Samsung Galaxy S22 review: top features

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Samsung's Galaxy S22 devices are now two years old, succeeded once by the Galaxy S23 phones and then the Galaxy S24 series. New stock S22 phones are extinct by now — discontinued by Samsung and cleared off from the shelves. Though, if you are lucky, you may still be able to find a new old stock unit here or there. However, mostly, they are sold as refurbished devices, found on Amazon, Best Buy, and other major stores.

The S22 series is a trio of phones — as is regular of Samsung nowadays — the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the heavy-hitting phablet that brought about the reincarnation of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra — the same shape as the Note, with an S Pen silo, was mixed with the crazy camera of the Galaxy S series to create this monster. But if you don't feel like spending money for camera or S Pen features you may not need — the Galaxy S22+ gets you that big screen with the bells and whistles cut out, and the Galaxy S22 goes more compact but retaining the core features that make it a Samsung flagship.

With the smaller body comes a smaller battery and yes, so the phone isn't suited for prolonged heavy usage. However, as it is, the Galaxy S22 is a great pick for non-powerusers who don't mind charging every night (or plopping the phone down on a wireless charging pad from time to time).

So, does the Galaxy S22 still a good choice with the the Galaxy S24 launch looming over?

Galaxy S22, 256GB, available at Amazon

If you don't have a suitable trade-in, we suggest going to Amazon, where you can get the 256GB Galaxy S22 at its standard price. The model in Phantom Black is the most affordable of all.

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Galaxy S22 Design

One for the compact phone lovers

The design of the Galaxy S22 is not a huge departure from the S21 series — hey, if it ain't broken, no need to fix it. The S22 looks a bit bolder, with a more boxy look (though the sides are still a bit rounded) and a huge selection of colors. Yeah, if you are shopping retail, the Galaxy S22 color list consists of Green, Pink Gold, Phantom Black, and Phantom White. But if you shop from, you get access to 4 exclusive colors — the fan-favorite Violet, joined by Graphite, Cream, and Sky blue.

It's worth noting that the S22 has a glass back rather than the plastic one Samsung used in the S21! Actually, both the front and back are shielded with the latest Gorilla Glass Victus Plus, and the mid-frame is made of aluminum, and so are the buttons.

The uniform bezel around the display is a pleasure to behold — it's thin enough to make room for a lot of screen, yet it's just the right thickness to keep ghost touches at bay.

The camera bump is nested in a vertical slab of metal on the back, much like with the S21 series. It houses three lenses as Samsung isn't cutting corners with the camera features of the Galaxy S22.

Let us also give you the exact dimensions of the Galaxy S22, notice how it is considerably smaller than the S21 and only very slightly bigger than the compact champ from a few years ago, the S10e:

  • S22 dimensions: 146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm
  • S21 dimensions: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm
  • S10e dimensions: 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9mm

Samsung Galaxy S21

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm


6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S22

5.75 x 2.78 x 0.3 inches

146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm


5.89 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy S10e

5.6 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm


5.29 oz (150 g)

Samsung Galaxy S21

5.97 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches

151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm


6.03 oz (171 g)

Samsung Galaxy S22

5.75 x 2.78 x 0.3 inches

146 x 70.6 x 7.6mm


5.89 oz (168 g)

Samsung Galaxy S10e

5.6 x 2.75 x 0.31 inches

142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9 mm


5.29 oz (150 g)

See the full Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S10e size comparison or compare them to other phones using our Size Comparison tool.

The S22 has also shed a bit of weight, it's 167g versus 171g on the S21, a tiny difference but still.

IP68 water and dust protection is very much here still, ensuring your Galaxy will survive a bit of rain and an accidental drop in water (rated to survive up to 30 minutes in up to 5ft deep fresh water).

Galaxy S22 Display Quality

Wider, super bright screen

The screen is smaller, but not too small at 6.1 inches in diagonal. An interesting detail is that it is not as tall as on the previous model, and now you have a 19.5:9 aspect ratio, while the previous S21 had the taller 20:9. By the way, this new ratio just happens to be the same as on iPhones.

The resolution is 1080 x 2340 pixels, not quite as high as the 1440p QHD+ you get on the S22 Ultra, but you don't really need to go nuts with the smaller screen. The S22's screen density still amounts to 422 pixels per inch, which is so sharp that you can cut yourself while scrolling.

As for colors, Samsung's Dynamic AMOLED is just gorgeous... no surprise here — Samsung's displays have been consistently excellent for years now. Of course, it goes up to 120 Hz for that buttery smooth refresh rate, too.

