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Galaxy S22 Plus review: This is the Galaxy you're looking for

Don't want or need an S Pen or an extra-large display? The S22 Plus is a capable alternative.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer

Shortly after Samsung announced the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra during its Unpacked event earlier this month, a FedEx package containing the just-announced S22 Plus arrived at my house. Since then, I've been using it as my main Android phone, replacing the Pixel 6 Pro or Galaxy Z Fold 3 as my go-to non-iPhone option. 

Also: The best Samsung phones: Explore a new Galaxy

Thus far, there's little for me to complain about when it comes to the S22 Plus. I really like the design, the display looks great and the camera has taken some sharp photos. Performance is good, save for an inconsistent scrolling issue I detail below. 

After receiving a Galaxy S22 Ultra review unit, I've come to the strong conclusion that unless you want an S Pen or absolutely need the best S22 Samsung has to offer, the S22 Plus is more than enough phone for most. If you want more thoughts on the S22 Ultra; ZDNet's Matthew Miller has been reviewing Samsung's Note replacement since it was announced. Also worth noting, I don't have the standard Galaxy S22 to compare the S22 Plus to, but they're effectively the same phone save for overall design and charging speed.


Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

4.5 / 5
Very good

pros and cons

  • Display
  • Design
  • Battery life
  • Camera
  • Iterative instead of a transformative update

I really like this design

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Back.jpg
Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

The Galaxy S22 Plus and the smaller S22 share the same overall design. It reminds me of a more modern version of the iPhone 5's design, with flat edges on all four sides. The S22 Ultra's display has curved edges on either side of the screen -- a design I like because it makes the phone feel smaller and easier to hold -- but for the rest of the S22 lineup, the display edges are flat. Before getting a review sample in my hands, I wasn't sure how much of an impact (if any) it would have on holding the phone and managing it in instances where single-hand use is necessary. 

Also: The best Samsung Galaxy S22 cases and accessories 

So far, I haven't had any situations where I thought the S22 Plus is too big or too unwieldy to manage. Granted, my primary phone is an iPhone 13 Pro Max or a Pixel 6 Pro, so I'm accustomed to dealing with a large phone. That said, if you end up going with the smaller S22, you'll like appreciate the design, too. 

The S22 Ultra feels a little too big. It's slightly wider and taller than the S22 Plus, making it harder to manage. 

Battery life has been just fine

After seeing the spec sheet list that the battery size in both the S22 and S22 Plus had dropped 300mAh on each model compared to last year's respective S21 equivalent, I was concerned about battery performance on the S22 Plus. To be clear, the battery in the S22 Plus is 4,500mAh (down from 4,800mAh), and the S22 is 3,700mAh (down from 4,000mAh). 

I can't vouch for the experience on the standard S22 but I can say the S22 Plus has been fine. It gets me through a day of typical use, which consists of Slack, Discord, email, Twitter, Reddit, an occasional YouTube video or two, and some text messages. 

If you're concerned about the smaller battery equating to poor battery life, that hasn't been my personal experience thus far. 

The camera changes were the right call

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Camera Sample-1.jpg

A simple photo of a truck in a local coffee shop using the main wide-angle camera on the Galaxy S22 Plus. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Samsung made a big change the to camera setup on all three Galaxy S22 models, shifting the focus (pun not intended) away from the telephoto lens to the main camera. The Galaxy S21 Plus has a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera, 12-megapixel wide camera and a 64-megapixel telephoto camera.

The S22 Plus has a 50-megapixel wide camera, 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, and a 10-megapixel telephoto lens. 

I can't tell you how often I take photos with a telephoto lens, but I can tell you I take photos with the main camera on any phone almost daily. I never understood the emphasis on the telephoto lens having a higher megapixel count, and I'm glad to see that Samsung has changed course. 

I still haven't been able to test out the new night photography features on the S22 Plus quite yet (I'm in Colorado where it's been cold and snowy), but after looking back through my photo library, I've come to realize that I rarely take night time shots. While anecdotal, I'm starting to wonder if too much emphasis has been put on photos of the night's sky and in very dark environments? Do people really care about night mode photography, or is it a similar camera feature to space zoom? It's cool to see on the spec sheet, and in theory it's great to have, but in practice, it doesn't matter to me at all. I'd love to hear some reader opinions on this.     

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Camera Sample-2.jpg

I'll never get tired of the Easter Eggs hidden inside Lego builds. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Performance is good, maybe even great, but... 

In the U.S., the entire S22 lineup uses Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor. In fact, Qualcomm used the same Snapdragon processor in its Tab S8 lineup as well. The S22 Plus comes with 8GB of memory and up to 256GB of storage, with the base model offering 128GB.

Also: Best Samsung Galaxy S22 deals available right now

Over the last couple of weeks I've enjoyed the performance of the Galaxy S22 Plus in almost all instances. However, there are two apps I continue to see stuttering while scrolling: Twitter and Reddit. The faster you scroll, the worse the stuttering is. Here's a video of what I'm experiencing:

As you can see in the video, there's a stutter effect when scrolling through my Twitter timeline. It's almost as if every image or video that's pushed past the screen hangs for a second as it transitions. The same happens in the Reddit app, but it doesn't happen when scrolling through ZDNet's website or an article. Or in any other app as far as I can tell. Adding to the mystery, if I scroll slower in the Reddit app, the lag all but disappears. However, scrolling slower in the Twitter app doesn't appear to have any impact. 

At first I thought maybe it had something to do with the adaptive refresh rate of the screen, which can go up to 120Hz, but the stuttering and lag is still present when I switched to a standard 60Hz refresh rate. 

I've asked Samsung about the issue and have been told that it's likely the apps causing the issue, not an issue with the phone itself. The first thing I did after setting up the S22 Ultra was check the Twitter app, and unfortunately, it does the same thing. 

A quick search on Twitter shows that other users are experiencing the same issue, particularly in the Twitter app. Hopefully it's something Samsung and/or Twitter are able to figure out and release a simple update to fix. To be clear, I don't see the scrolling issue on my Z Fold 3 or the Pixel 6 Pro. 

I assume it's all software and can be fixed in a subsequent update, but don't expect an update to arrive before the phones begin shipping to customers. 

Meanwhile, if there's something you want to know about the Galaxy S22 Plus that I haven't addressed here, please leave a comment below. I'll be posting my full review soon.

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