It has the same rectangular silhouette, the same onboard s, pen and some updated features to boot. With the s22 ultra samsung is introducing a more mainstream audience to the s. Pen. Thats long been the hallmark of the note series by merging the two lines. Samsung is saying that all power users should want to use the stylus, whether it be for creating art, taking notes or remote controlling your camera thats, not to say that there is nothing new about the s22 ultra samsungs brought updated. Camera display and software features this year. As well its strange to review a phone thats supposed to be new, but feels so familiar if youve been missing the note series that familiarity will be welcome, but for those simply considering a new galaxy s flagship. Are there enough improvements? Besides the s pen to warrant buying the s22 ultra Music, the differences between the s22 ultra and last years model starts with their design. The s22 ultra is, by all appearances, basically the note 20 ultra, which makes it a departure from the s21 ultras rounder silhouette, with the same rectangular, shape curved edges and matte brushed metal finish. The two handsets feel and look almost identical. The s pen slot is even in the same location at the left side of the bottom edge. If i didnt give you the numbers, you probably wouldnt be able to tell that the s22 ultra is slightly wider, shorter and thicker than the note.

You might notice, though, that the s92 ultra is about 21 grams or 0.74 ounces heavier the phone weighs more than the pixel 6 pro too, although the iphone 13 pro max still beats it at 240 grams googles, premium flagship already reminded us of the note 20. Ultra aside from its colorful two tone, design and camera bar instead of a rectangular module at the top left corner housing, the array of sensors, the s22 ultras cameras are neatly laid out in two columns on the back with no boundaries containing them. I prefer this neater less cluttered, look to the note 20 and s21 ultras versions. I also appreciated the s22 ultras gorilla glass, victis plus, covering especially after my review unit, fell from the top of my shoe cabinet and survived without a scratch. I am somewhat disappointed that our review unit was the boring black version, not one of the other three color options. If i were shopping for myself, id choose either the green or burgundy colors. I saw at samsungs hands on event, as is usually the case with samsungs devices. The s22 ultra screen is sumptuous. Its 6.8 inch super amoled panel is colorful and bright and is easy to read even under direct sunlight thanks to its peak brightness of 1750 nits. Like previous galaxy flagships, the s22 ultra also refreshes at 120 hertz making scrolling long articles and lists appear smooth to ensure users can see whats on their phones, regardless of the lighting conditions.

Samsung this year introduced what its calling vision booster. The feature is meant to kick in when it detects youre in direct sunlight or in super dim environments, adjusting not only the display, brightness but also its color, and contrast. You need to have adaptive brightness on for this to work. I didnt notice much of a difference when i was playing two dots in bed one night, even when i pulled up the same scene on my pixel 6 pro to compare samsung said. The effect is more noticeable in sunlight, but i still didnt notice a significant difference. As the sun shone on the s22 ultra screen, when i made my way to the office, perhaps this is something where the effect is so subtle that its hard to notice, but i will say that i never had trouble reading things on the s22 ultra, regardless of The lighting around me Music, i dont, generally play music through my phone, but one night when my wi fi went out, and i couldnt use my speakers. I had to resort to streaming spotify on the s22 ultra and it provided decent audio quality. It was loud enough to deliver the background noise. I was looking for, though songs like heartbreaker by wabi sabi, sounded hollow and were lacking in bass. It was better at handling mid. Heavy sounds like the audio cues for games like two dots. However, another aspect of the s22 ultra thats, more than a little reminiscent of the notes, is the onboard s.

Pen, theres, no significant difference between the s pens on the s22 ultra and the note 20 ultra save for a latency improvement this year. This means youll be getting a slightly better version of the same fluid responsive writing experience as before, along with samsungs nifty handwriting recognition. Software in its notes, app, if you use samsungs keyboard instead of switching to gboard youll, also be able to use the s pen to scroll text into search fields and url boxes throughout the system. Samsung also provides a list of suggested tools when you pop the s pen out of its slot, so you can quickly do things like create a note or select a portion of your screen to take a screenshot off and immediately draw on it. I even wrote this part of the review by scribbling the words onto the s22 ultras screen with the s pen. Then i use samsungs notes app to convert my handwriting to the words youre hearing now theres, not much. I can say about the s pen now that we havent already covered in previous reviews. Samsung stylus is competent if a bit of a blunt object for those looking to create finer works of art, but as a pencil for jotting down a quick list or signing documents on the fly or as a cursor for the big screen. The s pen is more than adequate in fact, and more mainstream functions like acting as a remote control for your camera or music playback, its perfectly capable and useful.

The only issue is whether youre the sort of person who would pull out a stylus to interact with your phone as opposed to simply using your hands either way the s pen is a nice accessory to have, but mostly it stays out of your way. The s22 ultra shares the same camera setup as the s21 ultra with a 108 megapixel main sensor, a 12 megapixel ultra wide option and a pair of 10 megapixel telephoto lenses whats new this year are features like auto, framing and improved video stabilization and videos better stereo Depth, mapping for more accurate portrait blur and something samsung is calling adaptive pixel this stitches together high res images from the 108 megapixel sensor and a photo taken with nona binning for bigger pixels to capture more light, supposedly resulting in brighter pictures that retain crisp detail. In reality, adaptive pixel is tricky to figure out and its results might not be worth the effort. First, you have to set the s22 ultra shoot at the highest resolution and then, when the system detects your shooting in low light, it performs the stitching in the background, theres no way you can be certain adaptive. Pixel is at work. There are no user facing indicators. I shot a few photos of the new york city nightscape with the s22 ultra, both at the default 12 megapixel setting and at 108 megapixels, and they were mostly indistinguishable from each other. When i zoomed in to see more detail, buildings looked equally muddy, mostly due to flares from the various lights in the image.

