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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G Review: Hitting All the Right Notes

by Jamie Inocian  February 24, 2022

Review Verdict: Time spent making our S22 Ultra 5G review showed us that this device is an absolute beast of a smartphone and really is the best of the best that Samsung has to offer. It’s powerful, has fantastic cameras, and everything you could ask for in a flagship-level device.

It comes at a rather steep price point though and the S-Pen isn’t something everyone is looking for. If you are a fan of the Note series though and looking for an upgrade, look no further.

Pros
• Superb Performance
• Great Output from Cameras

Cons
• Steep Pricing
• S-Pen isn’t for Everyone

S22 Ultra 5G design

Design

In terms of their overall design, we’ve seen Samsung take the more minimal approach to their devices and we really appreciate it. The Ultra looks absolutely sleek without the behemoth camera bump from last year and we are big fans of its so-called Floating Cameras. Now you are getting a matte finish on this device but it still seems to catch fingerprints and since we did get the Phantom Black colorway, it was pretty hard to ignore the dust, as well as the lint, that would collect around each of the cameras on the phone.

Yes, its silhouette definitely resembles the Note series with its squared-off edges and makes the Ultra vastly different from its siblings. This changes the ergonomics for the Ultra as well and there’s no denying that this phone is a little hard to handle given its size.

Samsung did give the S22 Ultra some curves to make it sit in the hand more comfortably but this is a two-handed smartphone that will require some hand gymnastics to operate. Its massive size doesn’t make it easy to be taken around. It didn’t quite feel secure when tucking it into pants pockets and, in shorts, it almost felt like it would simply fall out. We found ourselves using a sling bag when we took this device with us to make sure it was safe and sound.

S22 Ultra 5G Display

Display

It’s pretty much a spiel for us at this point when we say that Samsung makes some of the best displays in the town and that hasn’t changed with the S22 Ultra 5G. You’ve got a 6.8-inch QHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x Display so getting work done (We’re actually writing most of this review on the Ultra) or taking a quick YouTube break is an absolute treat.

One thing you may be concerned about is the curve of the display but it isn’t the most drastic we’ve seen. There is a decent level of palm rejection but you can expect some accidental touches here and there just because of the sheer size of the device. Don’t worry. It’s nothing game-breaking but we do prefer having a flat display.

You also get a solid set of speakers to compliment the screen on the Ultra that provide a wonderful experience whether you’re watching a quick K-Pop M/V or need to learn something through a quick tutorial on YouTube.

S22 Ultra 5G S-Pen

New to the S series this year is the inclusion of the S-Pen; effectively making a Note device in spirit. They’ve made improvements to its latency this year, and, while we aren’t really experts when it comes to the use of a stylus, it did feel very responsive as we signed documents and when we had to jot down tiny little notes to help visualize things better at meetings. Not everyone is going to see value in the S-Pen but we know that Samsung made the Note series and now the Ultra with a specific user in mind.

S22 Ultra 5G Camera Array

Cameras

To give you a recap, the cameras on the rear consist of a 108MP wide-angle camera, a 12MP ultra-wide, and two 10MP telephoto cams; with one going up to 3x optical zoom, while the other goes all the way to 10x. Now, according to the folks over at DxOMark, the S22 Ultra doesn’t break the top ten on their charts but we’ve been happy with the photos we’ve gotten on it.

For our S22 Ultra 5G review, we’ve found that shots taken outdoors have good exposure and color reproduction. Of course, there is some post-processing happening to give it that Samsung twist but nothing too excessive.

One thing that we noticed is that the portrait mode does a fantastic job with its simulated bokeh and is one of the cleanest integrations of this feature we’ve seen on flagship phones with the cutouts worthy of a chef’s kiss.

Unfortunately, the Ultra does lag behind some of the other high-end phones we’ve been able to try out in the last few months when it comes to low-light photography. While the photos generally look good, the devil is in the details as they say and we were expecting a bit more from a device that’s labeled as an Ultra device.

We were thoroughly impressed with the video capabilities in our initial S22 Ultra 5G review and that still is the case. It has decent stabilization even if you don’t use their Super Steady feature even if you choose to shoot in 8K (with a crop) and the exposure is quick to adjust to lighting conditions too.

Performance and Battery Life

Under the hood of all members of the S series is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which was a pretty big surprise for all of us since we are used to getting Exynos here in the Philippines. For our unit, this is paired with 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

 

For day-to-day use, there’s really not much to complain about during the time we’ve spent crafting this Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra 5G review. The SD8 Gen 1 definitely pumps out a massive amount of power that for our use — which we’re guessing is more or less on point for whom the Ultra is targeted towards — was more than we needed to get serious work done on the go.

The results of our benchmark tests were also good to see and you can really see a significant jump from the S21 Ultra that we got to test out last year. Understandably, there is some concern about heating with this chipset and we do have to mention that we did experience the temps rising as we took this out to shoot sample photos at a nearby cafe.

As for battery life, the 5000mAh capacity of the Ultra gave us enough juice to last the day when we had errands to run and were away from our trusty WiFi connection at home. Mind you, we had the screen maxed out for both resolutions and refresh rate so you can dial down to squeeze out more power if you really need it. We also ran a YouTube loop test to see how long the phone would last and it clocks in at 14 hours and 40 minutes, which isn’t bad at all.

You are getting 45W wired charging on the Ultra this year but, unfortunately, they do not include the charger in the box. We ended up using a third-party charger to juice up the device that’s rated at 65W, which saw it get a full charge in about an hour and 15 minutes.

Wrap Up and Conclusion

We’ve been loving the week or so we’ve spent with this phone and crafting our S22 Ultra 5G review. We can confidently say that this is truly the best of the best Samsung has to offer in terms of sheer muscle, camera prowess, and feature set.

A Note in spirit, the inclusion of the S-Pen could make this a great choice for those who may need to scribble down notes or sign documents on the fly. This isn’t exactly a make-or-break feature but condensing down their product line is a good play in our book.

The biggest consideration here is definitely its price tag. While you can snag the base model of the Ultra at Php 68,990 that’s still a rather steep price to pay; even more so if you want to max out on RAM and storage at Php 72,990 for the 12GB/256GB and Php 80,990 for the 12GB/512GB variant. Of course, you can always snag the Ultra through your local telco of choice.

For those who aren’t willing to shell out the dough for the added features and S-Pen though, the S22 and S22+ still make a formidable choice if you want an S series device. You can also check out Samsung’s website for some pretty awesome pre-order deals if you do decide to pick any of the S22 series.

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