Samsung has unveiled its latest Galaxy S smartphones at an online event overnight, hoping to lure upgraders and iPhone switchers alike with new tweaks and features, significant pre-order incentives and a true replacement for the retired Note line of devices.
The Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ look nearly identical to last year’s S21 phones at a glance, but in fact are both slightly smaller (with 6.1- and 6.6-inch screens, respectively) and have had a few changes under the hood.
Like last year, each phone has a wide, ultrawide and 3x optical zoom lens on the rear, but Samsung said a new larger sensor made for significantly improved low-light shots, which it calls Nightography.
New AI software will also make for better separation of people (and pets) from backgrounds in portrait mode, the company said, while an “Auto Framing” feature in video mode can pan and zoom to follow multiple subjects without the need to move the phone.
The biggest changes are reserved for the biggest phone, the S22 Ultra, which is now essentially a Galaxy Note in all but name. It comes with an improved S-Pen stylus that can be stored within the body of the phone, and has a new design featuring a curved screen and individually raised camera lenses rather than a bulky bump. But despite the shape change, it still offers a 6.8-inch display.
On the camera front, the S22 Ultra gets all the same new tricks as above with its 108MP main shooter (retained from last year), plus a 10x optical zoom periscope lens, and the same ultrawide and 3x zoom units as the smaller phones.
All three phones have glass back and front for improved durability, 5G compatibility, and screens with a variable refresh rate of up to 120Hz and greater peak brightness than before. Samsung is guaranteeing the S22 phones will support at least four generations of Android software updates, and as part of a partnership with Google is including a custom version of the Duo video calling app that will allow screen sharing and synchronised media playback akin to Apple’s SharePlay.
As last year, the Galaxy S22 line is aggressively priced, with every model matching or undercutting the equivalent iPhone if you compare the S22 with the iPhone 13, the S22+ with the iPhone 13 Pro, and the S22 Ultra with the iPhone 13 Pro Max.