An excellent compact phone, with superb performance and an excellent camera particular highlights. However, it’s let down by lacklustre battery life.
- Strong and versatile camera
- Classy design
- Excellent performance
- Lacking battery life
- Small size won’t suit everyone
- UKRRP: £769
- USARRP: $799.99
- EuropeRRP: €859
- Triple camera systemThere are three sensors on the rear of this phone, including a 50-megapixel main camera, 10-megapixel telephoto, and 12-megapixel ultrawide
- High-spec screenThe relatively small 6.1-inch panel still offers 1 20Hz refresh rate, HDR10+ support, and 1300 nits peak brightness
- Robust build qualityWith a Gorilla Glass Victus+ screen and an IP68 rating, it can stand up to wear and tear
Samsung’s flagship smartphone range is led by the impressive Galaxy S22 Ultra phablet, but there are more strings to the Android manufacturer’s bow than just that one supersize, super-specced handset. The range also includes the Samsung Galaxy S22, a more modestly sized and priced device that nonetheless packs a flagship chipset, an impressive screen, and a sophisticated triple-camera system.
If you want great capabilities tucked into a neat, easily manageable package, could the Samsung Galaxy S22 be the phone for you?
Design and Screen
- Elegant design
- Compact size
- Smooth screen
Part of Samsung’s trio of flagship models, in reality the Samsung Galaxy S22 is the most modest of the three, being the smallest in size and featuring triple rear camera sensors to the S22 Ultra’s quadruple offering.
Of course, that isn’t to say that it’s a cut-price or compromised handset in the slightest; its quality is immediately obvious on picking it up for the first time. The S22 sports a beautifully understated design, thanks to the frosted-glass rear finish and its smooth and discreet camera module. The device in for review arrived in the lush green colour, which is particularly deep and alluring.
Small phones such as this (it measures 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm) have both their supporters and detractors. Some prefer the ease with which they can be used, particularly one-handed, while others miss the big-screen experience offered by the more sizeable handsets. I took a little time to adjust to the S22’s smaller dimensions, having come from using big-screen smartphones; but it soon felt natural and manageable, and I only really missed the larger display when playing mobile games.
Not only does the S22 look good, it offers sturdy protection against the inevitable bumps and knocks that such a device will receive over its lifetime. Both the front and rear panels are cast in the very latest Gorilla Glass Victus+, set between an aluminium frame, and the phone is IP68-rated against dust and water ingress. These credentials should mean that it stands up well against wear and tear.
On the other hand, if you’re looking to upgrade an older Samsung Galaxy phone following a few years of use, then you might be disappointed at the lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack. Of course, that’s par for the course on modern high-end smartphones, with only a few notable exceptions such as the Sony Xperia 1 IV or the Asus ZenFone 9; but for some customers that’s still a stinging loss.
Hopefully, though, some of those concerns can be made up for with the impressive advances in screen technology. This panel is bursting at the seams with specifications vying for your attention and, once again, this Samsung speciality makes its presence known on the S22.
The AMOLED panel may measure only 6.1 inches, but it boasts a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, for smooth scrolling with supported content. There’s HDR10+, too, so that compatible TV shows display some extra-punchy colours. As mentioned previously, the diminutive size of the screen does take away from its impact while gaming, but it still holds up as a decent display.
The resolution is 1080p, which isn’t the highest but still seems adequate for sharpness; images and text are clear, but they’re not dazzling in their detail.
- Very versatile
- Bright, colourful images
On the rear of the handset you’ll find a triple-camera module, comprising a 50-megapixel wide-angle lens, a 12-megapixel ultrawide, and a 10-megapixel telephoto sensor that offers a 3x optical zoom. It’s a promising package that can potentially offer a good deal of flexibility when you’re shooting, but how did it perform in reality?
The following images were taken with all three sensors on default settings, standing from the same position:
As you can see, detail remains strong across all of the lenses and images look consistent, too.
The ultrawide lens, which offers a 120-degree field of view, does suffer some distortion that’s particularly noticeable around the edges; nevertheless, it remains a useful addition to your camera’s arsenal, for those needing to fit a lot more into the frame.
The main camera delivered particularly punchy, colourful and detailed shots:
The telephoto sensor adds 3x optical zoom into the mix, helping you get closer to your subject. The pair of dogs in the image below were snapped at this level of zoom, and the resulting image quality is strong and punchy:
You can even push the zoom digitally to greater heights, though it’s not the equal of the S22 Ultra in this area of expertise. The photo of the artifice on the tower below was taken at 10x zoom. As you can see, the results are still remarkably clear even at this level, even though some detail is inevitably lost:
Even when you’re shooting at night, the camera manages to retain good levels of detail and avoids too many blown-out highlights:
The selfie camera has a 10-megapixel resolution, and results are once again sharp and bright, while the bokeh effect lets the subject pop right out the frame:
Overall, I’ve been happy with the performance of the camera; it has produced punchy images, and the fact that it’s adaptable is a particular strong point. Whether I was taking pictures of skyscrapers in Chicago (which required an ultrawide to fit everything in the frame), or snapping photos of boats on the other side of the river (for which I required a strong zoom), I always had the tools I needed at my disposal.