I took more pictures in low light with the camera set to default resolution and 108 megapixels and honestly, the effects were incredibly subtle. The high res shots were sometimes better exposed, but not always, and any improvement in clarity was so subtle that you wouldnt notice, unless you were extremely zoomed in either way, though samsungs photos held their own against those from the iphone 13 pro and pixel 6. Pro google continues to deliver superior pictures in low light thanks to its night sight mode, but apple and samsungs offerings are closing the gap in daylight. The s7 ultra produce slightly more saturated photos than the pixel 6 pro, which generally renders a more neutral tone which camera suits. You better ultimately boils down to your preference. Do you like richer looking pictures, even if theyre not the most realistic? Meanwhile, the iphone 13 series offers photographic styles, that let you select a default color temperature and contrast setting so that all your shots come out tuned to your tastes up front. The s22 ultras 40 megapixel camera is also similar to the s21 ultras samsung says it improved its stereo depth, mapping system for more accurate bokeh effects in portraits and from my experience it seems effective compared to selfies. I took with the iphone 13 pro and pixel 6 pro samsungs flagship was just as accurate at differentiating my hair from my background, blurring out exactly the same areas as the other two did. Previous samsung cameras delivered somewhat artificial and awkward looking portraits, but this time around, the s22 ultra produces more natural, looking bokeh the s22 ultras other updates are around video recording, specifically samsung added an auto framing feature that will detect faces in view and keep up to 10 Subjects centered in the scene.

You can also select the people you want to prioritize and the system will follow them around. This was effective in my testing and the s22 ultra was able to keep our video producer brian o, in view as he walked right across our office. However, i didnt notice. There was a slight distortion as he walked to the far edges of the viewfinder, and the system still kept him centered in frame. He looked slightly bent out of shape, but he was still there. There are plenty of other features samsung carried over from his previous flagships, but breaking them all down here would take forever suffice to say that most features youve enjoyed on the s21 ultra or older, like capable image, stabilization and directors view for recording, with both the front And rear cameras are there and if youre, one of the people who enjoyed the 100 times space zoom feature from before, you can still use the s22 ultra to get super up close to far away objects. Although i generally found this feature slightly creepy. In some cases, the results were actually clear enough to read. For the most part, though, i found space zoom most useful at up to 30 times zoom anything beyond that was usually muddy and unusable. Thanks to a collaboration with google, the s22 series gets a custom version of the duo, video calling app that exclusively enables new screen, sharing and auto framing features. When my colleague sam and i called each other on our review units, i was able to show him a game.

I was playing by selecting the screen share button in duo, as i launched other apps, while on the call a small icon appeared on the left side of the display. To remind me, i was still sharing my screen. This integration isnt as sophisticated as apples share play, which has thoughtful limitations on what notifications can be seen while youre sharing your screen, samsung and googles, live sharing feature also doesnt natively support streaming, apps like netflix or hulu, meaning you wont be able to watch, shows together With your friends, unless theyre on youtube, samsung, also added the auto framing feature it introduced in this camera app to duo, so you can make sure your face is centered while youre on your call, when i enable this feature, the app automatically switched to a wider angle, Shot via the front camera zooming in to keep me in view, as i moved around my office, its helpful. If you want to leave your phone propped up somewhere while youre talking, but it does nothing really. If youre, just gon na hold up your phone and remain stationary, which is how i take most of my video calls, this feature is more useful on smart displays, since you cant, move them around as easily as phones, samsung also offers a collaboration view feature that allows You to use your s22 handset as a second screen for a tab s8, for example, if you open samsung notes on the tablet and click the phone icon on the top right after both devices are connected to the same wi fi, you can use your s22 as A secondary menu or control panel for paintbrush options we dont have a tab as 8, yet so i couldnt test this feature.

Unfortunately, as with older flagships, you can also quickly share content to other nearby galaxy devices and use link to windows. To connect your phone to your laptop one, ui 4.0 also offers new color palettes and themes that permeate the entire system, a la material. U, on android 12, which lets you refresh your interface anytime, you get bored. The s22 series are among the first flagships, to use qualcomms new snapdragon 8 gen, 1 processors and in general you get the expected speedy performance from these premium processors. My s22 ultra didnt even break a sweat when i was jumping between reading reddit and playing a spot. The difference game while using it as a hotspot for my other devices, while my internet was out im, actually surprised. I never noticed the handset running warm during my time with it, and i have to give credit to samsung for its improved thermal system. Here i was also slightly taken aback to see the s22 ultras battery life dropped from 75. When i took it out of its box at noon to just 20. By the evening, i chalked that up to the power used during setup on our video rundown battery test, the s22 ultras result of 17 hours and 16 minutes beat the pixel 6 pro. But by 3 minutes it was hours behind the s21 ultra, which lasted 21 hours and 42 minutes. I have to confess, while writing this review. I kept typing the note 22 ultra and i had to correct my mistake at least a dozen times.

Those of us who are note fans will find this a pleasant reunion. The main upgrades for those coming from a note 20 ultra will be in the cameras and software and considering that that phone is about two years old by now, youll probably be thankful just for the updated specs. But if youve never held a galaxy note before the change is slightly more jarring. Would people who previously bought ultra flagships be put off by the s pen, probably not since its not something youre forced to use and youre, not paying more than usual for the privilege of having it on board? With the addition of the s pen, though, the s22 ultra is more than ever, the phone for the most demanding of power users. Those who consider themselves technologically ahead of the curve, but not necessarily extreme specs hounds, will probably find the s22 plus good enough. It checks most of the same boxes as the s22 ultra, but skips the s pen and the extra telephoto camera if youre looking for a top notch, android flagship with all the bells and whistles the galaxy s22 ultra is still a solid option for in depth.