Samsung Galaxy S22+ and S22 promise huge low-light camera boost

If the Galaxy S22 Ultra's price tag is too rich for your blood, or its screen simply too large, the Samsung Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 round out the 2022 flagship smartphone series. As in previous years, screen size is the most significant distinguishing factor, with the Galaxy S22+ toting a 6.6-inch panel and the Galaxy S22 slimming that to a hand-friendly 6.1-inches.

Unlike last year, though, there's a much bigger difference in physical design compared to Samsung's top-tier handset. The S22+ and S22 stick with the Contour Cut aesthetic of 2021's phones, with tough Armor Aluminum frames sandwiched with Gorilla Glass Victus+ for extra drop and scratch resistance.

Inside is the same octa-core processor as in the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which in the US means Qualcomm's Snapdragon. It's paired with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. No S Pen – that's reserved for the most expensive of the series – but you do get the reassurance of up to four generations of Android OS upgrades, Samsung promises.

Samsung Galaxy S22+

Midpoint of the line-up, and arguably the best compromise of performance, features, and price of all three phones, the Galaxy S22+ cherry-picks some of the nicer talents of its Ultra big brother. The 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display runs at 1080 x 2340 resolution, supporting 120Hz adaptive refresh (which can clock down to as low as 10Hz for frugality), up to 240Hz touch sampling, and Vision Booster. The latter uses contrast and other tweaks to automatically improve visibility, beyond just bumping up the screen brightness.

The phone itself measures 75.8 x 157.4 x 7.6 mm, and weighs in at 196 grams. There's an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, 5G (mmWave and Sub6), WiFi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2, along with stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos support. Samsung also found space for Ultra WideBand (UWB) and a 4,500 mAh battery with up to 45W wired and 15W wireless charging capabilities. Like last year, you'll need to supply your own charger, as Samsung isn't including one in the box.

For photography, the rear of the Galaxy S22+ has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide (f/2.2 and 120-degree field of view), a 50-megapixel wide (f/1.8 and 85-degree field of view), and a 10-megapixel telephoto with 3x optical zoom (f/2.4 and 36-degree field of view). Using magnification, there's up to 30X Space Zoom. A 40-megapixel selfie camera (f/2.2 and 80-degree field of view) is on the front.

As with the Galaxy S22 Ultra, a lot of the camera talent this generation comes from software enhancements. There's up to 8K/24fps video capture, or 4K/60fps, and auto frame-rate optimization for low-light shooting. Adaptive Pixel technology uses tetra-binning and the larger sensor to improve night performance. Portrait Mode gets a new AI Stereo Depth Map for better distinguishing between subjects and background, including for pet shots.

Auto Framing allows the camera to intelligently select and track up to 10 people in the shot, adjusting zoom and panning accordingly. It works for video capture, but also in third-party video apps like Google Duo, Microsoft Teams, Webex Meet, Zoom, and others.

Samsung Galaxy S22

The Galaxy S22 is the smallest of the 2022 series, with a 6.1-inch display running at 1080 x 2340 resolution. However you still get the Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel, the 120Hz adaptive refresh, up to 240Hz touch sampling, and Vision Booster. It's a slightly more pocket-friendly design, though, measuring 70.6 x 146 x 7.6 mm and 168 grams.

There are a few compromises, though, elsewhere. The cameras are the same as on the Galaxy S22+, but the battery is 3,700 mAh and the wired fast charging tops out at 25W instead of 45W. There's no UWB, either, and only WiFi 6 (ax). Peak screen brightness is reduced, too: 1,300 nits at its maximum, versus the Galaxy S22+'s 1,750 nits.

Galaxy S22+ and S22 pricing and availability

The Galaxy S22+ will start at $999.99 for the 128GB model, while the Galaxy S22 will start at $799.99. Both will be offered in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Pink Gold finishes.

Preorders open from February 9, with sales from February 25. Those who preorder will get upgraded from the 128GB model to the 256GB at no extra charge, plus Samsung Credit – $100 with the S22 and $150 with the S22+ – that can be put toward the Galaxy Watch 4 or Samsung Freestyle projector.

As for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Fan Edition (FE), that will be remaining on sale too. Samsung sees it as an entry point for Galaxy S ownership, and so it'll be sticking around through the rest of 2022.