Samsung launched the Galaxy S22 series in early February last year which included the vanilla S22, the S22 Plus and the S22 Ultra. The company is slated to launch the S23 series later today but before that, we look back at the regular S22 and how it has held up 12 months later.

When it was launched during Unpacked 2022, the S22 was set to be a winner and it has kept that momentum till today and I’m pretty sure it doesn’t fall far off from its upcoming successor.

I’ll add a few details on how it compares with the upcoming S23 with respect to the features we know so far in this long-term review.

UNBOXING

Samsung ships the S22 in a small compact box just like the phone. It contains a type-c to type-c cable, a sim ejector tool, documentation and the phone itself. there’s no charger or case included. You’ll have to get your own out-of-pocket.

DESIGN

The Samsung Galaxy S22 borrows design from the S21 series featuring the camera bumps integrated into the back of the phone’s top left corner and the flat screens.

Just like its siblings in the series, the Samsung Galaxy S22 has Dynamic OLED screens with a 120Hz refresh rate with HDR10+ support. The front and the glass back are both protected by Gorilla Glass Victus+ with an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance.

Brightness peaks at 1300 nits. We don’t know how bright the S23 will get but it will have Gorilla Glass Victus 2 for both front and back.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 and S23 have Armor aluminium frames to protect against the occasional drops.

The phone feels all-around premium thanks to all the protection features. It will get the occasional scratches on the display so just get a screen protector and a back case if you think you need one.

There’s a speaker, charging port, microphone and dual Nano-SIM card slot. It has no slot for expandable storage.

There’s a secondary microphone at the top.

That 6.1” display and the speaker make for good companions when watching Netflix thanks to Widevine L1 certification and HDR10+ support. The screen is bright, vibrant and sharp and it’s a delightful experience using the phone.

That fast refresh rate that switches between 10Hz to 120Hz makes animation smooth and gaming high refresh games more interactive.

For biometrics, we have face unlock and an ultrasonic under-display fingerprint reader which is pretty fast.

Its compactness feels good too as it offers ease of use with one hand. It’s light also so you won’t feel tired with long periods of scrolling on TikTok or when you’re in a Reddit rabbit hole.

The more manageable size makes it a favourite in comparison to the S22 Plus and S22 Ultra.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 comes in Phantom Black(our unit), Phantom White, Pink Gold or Green.

PERFORMANCE

Powering the phone is a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 alongside 8GB RAM and UFS 3.1 256GB of onboard storage. You can expand the RAM up to 16GB with the added 8GB of virtual RAM.

Out of the box, you get Android 12 and OneUI 4.1. It got updated to Android 13 and OneUI 5.0 in October of last year. During the keynote, Samsung said that the whole Samsung Galaxy S22 lineup will get four years of major OS updates and five years of security updates and I’m glad they kept that promise.

So we expect Android 14 and Android 15 in the pipeline.

Samsung is launching the S23 series with Android 13 baked in and OneUI 5.1 which will trickle to the S22 series. The company is already testing the new software with the S22 series before a public rollout after the launch of the S23 series.

Anyway, OneUI is my favourite Android OS next to ColorOS. With OneUI 5, you get features like more Material You Colour schemes, notifications permissions, stackable widgets, multitasking gestures, new notification UI, improved Samsung Privacy Hub and more like Samsung DeX and Samsung Wireless DeX.

In terms of performance, this is a champ. The Samsung Galaxy S22 is efficient in terms of speed from light to heavy use. Gaming high graphic intense games will take a toll as the phone gets warm and throttling happens so you’ll see a bit of lag but not frequently enough to be a bother.

It being compact means there’s no sufficient cooling so you’ll have to deal with that.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 will cope well with light and heavy tasks but just don’t push it too hard.

For connectivity, The Samsung Galaxy S22 has WiFi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 and 5G support. Network speeds are pretty fast and we were hitting up to 290Mbps on Safaricom’s 5G network.

The S23 is powered by overclocked Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 which is just a little bit faster than the 8 Gen 1.

BATTERY LIFE

Samsung Galaxy S22 has a smaller battery in comparison to the rest of its siblings at 3700mAh. There’s no charger included with the box but it supports 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging.

30 minutes of charge takes the Samsung Galaxy S22 from empty to 63% and an hour to 100%.

Light to moderate use will push the phone to a day and will need boosting in the late evening. Heavy use will have you scrambling for a charger in the late afternoon.

This is its biggest weakness as you’ll now have to carry a charger around to top up the phone during the day.

I’m glad that the S23 has a slightly larger battery at 3900mAh and I’m hoping the new chipset will increase its battery endurance.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Cameras
Samsung Galaxy S22 Cameras

CAMERAS

Samsung ships the S22 with a 12MP ultrawide, 50MP main(OIS) and 10MP telephoto lens(OIS) with 3X optical zoom. At the front, we have a 10MP selfie camera.

There are a ton of features to play around with and the phone takes amazing shots at night and during the day as you’ll see. Night mode now works for both photos and videos.

Portrait mode is impressive as you get pictures that someone would think were taken by a DSLR camera. I had so much fun with this mode.

Video recording is capped at 8K 24fps for the main and 4K 60fps and 30fps. The S23 upgraded the 8K video recording with the option to switch between 40fps and 24fps.

Overall, the S22 photography is still and will be on par with the S23. Its successor shares the same main rear setup but with a new 12MP selfie camera that supports HDR10+ video.

VERDICT

The Samsung Galaxy S22 has held itself up really well a year later and will continue to alongside its successor this year. Design, display, performance, and cameras still keep up even with new flagships in the horizon this year(Stay tuned for a comparison review dropping later today).

Battery life performance is not so good but if you can deal with then you can hold on to your S22 for another year.

PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

The Samsung Galaxy S22 starts from Ksh 82,000 and hopefully you can get a good deal after the Samsung Galaxy S23 launches later today.