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.

Phone

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

BrandSamsungSamsung
ModelSamsung Galaxy S22Samsung Galaxy S22+
Model NumberSM-S901ESM-S906E
Price Base$1,249$1,549
   Price base8/128GB8/128GB
   Price 28/256GB – $13498/256GB – $1649
Warranty months12
 TierLower premiumMid-premium
WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
ManualManualManual
From Samsung Online and approved retailers
Country of Origin Korea
Company Samsung
Test date 17/02/2022 (Test conducted on SM-906U1 US model)
Ambient temp 26°
ReleaseFeb-22Feb-22
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)

Screen

Size6.1″6.6″
Type Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Flat/Curve/2D/3D Flat with centre O-hole
Resolution 2340 x 1080 (1080p)
PPI425390
Ratio19.5:9
Screen to Body87.40%88.43%
Colours bits 16m 8-bit
Refresh Hz/adaptive48, 96, 120MHz screen and 240MHz touch in game mode only
Response 120HzTBC <10ms GtGTBC <10ms GtG
Nits typcial/test800 (740)1200 Hi-Brightness (720)
Nits max/testClaim: 1300 (Test 1100)Claim: 1750 HDR10+ content only (Test 1290)
ContrastInfinite
sRGBNatural 97%
DCI-P3Vivid approx. 60% (100% 16M colours)
Rec.2020 or otherRGB and temperature adjustment
Delta E (<4 is excellent)1.171.84
HDR LevelPlays HDR10+ downmix to HDR10Plays HDR10+
SDR UpscaleNo
Blue light controlYes
PWM if knownAll AMOLED uses PWM 250Hz approx
Daylight readableYes
Always on Display Yes
Edge display Yes
Accessibility Full suite of enhancements
DRM Widevine L1 1080p HDR10
Gaming Game mode
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/ModelQualcomm SD8 Gen 1
nm 4
Cores Octa-core (1×2.8 GHz Cortex-X2 & 3×2.50 GHz Cortex-A710 & 4×1.8 GHz Cortex-A510)
Modem X65
AI TOPS 27
Geekbench 5 Single-core 1221
Geekbench 5 multi-core 3416
Like About 15-20% faster than the same Exynos in the S21 series
GPU Adreno 730
GPU Test 
Open CL 6027 (Adaptive)
Like About 15% slower than Exynos 2100
Vulcan 5990
RAM/type8 LPDDR58 LPDDR5
Storage/free/type128 UFS 3.1 (approx 100GB free)128 UFS 3.1 (approx 100GB free)
micro-SDNo
CPDT internal seq. Read 1390
CPDT internal sew. Read/write 258.3
CPDT microSD N/A
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.
Throttle test
   Max GIPS 308,178
   Average GIPS 269,963
   Minimum GIPS 235,447
   % Throttle 21%
   CPU Temp 53°
Comment Acceptable throttle rates, but the device gets hot to hold

Comms

Wi-FI Type/model6 AX BCM4389C1 VHT1606E 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
BT Type 5.2
GPS single/dual Dual
USB type 3.2 Gen 1 (5Gbps)
   ALT DP/DeX/Ready For Cable and Wireless Dex
NFC Yes
Ultra-widebandNoYes
Sensors
   Accelerometer Yes – combo with Gyro
   Gyro Yes – combo with Gyro
   e-Compass Yes
   Barometer Yes
   Gravity 
   Pedometer 
   Ambient light Yes
   Hall sensor Yes
   Proximity Yes
   Other
CommentWhile Wi-Fi speeds are excellent, there were unexplained variations in dropping speed or increasing -dBM

LTE and 5G

SIM Single SIM and eSIM
   Active Only one
Ring tone single/dual Single
VoLTE Carrier dependent
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
mmWave No
Test Boost Mobile/Telstra 
   UL/DL/ms 41.4/24.8, 25ms
   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
   Tower 3 No
   Tower 4 No
Comment Good strong signal but inadequate reception antenna strength from adjacent towers. Good City and Suburbs phone

Battery

mAh37004500
Charger/type/suppliedNo – suggest SS 25W or GaN PDNo – suggest SS 45W or GaN PD and must buy a 5W rating cable
 PD/QC level 3/2.0
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 % 30mins33%
   Charge 0-100% 1 hour and 36 minutes (45W)
   Charge Qi/15W
   0-100%
Just over 8 hours
   Charge 5.5 hours (25W)
   Video loop 50%/aeroplane12 hours 12 minutes
   PC Mark 3 battery9 hours 9 minutes Adaptive
   GFX Bench Manhattan batteryOut of memory error
   GFX Bench T-Rex696.2m (11.54hrs) 3353 frames
   Drain 100-0% full load screen on4 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.

