Its been over a decade since Samsung released the first Galaxy Note on the market. And with each passing year, both the S-series and the Note series were released as separate flagships models. With the inclusion of an S-Pen on a flagship S-series device for the first time, Samsung looks forward to replacing the need for a separate Note device. We take a look at the new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G.
While many brands introduce new design changes to their smartphone lineup on a yearly basis, Samsung’s design philosophy for its S-series smartphones seems to be almost similar to the past few generations. The boxy design of the new Galaxy S22 Ultra may be appealing to those who are going to buy a flagship Galaxy for the first time. But for users like us, the familiar design doesn’t appear to be exciting.
What’s interesting is that after using the new smartphone for numerous days, the Galaxy S22 Ultra looks and feels just like any of the previous generation Note, thanks to the addition of the S-Pen. The device comes with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a maximum brightness that goes all the way up to 1750 nits. The screen features a resolution of 1440×3088 pixels, where images will appear sharp and crisp. To counter any scratches or bumps, the display comes with Gorilla Glass Victus+. There is also an Armour aluminum frame that surrounds the device. Samsung mentions that the new aluminum frame offers better resistance to drops and scratches. The smartphone is 8.9mm thick and weighs about 229g.
The display also features a fast refresh rate of 120Hz for super-smooth animations while going through the user interface and also for gaming. The Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G has its Bixby button and the volume rocker located on the right side of the device, along with the USB-C port, the AKG tuned speakers, the SIM slot, and the S-Pen slot on the bottom. For security, the display comes with an under-display fingerprint scanner. The front-facing selfie snapper houses a 40MP sensor with f/2.2 as its aperture.
Samsung has clearly borrowed much of the Note-series design philosophy and the placement of the S-Pen slot for the new Galaxy S22 Ultra. And it does feel like it’s almost time for Samsung will be retiring the Galaxy Note line-up. Most of the Note’s S-Pen functionality is found on the new model, including the air gestures, writing on the screen, cropping, live messages, and a lot more.
While we did mention that the design of the new smartphone is very similar to previous models, the camera island on the rear side does get a bit of a revamp. Samsung removed the huge camera island that used to be a base for the multi-camera setup. However, with the omission of the camera island, the lens of the cameras now protrudes outwards. The design of the rear side now appears to be neater. The cameras on the rear side are aligned vertically and placed in the top right corner.
And as you can see, the packaging of the Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G only includes the documents, a USB-C cable, and a SIM tool. However, do keep in mind that Samsung does not include a separate smartphone charger.
Specs and Performance
While it’s a known fact that Samsung releases their flagship smartphones in the UAE with Exynos processors, the Galaxy S22 series is the first to come with Qualcomm Snapdragon chips for this region. Onboard the new Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G is the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 octa-core SoC chip, featuring one Cortex-X2 clocked at 3 GHz, three Cortex-A710 cores running at 2.4 GHz speeds, and four Cortex-A510 cores that are clocked at 1.7 GHz. Our review unit came with 8GB RAM and 128GB of UFS 3.1 internal storage.
The new device also runs with the latest Android 12 OS with Samsung’s One UI 4.1 atop the operating system. The performance is top-notch with its snappy loading of applications and there is ample room to multitask with different applications. And thanks to the Adreno 730 GPU onboard the SoC, gaming on the S22 Ultra 5G is super smooth, allowing me to crank up the graphical settings to the highest fidelity and play with high framerates. The experience of the 120Hz display for games that can hit 120fps is also an added bonus.
And as the name implies, the device also performs well with regard to its 5G internet capabilities. While staying in a place like Karama and when indoors, I was able to get 728 Mbps of download speeds and 68 Mbps upload speeds. But when moving outside to the balcony, the 5G speeds improve with more coverage, hitting download speeds up to 1152 Mbps and upload speeds up to 144 Mbps. The speeds can actually differ again based on the location and coverage.
We ran some benchmarks such as the PC Mark Work 3.0, 3D Mark WildLife and WildLife Extreme, Geekbench 5 CPU, and GPU tests. Take a look at the scores below.
The main camera on the rear side features a large 108MP 1/1.33″ image sensor with support for optical image stabilization and phase detection autofocus. The secondary camera features a 10MP sensor with f/4.9 as its aperture and a sensor size of 1/3.52″. This sensor sits behind a periscope telephoto lens with 10X optical zoom. The third camera also features the same 10MP 1/3.52″ sensor, also behind a telephoto lens but with 70mm as the focal length with 3x optical zoom. The last shooter features a 12MP sensor for ultra-wide shots and the sensor size is 1/2.55″ with f/2.2 as its aperture.
When shooting with the main camera, the device is able to produce high-quality images with its 108MP mode. Samsung has included a feature called the Adaptive Pixel that switches between the 108MP mode for high resolution and 12MP for better sensitivity, depending on the scene that is shot. We also tested the focal lengths by switching from its ultra-wide camera all the way to the periscope telephoto camera. The smartphone does allow you to choose the 108MP mode if megapixels are your priority.
And then there is the Space Zoom that takes its zooming capabilities all the way up to 100x. While the image quality is just decent at 100x, we were able to cover distances that are far away, including sunsets and full moon scenes. The video capabilities of the new Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G are no slouch either. You will be able to record 8K videos up to 24fps and 4K videos at 60fps and 30fps modes.
Take a look at some of the images we shot with the Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G for both day and night.
Outdoor shots (Evening)
The Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G houses a large 5000 mAh battery with support for fast charging at 45W and wireless charging at 15W. The device also features reverse charging capability, but only at 4.5W. We ran the PC Mark Work 3.0 Battery test and the device lasted for about 11 hours and 4 minutes from a 100% charge till it was drained out. For real-world usage. the smartphone lasted for almost a day of use while we made some phone calls, browsed the internet, did online shopping, watched videos through YouTube, used the cameras, and more.
For those who have been on the lookout for an upgrade from their older Note series smartphones, the new Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G is a good choice to consider. Although the design appears to be similar to previous generations and also resembles an existing Note device, the smartphone does come with an Armour aluminum frame that ensures the device remains sturdy against accidental drops and scratches. The 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display features Gorilla Glass Victus+ for its protection. The screen also features a 120Hz refresh rate for smooth animations.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is also powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC with 5G capabilities, along with 8GB RAM and 128GB of internal storage. The device runs with Android 12 OS out of the box and with One UI 4.1 in the mix. The S-Pen features most of the functionalities of previous Note devices, along with improved stylus latency. The onboard cameras on the rear side produce high-quality images, especially when using the 108MP mode, along with video recording capabilities up to 8K. And the battery is capable of lasting for about almost a day of use.