Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Review: Plus-sized reason to skip the iPhone 13, iQOO 9 Pro

    The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is simply a great Android flagship to live with, beating the iPhone 13, iQOO 9 Pro in key areas. Read our review to see whether you should buy it.
    By: AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
    | Updated on: May 27 2022, 13:39 IST
    The price of Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus starts at Rs. 84,999,
    The price of Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus starts at Rs. 84,999, (Amritanshu/HT Tech)
    The price of Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus starts at Rs. 84,999,
    The price of Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus starts at Rs. 84,999, (Amritanshu/HT Tech)

    While the Galaxy S22 Ultra won us over with its overall appeal and an exhaustive feature-list, it is simply an overkill for those who want a high-end practical phone that just works! Not everybody needs a 10X optical zoom camera, or the S Pen stylus, or that some people like flat displays, or the fact that some don't want to spend above Rs. 1 lakh! The Galaxy S22 Plus fits the bill perfectly then, offering everything the entry-level Galaxy S22 offers, and then some.

    Starting at Rs. 84,999, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is the saner version of the Ultra that makes more sense on a daily basis for the commoners. It has got some notable upgrades over the S21 Plus from 2021, and takes on the iPhone 13 head-on. On paper, the S22 Plus makes the iPhone 13 look antique, especially when the cameras are concerned. Is this then the phone that can dislodge the iPhone 13 from the pedestal the world has awarded it over the last six months?

    I have been living with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus for over a week and here's my full review.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Design

    The Galaxy S22 Plus may look like a mildly tweaked version of the S21 Plus but there are enough changes that make this seem like a completely new phone. Not kidding, look at the sides carefully – they are flatter and thicker but with a gentler curve. The edges are sharper, the rear glass is flatter, and that camera hump doesn't flow into the sides anymore. Hence, despite having an identical look, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus looks more elegant to look and hold.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)

    It isn't very comfortable to hold though! The 195 grams weight is notable and those iPhone-mimicking sharp edges dig into the palms. My Phantom Black unit happily resisted scratches for the while I carried it around but it smudges very easily. With Armor Aluminium sides and Gorilla Glass Victus Plus, this is a very durable phone and should hold well against accidental waist-height drops.

    Look at the front, however, and the mind begs to believe! The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus has the slimmest display bezels I have ever seen on any smartphone! Not even the Ultra is on such a strict diet! With a tiny front camera cutout, this is the most amount of display you can have on any phone at this price; the iPhone 13 simply looks outdated in comparison with its ugly notch.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Display

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)

    Since you pay less than the Ultra, you get a little less on the display. The display is smaller at 6.6-inches, lesser variable refresh rate, and a lower FHD+ resolution. However, it is still a Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel that can hit peak brightness levels of 1750 nits! And unless you are pixel peeping, this display on the S22 Plus looks as good as on the S22 Ultra. It makes everything seem alive with great colours and contrasts, keeps interactions smooth, and has an ultrasonic fingerprint scanner that works like a charm all the time. If you watch a lot of Netflix or browse social media a lot, you will love doing it on the S22 Plus.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Performance

    With the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip at the helm, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is among the fastest Android phones you can buy today. However, this phone is more tuned for optimised smoother experiences on mundane phone stuff than outright gaming performance. Hence, while you can play all those games such BGMI and Call of Duty: Mobile at the highest of settings, the S22 Plus heats up soon after and you might see occasional frame drops after a while. That said, the stereo speakers do a great job in offering a loud and rich audio feedback during gaming sessions, but a tad inferior to the S22 Ultra's speakers.

    When you are not gaming, the Galaxy S22 Plus in my opinion offers the best user experience of any smartphone now. You see Samsung's One UI 4.1 based on Android 12 as a very well-put-together experience that surpasses the bland iOS 15 on the iPhone 13. The interface has colourful elements to spruce up the mood, offers hundreds of customisation options to make it more personal, and a great notifications management system. Typical of Samsung, there are loads of pre-loaded third-party apps from Microsoft and Samsung itself, but most of them can be removed. Plus, there are no ads displayed within, except for the Samsung Push service showing big Samsung announcements.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)

    One UI 4.1 has loads of extras to make life just a tad easier, and making it difficult to switch to other flavours of Android. For example, Motorola's MyUX 3 looks beautiful and cool but doesn't offer features like Media Output management, a loaded sidebar, and an integrated MyPhone companion support for Windows laptops.

