Galaxy S22 is almost perfect, but Samsung keeps skimping on this one feature

This article may contain personal views and opinion from the author.
Galaxy S22 is almost perfect, but Samsung keeps skimping on this one feature
So you just bought a new phone – the exciting, freshly-released Galaxy S22 from one of the biggest, highly-respected brands in the world – Samsung.

Let's say you got the S22 Plus for that slightly larger, gorgeous 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED display that can refresh at as high as 120Hz. There's barely any bezel around it – it's a stunningly-designed phone, and that aforementioned display is a testament to Samsung's competence and sheer market dominance when it comes to making glorious, vivid screens.

Countless years of experience and improvements have led up to this point, for you to own this cutting-edge smartphone that makes the iPhone 13, with its bezels and notch look a bit outdated.

You decide to enjoy your first Netflix movie on that Galaxy S22 Plus, you press play, and…

Well, the screen is indeed superb, bright, vibrant… But that movie-watching experience that the display kind of sold you on that it will be amazing is actually immediately ruined by how terrible, just shockingly bad, those Galaxy S22 speakers are.

You're watching a movie in epic industry-leading HDR, but the music, sounds, dialogue – it's all tinny and disappointing. Especially if you're coming from an iPhone, if you value sound quality you'll immediately feel like you've been scammed.

How come the iPhone has the much fuller, punchier speakers, while the Galaxy S22 Plus has the better display?

Why can't we have both on one, single flagship phone? What's up with Samsung skimping on the speakers, again and again?

Speaker quality matters – you told us that, so why does Samsung insist on pairing great displays with terrible speakers?

Last year when I tested some of our best flagship phones in order to do "the phones with best speakers", I placed the Asus ROG Phone 5 first, the Google Pixel 6 Pro second and the Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max third.

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The then-current Galaxy S21 wasn't even on the board; I did test it thoroughly, but its speakers were so bad, especially compared to those other phones, that all I had to share for it was my disappointment. And my hopes that the Galaxy S22 series will be different; my sincere hopes that Samsung will improve in that area when 2022 comes around.

Well, now that the S22 is here and we've tested it – no, Samsung didn't make any efforts to improve in the sound department… at all.

And I know I'm not alone in valuing how good a phone's speakers are. Many of you watch YouTube videos, movies and even listen to music on your phones.

We even asked you last April – does phone speaker quality matter to you? And an overwhelming 79% of you said "yes" – it definitely does.

So why has Samsung been able to get away with this for so long, and continues to disappoint in the speaker department even now in 2022, when its flagship phones have so much going for them? There's little else to complain about, so why not make it a perfect package?

It's reasonable to assume that Samsung just doesn't consider this an important enough area to put a lot of resources into, and to be fair – if you're a die-hard Samsung fan – you wouldn't really know what you're missing out on, unless you go out of your way to check out the competition.

"That's just how phone speakers must sound," you might be thinking, "they're good enough." But no, they can be way better, and you deserve better, especially for the flagship price that you're paying, Samsung fans.

Love 'em or hate 'em, Apple doesn't skimp on the basics, particularly the sound

Even my iPhone 12 mini crushes the S22 Plus when it comes to sound quality. And this is almost comical, as the 12 mini isn't even the latest iPhone, and on top of that – it's the smallest iPhone with the smallest sound, by design.

Yet comparing its sound next to the S22 Plus felt like night and day to me. I used to think my iPhone sounded a bit lackluster until I heard the S22 Plus and remembered where Samsung is in the sound department.

iPhones actually have a bit of bass and strong mids, so the sound they shoot out has fullness to it – it's not just mostly highs. The S22 Plus – just mostly highs – very tinny and sad sound. Kudos that the sound is reasonably clean, at least, but still, it doesn't offer a good video watching experience.

Apple alone is so ahead in delivering smartphones with better sound, that I shouldn't even bother comparing the S22 series to those truly god-tier-sounding phones out there, like the ROG Phone 5 Ultimate

The Galaxy S22 phones have a lot going for them, I just wish Samsung put a little bit of effort to make it a complete package – a true, no-compromise iPhone killer

I spent the most time with the Galaxy S22 Plus, and I was really impressed with its thin bezels and glorious screen, as previously mentioned. The S22 series has a lot for us to be excited about.

But it takes more than a great display and good cameras to make a great phone. There's battery life, design and ergonomics, performance, and indeed – speaker quality.

Many of us use our phones for everything these days, sometimes on the go, and I'm willing to bet most don't bother pairing Bluetooth speakers first, before playing a YouTube video, a movie, or just scrolling through Tik Tok. The convenience of a smartphone, especially a flagship one, comes from it doing everything right on its own, with no accessories needed.

The perfect flagship smartphone should appeal to three of our five basic human senses – touch, sight, and hearing. Touch – a good build that feels nice in the hand. Sight – a good display that feels nice to look at. And hearing – that's where Samsung keeps dropping the ball.

Another year has passed, and once again us audio junkies have been disappointed. This is a plea to Samsung – please start respecting the value of good sound, as your smartphones are among the best in all other aspects. Let's make it a complete package!

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