Samsung’s Galaxy S22+ ($999.99) is a crowd-pleaser. It has reliable reception, a bright screen, solid cameras, and good battery life. None of this is surprising; Samsung’s Galaxy phones are the default choices for most Android users in the US, and certainly for existing Samsung device owners who want to upgrade. The S22+ is the middle child of the S22 lineup—it doesn’t have an S Pen like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and isn’t as compact as the S22. In other years, that could make it forgettable, but this time around the S22+ strikes the best balance between performance, value, and portability of the three. At the high end of the Android phone market in the US, the S22+ competes only with the $899 Google Pixel 6 Pro. Google’s flagship is more affordable and has better cameras, but the S22+ offers a stronger processor and cellular radio, earning it our Editors’ Choice award.
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A Better Body and a Delightful Display
Samsung sells two versions of the S22+ in the US: each offers 8GB of RAM, but you can choose between 128GB ($999.99) or 256GB ($1,049.99) of storage. Pick carefully, because without a microSD card slot, that’s all the space you get.
The design of last year’s Galaxy S21+ was disappointing for a $1,000 phone. The back material felt cheap and plasticky, especially compared with the matte-metal texture of the Galaxy S21 Ultra. That’s part of the reason why the S21 Ultra won our Editors’ Choice award instead of the S21+.
The Galaxy S22+ (left) has a more durable and premium-feeling body than the Galaxy S21+ (center) or Galaxy S20+ (right)
(Photo: Molly Flores)
Thankfully, the Galaxy S22+ feels much more premium. The back material has a silky matte feel and seems more resistant to scratches than the even-more-matte coating on the S22 Ultra. However, the phone is very slippery. It’s on my desk right now, slowly, inexorably moving toward the edge; only the friction from the camera bump prevents it from sliding around like a hockey puck. Like all the other models in the current Galaxy lineup, the S22+ carries an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. And like the S22, the S22+ is available in black, green, pink, or white. I tested a pink S22+ and a green S22. The pink is a delicate pastel and the green is a sober dark-forest color.
At approximately 6.19 by 2.98 by 0.29 inches (HWD) and 6.91 ounces, the Galaxy S22+ is shorter and lighter than the S21+ (6.35 by 2.98 by 0.31 inches, 7.13 ounces) and thus easier to handle. That said, the S22+ is still bigger and wider (albeit lighter) than the iPhone 13 Pro (5.78 by 2.82 by 0.30 inches, 7.2 ounces).
The Galaxy S22+ (left) seems more resistant to scratches than the S22 Ultra (right)
(Photo: Molly Flores)
A slight change in aspect ratio means that last year’s 6.7-inch screen is now a 6.6-inch one, but both sport the same 2,340-by-1,080-pixel resolution. I like the change; the 20:9 aspect ratio on the S21+ looked very skinny, while the 19.5:9 ratio here appears more natural to my eye.
The screen on the S22+ is brighter than the one on the S21+, and just as bright as the S22 Ultra. With a peak brightness of 1,750 nits, the panel is easy to see outdoors. It refreshes dynamically between 48Hz and 120Hz, but you can lock it to 60Hz if you prefer. The S22 Ultra is the only model in the lineup with a Quad HD screen; the S22+ uses a FHD+ panel like the S22.
Phones in the S22 series use the same Qualcomm ultrasonic fingerprint sensor as those in the S21 lineup, but the technology works more reliably on the newer models. Whereas my S21 Ultra has trouble with fingertip and side-of-finger touches, the S22+ registers my finger more quickly and accurately.
Boosted Radio and Wi-Fi 6E Support
The new Qualcomm X65 modem is absolutely a reason to upgrade to the S22+ or any of the latest Galaxy phones. This chip is the first to support AT&T’s new 3.45GHz spectrum, which is set to enhance the carrier’s performance later in 2022. Plus, it offers better reception in areas with a weak signal compared with previous models that lack the X65 modem. In testing, I found that the S22+ had a consistently stronger signal in less ideal environments compared with an S21+ that I connected to the same tower. In most cases, this advantage led to better performance.