AMOLED screens improve very gradually, and this time, the key new spec was higher brightness. The S22 can reach a max brightness of 1,500 nits, higher than the S21 which maxed out at 1,300 nits and way higher than the 800 nits on the iPhone 13. Naturally, you get full HDR video support for the occasional Netflix movie (and even some YouTube videos are shot in HDR these days).  

For biometrics, Samsung uses an ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint reader. Our impressions are that it is basically identical to the one on the previous S21, which is to say accurate and fast enough (even if not the fastest in the industry). You also get face recognition using the front camera and 2D images, so not quite as secure as Face ID, but we are definitely glad to have this option.

Galaxy S22 Performance and Software

The Snapdragon-Exynos divide lives on

In the United States, the Galaxy S22 comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, while the UK and Europe are getting a Samsung-made Exynos 2200 processor. Reports point to the Exynos having slightly lower numbers on raw benchmarks, but in general, the phones perform similarly. That means — snappy and fast.

Geekbench 5 SingleHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S221152
Samsung Galaxy S211043
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE872
Google Pixel 61027
Apple iPhone 131728
Geekbench 5 MultiHigher is better
Samsung Galaxy S223352
Samsung Galaxy S213090
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE2865
Google Pixel 62706
Apple iPhone 134695
3DMark Extreme(High)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S222009
Samsung Galaxy S211993
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE1445
Google Pixel 61455
Apple iPhone 132357
Extreme(Low)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S221351
Samsung Galaxy S211197
Samsung Galaxy S21 FE907
Google Pixel 6945
Apple iPhone 131712

As for storage, you are getting a 128 GB base model as well as a 256 GB version that will cost a bit more. You cannot expand it as there is no microSD card slot on the Galaxy S22, so choose your storage wisely. In our experience, 128 GB is still good enough for most people out there, especially in a time when everything is being backed up to the cloud.

In terms of software, the Galaxy S22 now gets Samsung's One UI 5 on top of Android 13 as an update. As is usual, Samsung's interface is chock-full of customization options, extra features, bright colors, and transparent elements. It is a vibe of its own.

Samsung has previously promised 3 years of software updates, but it's changing that now and the Galaxy S22 will benefit from 4 years of major OS updates and 5 years of security updates. This means that the S22 should be getting support until the year 2027.

Galaxy S22 Camera

Finally, a real zoom lens 

Apart from the usual main and ultra-wide cameras, Samsung pulled a weird trick with the S20 and S21. Those phones did not have a "true" telephoto lens, but instead used a 64MP sensor that barely had any zoom (1.1X) and just cropped in to achieve an advertized 3X zoom level. This changes in the Galaxy S22, the first in a while to get a "true" 3X zoom lens. 

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Take a look at the camera specs of the S22 below, if you like to nerd out over camera sensor sizes and megapixels.

To save you the number crunching and comparison, let's just say that for the most part the camera hardware on the S22 is remarkably similar to the S21, with a slightly larger main sensor being the other notable change.

Paradoxically, the improvement of the actual camera performance is... not so clear-cut. If we put the S22 photos next to S21 photos, they look slightly colder, a bit too oversharpened and... in general not necessarily better?

But the S22 camera can stand on its own two feet quite well. We took it out for a longer stroll and took a bunch more samples, which honestly we can't complain too much about. Dynamics are awesome, colors look good... sharpness is a bit too much, let's be honest. But otherwise, solid photos — just look at this:

There is a lot of hype around the new Samsung Expert RAW 16-bit capture that should provide enthusiasts and professionals with more creative potential. Essentially, if you are feeling up for it, you can take and export RAW photos straight from the phone and enhance them with your Adobe Lightroom superskills.

On the video side, Samsung officially teases "breaking the rules of light", basically saying that we should expect better low light photos and videos. And yeah, Night Mode for photos is great on these phones — as great as it was before. To tell you the truth — sometimes it's a bit too good, making things look a bit too bright for a night shot. Thankfully, turning it off is just a tap away, and the camera is still capable of taking very clear, bright, colorful pictures even with Night Mode off.

Improvements in night video are also noticeable. I took a long clip, testing the standard camera, then zooming in far, then switching to ultra-wide and back to the main camera. You will notice, around the end of the clip, the ultra-wide camera does not have the night vision enhancement. So, it makes it immediately obvious how good this new main camera is. 

