The Samsung Galaxy S22 has how been unveiled – alongside the larger S22+ model, and even better-specced S22 Ultra. As usual, these are set to be some of the hottest phones of the year, and certainly look like the best Samsung phones so far.
The Samsung Galaxy range is always the biggest competitor to the mighty iPhone each year, as the premium handsets from the two biggest names in the business. This time the Samsung S22 is taking on the iPhone 13, which was released back in September 2021.
The two are very similar overall – the best smartphones today are all at a certain level of quality, without much variation in big features – but Samsung has managed to pull ahead in a few key ways with its new phone.
That's no surprise – the Galaxy range and the iPhone are in a constant back and forth on specs – but it's worth noting that the differences are in places that can make a real impact on the things people do with their phones. They're not super-sexy new features, but they might make all the difference if you're deciding which to buy.
1. A brighter HDR display
The Samsung S22 range all includes a new screen tech that Samsung is calling 'Dynamic AMOLED 2X with Vision Booster'. The two big benefits of this are that it can produce a wider range of colours (certified at 100% of the P3 colour gamut, according to Samsung), but the thing you'll really notice is the incredible peak brightness it can now reach in HDR: 1,750 nits.
For comparison, the iPhone 13 can reach 1,200 nits of peak brightness in HDR. Even the new MacBook Pro 14-inch & 16-inch (2021) with their advanced mini-LED screen reach 1,600 nits as a maximum. Even Samsung's flagship 4K TV from 2021 – the Samsung QN95A – doesn't go as bright as the S22 for peak brightness!
That's pretty intense. Literally. It's a bit of a shame that the S22 range continues not to support Dolby Vision HDR, instead sticking with Samsung's preferred HDR10+, but when the screen can go that bright, it won't really matter – any HDR movie you watch will look absolutely incredible.
2. Faster charging speeds
The Samsung S22 can charge at 25W, which is a 25% increase over the 20W that the iPhone 13 tops out at. That's already great – but the S22+ takes things to a whole new level. The larger version can charge at a ridiculous 45W – that's enough to power your average laptop during intense use.
Nearly doubling the charging power won't necessarily double the charging speed (it's possible that the battery won't be able to absorb that much power all the way from 0-100%), but these kinds of super-fast charging system always allow you to at least top up rapidly for a while when needed.
The S21 could charge from 0-50% in about half an hour with 25W of power. With a 45W charger the S22+ could halve that time, ensuring that you never need to run out of power as long as you can find a socket and a spare 10 mins.
3. More rear camera options
The Samsung S22 and S22+ both include three rear cameras: a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 50MP wide-angle camera, and a 10MP 3x optical zoom camera. The iPhone 13 has a dual-camera system, with a 12MP ultra-wide camera and 12MP wide-angle camera, for comparison.
Now, we're not talking about the quality of images here necessarily – we'll have to leave that to our Samsung S22 review – or even things like the number of megapixels, because having more pixels doesn't mean the S22's camera is automatically better.
It's about the flexibility of the three-lens system. A telephoto lens is much more flattering for portraits than a wide-angle, so having that extra tool is so valuable if you want to take pics of people that they'll really love. It also means you get a longer total zoom range – the ultra-wide is basically a 0.5x zoom compared to the wide-angle lens, and then you've got the 3x zoom – giving you a 6x total zoom range. That means you're more likely to be able to find the perfect angle and composition for a great shot.
The iPhone 13 Pro does have a three-camera setup that includes a 3x zoom lens, giving the same kind of flexibility as the S22. But you have to pay a chunk more for that – the S22 range includes it for everyone.
4. Bigger batteries
The Samsung S22 comes with a 3,700mAh battery, which is a good upgrade over the iPhone 13's 3,227mAh battery. But if you need more longevity from your Samsung, you can go for the larger S22+, which includes a hefty 4,500mAh battery.
The iPhone 13 doesn't have a larger version you can grab instead if you need longer life from your phone. There's the iPhone 13 Pro Max, which has incredible battery life, but that's Apple's most expensive phone, and isn't really a direct competitor to the regular Samsung S22.
Having more battery capacity doesn't automatically mean more battery life, because it's massively influenced by software, power efficiency and the screen energy use – but both phones have a lot of tweaks to make them get the most from their batteries, and the S22 in particular will have a real edge here.
5. Ultra-responsive 120Hz screen
The Samsung S22 and S22+ both include a 120Hz screen, which refreshes twice as fast as the 60Hz screen in the iPhone 13, which makes things like scrolling or animations look super-smooth. It's not a game-changing features, but it's really nice – once you've tried it and go back, everything looks jerky and wrong.
But the S22 has a second trick up its sleeve: your touch inputs are measured at an even faster rate than the screen refreshes: 240Hz. The idea is to make sure there's as little lag between your finger touches or movements and seeing the results of them on-screen – this is something that gamers will benefit from the most, but it should mean the phone feels slightly more responsive for everyone else, especially when combined with the 120Hz display.