The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is arguably the best Android phone in the market right now despite its rather steep price tag. The phone is like a modern fighter jet – It’s equipped with the best engine, best weapons system, carries a huge payload, could fly long distances without refuelling, carries a state-of-the-art tracking and radar system, and of course, a beauty standard that calls for envy.
To translate my jet plane analogy to phone language, they mean – powerful processor, great performance, S-Pen that’s better than the past, good battery life and 45W charging, an absolute beast of a camera department, and of course, the most beautiful when it comes to both the display quality and its physical appearance.
Design And Build
The review unit BunnyGaming received from Samsung was a Phantom White coloured unit and it’s easy to admire the S22 Ultra’s simple yet elegant design. I prefer the new sharp edges around the phone from the S21 Ultra’s rounded edges. In fact, the S22 Ultra looked almost like a Note phone from the front. =
I was a little sceptical at first with the S22 Ultra’s design because the S21 Ultra, although powerful, came with a huge trade-off which is an ugly and bulky-looking camera housing. Even a phone case couldn’t mask the eye-soring camera bump and it would be disappointing to see the S22 Ultra inheriting the same design but thankfully, it didn’t.
S22 Ultra’s dimensions
163.3mm x 77.9mm x 8.9mm
Glass Front (Gorilla Glass Victus+)
Glass Back (Gorilla Glass Victus+)
Surrounded by aluminum frame on all sides
Both the front and back of the phone are protected with Corning’s tough Gorilla Glass Victus and between them is the Armor Aluminium frame protecting the phone’s sides. The phone feels sturdy on the hand and the matte-ish finish at the back meant no fingerprint stains.
Pricing And Selection
Folks in Malaysia can choose from the 3 variants of S22 Ultra available and their pricing is as such on the Samsung website;
8GB/128GB – RM 5,099
12GB/256GB – RM 5,499
12GB/512GB – RM 5,899
Specs And Performance
There’s little to complain about the S22 Ultra when it comes to this department. The Malaysian unit comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and even though our unit is the 8GB/128GB variant and not the 12GB one, this is a very well-built, fast, and powerful phone.
Apps were running smoothly and even as I was speedily switching between them I didn’t encounter any problem. After almost two weeks of usage now, the S22 Ultra has handled everything that I’ve thrown at it and I was throwing like a mad boy in playing dunk tank at a funfair.
The most significant road bump I’ve encountered so far was how the phone tends to warm up quickly when I have the camera app running in the background while running multiple other apps. The temperature wasn’t at a concerning level but it was noticeable. Turning off the camera app is an immediate remedy in such cases.
The S22 Ultra’s display quality is just superb. The maximum brightness level is excellent at 1750 nits, providing a clear picture even when browsing outdoors and ensuring photo and colour qualities can be accurately appreciated. I was browsing my photo gallery one sunny day while waiting for my daughter’s class to finish and was impressed with how the new vision booster feature automatically adjusted the screen brightness for outdoors viewing. Be it photos, videos, or games, there’s much to appreciate with the phone screen’s top-tier brightness and vibrant colours.
- 6.8″ 90% screen to body ratio.
- 1440 x 3080 px
- Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 120Hz, HDR10+, 1750 nits.
Motion-wise, the phone provides up to 120Hz smooth scrolling and is also brilliant enough to drop the frame rates to conserve battery life depending on my activity. Users can also choose from a selection of adaptive or standard screen refresh rates, the adaptive function manages the rates automatically, calling up to 120Hz when needed, or downgrading it when not. The standard setting caps it at 60Hz, giving more battery juice supposedly. But I didn’t care much for now and am sticking with the adaptive option, enjoying the most the phone can offer.
The phone also allows up to 3 modes of screen resolution, allowing for battery life conservation with a trade-off in graphic quality. The HD+ mode brings with it a 1544 x 720px, whereas the FHD+ in 2316 x 1080, and finally the WQHD+ in an impressive 3088 x 1440. Again, I went for the highest setting otherwise there’s little sense having this phone.
One of the reasons why I am confident with running most of my settings on the highest possible is because the S22 Ultra comes with up to 45W charging which is great. What isn’t great is, the brick is sold separately because Samsung no longer includes Power Bricks for phone sales. The 5,000 mAh battery that comes with the phone provided a certain level of comfort before the phone needs charging again but the daily lifespan of the battery felt more or less the same as the S21 Ultra (which I also ran in the highest settings). The S21 Ultra I had run on Samsung’s Exynos, whereas the S22 Ultra is on Snapdragon which I’ve expected to be better at battery management.
