Samsung has three new flagship phones coming out next week, and two budget phones available now.
Hands on with Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra
My daughter, a 14-year-old savvy smartphone user, and I have been sharing a loaner Galaxy S22 Ultra for the past week.
She’s been using it as her primary phone, replacing for a time her Google Pixel 6 Pro. Her biggest complaint was that the extra layer of Samsung software on the Android operating system got in her way.
She did like the feel of the S22 Ultra, though, with its gently curved edges, and she almost swooned over the S Pen.
The stylus is a key reason that people will consider opting for this handset over the Galaxy S22 or Galaxy S22+. The Ultra is priced starting at $1,650, the same as last year’s model, albeit with reduced RAM.
You get much more in the package this year, but it’s still nearly $600 more than an S22 with the same RAM and storage.
Once you get used to using it, the S Pen can revolutionize how you use your smartphone. Not only can you use it when a fingertip just won’t – or can’t – do, you can also use it as a remote to operate as a slide advancer, a shutter release, and more. This latest iteration of the S Pen is far improved, too, reducing the latency from 9 milliseconds to 2.8 milliseconds, so the responsiveness when you’re writing on the screen is almost lag free.
But the stylus isn’t the only thing that justifies the Ultra’s price point. Samsung has packed the Ultra with five different lenses including a 12 MP ultra-wide, a 108 MP wide, two telephoto lenses (with 3x and 10x optical zoom), and a 40 MP front camera.
That extra telephoto lens really makes a difference when you’re taking pictures from a distance and you want the image to stay crisp and detailed.
But the improvements Samsung has made to the low light performance of the cameras is quite something. We were taking pictures outside at night with very little ambient light, and the snaps looked like they were taken during the day.
The camera software is a big reason for this, and it’s also how the portrait mode on the S22 Ultra is able to deliver such delightful background blurring without affecting the subject of the photo.
You can still get double the storage space on a S22 Ultra preorder; the deal lasts until February 24.
All the new Samsung S22 smartphones release on February 25.
Samsung’s budget smartphones are good Android alternatives
If spending more than a grand on a handset isn’t something you can or want to do, Samsung has two great options, both in a 6.5-inch chassis.
The Galaxy A03s ($170) has three camera lenses, a 2 MP depth lens, a 2 MP macro lens, and a 13 MP main lens. The 3 GB RAM is supplemented by a 32 GB storage, which can be expanded up to 1 TB with a micro SD card.
The Galaxy A13 ($330) has 5G functionality and also has a three lens camera system, bumping the main lens to 50 MP. It’s got 4 GB of RAM with 64 GB of storage. It can also be expanded with a micro SD up to 1 TB.
Both the A03s and A13 are available now.