August 8, 2022

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In recent years, the ‘Ultra’ version of Samsung’s Galaxy S series has become the world’s...

In recent years, the ‘Ultra’ version of Samsung’s Galaxy S series has become the world’s top Android flagship smartphone.
o can this year’s S22 Ultra maintain that standard? Is it demonstrably superior to, say, Google’s Pixel 6 Pro? Or the best that the likes of OnePlus, Oppo or Xiaomi can muster?
In an era where the marginal gains on traditionally competitive features such as cameras, screens and battery life are narrowing, what is it that it might attract you to this S22 Ultra over a slightly less expensive S22 Plus?
On that latter question, there is an immediately apparent answer: it’s actually a Galaxy Note in disguise.
The very first impression I had of the phone out of the box is that this is almost indistinguishable from Samsung’s much-missed Note series of ‘phablets’.
If the angular design doesn’t jog the memory on this, the physical S-Pen stylus slotted into the bottom is a giveaway.
For those of us who were early devotees to the Note, this is no bad thing. It’s worth recalling that the entire rationale behind the Note line of phones was (and is) high-end functionality in practically everything: productivity, media consumption, battery life, storage. It was the the original power-user’s phone.
After a couple of day’s use, the S22 Ultra so far looks and acts the part of a worthy inheritor to this mantle.
The S22 Ultra comes at three different price points here: €1,299 (8GB Ram and 128GB storage), €1,399 (12GB, 256GB) and €1,499 (12GB, 512GB). There’s also a 1TB storage version available, but apparently not in the Irish market.
The model I’m testing is the €1,399 version (12GB, 256GB) and is probably the most likely option for most people. If I was buying one, however, I’d probably go the extra €100 for the 512GB version — what’s the point of having such good cameras if you’re not going to use them for lots of photos and video?

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Pic: Adrian Weckler

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Pic: Adrian Weckler
Here’s a quick take based on initial use of its most important features.
1. The screen: So far in my use, this 6.8-inch Amoled display is one of the best screens you can get on any smartphone. Samsung now lets you use its adaptive 120hz refresh rate (which results in smooth scrolling) together with its ultra high resolution 3k (1440p) mode on it. Yes, this uses battery up more quickly, but it gives you a lot more screen power than almost any other flagship phone. Unlike the other S22 models (but reminiscent of the Note range), the screen curves slightly at the edges. This isn’t my favourite design feature on a smartphone, with Samsung the only one that really went in for it (it ditched it over the last two years of S-model flagship phones).
2. The cameras: Samsung is always at, or around, the best on the market when it comes to its flagship phones’ cameras. From what I can tell so far, the S22 Ultra absolutely meets that standard, even if it doesn’t really add that much to what you had on last year’s S21 Ultra.
It’s a quad-camera setup, with a 108-megapixel (f2,2) regular wide angle lens, a 12-megapixel (f2.2) ultrawide (0.6) lens and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses: one at 3x (f2.4) and one at 10x (f4.9). The latter facilitates what Samsung brands its ‘space zoom’, meaning that it will let you stretch the zoom all the way up to 100x. I use the word ‘stretch’ intentionally here: I’ve yet to take a photo at 100x that’s usable. It’s just too much of a strain on the 10x optical zoom (itself a product of optical shortcuts within the camera) to really produce satisfactory results.
The biggest difference in quality may come from Samsung increasing the sensor size to allow slightly more light in than the S21 Ultra. That should lead to better, clearer, sharper low light photos. There’s also enhanced night photography and a new ‘Raw’ mode that gives you more powerful editing flexibility over snaps.
3. The battery life: So far, battery life is between good and excellent. It’s a little amazing that Samsung has managed to keep the battery size at 5,000mAh while still making room for the S-Pen stylus to slot in.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Pic: Adrian Weckler

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Pic: Adrian Weckler
4. The design: As mentioned previously, this is basically a Note rather than an ‘S’. That means that it’s a bit more angular at its top and bottom edges. and in the corners, than Samsung’s other flagships. As anyone with a Note from recent years will know, that means your pockets are in for a bit more fraying. The sides of the S22 Ultra are curved and glossy, very unlike, say, Apple’s iPhone 12 or 13 models, with their flattened bezels. The back fo the phone is a nice matte texture that doesn’t appear to attract many fingerprints.
5. The power: The S22 Ultra isn’t noticeably zippier than the S21 Ultra, at least not on first use. Indeed, it comes with 4GB less Ram memory on the entry level and high end models than last year’s crop. (Then again, Ram is sometimes oversold as a metric of a phone’s power: the S21 Ultra’s top level of 16GB was arguably redundant, with little or no practical application for it.)
Even still, initial testing using online benchmarking tools suggest that the chip it’s using, Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 instead of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 used in US variants of the phone), is a solid 20pc faster than last year’s Exynos-powered S21 Ultra.
6. The S-Pen: I’ve never been a big stylus users for phones, but I’m reminded how handy and beginner-friendly Samsung has made the S-Pen when you click it out of its nestled spot in the lower left side of the phone. You can just start

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First impressions review: Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra is a Note in thin disguise appeared first on maserietv.com.