X
Rating
8

At the moment, there is no better Android smartphone, with a big improvement in design and materials, and a significant improvement in night shooting.

The quality of a 10X or even 20 X zoom shot which, when blown up, still looked good. Plus, no-one has a better-quality display. It’s crisp, clean and allows for easy reading without my glasses. I am a writer, so I am biased when it comes to the inclusion of an S Pen. I am also a tad old fashioned and still like writing information down. The S Pen meets all my needs.

If there is a weakness it’s battery life and the lack of a microSD card slot.

If you’re trying to justify a new smartphone, to make a move to move to the latest and best mobile technology out there, you’re in luck.

On the other hand, you may be you one of those Apple fans who puts up with an iPhone because it’s fashionable, when many of your friends are switching to a new premium Android device, because of the buzz that Samsung has some of the best technology and manufacture a lot of the components found in an Apple device.

If so, Samsung has just rolled out a 2022 Samsung Galaxy premium smartphone range that consists of several models, including the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22+ and the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

I’ve been using the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is the latest top-end offering from the South Korean mobile powerhouse, and it comes in a multitude of new colours, because coloured phones are the new in-thing, with black models now on the outer.

But the big question is whether the new Samsung range of Galaxy S22 smartphones are worth the switch.

This new top-end device comes packed with several new features, such as an S pen that is faster and more accurate than the pen that made the Samsung Note famous. There are now five cameras, with a top-end 108MP sensor, two telephoto cameras, 100x zoom and 40MP selfie cam. 6.8-inch 120Hz Quad HD display and an upgraded in-screen fingerprint sensor that has a 1.7x larger surface area than the one on last year’s phone.

Another big difference this time around is that the case is a lot more durable than previous models. There is also laser technology built into the camera system that delivers very clever and very accurate auto-focus capabilities.

The main difference between the big new S Pen on the S22 Ultra and the Note 20 Ultra is latency, with the new model delivering 2.8 milliseconds down from 9ms with the previous Note S Pen.

So, what does this mean? Firstly you can write quicker, and the pen is a lot more responsive.2 49 Galaxy S22 Ultra Front4 S Pen Phantom White HI scaled Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

You can also convert your scribble to digital text, and in my tests and with my terrible scribbled notes, the conversion rate to accurate digital text was over 90 per cent.

It appears that Samsung’s nifty handwriting recognition software has been vastly improved due to better software AI, and the power of the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip.Samsung S22 Ultra 5 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

I couldn’t find a single app that was sluggish or failed to operate to its full capacity, despite several app developers failing to improve performance of their apps between new Apple and Samsung models.

My Golf app that accesses GPS images of golf courses, location tracks to the pin and records data, worked as it should, and due to the quality of the new display I was able to see the layout of holes even in bright sunlight.

Another plus is that if you use Samsung’s keyboard you’ll also be able to use the new S Pen to scrawl text into search fields throughout the system.

Many specs in the new range are similar to those of last year’s Galaxy S21 models, however the big difference is the new Ultra, which I have been using for several days, has several noticeable improvements, including speed, camera and picture taking, and there is now an S Pen built into the base of the Ultra.

Samsung killed off the Note to simplify its offerings, as its two biggest mainstream smartphones, the Galaxy S Ultra and Galaxy Note, ended up competing with each other, and what you now have is a sleek and highly practical smartphone that delivers on several fronts.Samsung S22 Ultra 6 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

While some are comparing the new S22 Ultra to the Note, the new model is faster, a tad more sophisticated, and above all built from considerably tougher and more durable materials.

According to one tear down Company who drove a 2,000kg car over the new S22 Ultra, it continued to work with little if any damage to the device. I was not game to do this with a BMW X4 as I value the device too much.

The rear of the device is Armor Aluminium, which is a high-performance material, which appears to handle drops and scratches better than prior-model Samsung devices, while the front Corning’s second-gen Gorilla Glass Victus coating.

Unlike the Samsung S21 Ultra, the new model has drill holes where the sensors and camera lenses have been drilled out from the matte brushed metal Armor Aluminium back. It looks a lot more stylish, with the S22 Ultra’s cameras neatly laid out in two columns on the back with no raised rectangle surrounding them, similar to the S21 Ultra.

In the hand, S22 Ultra feels slightly wider and thicker than the Note, but it’s far from uncomfortable, though I would prefer rounded edges than a rectangle edge for the simple reason that if you end up holding the device in your hand for a long time, rounded edges are better.

If there is one thing that seriously stands out with a Samsung premium smartphone, it’s no more so than with the Galaxy S22 Ultra 6.8-inch Super AMOLED display, which is why Apple buy a lot of their premium display screens from Samsung.

The new display has a peak brightness of 1,750 nits and it refreshes at 120Hz, making it ideal for gaming and for a smooth scrolling experience.

What’s going to get interesting is how Samsung is going to market their new top-end foldable Galaxy Z Fold when it’s launched later this year with an S Pen.

This year’s crop of Samsung premium smartphones are not about flashy new designs, instead evolution plays a key role, better display, better processor, and an even better camera with significantly improved night vision shooting. This is due to the introduction of advanced AI technology that is powered by the new QUALCOMM processor.

Cameras
The S22 Ultra shares the same camera setup as the S21 Ultra, with a 108-megapixel main sensor, a 12-MP ultra-wide capability and two 10-MP telephoto lenses which really work as these two pictures of the new Sydney Crown building show.

Samsung S22 Ultra 2 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Crown Tower from North Sydney.

Samsung S22 Ultra 3 rotated Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Crown Tower from 4 kilometres away in North Sydney.

Samsung S22 Ultra 7 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Also on board is improved video stabilisation and adaptive pixel management, which is a bit like the new technology found in Samsung TVs.

This tech delivers better stereo depth mapping for more accurate portrait images.

In a nutshell, the technology stitches together high-res images from the 108-MP sensor and a photo taken with non-binning for bigger pixels to capture more light, supposedly resulting in brighter pictures that retain crisp detail.

Using this technology is no point and shoot option, it has to be set up and managed.

When you set the S22 Ultra to shoot at the highest resolution and the system detects you’re shooting in low light, it performs the stitching in the background.Samsung S22 Ultra 8 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

At first you think there is not much difference. It’s not until you zoom in that you really notice the sharp image and the lack of pixelization.

There are plenty of other features Samsung carried over from its previous models, and this is a good thing because they were cutting-edge in the Galaxy S21, and they are still cutting-edge in the new model.

Finally, the S21 Ultra’s 5,000 mAh battery life is okay, but not brilliant. I got through a day, though. I did top up when I cradled the device for a short while on a wireless charger.

Samsung S22 Ultra 4 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Balmoral Sydney early morning coffee shop. Detail inside premises is very sharp when zoomed.

Samsung S22 Ultra 11 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Shot using night vision

Samsung S22 Ultra 10 Review: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Running cold turkey with a full day of use I got over hours with some observers claiming that the problem is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is not as power efficient as its predecessor.

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Rating
8

At the moment, there is no better Android smartphone, with a big improvement in design and materials, and a significant improvement in night shooting.

The quality of a 10X or even 20 X zoom shot which, when blown up, still looked good. Plus, no-one has a better-quality display. It’s crisp, clean and allows for easy reading without my glasses. I am a writer, so I am biased when it comes to the inclusion of an S Pen. I am also a tad old fashioned and still like writing information down. The S Pen meets all my needs.

If there is a weakness it’s battery life and the lack of a microSD card slot.