Hands-On, Smartphone

Samsung Galaxy S22 & S22+ Hands-On: Better Design, Brighter Screens, Slight Price Hike

The Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ may not get the “Note DNA” like the bigger S22 Ultra, but for those that don’t need the S Pen, these two flagship phones are now better than ever. Not only do they get a slightly redesigned, more ergonomically-friendly chassis, they also get some noteworthy upgrades in other aspects.

Of course, with these added improvements, there is a slight price hike, but curiously, this only applies to the Galaxy S22+ and S22 Ultra. Anyway, if you’re looking for a capable, sleek flagship phone, it’s worth shortlisting the standard S22 and S22+.

First, let’s talk prices. The Galaxy S22 is offered in two variants: 128GB (RM3,499) and 256GB (RM3,699), both with 8GB of RAM. Compared to its predecessor, the S22 sits at the exact same price points. Given all of the upgrades you’re getting with the new model, it’s great that Samsung managed to retain the same prices.

It’s a little different for the larger Galaxy S22+. Also offered in two models – both with 8GB of RAM as well – the 128GB configuration goes for RM4,099 (a RM100 increase over the S21+), while the 256GB variant costs RM4,299 (no price increase!). That’s right, if you want the 256GB model, you’re paying the same amount of money for the S22+.

Unlike the Galaxy S21 series, the differences between the S22 and S22+ are not quite as much. The two phones only differ in three areas: display, charging speed, and of course, battery capacity.

The S22+ has a larger (and brighter) 6.6-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X screen, while the S22 is packed with a similar, but more compact 6.1-inch panel. Naturally, both of them have a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate between 10Hz to 120Hz.

In terms of charging speed, the Galaxy S22 can do up to 45W fast charging, while the regular S22 maxes out at 25W. As for battery capacity, the S22+ has a 4,500mAh cell; 3,700mAh battery for the S22.

Beyond these differences, the Galaxy S22 and S22+ share the same hardware. These include a fast Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset – yes, the Malaysian market is finally getting the Snapdragon version instead of the usual Exynos variant – the same triple camera system (50MP primary + 12MP ultra-wide angle + 10MP telephoto), and a 10MP selfie camera.

That means you can expect to get the same level of performance and camera capability with the Galaxy S22 and S22+, not to mention the same build quality. After all, last year’s S21 had a polycarbonate back, while the S21+ got a more premium glass back.

Speaking of which, I really, really like the new design of the S22 and S22+. Aside from the fact that both phone feature glass backs now, their frames are also flatter. This makes for a more ergonomically-friendly device, as it’s much easier to get a good grip on the phone with the flat sides.

It’s worth noting that the glass back panel of both phones also have a slight bevel near the frame. It’s a small touch, to be sure, but it does give the devices that extra bit of refinement. All in all, these are well-built, premium-looking phones that also feel great in the hands.

Another positive of the Galaxy S22 and S22+ are their bright and vibrant Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays. Though the S22+’s screen is brighter on paper, both of them look equally stunning with deep blacks, wide viewing angles, and fast refresh rate for an extra fluid user experience.

While the Full HD+ resolution of the S22 and S22+’s displays don’t quite compare to the sharper QHD+ panel of the S22 Ultra, it’s really a non-issue – in my opinion, at least. Unless you’re comparing the two displays side-by-side, it’s not easy to tell the difference in screen quality.

In short, you’re still getting a stunning, vibrant AMOLED screen with the S22 and S22+.

Last but definitely not least is the camera performance of the Galaxy S22 and S22+. In my brief time with the two phones at the media preview, the triple camera system feels very capable with fast autofocus, good detail preservation, and responsive camera interface.

Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to share images taken with the two phones at the preview, and given the brief nature of my testing, I can’t quite give a definitive impression of the camera performance. For what it’s worth, the images I took with the phones do look very promising.

Overall, the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ improved upon their respective predecessors quite a bit, especially the former. Not only does it retain its (relatively) compact form factor, the S22 finally gets more premium build quality – while still sitting at the same price points.

Yes, the S22 and S22+ are not significantly different over the previous models, but Samsung has made improvements in areas that matter. As a result, these two phones are more refined, sleeker, and most importantly, more ergonomically-friendly with flatter sides.

Yes, I really do like the redesigned chassis of the two phones quite a bit. You have to hold them in person to grasp just how nice they feel in the hands now!

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