Watching videos on the phone didn’t demand much from the battery compared to playing games and taking photos. I rarely felt the need to charge my phone in between, unless I’m engaged with a long photography session where a drain of 20-30% battery life is common in an hour and a half long session. But then again, I don’t consider myself a heavy user on most days. My daily use with the phone includes watching trailers, music, emails, socmed browsing, lunchtime gaming, and sometimes photography when a scene interests me. My day starts at 7 am and it would be 8 pm before I’m home charging the phone again.
The S22 Ultra’s camera lineup is similar to that of its predecessor, the S21 Ultra but with an additional optical zoom. The S21 Ultra’s camera department was already impressive but the S22 Ultra managed to better than that. The main camera is the 108MP producing 12MP photos paired with a 12MP Ultra-Wide camera. Both of them have improved low-light performance than the S21 Ultra and produce better photo quality.
The zooming power of the S22 Ultra was impressive as well, especially the 3X and 10X 12MP cameras. The details are not picture-perfect but they are still a huge improvement over the S21 ultra. The colours didn’t get oversaturated and there are less noise in the photographs compared to before.
Images are crisp and clear even on the auto mode and I’ve had loads of fun snapping away on the S22 Ultra. The biggest downside for me is the fact that I have the 128GB model and this means I can’t be too trigger happy if I valued my storage space. The exclusion of microSD the slot from the newer Galaxy phones is a decision that I still find myself disagreeing with to this day.
One of the key selling points of the S22 Ultra’s camera department is its ability to take sharp images in low light condition and its Night Mode. I found the perfect model to test this in the Dark Knight figurine we’ve just received from our friends and Black Desert developers in South Korea and the result was amazing.
The powerful cameras also allow for some high-quality video recording, going as high as 4k60FPS and 8K24FPS. All in all, it is hard to take bad pictures with the S22 Ultra. In fact, I’ve had so much fun with the camera that I’d probably make another separate article soon with more photos from my gallery to share about the cameras’ power.
My gaming experience with this phone has been enjoyable so far. All of the games I played on it ran well except for one, the new NieR Re[in]carnation that is obviously far from stable at this moment because I’ve crashed on other devices as well.
The first game I’d always try on any new mobile device is Genshin Impact. This is a demanding game both graphically and processing wise and few devices are capable of running it comfortably. The S21 Ultra ran it reasonably well but the S22 ultra ran it better. The frame rates were more consistent and even when playing multiplayer with my wife and daughter dishing out their skills and sorceries, the phone didn’t fail to perform. The phone also ran Asphalt 9, one of the best-looking mobile games around like a champ. Though the phone did warm up after a while, but that’s just another Tuesday in today’s gaming experience on mobile phones.
My experience with Chimeraland and Black Desert Mobile was superb and smooth sailing as well. Frame rates were stable at 60 on Chimera, and 30 on Black Desert, and graphics were beautiful. Other than the phone’s processing power, other qualities like its great display and 5,000 mAh battery life contributed to a pleasing gaming experience.
In the past, I’ve complained about the S21’s bulky camera bump that made holding the phone over a period of time uncomfortable for prolonged gaming hours. Thankfully, the flat surface camera compartment this time means no more awkward and off-balance grip.
Return Of The S Pen
The S Pen is back and safely housed in the phone again. The S Pen was one of the main reasons why I loved the Note series and to see it here again on the S22 Ultra was a source of great joy. With an improved latency of just 2.8ms compared to the Note 20 Ultra’s 9ms, the S22 Ultra’s S Pen is 3 times faster than the older model.
Taking notes is as important as drinking water for a journalist and being able to take do it quickly and conveniently is vital. This is why the S Pen’s ability to take notes on the lock screen itself, without the hassle of unlocking the phone and opening an app before writing is my favourite element.
What I Liked
- Beautiful design
- Powerful cameras with improved zooms.
- S Pen is back and improved
- Power specs
- 45W charging capacity
- Well built
- Great overall quality.
What I Wished Was Better
- No MicroSD slot.
- Should come with a 45W power brick.
- The phone warms up when the Camera app is running in the background.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a powerful phone, in fact, it could very well be the most powerful Android phone in the market today. It serves every possible need well and more and the price factor, although still high, isn’t unfounded for a phone of this quality. This is a device that looked like it’s designed to last, but perhaps it would last longer if it had come with a MicroSD slot and it’s quite a bummer that it didn’t.
The faster-charging capability of up to 45W is a time saver but it would have been a prettier deal if it had come with the power brick included. But despite my complaints of what it doesn’t come with, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra still tops my list as the most reliable and value for money’s worth Android phone. If you had wished for the Note to return, then wait no longer because it just did. And it returned in a better shape and form.