Galaxy S22: Is Samsung's iPhone x Google Pixel Frankenstein bringing the best of Apple and Android?

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Galaxy S22: Is Samsung's iPhone x Google Pixel Frankenstein bringing the best of Apple and Android?
Have you ever wished to combine some of the best iPhone and Android features to make "your dream phone"? Well, it seems like Samsung's upcoming Galaxy S22 and S22+ flagships will try to deliver something close to that. Although this might not be Samsung's goal, the Galaxy S22 could end up mixing and matching a bunch of iPhone 13 and Pixel 6 software and hardware features to potentially make the Galaxy S22 the best all-around phone of 2022.

Update: Samsung just started the Galaxy S22 reservation program! Reserve the right to pre-order one of the first S22 phones and get $50 in Samsung store credit!

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We’ll talk about the shared design elements between the Galaxy S22 and iPhone 13, as well as about some of the software features that Samsung’s phone will borrow from Android 12 and even iOS. It’s worth noting that this isn’t a comparison, or an attempt to check “who was first”, but rather a wink at those who wish for an iPhone-Google hybrid, and are ready to make a purchase in early 2022.

Let's do it!

Galaxy S22 and S22+: iPhone 13/13 Pro features that will make for a better Samsung

Thin, symmetrical bezels on a Galaxy (finally!)

First of all, according to the leaks, both the Galaxy S22 and S22+ are finally getting even bezels all around, which is an absolute joy to see on an Android phone. For the curious, the first Android device with truly even bezels on all sides (albeit not extremely thin) was Google's Pixel 5. It came out three years after Apple's iPhone X, which spoiled Apple users.

Interestingly, Samsung also put out a phone with symmetrical bezels, but this one didn't get a lot of attention. If you still can't think of it, it's because it's not a traditional slab phone. It's last year's Galaxy Z Flip 3.

In order to get even bezels on the four sides, smartphone manufacturers either have to make the side and top bezels thicker to match the bottom one, or they have to curve the display connector (which lives somewhere below the battery) inward, so they can reduce the bottom bezel size. I know it's a small thing for many, but I personally find symmetrical designs much more satisfying to look at, which is why the very much asymmetrical bezels on my Pixel 6 Pro put me off and make me wish Google had stuck to the Pixel 6 front design…

Flat-ish frames/sides to give Samsung users a little taste of the Apple universe

The other thing to make the Galaxy S22 a good iPhone 13 alternative (running Android) is the fact that both the S22 and S22+ are getting somewhat flatter sides/frames or whatever you'd like to call them.

They definitely won't be as flat as those on the iPhone 13, but they also won't be nearly as curvy as on past Samsung phones. So if you are leaning towards flatter frames, the Galaxy S22 might be just the phone for you since it won't be totally flat, so it digs into your hand but won't be curvy either.

The Galaxy S22 will likely be the most compact flagship phone of 2022

Of course, the last design trait that will bring the Galaxy S22 closer to an iPhone 13 is for the compact phone fans out there! In case you didn't know, the smallest member of the 2022 Galaxy S family is getting even smaller.

For reference, last year's Galaxy S21 had a 6.2-inch screen, while the iPhone 13 has a 6.1-inch screen. Well, Samsung seems to want to one-up (or rather one-down) Apple here by giving the Galaxy S22 a 6-inch display! 6.06-inches if have to be accurate, but the truth is that the S22 should feel even more compact than that, thanks to those thinner (and symmetrical!) bezels.

This one should be a real treat for people who've been waiting for a truly compact Galaxy. The last time Samsung delivered on that front was with the Galaxy S10e back in 2019, and thanks to our Size Comparison tool, you can see for yourself why the Galaxy S22 is expected to be almost just as compact as the S10e, which is absolutely thrilling for those with small hands, pockets, and little tolerance for brick-sized smartphones.

Galaxy S22 and S22+: Pixel 6-inspired features for that "Google Android"

Just as compact as a Pixel 5

As already mentioned, the Galaxy S22 will be Samsung's compact Android phone. Of course, this doesn't resemble the Pixel 6 because this one has a big 6.4-inch screen with some of the thickest bezels around, but rather the Pixel 5. In fact, the Galaxy S22 is expected to be nearly identical in size to Google's 2020 flagship.

Punch-hole display

While we are on the topic of hardware, it's worth reminding you that while giving you iPhone-like symmetry, the S22 will also feature a single punch-hole display like the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro.

Of course, it was indeed Samsung that made those cool with the Galaxy S20 series, but here we are focusing on the best combination of iPhone and Pixel features that the Galaxy S22 brings to the table. If I was making a Pixel-iPhone hybrid, I'd pick the Pixel's punch-hole over the iPhone's notch any day.

One UI 4: Galaxy Material (for) You

And we come to software!

Whether you love or hate Samsung's take on Android, that's part of the reason people keep buying Samsung phones. Many OG Samsung users feel at home thanks to the familiar Galaxy flavor, but more importantly, it seems like One UI keeps getting better.