While the S22 takes pictures that are sharp and punchy, you may find that colours veer towards being unnaturally vivid. While that’s arguably a strength if you’re uploading them to social media sites such as Instagram, you may find over the top for everything else, where you’d like a more accurate representation of what you actually saw.
- Strong performance
- Great gaming performance
- Appealing user interface
The chipset onboard the Samsung Galaxy S22 is an Exynos 2200, which is Samsung’s effort at a flagship-level chipset; in markets outside of Europe, the S22 totes a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor instead.
Our benchmarking tests found that the Exynos 2200 is indeed a very strong processor, delivering high scores across the board for the CPU and GPU. This phone is just as powerful as the S22 Ultra, and compares favourably to the year’s other smartphones, too, including the OnePlus 10 Pro, Oppo Find X5 Pro, and the Xiaomi 12 Pro.
Samsung Galaxy S22: Benchmark Test Comparison
I noticed this high-level performance in everyday use, too, where the S22 was snappy and smooth-performing everyday tasks on apps, while gaming was also impressively powerful.
In terms of connectivity, the S22 comes with Bluetooth 5.2, dual-band Wi-Fi, 5G connectivity and NFC, the capabilities you’d expect of a high-end phone at this price.
The software at play here is Samsung’s OneUI, layered over Android 12. This distinctive user interface does pack in a few pre-installed apps, including Facebook and Instagram, which aren’t entirely welcome; but there are a few helpful little additions to be found among them, too. For example, there’s the edge menu that brings up a selection of recently used apps for ease of access. In addition, when taking photos of documents, you’ll receive a prompt to “scan” it, so you can cut neatly around the document if you wish to share it. Such additions aren’t game changers, but they do add some extra usefulness.
- Underwhelming battery life
- Fairly speedy charging
There’s only one area of the Galaxy S22 that’s a cause for concern: the battery. Frankly, it just doesn’t last long enough to make this handset hugely reliable. There were a couple of times when it ran out of juice close to the end of an evening, letting me down when I needed it. If you’re a heavy user then don’t expect to see it last the day without a top-up; even moderate users will find themselves checking the battery gauge more frequently as the day draws to a close.
In the end, for my level of typical use I found it necessary to keep the phone on Power Saving mode at all times. This caps the phone’s performance and the brightness of the screen to extend battery life; but this really isn’t something you’d expect to have to do with your brand-new flagship phone, which you may well have bought in part because of these very specs.
Streaming music, the device lost 6% of the battery over the course of an hour. When streaming Netflix, this figure was 9%.
On the other hand, the rate of fast-charging is impressive, if not class-leading. We might have seen super sub-20-minute charging from the OnePlus 10T, for example; but the Galaxy S22 still delivers a respectable 72 minutes for a full 0-100% charging session, and 0-50% takes 25 minutes according to our tests.
Should you buy it?
For those looking for a manageably sized phone that delivers flagship-grade performance and appealing photos, the S22 is a stylish choice.
If you’re looking for a phone that will get you through a busy day’s work and play reliably, the battery here is a disappointment.
The Galaxy S22 is a decent phone overall, with the limited battery life being the only major flaw in an otherwise excellent yet petite package.
The design of this relatively small smartphone is suave yet understated, and the screen is strong and punchy – even if it isn’t as huge as its rivals.
The camera is highly versatile and very capable, while performance is superb – the S22 didn’t ever let me down during my time with it, whether gaming or performing less-intensive tasks.
Really, it’s only the battery life that’s a concern here; but since this is such a crucial feature of a good phone, it’s impossible to ignore.
How we test
We test every mobile phone we review thoroughly. We use industry standard tests to compare features properly and we use the phone as our main device over the review period. We’ll always tell you what we find and we never, ever, accept money to review a product.
Used as our main handset during test period
Camera tested in variety of situations with all modes
Tested with synthetic benchmarks and real world use
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The Samsung Galaxy S22 is available in the following colours: Phantom Black, White, Pink Gold, Green (as shown above), Graphite, Sky Blue, Violet, Cream, Bora Purple.
Yes, it has an IP68 rating
Yes, you can get 5G mobile data on this phone as long as you have a compatible SIM card and network coverage.
Trusted Reviews test data
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We currently haven’t received answers to the questions on this product, but will update this page the moment we do. You can see a detailed breakdown of the questions we ask and why in our sustainability info page.