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Since 2020, Samsung has introduced three new Galaxy S models every year. Rebel in 2022 with the Galaxy S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra. After getting our hands on the most luxurious of them, we turned the smaller model into our flagship smartphone. Although it still retails at €859, it remains in direct competition with the iPhone 13, which starts at €909. In order to preserve this “small format”, Samsung made more compromises compared to the Ultra version. But the Korean manufacturer’s failure to provide a stable processor makes it lose valuable points in the fight against the iPhone 13.
Visually, Samsung knows how to do it, and it’s pretty much a line-by-line copy of last year’s copy. The integration of the camera modules has not been redesigned as in the Ultra version, but it was not so necessary. As with the 2021, its plastic back will make you wonder, as the differences against the glass seem so small. The finish is excellent and the grip is pleasant. In terms of design, the biggest evolution is ultimately in the contours of the device. They are now aluminum. While overall progress remains minimal, the eye-catching detail is striking. But in our opinion, the great strength of this 2022 vintage remains its compactness. With a 6.1-inch screen and a weight of 168 grams, the Galaxy S22 is one of the smallest smartphones on the market with very little sacrifice on paper. We will see later in this test that it is actually not without them.
The screen quality is there.
As we mention sacrifices, know that Samsung continues to offer a 1080p display. Information that may seem scandalous in 2022, but considering the size of the screen, the density of 422 pixels per point is not embarrassing. With an average of 875 cd/m², even if it doesn’t quite match the exceptional brightness of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, the S22 tops the basket in its price category. Even in extreme light conditions, the screen looks clear and remains beautiful. An adaptive frame rate of up to 120 Hz is always available, which provides a certain ease of use.
As always, Samsung produces quality screens, but implements some questionable color gradations. With default settings, we measured a Delta E of 7.34 on the S22. Remember that the closer this number is to 1, the more realistic the colors are, which gives you an idea of the difference… However, the Korean manufacturer knows how to offer quite realistic colors. Proof of this is that it offers to switch the screen to “Natural” mode in its settings. Our Delta E measurement by our lab then drops to 2.68, which is a more satisfactory number.
A UI 4.1: always on top
A quick word about the operating system, One UI 4.1 is in the game and we reaffirm that it is one of the best mobile operating systems out there right now. Being able to rest our hands on the largest models in this very compact format is truly a blessing. One-handed use in all situations where the 6.1-inch screen is possible matches the qualities of this overlay.
A great pocket camera
So far, the S22 has differed relatively little from its predecessor. When it comes to photography, Samsung also did well.
The 24mm-equivalent main sensor is now 50 megapixels versus last year’s 12 megapixels. The idea here is to have a lot of pixels which allows the system to collect as much information as possible and actually create a better shot. Frankly, we haven’t seen any real progress since last year. Keep in mind that photos taken using this sensor remain at their best today. At the same time, we note that the colorimetry of the photos is a little more realistic and the control of the dynamic range is improved.
It’s been a while, but Samsung finally offers a true 70mm-equivalent telephoto lens. The Galaxy S21 offered a slightly odd mix, with a 64MP sensor with a 29mm equivalent. We suddenly have a half-digital, half-optical zoom that doesn’t really live up to the Korean’s reputation.
Now, are we satisfied? Yes! As shooting is especially successful in good lighting conditions, and also at night.
This year, Samsung talked a lot about night photography. We also had a chance to test the S22 Ultra, and it’s true that the results on the main sensor and the X3 optical zoom are good. Here is the same observation. The situations where these two sensors will let you down at night are far from legion. We still have the impression that it’s slightly worse than the S22 Ultra, but to be honest, for €859, we’re not going to be picky.
You’ll notice that we haven’t mentioned the 13mm ultra-wide-angle sensor yet. The reason is simple enough, he is not as satisfied as his two friends. It offers the correct daytime result, nothing else. It is difficult to use it at night. Sometimes you need to do this several times to get the net result. That’s a shame, because if we leave that point aside, the Galaxy S22 is one of the most versatile pocket cameras on the market. And its small size that fits in all pockets (yes, it matters!), will make you want to take it everywhere.
If you want to see other shots, clicking this link will take you to an album of photos taken with the Galaxy S22.
Also watch the video:
This smartphone is a watch that will knock your head
But what is the obstacle? As we said in our Galaxy S22 Ultra test, Samsung’s in-house Exynos 2200 processor isn’t of the best vintage. If this is not forbidden in the belly of his elder brother, then the question arises. So yes, it can run any latest app or game with its power. But at what cost?
First point, the smartphone heats up. The temperature indicator taken by our laboratory shows that it quickly reached 43.2 degrees. Although not dramatic, it is quite high. The problem is that the materials used on the back of the device transfer this heat to your fingers, which quickly becomes uncomfortable to use. We can advise you not to abuse the game, but this situation arises even during long navigation stages. When watching video content, it sometimes takes less than thirty minutes for the grip to become unpleasant.
The problem is that this heating does not happen for nothing. The processor consumes a lot of energy even for less complex tasks, probably due to optimization. Therefore, it takes a lot of energy to work. As a result, autonomy takes its own degree. 01net.com laboratory noted 12 hours of 10 versatile autonomy. Even if this number is twice as low as the competition, it is not so high. Moreover, the autonomy of the video stream was measured for 10 hours. It is very low and even lower than the previous generation, it is not really polished on that side.
Sometimes for surprising reasons, even when you are not using the smartphone, the battery melts like snow in the sun. For example, we lost 15% of the battery in two hours… took the phone out to answer a few messages!
Important information to consider when comparing the versatile autonomy with the almost identical Pixel 6 Pro. However, it is impossible to get through the day without needing to fill up the Google terminal. With the Galaxy S22, it’s more difficult. It is impossible to leave the whole day without a charger! If you use your smartphone a lot on a daily basis, it’s a sword of Damocles hanging over your head all the time. In this regard, Samsung did not do well: in addition to having a poorly optimized processor, the manufacturer reduced the size of the battery to 3700 mAh against 4000 mAh last year.
.Fortunately, with 3700 mAh and fast charging, we should be able to recover autonomy easily, right? Not even: the manufacturer not only decided not to offer this charger in the box, but also decided to limit the smallest of the S22 to 25W! An aberration where the competition has no trouble offering 65W in this price range.
It lost the duel against the iPhone 13
With a fairly similar price (859 euros for the S22, 909 euros for the iPhone 13) and the same screen size, we decided to pit the Galaxy S22 against the iPhone 13 in a special case. Quite frankly, operating system considerations aside, before using both devices for 10 days, we thought the Galaxy S22’s photographic versatility would give it the edge. And in fact, you have more photography opportunities. But this concern for autonomy and heating seems very important to us for the Koreans to win. The iPhone 13 isn’t perfect, but it offers more than the Galaxy S22: peace of mind. No need to take the duel any further, the apple brand wins this duel.