3K1 (not in Samsung Database)|
|Zoom||3X Optical, 30X Space Zoom|
|QR code reader||Yes|
|MP||10MP (outputs 7.1MP)|
|Focus||Dual Pixel PDAF|
|FOV (stated/actual)||80 (61.5)|
|Features||Dual record, Filters, HDR|
Office Light 400 lumens
Low Light <40 lumens
|No microSD, 3.5mm, Charger and not a proper adaptive refresh rate screen but a powerful processor|
|$1249 for 8/128 is a tad expensive||$1549 for 8/128 is a tad expensive|
|Strong performance and good games potential. It is a shame the antenna signal strength is not better – this is not for rural or regional use.|
|Ease of Use||9|
|Long OS update and security patch. One UI 4.1 is easy to use|
|It is a glass slab with no distinguishing features|
|Rating out of 10||8.3|
|1||True compact 6.1″ flagship||10V/4.5A/45W charge capable|
|2||Great screen still 1080p 16.7M colours|
|3||Four years of major software updates|
|4||Great camera all around|
|5||It is a Galaxy S series, and all that goes with it|
|1||25W fast charge is ho-hum.||45W charger and 5W cable required|
|2||Nice, but just another evolution|
|3||No microSD or 3.5mm|
|4||At $1249 it is good but not a class-leader||At $1549 it is good but not a class-leader|
|Final comment||Maybe I am getting tired of evolution – incremental improvements. There is little compelling reason to update from S20 or S21||Maybe I am getting tired of evolution – incremental improvements. There is little compelling reason to update from S20+ or S21+|