Sound

Speakers Stereo – top earpiece and bottom down-firing.
Tuning AKG
AMP 2 x Cirrus Logic CS35L41 each 5.3W, 1% THD, 8 ohm
Dolby Atmos decode Yes, downmix to two speakers
Hi-Res 32-bit/384kHz
3.5mm No
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) 
   Volume max 78
   Media (music) 75
   Ring 74
   Alarm 71
   Notifications 70
   Earpiece ?
   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.
Sound quality
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
High-Mid 1-2kHz Flat
Low Treble 2-4kHz Peaking
Treble 4-6kHz Flat
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
Bright vocal is OK for all but heavy bass tracks

Build

Size (H X W x D)70.6 x 146 x 7.675.8 x 157.4 x 7.6
Weight grams167195
Front glass Gorilla Glass Victus+
Rear material Gorilla Glass Victus+
Frame Aluminium
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
Pen/Stylus support No
In the box
   Charger No
   USB cableUSB-A to USB-C rated 3W to charge at 25WUSB-A to USB-C rated 3W – you need a 5W cable to charge at 45W
   Buds No
   Bumper cover No
Comment Well-made, IP68 and should be a keeper
 
OS 
Android 12
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.
 
Security 
Fingerprint sensor location/type Ultrasonic Under glass
Face ID 2D
Other Knox and Secure folder
Comment One of the more secure Android devices

Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22+ camera

Rear Primary
  MP 50 bins to 12.5MP
  Mode Wide
   Sensor Samsung S5KGN3 (not in Samsung Database)
   Focus Dual Pixel PDAF
   f-stop 1.8
   um 1.0 (bins to 2.0)
  FOV° (stated/actual) 85 (74.1)
   Stabilisation OIS
   Zoom 8X digital
Rear 2 
   MP 12
   Mode Ultra-wide
   Sensor Sony IMX563
   Focus FF (Fixed focus)
   f-stop 2.2
   um 1.4
  FOV (stated/actual) 120 (104.1)
   Stabilisation No
   Zoom 8X digital
Rear 3 
   MP 10
   Mode Telephoto
   Sensor Samsung S5K3K1 (not in Samsung Database)
   Focus PDAF
   f-stop 2.4
   um 1
  FOV (stated/actual) 36°
   Stabilisation OIS
   Zoom 3X Optical, 30X Space Zoom
Special
   Video max8K@24fps
   Flash 1
   Auto-HDR Super HDR
 Object eraser
   QR code reader Yes
   Night mode Nightography
Front 
  MP 10MP (outputs 7.1MP)
   Sensor Sony IMX374
   Focus Dual Pixel PDAF
   f-stop 2.2
   um 1.22
  FOV (stated/actual) 80 (61.5)
   Stabilisation EIS
   Flash Screen fill
   Zoom 8X digital
   Video max 4K@60fps
    Features Dual record, Filters, HDR
Comment 

Outdoors

20X using 10MP Lens/sensor. Noise creeping in but a good shot
30X space zoom – don’t go there

Macro

Office Light 400 lumens

Low Light <40 lumens

Ratings

Features 8
 No microSD, 3.5mm, Charger and not a proper adaptive refresh rate screen but a powerful processor
Value 7.5
 $1249 for 8/128 is a tad expensive$1549 for 8/128 is a tad expensive
Performance 9
 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
Design 8
 It is a glass slab with no distinguishing features
Rating out of 10 8.3
Pro
1True compact 6.1″ flagship10V/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
Con
125W fast charge is ho-hum.45W charger and 5W cable required
2Nice, but just another evolution
3No microSD or 3.5mm
4At $1249 it is good but not a class-leaderAt $1549 it is good but not a class-leader
5
Final commentMaybe I am getting tired of evolution – incremental improvements. There is little compelling reason to update from S20 or S21Maybe I am getting tired of evolution – incremental improvements. There is little compelling reason to update from S20+ or S21+

Samsung Galaxy S22 or S22+

From $1249 and $1549
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