Samsung’s latest Android combines its Galaxy S and Note into one stylus-equipped superphone, which leads a new line of top-end S22 smartphones part-made from recycled plastic and fishing nets.
Announced on Wednesday as part of its Unpacked livestreaming event, the Galaxy S22 Ultra combines the superzoom camera of last year’s top S21 with the body, form and features of Samsung’s popular Note phablet series, which has not been updated since 2020.
The S22 Ultra is joined by two smaller and cheaper models, the S22 and S22+. All three new devices have faster chips, the latest Android 12 and ultrasonic fingerprint scanners under their 120Hz OLED screens. But they are also more robust, with a new, harder version of Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus+, stronger aluminium frames and internal components made of 20% recycled fishing nets o 20% recycled water bottles and CD cases.
The largest of Samsung’s non-folding phones for 2022 has a brighter 6.8in QHD+ screen that curves at the edges, with a design that strongly resembles the company’s Note 20 Ultra.
The phone has a large battery and a slot to store and charge its S Pen stylus, which has reduced latency, better handwriting recognition and advanced features taken straight from the Note line.
The improved quadruple camera has a slimmer profile on the back, but maintains separate 3x and 10x optical zooms, which continue to set Samsung’s top models apart from rivals. This year the camera has significantly improved light sensitivity, with much larger pixels for better, sharper shots at night and in tricky lighting conditions.
“The Galaxy S22 Ultra is arguably a Galaxy Note device by another name and will be greeted with delight by the legion of Note device enthusiasts, who have proved to be a loyal niche audience for Samsung, but may leave traditional Galaxy S customers scratching their heads wondering why they need a stylus,” said Ben Wood, the chief analyst at CCS Insight.
The S22 and S22+ have 6.1in and 6.6in FHD+ screens respectively, making them Samsung’s smaller, cheaper and more manageable top devices. Only the S22+ has the same brighter display technology as the Ultra, but otherwise their specifications are similar to Samsung’s premium model.
Both phones have a triple camera on the back with a 3x optical zoom similar to last year, and a flat glass and aluminium design.
“The S22+ might actually be the star of the show this year,” said Wood. “For customers who don’t see the utility in having S Pen capability, the natural device of choice will be the S22+, which looks like a cracking product.”
Alongside the new S22 phones, Samsung also unveiled a new line of tablet computers. Each of the new Galaxy Tab S8 devices has Android 12, the latest chips, optional 5G and the S Pen stylus included in the box.
The Tab S8 and S8+ have 11in and 12.4in screens respectively, but it is the new S8 Ultra that stands out with its big 14.6in display, making it Samsung’s largest tablet yet.
The machines are designed for entertainment, with high-resolution screens and four Dolby Atmos speakers, but also productivity, with a range of keyboard case accessories and Samsung’s DeX software that turns the tablet into a laptop-like experience.