The US versions of the S22+ have a single physical SIM plus a secondary eSIM slot. Carriers may choose to disable the eSIM, however, so watch out for that complication. As with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung manufactures six different international models of the S22+ (our Galaxy S22 Ultra review covers those variants in more detail). We strongly recommend that you buy the right model for your country if you want to use features such as Wi-Fi calling or millimeter-wave 5G.
A Qualcomm FastConnect 6900 chipset provides Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E connectivity for the Galaxy S22+ and S22 Ultra. The smaller S22, however, lacks Wi-Fi 6E support. That’s not a big deal now—Wi-Fi 6E routers are rare and very expensive—but mainstream adoption may be only a few years away.
A millimeter-wave antenna window shows that all US Galaxy S22+ models support all US 5G features
(Photo: Molly Flores)
All of the S22 models (as well as the upcoming OnePlus 10 Pro) use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset. I saw about a 9% to 13% CPU performance lift and a 20% GPU performance advantage over last year’s S21 phones in testing. That said, differences in thermal controls and firmware settings can lead to inconsistent results between devices, so consider those numbers as more of a guideline.
The S22+ performs the best out of the three S22 models, likely due to its better heat management. When I ran a benchmark called CPU Throttling Test that hammers the CPU for 15 minutes, the S22+ stayed cooler—and thus ran faster—than both its siblings for the first 10 minutes of the test. The S22+ throttled hard at the end, but over the length of the test, its average performance (254kGIPS) exceeded that of the S22 Ultra (249kGIPS) and the S22 (223kGIPS).
Battery life from the S22+’s 4,500mAh cell is good, although not as good as the S22 Ultra’s 5,000mAh battery. The phone lasted 10 hours and 30 minutes in our rundown test (in which we continuously stream HD video over Wi-Fi), roughly equal to a day of full use. The larger S22 Ultra ran for a bit over 12 hours, while the smaller S22 lasted only nine hours.
5G connections are taxing on a device’s battery life. In an additional test, the S22+ lasted for roughly six hours of nonstop, full-brightness, 5G streaming over T-Mobile’s network with audio playing through the speaker. That’s a tough test for any phone, and the result here is fine, but not exceptional. The S22 ran for around five hours under the same circumstances; if you use your phone heavily, it’s likely not a suitable option.
Samsung’s claim of 45W fast charging is perplexing. I timed how long it took to fully charge all of the models in the S22 lineup via Samsung’s 45W accessory charger. All of them have different battery capacities, but suspiciously, they all charged in about 75 minutes.
Looking at the charging curve, the S22+ charged to 14% in the first five minutes and to 32% in 15 minutes. But the phone’s charging speed slowed dramatically when it reached the 80% mark, and the last 7% of the charge (from 93% to 100%) took 15 minutes.
The S22 Ultra, with its bigger 5,000mAh battery, initially charged more slowly—to 24% in the first 15 minutes—but also hit the brakes at 80%. The S22, meanwhile, doesn’t even support 45W charging; it maxes out at 25W. Early in its cycle of charging, the smaller 3,700mAh cell takes less power in—it gets to 28% in 15 minutes—but later in the cycle, it doesn’t throttle speeds like the other two phones.
Samsung is clearly throttling the charging speeds to either extend the battery cell’s lifespan or to protect against heat. Whether this practice is necessary is another question entirely. OnePlus and Oppo phones, for example, charge much more quickly overall.
Along with 45W fast charging, the S22+ supports 15W wireless charging and wireless reverse charging. The phone doesn’t come with a charger, however, so you need to purchase one separately if you don’t already have one.
Camera Hardware and Features
The Galaxy S22+ has a 50MP main camera that takes 12MP photos using a four-pixel binning method; a 12MP ultra-wide lens; a 10MP, 3x optical zoom sensor; and a 10MP front-facing camera. The smaller S22 has the same camera system.
In good light and at 1x, it’s tough to tell photos from the Galaxy S21 (left) and Galaxy S22+ (right) apart
The camera stack is an improvement over the Galaxy S21+ in one key area: The 64MP main camera on the S21+ simulates the 3x zoom digitally, rather than optically. Therefore, the zoom images from the S22+ look a little sharper and a little more in focus than those from the S21+.