    While the S22 Plus supports 5G networks, we could only test 4G at the moment and so far, it has kept hold of its network even in my basement parking. The same holds true for Wi-Fi and mobile data connectivity.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Cameras

    With its updated camera sensors, I had high hopes for the Galaxy S22 Plus' cameras. However, this has let me down a bit. I am all too familiar with Samsung's colourful and high contrast photo tuning from its cameras but the system on the Galaxy S22 Plus isn't well tuned. It narrowly loses out to the iPhone 13 in terms of overall image quality.

    The main 50MP camera takes great looking photos in both day and night conditions, with loads of details and higher brightness. Colours are always boosted which looks appealing almost all the time. That said, it leaves the shadows and darker regions too dark, and overall colour temperature is always a tad cooler. The white balance is fine but Samsung's tuning amps it up a notch.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)

    The same colour science is carried over to the 12MP ultra-wide camera but there's a loss in details (this is fine though since you don't usually zoom into ultra-wide photos). The 10MP telephoto camera is useful for portraits and general magnification until 3X, and is acceptable until 10X. Beyond that, it is all an oil painting. Portrait mode photos show exceptional subject separation that the iPhone 13 can never manage.

    When it comes to video performance, the footage quality in 4k at 30 fps and 1080p at 30 fps looks great, with the same high contrast look with boosted colours. Low light videos end looking soft and gain some grains. The iPhone 13 has an edge here with its overall video quality. But if you want to vlog on this camera, you won't be disappointed, especially with the Director's View and Pro Mode.

    Click here for photo samples

    Lastly, the 10MP selfie camera performs well for still photos. The sharpness isn't as high as the 40MP camera on the Ultra but the overall look seems pleasant. Lots of detailing and great subject separation in portrait mode photos – Samsung has nailed the edge detection algorithms.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Battery

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)

    With its 4500mAh battery, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus can easily last an entire day with moderate use cases, which include dealing with voice calls, some video calls, an hour of gaming, some photography sessions, and 2-3 hours of browsing. Battery optimization on the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip is impressive. Samsung bakes in the support for 45W fast wired charging, and I observed a 10-100 percent charge in 1 hour 15 minutes on an average (thanks to the 68W Motorola charging adapter). The 15W wireless charging returns, which is beneficial too.

    Verdict

    Samsung delivers highly on the hardware front once again, proving that it can build superior phones than Apple. The Galaxy S22 Plus is better built than the iPhone 13, and certainly looks nicer (and modern). Its 120Hz AMOLED display is a joy to behold while its cameras offer a lot of versatility, with great portrait mode photos. Even the battery life is great for a phone of its class, matching the iPhone 13 with equal use case scenarios. Samsung's One UI experience is sublime and pretty, and its 4 OS updates promise is reassuring for those who want to use it for several years.

    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus (Amritanshu/HT Tech)

    The drawbacks come in the form of the overall camera tuning, where the processing seems to be over aggressive. Make no mistake, the photos and videos look superb but it can't match the iPhone 13 and the Oppo Find X5 Pro in terms of colour balance and overall treatment. And since we are nit-picking, those sharp edges affect the comfort factor. Also, the iQOO 9 Pro outdoes the S22 Plus with its overall performance and faster charging tech.

    On the whole though, I had more fun using the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus than the iPhone 13. At Rs. 84,999, this is the most complete and safe choice you can buy today. It is the ONE reason you should not buy an iPhone 13 or the iQOO 9 Pro.

    Rating
    4.5 out of 5
    Price
    INR 84,999/-
    Product Name
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus
    Brand Name
    Samsung
    Pros
    • Elegant design
    • Good cameras
    • Solid user experience
    Cons
    • Camera tuning
    Specifications
    • Display
      6.6-inch Full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X 120Hz
    • Chipset
      Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
    • Rear Cameras
      50MP + 10MP + 12MP
    • Front Camera
      10MP
    • Battery
      4500mAh
    • Charging
      45W wired, 15W wireless
    • Water, Dust Resistance
      IP68 certified
    • OS
      One UI 4.1 on Android 12

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    First Published Date: 13 Mar, 07:49 IST
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