The first Samsung Galaxy Unpacked for 2022 came and went on February 9 as Samsung launched the highly anticipated Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra. We also got three new tablets in the Galaxy Tab S8, Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. Each of these devices comes feature-packed with top-of-the-line specifications — and price points to match. So without further ado, let’s dive into it.
The belle of the ball was arguably the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. This phone is basically the spiritual successor to the now-officially-mostly-dead Galaxy Note series. This phone looks and feels like a Note, complete with the garaged S Pen and huge screen.
The headline here is that garaged S Pen. No longer will users have to carry the S Pen separately as they had to with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, nor in a separate silicon case as they had to with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This was the necessary next step in the evolution of the S Pen-sporting Ultra, and we’re happy to see it.
This phone has a 6.8-inch WQHD+ AMOLED 2X display with 120Hz variable refresh rate and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor (with some Exynos variants depending on region), and comes in configurations ranging from 8GB of RAM with 128G of storage all the way up to 12GB of RAM with 1TB of storage. All this is powered by a beefy 5,000 mAh battery. This is clearly the top-of-the-line phone to buy in early 2022.
From a camera perspective, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has the specifications to continue its dominant position in the smartphone camera market. The main sensor is a 108-megapixel f/2.2 sensor that uses nona-binning to combine nine pixels into one. Complementing that is a 12 MP 120-degree ultrawide sensor, a 10x optical zoom periscope lens, and a 3x optical zoom sensor. The 108MP main camera is supported by laser autofocus as well. On the front, there’s a single 40 MP selfie camera.
The cameras on the back can shoot 8K video at 24 frames per second (fps) or 4K at 60fps, with auto fps (for lowlight frame rate optimization). Plus, the rear cameras support auto-framing for up to 10 subjects, though that kicks the resolution down further to Full HD at 30 fps. Meanwhile, the selfie camera also captures at 4K at 60 fps. We’re compiling our full review, but on paper, this is an impressive camera array.
Samsung’s bolstering of this camera setup with stereo depth map technology should allow for better portrait photography including capturing those elusive strands of hair. Samsung also introduced a portrait mode for pets and even a lowlight portrait mode. Additionally, Samsung developed its own Expert RAW app, downloadable from the Galaxy Store. This app gives you all the creative control you need over ISO, shutter speed, and the like, and exports photos as 16-bit RAW files that you can export directly to Adobe Lightroom.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra will come in Phantom Black, Phantom White, green, or burgundy.
Samsung also revealed its two smaller flagship smartphones, the Samsung Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus. If you don’t need an S Pen or 10x optical zoom, these phones might be a better choice for you and more wallet-friendly as well. Much of the same design language is here, but you have additional colorways and improvements over last year’s models.
On the inside, both phones sport Qualcomm’s latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor (with Exynos for some international variants) and 8GB of RAM along with 128GB or 256GB of storage. Both phones will have FHD+ AMOLED 2X displays with the Galaxy S22 Plus measuring 6.6 inches and the Galaxy S22 measuring 6.1 inches. This year, the Galaxy S22 Plus and S22 will have glass on the front and back, a clear sign that Samsung indeed did not allow accountants to design the phones.
The camera setup on the back and front are identical between the two phones. You get a 50MP F/1.8 sensor for your main camera. The ultrawide is a 12MP 120-degree sensor and the zoom camera is a 10MP 3x optical zoom sensor, which could be an upgrade over the cropped zoom sensor on last year’s Galaxy S21 series. On the front, both phones have a 10MP selfie camera.
Like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the main rear camera can shoot in 8K at 24 fps, and all the cameras can shoot at 4K at 60 fps. They all have the same camera improvements seen on the Ultra, such as the stereo depth map, portrait night mode, auto-framing, and Auto fps for nighttime video.
The battery is a pretty big differentiator between the two phones. Obviously, the respective sizes of the phones accommodate different-sized batteries. The Galaxy S22 has a 3,700 mAh battery, while the Galaxy S22 Plus sports a 4,500 mAh battery that’s more typical of a flagship. Below the surface, though, the S22 Plus supports up to 45W charging, while the smaller battery only supports up to 25W. Of course, you’ll need to buy a charging brick either way, but it’s a little weak (literally) that the standard S22 won’t charge as fast.
Both phones will be available in Phantom Black, Phantom White, pink, gold, and green.
