Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Review: The Best Android Phone?

By Richard Goodwin •  Updated: 06/13/22 •  13 min read

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the most well-known phones on the market right now. But is it the best Android phone money can buy? Let’s find out…


The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t just Samsung’s current flagship phone, it also represents the second coming of the company’s now defunct Galaxy Note. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra ships with a built-in S-Pen, you see, alongside a brighter display, improved camera performance, and more power than ever before. As flagships go, this phone is arguably the one to beat in 2022.

Picking up where the Galaxy S21 Ultra left off, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra adds in support for 45W fast charging, up from 30W on the S21, a brand new, vastly improved rear camera module, the same slick design we all know and love, and one of the best and brightest displays in the business. And, of course, the S-Pen, so, no… the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra isn’t an incremental update. It is a very significant update.

To be frank, Samsung wants its Galaxy S22 Ultra to supplant Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max as the go-to flagship phone for anyone that is looking for the absolute best performance – whether you’re talking about software, its stylus support, or its camera. Indeed, Samsung has invested heavily in the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s camera in a bid to usurp both Apple and Google’s Pixel 6. It now has a bigger main sensor for better low-light photos, AI-optimized portrait mode, and a new Super Clear lens.

But ALL of this will cost you quite a bit of money; the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most expensive phone of its kind on the market. It costs more than Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max, Google’s Pixel 6 Pro, and the OnePlus 10 Pro. And not by a little, by as much as $300 in some cases. The main question, then, is not whether this phone is good – we know that it is brilliant – but whether it is worth all that extra money?

Let’s take a look at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s specs first, then we’ll look at some Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra reviews, and finally do some analysis of the phone in a bid to find out whether it is worth its asking price? Or, would you be better off going with the cheaper OnePlus 10 Pro or Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro Max? Let’s find out…

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s specs and hardware are, as you’d expect, mightily impressive. But at this price point, that is to be expected. You have plenty of RAM, up to 1TB of storage, a massive 6.8in Dynamic AMOLED screen with a 120Hz refresh rate, and a 5000mAh battery inside that comes with 45W fast charging abilities. All very impressive, indeed.

But there are some things you need to keep in mind, and the most significant is which CPU your S22 Ultra runs. If you’re in the USA, you’ll get a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with Qualcomm’s monstrously potent Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset, but if you’re in the UK or elsewhere your Galaxy S22 Ultra will be running Samsung’s own Exynos 2200 chipset. Both chipsets support 5G, of course, but the Gen 1 is said to be a better overall chipset than the Exynos 2200 – but only by a smidge.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Review: The Best Android Phone?
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Multiple tests of both chips have confirmed that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2200 are fairly evenly matched with respect to performance. The only area where the Snapdragon outperforms the Exynos 2200 chip is when you’re looking at GPU performance. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1’s GPU performance is very impressive, nearly as good as Apple’s A15 CPU. Is this an issue? For the average user, I wouldn’t say so – the Exynos 2200 is still very, very powerful.

Even with things like high-end mobile gaming and image and video editing, most people will not be able to tell the difference – or discrepancy – between the Exynos and Snapdragon variants. You will see it in benchmark tools, of course, but these aren’t really reflective of real-world performance or how people actually use their phones. Neither of the chips has any issues with overheating either – both run cool, even at high output, and are extremely efficient systems. Basically, you’re never going to be wanting for performance.

You also get the S-Pen too, and it comes built-in. And this isn’t just the same ol’ S-Pen as before. No, Samsung has improved it massively. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s S-Pen is now more functional than ever and it works across the entirety of Samsung’s UX, so you can take notes, doodle, and draw wherever and whenever inspiration strikes. There’s even a built-in app called PenUp, where you can learn to draw professionally for free which is a really neat addition.

And with cameras, Samsung used much the same module as it did on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. You have 2x 10MP telephoto lenses, 1x 12MP ultra wide, and a 108MP wide main lens with an 85º field of view. But while the hardware is the same, the software that powers the lenses is much improved. With the S22 Ultra, you’ll find improvements to nearly every aspect of the camera – everything has been refined and optimized, from optical image stabilization to its Super Steady System. Samsung’s zoom capabilities are now beyond impressive – even at 30x and 100x Space Zoom. In this context, Samsung is way ahead of the pack.

That’s my hot take on what makes the Galaxy S22 Ultra tick. Now, let’s take a look at a cross section of Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra reviews to build up a wider picture of whether or not this phone is worth buying in 2022. After the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra reviews section, I’ll do a little recap, covering off caveats, things to keep in mind, and my own two cents on whether or not you should buy this phone.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Reviews

95

Tom’s Guide

95

TechRadar

88

Phone Arena

95

Creative Bloq

100

Guardian

95

Tech Advisor

Is The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Worth It?

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the best Android phones you can buy right now. Actually, scratch that: it is one of THE best phones you can buy right now. It has incredible performance, a brilliant camera, one of the best displays in the business, tons of storage, and one of the nicest Android overlays available. For this reason, I would argue that it is well worth the asking price.
The only potential issue with getting the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra right now is that there are plenty of cheaper alternatives available that, in many ways, are just as good. I’m talking, of course, about phones like the OnePlus 10 Pro, the soon-to-be-announced Nothing Phone 1, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max. And these phones are ALL cheaper than Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra. And if you’re on a tighter budget this year, like a lot of people, it might be prudent to look at those options first.

If you don’t care about the cost and know what you want, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is by far and away the most complete, functional, and well-appointed Android phone you can get right now. It does everything you’ll ever need, and it does it all exceptionally well. Plus, it comes with an S-Pen too, so you can use it to take notes and even learn how to draw using the PenUp application. From a raw performance perspective, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a powerhouse, easily the best in the business.

If you want the best of the best, and you want an Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is easily the best buy right now. Just be warned, it is very expensive and you can get much the same for less elsewhere. I’d argue the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra’s execution is near-perfect, however; there are no “weak” areas. This is why you’ll pay so much, whereas with another phone you’ll pay less but it won’t be quite so seamlessly polished.

It is this overall polish and attention to detail, in every aspect of the phone and its software and performance, that makes the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra so very, very special (and expensive). And if you can stomach the price, there are plenty of excellent deals up for grabs now.

samsung galaxy s22 ultra review
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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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