Since 2020, Samsung has introduced three new Galaxy S every year, Rebelote 2022 with the Galaxy S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra. After getting our hands on the most luxurious of them, we made the smaller model our main smartphone. It still sells from €859 and remains in direct competition with the iPhone 13, which starts at €909. In order to keep this “small format”, Samsung has made more concessions to the Ultra version. But the Korean manufacturer’s failure to provide a stable processor means that it loses valuable points in the battle against the iPhone 13.
The perfect compact
Visually, Samsung knows how to do it and adopts last year’s model almost line by line. The integration of camera modules has not been revised as in the Ultra version, but it wasn’t as necessary either. As in 2021, the plastic back will have you in doubt as the differences with the glass seem so minor. The finishes are excellent and the grip is pleasant. Ultimately, the greatest design evolution lies in the contours of the device. They are now aluminum. For the eye, the detail hits the mark, even if the overall progression remains minimal. But the great strength of this 2022 vintage remains, in our opinion, its compactness. With a 6.1-inch screen and its featherweight 168 grams, the Galaxy S22 is one of the smallest smartphones on the market with, on paper, few sacrifices. We’ll see later in this review that it’s actually not devoid of them.
The quality of the screen is there.
Since we mentioned the sacrifices, you know that Samsung continues to offer a 1080p screen. A piece of information that could seem scandalous in 2022, and yet the density of 422 pixels per point is far from shameful given the size of the screen. Even if the extraordinary brightness of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is not reached, with an average of 875 cd/m² the S22 is at the top of the basket in its price range. Even in extreme lighting conditions, the screen is clearly visible and remains beautiful. The adaptive frame rate of up to 120 Hz is always there, which ensures a certain ease of use.
As usual, Samsung produces high-quality screens, but does some questionable color correction. With the standard settings, we measure a Delta E of 7.34 for the S22. Keep in mind that the closer this number is to 1, the more realistic the colors will be. This gives you an idea of the difference… The Korean manufacturer still knows how to offer fairly realistic colors. It offers proof in its settings by setting the screen to “Natural” mode. Our lab’s Delta-E measurement then drops to 2.68, a more satisfactory value.
One UI 4.1: always on top
A quick word on the operating system, One UI 4.1 is in play and we confirm once again that it is one of the best mobile operating systems of the moment. Able to relieve our hands on the largest models, in this very compact format it’s really lucky. The one-handed operation in all circumstances, which the 6.1-inch screen allows, lives up to the qualities of this overlay.
An amazing pocket camera
So far, the S22 has stood out relatively little from its predecessor. Samsung has also done well when it comes to photography.
The main sensor, 24mm equivalent, is now 50 megapixels, up from 12 last year. The idea here is to have lots of pixels so the system can gather as much information as possible and actually create a better shot. To be honest we haven’t seen any real improvement over last year. However, keep in mind that the photos taken with this sensor are still the best today. However, we do notice that the colorimetry of the photos is slightly more realistic and that dynamic range management has improved.
It was about time Samsung finally offered a true 70mm equivalent telephoto lens. The Galaxy S21 offered a bit of an odd mix, with a 64-megapixel sensor, while it’s the equivalent of 29mm. We suddenly had a half-digital, half-optical zoom that didn’t really live up to the Korean’s reputation.
And are we happy now? Yes ! Especially since the shots are successful in good lighting conditions, but also at night.
This year, Samsung has communicated a lot about night photography. We also had the opportunity to test the S22 Ultra and it is true that the results on the main sensor and the X3 optical zoom are good. Same observation here. The situations in which these two sensors let you down at night are anything but legion. We’re still left with the impression that it’s slightly inferior to the S22 Ultra, but honestly, at £859 we’re not getting fussy.
You’ll notice we haven’t mentioned the ultra-wide-angle sensor, which is equivalent to 13mm. The reason is quite simple, he is not as satisfying as his two friends. It offers a correct daily result, nothing more. It is difficult to use it at night. Sometimes you have to do it multiple times to get a net result. Too bad, because if we leave that point out, the Galaxy S22 is one of the most versatile pocket cameras out there. And its small size, compatible with all pockets (yes, that’s important!), will make you want to take it with you everywhere.
If you want to see other shots you can click on this link which will take you to an album with a selection of photos taken with the Galaxy S22.
See also video:
This smartphone is a clock ticking in your head
So what is blocking? As we said in our Galaxy S22 Ultra review, Samsung’s in-house Exynos 2200 processor isn’t of the best vintage. Wasn’t that unaffordable in his big brother’s belly, the question arises here. So yes, by its performance it is capable of running any current applications or games. But at what cost?
First point, the smartphone heats up. The temperature measured by our laboratory shows that it quickly reaches 43.2 degrees. It’s quite high without being dramatic. The problem with this is that the materials used on the back of the device transfer this heat to the fingers, making it quickly uncomfortable to use. We could advise you not to abuse gaming, but this situation also occurs during long periods of navigation. When watching video content, it sometimes takes less than thirty minutes for the grip to become uncomfortable.
The problem is that this warming is not happening for nothing. The processor consumes a lot of energy even with less complex tasks, probably for optimization reasons. Therefore, it takes a lot of energy to function. Result, autonomy takes its place. The 01net.com laboratory noted a versatile autonomy of 12h10. A figure that is already not very high compared to the competition, even at prices that are twice as low. In addition, the total video streaming autonomy has been measured at 10 hours. It is very low and even lower than the previous generation, already not really polished on this side.
For sometimes surprising reasons, the battery will melt like snow in the sun, even when you’re not using the smartphone. For example, we lost 15% of the battery in two hours… just as we pulled out the phone to answer a few texts!
Important data to consider when comparing it with the Pixel 6 Pro, whose versatile autonomy is essentially the same. However, it is not impossible to end the day without having to charge the Google terminal. This is much more difficult with the Galaxy S22. Impossible to go a whole day without a charger! If you use your smartphone a lot every day, it’s a sword of Damocles constantly hovering over your head. Samsung hasn’t done well on this point: in addition to a poorly optimized processor, the manufacturer has reduced the size of the battery to 3700 mAh compared to 4000 mAh last year.
.Fortunately, with 3700 mAh and fast charging, we should be able to easily restore autonomy, right? Not even: the manufacturer has decided not only not to offer this charger in a box, but above all to limit the smallest of the S22 to 25W! A deviation where the competition has no trouble offering 65W in this price range.
The duel against the iPhone 13 is lost
At a fairly similar price (859 euros for the S22, 909 euros for the iPhone 13) and with the same screen size, we decided to juxtapose the Galaxy S22 and the iPhone 13 in a dedicated box. To be perfectly honest, operating system considerations aside, before using both devices for 10 days we thought that the versatility of the Galaxy S22 in photography would have given it the edge. And indeed, you have more photographic options. But this concern for autonomy and heating seems too important to us for the Korean to win. The iPhone 13 isn’t perfect, but it offers something more than a Galaxy S22: serenity. The duel does not have to be pushed any further, the apple brand wins this duel.