Samsung went out of its way to point out that “Note” is now an Ultra experience, and that translates to its top-end tablet, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. Samsung insists that tablets are not just for consumption, and it aims to prove it with the Galaxy Tab S8 series this year. The Tab S8 Ultra is Samsung’s thinnest and largest tablet to date, clocking in at 14.6 inches on the diagonal. The display is a Super AMOLED, 120 Hz panel with a WQXGA+ resolution. The Tab S8 Ultra is designed for working from home and can be used as a second monitor if necessary.
On its own, the Tab S8 Ultra can be a pretty powerful productivity machine. It features a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, up to 16GB of RAM, and up to 512 GB of storage. The most notable physical feature will be the notch at the top of the screen. You read that correctly, the Tab S8 Ultra will have a notch that holds the dual 12MP wide and ultrawide sensors for videoconferencing. The microphones have three different levels of noise canceling.
On the back of the tablet sits a dual-camera module that you probably won’t use much, unless you desperately need a camera with a 14.6-inch viewfinder. There’s a 13MP main sensor with autofocus and a 6MP ultrawide sensor. There are some use cases for rear-mounted cameras on a tablet — document scanning for example. The back of the tablet is also where you slot in the S Pen with a very secure magnetic attachment.
Samsung showed off how well the Tab S8 Ultra works with Microsoft Office for those work-from-home situations. However, the Tab S8 Ultra only has a single USB-C port for charging and data transfer, so maybe start shopping for a good USB-C hub. While on the topic of working from home, the S Pen for the tablet comes in the box, and Samsung will throw in a free keyboard cover with all pre-orders.
With the Tab S8 series of tablets, especially the Tab S8 Ultra, Samsung is looking to build an ecosystem of devices that work together. One example Samsung showed off was the ability to use the S Pen across the devices, from the tablet to the Ultra. You can also use the S8 Ultra along with an S22 phone as a color picker when drawing. It’s niche, but also really cool. We’re excited to see how this ecosystem grows and matures.
If you’re not in the market for an ultra-high-end tablet, Samsung also has a pair of worthy offerings. The Galaxy Tab S8 and the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus both offer a lot of power, but with fewer features than their bigger (and pricier) sibling. The Tab S8 Plus has a 12.4 inch Super AMOLED WQXGA+, 120Hz display, while the Tab S8 has an LCD 120Hz Full HD panel.
As for internals, there are some similarities to the Tab S8 Ultra. All three machines run the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. The Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus both have 8GB of RAM and internal storage up to 256GB. All three tablets have the same camera setup on the back, including the 13MP primary camera and 6MP ultrawide. The Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8 Plus have a single 12 MP.
As with the Tab S8 Ultra, if you pre-order the Tab S8 or Tab S8 Plus, Samsung will include a type cover with your order. The Tab S8 and S8 Plus will be available in graphite, silver, and pink gold.
Samsung also rolled out a few software enhancements to its line of phones and tablets. Specifically,there’s One UI 4.1, which includes a more customizable experience that remains consistent across Samsung devices. If you set your color theme on your phone, that will translate over to your Galaxy tablet as well. You also get a privacy dashboard, similar to what’s included in Android 12, so you can see which apps have which permissions.
Samsung is also pushing Samsung Knox, which stores private data away from the main operating system. That data can include your digital wallet, digital ID, vaccine pass, digital keys, car keys, payment information, and more. Are your wallet’s days numbered?
Samsung also worked with Google to bring a new collaborative mode to Google Duo. In addition to hosting conference calls on Google’s video chat platform, you can now share a whiteboard for true collaboration among your colleagues. You can also watch YouTube videos together or share locations in Google Maps.
The Samsung Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and S22 Ultra will be priced at $800, $1,000, and $1,200, respectively. Pre-orders start today, and devices will ship on February 25. If you pre-order through Samsung.com, you’ll be automatically upgraded to the next-higher storage option. Pre-orders also qualify for up to $200 in credit in the Samsung store.
The Samsung Tab S8, Tab S8 Plus, and Tab S8 Ultra will be priced at $700, $900, and $1,100 respectively. Pre-orders start today, with shipping at a later date. If you pre-order a Tab S8 or Tab S8+, Samsung will add a free Slim Book Cover Keyboard. Pre-orders for the Tab S8 Ultra will receive a free Backlit Cover Keyboard.
Overall, this was a pretty big Samsung Galaxy Unpacked both in the number and size of the devices announced. Samsung’s flagship phones for 2022 are off to a great start with a premium build, awesome features (hello slotted S Pen), and really nice software enhancements for working from home, or collaborating in general. We love to see Samsung going for it by creating a tight ecosystem of devices, and collaborating with Google to bring more features to Samsung devices and Android as a whole.
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