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Samsung Galaxy S22 buying guide: everything you need to know

It’s been over six months since Samsung released the Galaxy S22 series, a family of phones that build upon both the previous Galaxy S21 series of phones as well as 2020’s Note 20 Ultra. With this trio of phones, the company refined the already great Galaxy S21 and revived the Galaxy Note’s spirit in the S22 Ultra. But how do you buy the Samsung Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, or S22 Ultra? Here’s the full guide to buying your shiny new phone of choice right now.

Samsung Galaxy S22 price and availability

Galaxy S22 Ultra app screen.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

Samsung announced the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra on Wednesday, February 9. These phones are now widely available. As you may expect, the S22 Ultra costs the most, setting buyers back $1,050 for the base 128GB model, while the S22 and S22 Plus start at $750 and $900, respectively.

Naturally, there are carrier deals and promos that help drive down the pricing. Samsung will give you $150 off the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra right now, with up to $800 of trade-in credit and 25% off the new Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. Choose the S22, and you’ll get $50 off and up to $700 of trade-in credit, or opt for the S22 Plus and get $100 off and up to $700 of trade-in credit.

Samsung Galaxy S22 reviews

S Pen in holder on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

In our reviews, the S22 and S22 Plus both impressed. The Galaxy S22 impressed with its good build, excellent performance, and great cameras. In our review of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus, we noted its moderate upgrades to screen size, battery capacity, and connectivity over the S22, scoring it four out of five stars.

However, we found the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra to be a device that merits the ostentatious “Ultra” name.

“Unquestionably, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most multipurpose smartphone you can buy today, and regardless of what you want to do with your phone today, tomorrow, or in two years’ time, its astonishing ability and varied feature set will have you covered. There’s real value in buying a phone so capable, as although the initial outlay for the Galaxy S22 Ultra is high, there won’t be any real need to replace it for the foreseeable future,” Digital Trends’s Andy Boxall wrote in his review.

Samsung Galaxy S22 design and display

Galaxy S22 Ultra with S22 Plus and S22.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra with S22 Plus and S22. Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

The Samsung Galaxy S22 inherits a lot of the design stylings of the S21 — albeit ditching the plastic on the base S21 for glass in the S22. This means the same style of wraparound camera bump can be found on the S22, with the same hole-punch display on the front.

As for the displays themselves, the S22 is the smallest and sports a 6.1-inch FHD+ 1080p display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The Galaxy S22 Plus takes this up a notch with a 6.6 -inch FHD+ display and a 120Hz refresh rate, and the S22 Ultra leads the pack with a large 6.8-inch QHD+ 120Hz display. All three have variable refresh rates, with the S22 and S22 Plus varying between 10Hz to 120Hz, while the S22 Ultra refresh rate ranges from 1Hz to 120Hz. This means the phones can conserve battery by using the appropriate refresh rate for what is displayed on the screen.

Samsung says these are its most durable phones yet. All three models sport Gorilla Glass Victus+ on the front and back, protecting you from accidental drops and scratches. Along with that, the S22 and S22 Plus are equipped with what Samsung calls Armor Aluminum, its “strongest aluminum frame.”

Samsung Galaxy S22 specs

Writing with the S Pen on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Galaxy S22 Galaxy S22 Plus Galaxy S22 Ultra
Starting price $750 $900 $1,050
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Screen size 6.1-inch 6.6-inch 6.8-inch
Battery life 3,700mAh 4,600mAh 5,000mAh
Colors Phantom White, Phantom Black, green, Pink Gold Phantom White, Phantom Black, green, Pink Gold Phantom Black, Phantom White, green, Burgundy

The Galaxy S22 is a powerful handset, as we would expect from a next-generation flagship. It ships with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or an Exynos 2200-processor, depending on carrier and country. The U.S. and Canada get the Snapdragon chip, while the U.K. and Europe have Samsung’s Exynos variant.

While Apple increased the size of the batteries in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, Samsung has lowered the capacity of all phones, save the Ultra. The S22 line ships with a 3,700mAh battery for the base S22, with the S22 Plus and the S22 Ultra coming with 4,500mAh and 5,000mAh batteries, respectively. This can be attributed to them being smaller phones overall. The company has also shrunk the S22 and S22 Plus down from 6.2 inches and 6.7 inches, meaning less physical space for the batteries. Fast charging is still on the menu, though, with support for up to 25W wired fast charging for the S22, up to 45W for the S22 Plus and S22 Ultra, and 15W wireless charging for all three.

Finally, the S22 Ultra marks the return of the S Pen. It’s not just styled after the Note series — it also comes with a built-in pen that’s 70% faster than the S21 Ultra’s S Pen. This means scribbling or writing on the S21 Ultra’s display feels more natural than ever before. For those that want a Note 22, the S22 Ultra is currently the closest thing you can get.

Samsung Galaxy S22 cameras

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 range had excellent camera performance, rivaling Apple and Google’s own efforts in mobile photography. The S22 series follows suit, and Samsung has upgraded the hardware accordingly.

The S22 and S22 Plus both boast a 50-megapixel main camera paired with a 10MP ultrawide camera and a 10MP telephoto. When compared to the S21’s 12MP sensors, these look like a significant improvement on paper. A 10MP camera sits in the front for selfies and video calls.

Galaxy S22 Ultra with Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Andy Boxall/DigitalTrends

As with the S20 and S21, those who want the very best camera experience should focus on the S22 Ultra. It comes with a 108MP main camera, with Samsung adding three additional cameras: one 10MP for telephoto scenarios, another 10MP periscope lens with support for 10x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide camera. Samsung is also taking on Apple with support for RAW image capture with its Expert RAW app — a clear riff on Apple’s ProRAW. With Expert RAW, you get control over the telephoto cameras, and you can save images as lossless files ready to edit in Adobe Lightroom or your app of choice — plus, there’s support for HDR capture.

The S22’s camera is not just for seasoned professionals, though — Samsung also talks up the AI features of its camera. There’s the now de rigueur portrait mode, a new video auto-framing tool, and more features that the company says will make your images look “professional.”

Samsung Galaxy S22 software

The Samsung Galaxy S22 ships with Android 12 and One UI 4. While the company has already been excellent with updating its phones rapidly, Samsung has further distinguished its phones from Google’s experiences by offering a minimum of four operating system updates and five years of security upgrades.

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