Since 2020, Samsung has unveiled three new Galaxy S every year. Rebelote in 2022 with the Galaxy S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra. After laying our hands on the most luxurious of them, we made the smaller model our main smartphone. Still sold from 859 euros, it remains in direct competition with the iPhone 13, available from 909 euros. To maintain this “small format”, Samsung has made more concessions compared to the Ultra version. But the failure of the Korean manufacturer to provide a stable processor causes it to lose precious points in its battle against the iPhone 13.
The perfect compact
Visually, Samsung knows how to do it and takes over last year’s copy almost line by line. The integration of camera modules has not been revised as on the Ultra version, but it was not as necessary. As in 2021, its plastic back will make you doubt as the differences against the glass seem so small. The finishes are excellent and the grip pleasant. The biggest evolution in terms of design ultimately lies in the contours of the device. They are now aluminum. To the eye, the detail hits the mark even if the progress, overall, remains minimal. But the great strength, in our opinion, of this 2022 vintage remains its compactness. With a 6.1-inch screen and its featherweight 168 grams, the Galaxy S22 is one of the smallest smartphones on the market with, on paper, few sacrifices. We will see later in this test that it is actually not devoid of them.
The quality of the screen is there.
Since we mentioned the sacrifices, know that Samsung continues to offer a 1080p screen. Information that could seem scandalous in 2022 and yet, given the size of the screen, the density of 422 pixels per point is far from shameful. Even if the exceptional brightness of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is not achieved, with an average of 875 cd / m², the S22 is at the top of the basket in its price category. Even in extreme light conditions, the screen is clearly visible and remains beautiful. The adaptive frame rate up to 120 Hz is always there, which provides a certain comfort of use.
As usual, Samsung produces quality screens, but performs some questionable color grading. With the default settings, we measured a Delta E of 7.34 on the S22. Remember that the closer this figure is to 1, the more realistic the colors are, this gives you an idea of the difference… The Korean manufacturer nevertheless knows how to offer fairly realistic colors. The proof, it offers in its settings to set the screen to “Natural” mode. Our Delta E measurement by our laboratory then drops to 2.68, a more satisfactory figure.
One UI 4.1: always on top
A quick word on the operating system, One UI 4.1 is in the game and we reconfirm that it is one of the best mobile OS of the moment. Able to relieve our hands on the largest models, on this very compact format, it’s really happiness. One-handed use in all circumstances made possible by the 6.1-inch screen does justice to the qualities of this overlay.
An amazing pocket camera
So far, the S22 stood out relatively little from its predecessor. When it comes to photography, Samsung has also done well.
The main sensor, 24 mm equivalent, is now 50 megapixels against 12 last year. The idea here is to have lots of pixels to allow the system to collect as much information as possible and actually create a better shot. To be frank, we haven’t seen any real improvement from last year. Note all the same that the photos taken using this sensor remain in what is best today. We note all the same that the colorimetry of the photos is a little more realistic and that the management of the dynamic range has improved.
It was about time, but Samsung is finally offering a true 70mm equivalent telephoto lens. The Galaxy S21 offered a bit of an odd mix with a 64MP sensor, while being 29mm equivalent. We suddenly had a half-digital, half-optical zoom not really up to the reputation of the Korean.
And now, are we satisfied? Yes ! Especially since the shots are successful with good light conditions, but also at night.
This year, Samsung has communicated a lot about night photography. We also had the opportunity to test the S22 Ultra and it is true that the results on the main sensor and the X3 optical zoom are good. Here, same observation. The situations where these two sensors will let you down at night are far from legion. We still have the impression that it is a bit worse than on the S22 Ultra, but frankly, at 859 euros, we are not going to be picky.
You will notice that we have not yet mentioned the ultra wide-angle sensor, equivalent to 13 mm. The reason is quite simple, he is not as satisfying as his two friends. It offers a correct daytime result, nothing more. At night, it is difficult to use it. Sometimes you have to do it several times to get a net result. It’s a shame because if we omit this point, the Galaxy S22 is one of the most versatile pocket cameras on the market. And its small size, compatible with all pockets (yes, it’s important!), will make you want to take it everywhere.
If you want to see other shots, you can click on this link which will take you to an album with a selection of photos taken with the Galaxy S22.
Also see video:
This smartphone is a clock that will tick in your head
So what’s blocking? As we said in our Galaxy S22 Ultra test, Samsung’s in-house Exynos 2200 processor is not of the best vintage. If this was not prohibitive in the belly of his big brother, here the question arises. So yes, by its power, it is able to run any recent application or game. But at what cost ?
First point, the smartphone heats up. The temperature reading taken by our laboratory shows that it quickly reaches 43.2 degrees. It’s quite high, without being dramatic. The problem is that the materials used on the back of the device conduct this heat to your fingers, so that it is quickly unpleasant to use. We could advise you not to abuse gaming, but this situation arises even during long navigation phases. When viewing video content, it sometimes takes less than thirty minutes for the grip to become unpleasant.
The problem is that this heating does not happen for nothing. The processor consumes a lot of energy, even for less complex tasks, probably due to optimization concerns. Therefore, it needs a lot of energy to operate. Result, autonomy takes for its rank. The 01net.com laboratory noted a versatile autonomy of 12 h 10. A figure already not very high compared to the competition, even at prices twice lower. What’s more, video streaming autonomy was measured at 10 hours all round. It’s very low and even lower than the previous generation, already not really polished on that side.
For sometimes surprising reasons, the battery melts like snow in the sun, even when you are not using the smartphone. We have for example happened to lose 15% of battery in two hours… when we just took out the mobile to answer a few messages!
Important data to keep in mind when comparing it to the Pixel 6 Pro, whose versatile autonomy is substantially the same. However, it is not impossible to end the day without needing to recharge the Google terminal. It’s much more difficult with the Galaxy S22. Impossible to leave for a whole day without its charger! On a daily basis, if you often use your smartphone, it is a sword of Damocles which constantly hovers above your head. On this point, Samsung has not done well: in addition to having a poorly optimized processor, the manufacturer has reduced the size of the battery to 3700 mAh, against 4000 mAh last year.
.Fortunately, with 3700 mAh and fast charging, we should be able to recover autonomy easily, right? Not even: the manufacturer made the decision not only not to offer this charger in the box, but above all to restrict the smallest of the S22 to 25W! An aberration where the competition has no trouble offering 65W in this price range.
The duel against the iPhone 13 is lost
Positioned at a fairly similar price (859 euros for the S22, 909 euros for the iPhone 13), and with the same screen size, we decided to oppose the Galaxy S22 and the iPhone 13 in a dedicated box. To be completely frank, apart from operating system considerations, before using both devices for 10 days, we thought the Galaxy S22’s versatility in photography would have given it the edge. And in fact, you have more photographic possibilities. But this concern for autonomy and heating seems too important to us for the Korean to win. The iPhone 13 isn’t perfect, but it offers something more than a Galaxy S22: serenity. No need to push the duel any further, the apple brand wins this duel.