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Samsung Galaxy S22 buying guide: Everything you need to know

Samsung has 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. With this trio of phones, the company is working both on refining the already good S21 as well as reviving the Note line in all but name 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 $1,200 for the base 128GB model, while the S22 and S22 Plus start at $800 and $1,000 respectively.

Naturally, there are carrier deals and promos that help drive down the pricing. Samsung will give you a free upgrade to the next storage tier if you pre-order either the 128GB or 256GB model, you can also get 25% off the new Galaxy Tab S8, as well as up to $200 Samsung credit depending on the device you purchase to spend on the new Samsung Freestyle or Galaxy Watch 4.

Samsung Galaxy S22 reviews

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

The S22 and S22 Plus impressed in our hands-on, both striking us as phones that were well built, beautifully designed, and with meaningful internal upgrades over the older S21 models.

Going deeper, we found the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in particular to be a device that merits its 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 that the same style of wraparound camera bump will 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 will sport 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 pretty large 6.8-inch QHD+ 120Hz display. All three have variable refresh rates with the S22 and S22 Plus going between 10-120Hz while the S22 Ultra goes between 1-120Hz. 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+, a model of the already pretty durable Gorilla Glass Victus that the S21 sports. This will be on the front and the back, protecting you from accidental drops and scratches. Alongside 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 $800 $1,000 $1,200
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-gen flagship. It will ship with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or an Exynos 2200-processor, depending on carrier and country. While Samsung was not specific, an earlier report from the European publication Let’s Go Digital placed the S22 as coming with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the U.S. and parts of Asia and Africa, while Korea while the rest of the world will get the Exynos 2200.

While Apple has increased the size of the batteries in the iPhone 13 and iPhone 13 Pro, Samsung is lowering 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 is shrinking 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 the company adding 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 comes with a built-in pen that’s 70% faster than the S21 Ultra’s S Pen. This means that scribbling or writing on the S21 Ultra’s display will be more natural than ever before. For those that want a Note 22, the S22 Ultra is likely to be 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 is likely following suit, and Samsung has upgraded the hardware accordingly.

The S22 and S22 Plus are making the jump to a 50-megapixel (MP) main camera that will be 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 one 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. The company claims you’ll be able to have a DSLR-like experience with its suite of editing tools, though that’ll need a lot more hands-on time to verify.

The S22’s camera is not just for seasoned professionals though, Samsung also talks up the A.I. 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 is powered by Android 12 and One UI 4. While the company has already been excellent with updating its phones rapidly, Samsung has further distinguished its phones further from Google’s experiences by offering a minimum of four operating system updates and five years of security upgrades.

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