Best Galaxy S22 phone? I'm a phone expert – this is the Samsung flagship to buy

Ultra? Plus? Standard? I've used all three 2022 Samsung flagships and this is the best Galaxy S22 option

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus in pink gold against dark background
(Image credit: Future / Mike Lowe)

I swap phones all of the time – it's all part of the job – so when the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus landed on my desk I kind of shrugged it off, thinking "there's no way this'll be nearly as good as the S22 Ultra". So what, indeed, is the best Galaxy S22 phone?

Well, I've changed my mind. Don't get me wrong, I've used the S22 Ultra extensively, over many weeks, and did fall a little bit head-over-heels for it. Except, I never really used its built-in S Pen stylus. The battery life was a bit of a battle. And its curved screen, despite looking pretty, didn't really add anything for me. 

So here I am, Galaxy S22 Plus in hand – the 'Pink Gold' wasn't my selection by the way, but I quite like it – with its flat screen and absent S Pen and, over the last week of using it, it's dawned on me that I prefer it. So are there any compromises?

Galaxy S22+ vs Ultra: Which is best for me?

First thing's first: the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a more extensive array of cameras than the S22 Plus. That's a given, really. It comes with the territory. But how often did I ever need to use the Ultra's 10x zoom that's lacking on the Plus? More or less never, so I actually don't miss it. The 3x zoom on both devices is enough (not that it's especially great, that's something to improve for next generation in my view). 

Otherwise, other than my S Pen and curved screen comments above, that's really it. I'm coming back around to the idea that a flat screen actually makes more sense in use. Sure, it feels a bit more chunky as a result, but only marginally. It's better at handling reflections, and as I head to more and more real-life events I'm outside more, so it's again a preference. 

Besides, above all else, I've found the S22 Plus to outlive the S22 Ultra when it comes to battery longevity (despite having a smaller capacity, at 4,500mAh rather than 5,000mAh of the Ultra). That's really important to me – and, based on heaps of research that various bodies have done over the years, really important to all users. Samsung's systems do need to kick in, which takes a bit of time from new, but the management is clever to deliver a really good experience by the end of week one. 

What about the small S22? 

So if I'm getting overexcited about the Galaxy S22 Plus, and pushing the S22 Ultra aside, then what about the baby S22 of the range? Yes, the entry flagship's 6.1-inch screen makes it smaller (the Plus is 6.6in, the Ultra 6.8in), which will appeal to some for sake of weight and comfort, but it's not the one for me. 

Of the trio, the smallest S22 also can't quite cut it when it comes to battery life (it's only got a 3,700mAh cell inside, which is really rather low by today's standards). That's why the S22 Plus, for me, sits in that sweet spot: it's got the screen size I want, the battery life I need, and none of the extras that I just don't require. 

The S22 Ultra will continue to get the most attention, and I can get why, but having now lived the life of every Galaxy S22 flagship in 2022, I suggest that the Plus is the more sensible choice – not to mention more affordable! – and think more people would agree if they had the chance to use all three. 

Mike Lowe
Tech Editor

Mike has been writing about consumer technology for 15 years and is T3's Tech Editor. As a phones expert he's seen hundreds of handsets over the years – swathes of Android devices, a smattering of iPhones, and a batch of Windows Phone products (remember those?). But that's not all, as a tech aficionado his beat for T3 also covers tablets, laptops, gaming, home cinema, TVs, speakers and more – there's barely a stone unturned that he's not had a hand on. Previously the Reviews Editor at Pocket-lint for a full decade, he's also provided work for publications such as Wired, The Guardian, Metro, and more. In addition to his tech knowledge, Mike is also a flights and travel expert, having travelled the globe extensively. You'll likely find him setting up a new mobile phone, critiquing the next MacBook, all while planning his next getaway... or cycling somewhere.