3x zoom on the Galaxy S22+ (right) is a bit sharper than on the Galaxy S21 (left)
Night shots also work faster on both the S22+ and S22 than on the S21. In low-light environments, the S22 models took two seconds to record a shot, whereas the S21 took three seconds; the images from the S22 phones look better, too.
I don’t see much of a difference between the images from the ultra-wide and wide-angle cameras on the S22+ compared with those from the S22 Ultra. Photos from the S22 Ultra’s zoom lens are even sharper in low-light situations, however. The S22+, of course, lacks the Ultra’s 10x zoom lens.
The Galaxy S22 (right) takes distinctly sharper zoom photos in low-light scenarios than the Galaxy S21 (left)
By comparison, Google’s Pixel 6 Pro has slightly better cameras. Images I took with that phone have more vibrant colors, making photos from the S22+ appear comparatively washed out.
The Google Pixel 6 Pro (left) delivers somewhat better colors than the Galaxy S22+ (right)
Video recording on the Galaxy S22+ goes to 8K at 24fps, just like on the prior models and the S22 Ultra.
The phone has a new Auto Framing feature that can track people as they move around a frame. In practice, the capability seems pretty limited and is no substitute for manually following someone with the camera.
Software and Upgrade Timeline
The most exciting news on the software front is that Samsung pledges to update the phone to Android 16 and send security updates to it through the Android 17 cycle.
The S22+ runs a custom version of Android 12 that revolves around Samsung’s One UI overlay. This latest version of the software enables better integrations with Google and Microsoft services. For example, the phone now defaults to both the Chrome browser and Google Messages. The latter app notably supports the RCS protocol; with RCS, Android users finally get the read receipts and typing indicators that iPhone owners have had for years with iMessage. (Messages isn’t compatible with iMessage, though.)
Microsoft’s Your Phone app is another standout software feature. It lets you manage text messages, mirror apps, and drag and drop files between your phone and Windows PC. I use it daily, many times a day; it’s a fine alternative to Apple’s Continuity feature.
Unfortunately, Samsung still attaches Bixby, its lackluster voice assistant, to the phone’s side key. You can disable that button and simply use the “Hey Google” command to launch Google Assistant instead.
The phone’s assistive features for the mildly hearing-impaired are the same as on the Galaxy S22 Ultra. Head over to that review for the full details on those tools.
(Photo: Molly Flores)
The Best Galaxy This Time Around
At the moment, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 phones are effectively the only true Android flagships available in the US, because they’re the only ones with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and X65 modem. The OnePlus 10 Pro may soon arrive with the same specs, while Samsung is likely to launch a Flip and a Fold this fall with the latest hardware, and Motorola might be up to something as well. But until something unseats them, the S22 phones are the ones to beat.
The small Galaxy S22 is a delightful size for one-handed use, but I’m concerned that its battery life is on the edge of acceptable. Many people care deeply about battery life, and the direct link between phone size and battery has prevented smaller premium handsets from selling well for a few years now.
The S22 Ultra, on the other hand, has the best battery life in the lineup, a 10x camera, and a built-in slot for the included S Pen stylus. It’s also huge, heavy, and expensive. The S22 Ultra is the natural (and worthy) successor to Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, a lineup that had loyal fans (including my wife, an artist). The S22 Ultra should appeal most to that same audience.
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ is the most well rounded of the bunch, with the right mix of battery life, power, and size for the price. It sports a better zoom camera, feels more premium, and offers superior reception than the Galaxy S21+. If you’re still using an S20 series phone or earlier, those improvements are even more numerous and noticeable, making it an excellent upgrade. While it doesn’t exactly break new ground, the Galaxy S22+ is the best flaghsip Android phone for most people, and the winner of our Editors’ Choice award.
The Bottom Line
The Samsung Galaxy S22+ blends top-notch connectivity and performance with the best mix of features and size for the price, making it the flagship Android phone to beat.
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