Video Thumbnail

Galaxy S22 Audio Quality and Haptics

No headphone jack. We kind of feel it's weird to point this out nowadays, as everyone seems to be sacking it, but a few models still hang on to this "archaic connector". There are also seemingly no headphones included in the box with the S22. This means that if you want to use wired headphones, well, get a dongle or a pair of USB-C headphones.

As before, the Galaxy S22 has stereo speakers — a bottom firing driver and an earpiece that doubles as a tweeter. Well, I say tweeter, but the two speakers sound pretty balanced with no major discrepancies between them.

And as before, they need an upgrade. Samsung made these speakers "good enough" a couple of years ago and doesn't seem to have revisited their sound. The Galaxy S22's sound, while not terrible, is being outclassed by other flagships — Google's Pixels and Apple's iPhones. I'm not saying I always listen to music straight from the phone... but it's nice to be able to.

Galaxy S22 Battery Life and Charging

The smaller battery might be the biggest compromise 

Samsung Galaxy S22
( 3700 mAh )
Samsung Galaxy S22
12h 23m
7h 26m
4h 29m
Charging speed
30 min
1h 5m
Full charge
Wireless Charging
30 min
Full charge

Users are never happy when companies cut battery sizes, but that's just inevitable with the much smaller Galaxy S22 size, and it comes with a 3,700mAh battery, a downgrade from the 4,000mAh cell used on the S21 (a 5% decrease in size).

Since the Galaxy S21 was just okay in terms of battery life, we approached the Galaxy S22 a bit worried.

And indeed, don't expect wonders out of a smaller battery, but not quite a huge decline either:

PhoneArena Battery Test Results

Web Browsing(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S2212h 23 min
Samsung Galaxy S217h 47 min
Apple iPhone 1313h 43 min
Google Pixel 613h 45 min
Video Streaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S227h 26 min
Samsung Galaxy S217h 36 min
Apple iPhone 138h 15 min
Google Pixel 610h 36 min
3D Gaming(hours)Higher is better
Samsung Galaxy S224h 29 min
Samsung Galaxy S214h 14 min
Apple iPhone 137h 28 min
Google Pixel 65h 48 min

As you can see, with the reduction in battery life, the S22 has lost a bit of battery life compared to its predecessor in certain tests. We are getting 7 hours and 26 minutes of continuous YouTube video streaming on the S22, just 10 minutes short of the results of the S21. However, interestingly, for web browsing, the phone is now actually far better optimized, scoring way higher, which is a great sign.

However, I didn't feel this phone is great for "heavy users". As I was walking around with the camera open, taking samples, or testing how different games work, the battery took a noticeable dip. I am of the belief that "powerusers" typically gravitate towards the bigger phone anyway, and the Galaxy S22 is meant for those that want the more casual smartphone experience that happens to have power on tap. So, this may or may not be a problem for you.

Bottom line, the S22 needs daily charging, it has none of that "two day battery life" promise.

And while Samsung's main hero, the Galaxy S22 Ultra, got faster charging, the compact S22 model sticks with 25W charging speeds, same as before. No charger in the box, of course, so you'd need to use an older charger or consider spending $20 bucks on a good charger.

Wireless charging is still very much here with 15W speed, and you also have support for reverse wireless charging to top up another device, but with the smaller battery here, that's probably best used for short charges or smaller gadgets.

Galaxy S22 Alternatives and Competitors

At launch, the Galaxy S22 price was $800 for the base unlocked phone with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, and $50 on top of that for the 8GB/256G configuration.

The biggest rival was the $800 iPhone 13, which opened the gates to the lucrative iOS ecosystem with trendy Apple Watches, AirPods and blue bubbles. And of course, those looking for a super compact phone, would also compare the S22 to the iPhone 13 mini.

The $600 Pixel 6 was the killer offer at the time, despite some issues with the sluggish fingerprint scanner, and it also has the advantage of faster Android updates and a larger screen.

Summary and Final Verdict

So should you buy the Galaxy S22? It's a solid entry — it's compact, it's powerful, it has a great camera. And it has the promise of long support and updates, and it doesn't hurt that the phone itself looks very good.

In 2024, you can find discounted Galaxy S22 units, usually refurbished or pre-owned. If you buy now, you should still get 2 Android updates and security patched up until 2027. So it's still a good alternative instead of simply buying a weaker midrange phone with a worse camera or processor.


  • Awesome display
  • Compact-ish
  • Good haptics
  • Good camera
  • OneUI is all grown up and fleshed out


  • Not a huge improvement over S21
  • Battery life is a bit weak
  • Speakers need improvement

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

3 Reviews

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