The Galaxy S22 Ultra might be the star of Samsung's Unpacked event, but the regular models will be the company's bread and butter — and it's good to see they've received substantial upgrades of their own. The 6.1-inch Galaxy S22 and 6.6-inch S22+ may look similar to the S21 family they replace, but they include a 50MP main rear camera with a sensor 23 percent larger than in the 12MP shooter from their predecessors. Your night photos should fare much better, to put it another way. You can also expect a 10MP telephoto camera with 3X optical zoom (no cropping like with the S21's 64MP sensor), although the 12MP ultra-wide and 10MP front cameras will seem familiar.
Both phones sport a handful of new software-based camera tricks, including Auto Framing to keep up to 10 people in focus. Portrait mode photos should look more natural thanks to an AI-based stereo depth map, and pet hair won't inadvertently blend into the background.
You can also expect a more resilient design. The Galaxy S22 and S22+ are Samsung's first S phones with a more durable "Armor Aluminum" frame, and they're the first phones anywhere to use Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ to reduce drop damage. The backing is still plastic, although 20 percent of the "component, key bracket" is made from recycled fishing nets. There's some recycled material in the speakers, too. The design isn't quite as eye-catching as the two-tone look of some S21 models, but it probably won't raise many objections — particularly in the new green colorway that joins black, white and "pink gold" (really, pink) shades.
It won't surprise you to hear that the rest of the improvements are more subtle, but still welcome. You'll find a 4-nanometer processor inside (likely the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in places like North America, and Exynos 2200 elsewhere) paired with 8GB of RAM. They're still using 120Hz adaptive AMOLED displays with an FHD+ resolution, but the improved peak brightnesses of 1,300 nits for the base S22 and 1,750 nits for the S22+ should help with outdoor viewing and HDR. The batteries are smaller than their predecessors at 3,700mAh and 4,500mAh respectively, but you might not mind quite so much when the Galaxy S22+ supports 45W wired charging (the regular S22 stops at 'just' 25W).
Samsung releases both devices on February 25th, starting at $800 for a Galaxy S22 with 128GB of (non-expandable) storage and $999 for the S22+ variant. Both will have 256GB editions in some markets. As is often the case, though, Samsung is offering perks for early adopters. Anyone who pre-orders by February 24th can upgrade to a higher storage tier, and they'll get either $100 or $150 in credit toward the Galaxy Watch 4 or Freestyle projector. You can also receive up to 25 percent off the Galaxy Tab S8 family.
Whatever deal you get, the entry S22 is arguably a better deal in some cases than the Galaxy S21 FE. You're paying $100 more for a slightly smaller screen, but you'll get considerably newer cameras, more processing power, a sturdier body and more RAM. We'd still consider the S21 FE, particularly if you can find a good deal, but the S22 may represent a better long-term value.
Catch up on all of the news from Samsung’s February Unpacked event right here!