5 unexpected changes Samsung made with the Galaxy S22 series
1. More regions get Snapdragon
Historically, Samsung has released its flagship phones primarily in the US and South Korea with the latest, high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, while the rest of the world was unlucky enough to get the usually hotter and slower Exynos variants of the Galaxy S-series lineup. This time round, Samsung has made the decision to release the Exynos 2200 variants only in Europe and the UK, while the rest of the world will have the honour of being able to buy the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 versions of the lineup.
This is a peculiar decision, since Samsung has spent a lot of R&D working on a custom graphics solution for the Exynos 2200 SoC in partnership with AMD. While early reports indicate that the Exynos chip may be competent, it remains to be seen if the UK and EU have cause to riot or celebrate.
2. Camera changes
It is well known by now that Samsung has some of the best camera systems in its smartphones. The Galaxy S22 series is no different. The Galaxy S22 and S22+ both share the same 50 MP, 1/1.52-inch sensor, up from the 12 MP 1/1.76-inch unit found on both the S21 and S21+. The ultrawide lens on the S21 and S21+ is brought forward to the S22 series. Samsung has also made a potentially controversial choice by giving the telephoto systems on the S22 and S22+ an apparent downgrade, moving from a 64 MP, 1/1.72-inch sensor to a 1/3.94-inch system.
The good thing here is that the optical zoom is increased, going from only 1.1x optical zoom on the S21 and S21+ to 3x optical zoom on the S22 and S22+.This means images from the telephoto cameras on the S22 series should be sharper, despite the decreased sensor size and resolution.
3. Plastic not fantastic now, Samsung?
Back when Samsung launched the S21 lineup, it got us to once again accept the idea of a phone with a plastic back. Branding the material "Glasstic," Samsung included this only on the base-model S21. There were both jeers and cheers, with some claiming that the plastic back made the phones more durable, which it arguably did, and others claiming that Samsung opted to "cheap out" by going with plastic. Apparently Samsung agreed, since with the S22 family, all of the models are now equipped with Gorilla Glass Victus Plus.
4. Diminutive size (and battery)
In all but the S22 Ultra, there has been a decrease in both screen size and battery size. The Galaxy S22 and S22+ both come equipped with 0.1 fewer inches of display and 300 mAh reduced battery capacity. This could be seen as a risky move, seeing as though Android devices historically have not had the same level of software-hardware integration as their Apple-made counterparts.
The new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip is supposedly more power efficient than previous flagship models, but it may still be challenging for some to get a full day out of the 3700 mAh battery on the S22. The smaller displays may be a welcome change to those of us who have daintier hands, though.
5. One last "Note"-able change
The collective groans and sighs of tech enthusiasts could be heard the world over when Samsung released the Galaxy S21 family of devices but failed to include a proper Note entry into the lineup. Sure, the Galaxy S21 Ultra did have support for an S Pen, but it was a separate accessory that you had to go out and buy.
Additionally, and perhaps more infuriatingly, there was no way to store the aforementioned S Pen in the device itself without buying a rather clunky-looking case that made the already-oversized S21 Ultra even more unwieldy. Thankfully, with the release of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung has seen fit to fully integrate the S Pen storage into the phone once more - as it should be.