The TouchWiz days are long gone, and while Samsung still gives you an abundance of extra features, the company's flagship phones perform just as well as the competition, without annoying lag and stutters.

One UI 4 now adopts Google's Material You theming options, where your wallpaper will determine a few color options for you to choose from and theme the appearance of your Galaxy's interface. If you want to learn more, check out our One UI 4 review.

Also, Samsung seems to be remarkably consistent with software updates now! Many of the company's new and older flagships are already either running or receiving One UI 4. I remember the days when things were different, so this is a very worthy perk you get with Samsung today. Of course, both Apple and Google are unbeatable when it comes to updates. However, Samsung isn't that far anymore.

Object Eraser: Samsung's Magic Eraser equivalent

Another software feature that might be of tremendous use for some is Magic Eraser. Sure, this was made cool by Google's Pixel 6, but the truth is that other Android manufacturers like Huawei and indeed Samsung were the first to introduce it.

The Object Eraser debuted on the Galaxy S21 series and can do everything the Pixel 6's Magic Eraser can do. You can remove bystanders, street signs, and even facial blemishes as if you were using Photoshop. In fact, Object Eraser is quicker and more intuitive than Magic Eraser, as it lets you simply tap on the object you want to erase, and it selects it for you.

However, if you're ready to put in the work, Magic Eraser often yields much more natural results by keeping textures… textured. The downside is that if the object isn't human, you'd have to circle it yourself, which requires some patience with more complicated shapes.

I'm certainly looking forward to an updated version of the Object Eraser on the Galaxy S22, which will make the feature as effective as on Pixel, but keep the experience as efficient as it currently is on Galaxy.

Galaxy S22 and S22+ to bring Pixel 6 Pro-ish camera experience despite the lower price

And we come to the last, but certainly not least, important part (to me) that will make the Galaxy S22 a worthy Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro competitor - the upgraded camera system on the Galaxy S22 and S22+. Sure, our information is based on leaks, but since we are now so close to the actual launch of Samsung's 2022 flagships, it's safe(er) to assume those are correct.

Galaxy S22 and S22+: New 50MP primary camera

The Galaxy S22 and S22+ are expected to bring a brand new 50MP main sensor for more detailed (pixel-binned) 12MP images. We don't know if Samsung will choose its own 50MP GN1 sensor that's used in the Pixel 6, or an even newer Samsung/Sony sensor, but either way - this should be a great upgrade over the dated 12MP shooter that we've seen for years.

Galaxy S22 and S22+: New 3x optical zoom camera

What's more exciting to me, though, is that the Galaxy S22 and S22+ will bring the longest zoom on a standard Galaxy S flagship phone ever! I know - that sounds like it should be wrong since Galaxy flagships have boasted some of the best zooming capabilities for a while now, but it isn't.

The Galaxy S10 and all entry-model Galaxy flagships that preceded it used a 2x zoom camera. Then we got the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21, which despite using 64MP sensors, were actually fixed at only 1.1x optical zoom - rather underwhelming.

Well, Samsung has finally decided to equip its more affordable Galaxy flagships with "real" zoom cameras. The Galaxy S22 and S22+ are expected to inherit the same 10MP zoom camera from the Galaxy S21 Ultra/S22 Ultra. Of course, this isn't going to be the 10x periscope lens - that wouldn't make sense, but rather the 3x one. Still, this is far better than anything the company has offered so far.

In fact, on paper, it's almost as far-reaching as the Pixel 6 Pro's 4x zoom camera, although the latter boasts the biggest sensor from all zoom lenses to date, so I doubt the S22 will outperform it.

In the spirit of the story, having a 3x zoom camera is much better than not having one at all. Looking at you, iPhone 13 and Pixel 6. I seriously would trade the mediocre ultra-wide-angle cameras on these two for the 3x zoom lens from the iPhone 13 Pro and 4x zoom camera from the Pixel 6 Pro, but sadly, I'm not calling the shots here.

In the end: Galaxy S22 might be the best phone of 2022

Lastly, it's also worth mentioning that the Galaxy S22 will adopt some iOS-inspired software features such as the privacy dots that appear in the top right corner to let you know when an app is using your microphone or camera and the new photo and video editor from One UI 4 (already available on devices running One UI 4), which strikingly resembles the one on iPhone. It's a great one!

The Galaxy S22 and S22+ are expected to debut in early February. What's left to find out is how much Samsung's "affordable" flagship will actually cost. We've heard mixed rumors - some saying the prices will stay the same, some predicting price hikes. It's worth noting that if the prices do increase, the cheapest Galaxy S22 model might end up costing more than an iPhone 13 and significantly more than the 600 USD/ 650 EUR/ 600 GBP Pixel 6.

What's even more interesting is that if Samsung was to increase the Galaxy S22's price in Europe by just 50 EUR, compared to the Galaxy S21 - so to 900 EUR, this would put it on par with the Pixel 6 Pro, which might not play to Samsung's favor.

I guess… let's wish for an affordable Galaxy S22 then! Because it already looks like it's going to be a good one...

Thumbnail image courtesy of LetsGoDigital.

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