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3 big reasons to buy Samsung’s S22 Ultra (and 1 bigger reason not to)

Posted: 14 June 2022 2:00 pm
News
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It's an enormous phone with an enormous price tag but these 3 features could make it all worth it.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is this year's absolute top of the range flagship device from Samsung. However, when you discount its size and inbuilt stylus, the S22 Ultra is a lot closer to the cheaper S22 and S22+ than you might think.

They all come equipped with 5G, incredibly bright 120 hertz screens, spectacular camera systems and are all powered by the incredibly fast Snapdragon Gen 1 8 processor (at least in Australia and America).

The similarities make the Ultra a tough up-sell for flagship fans but it does have a few extra tricks that could make it worth the investment. Watch the video below for 2 extra features that could persuade you to buy.

The S-pen

While styluses have been a rarity in flagships for many years the S22 Ultra is bringing it back in style…us. It unlocks a few cool drawing and remote functions on the device including the ability to scribble quick notes on the screen without even having to unlock. It even doubles as a handy remote shutter for your camera or remote control for your video apps.

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

The pen feels thin yet comfortable and on apps that use drawing inputs it really does feel like you're just scribbling with a pencil on your screen. The Ultra's softer design helps here too, allowing you to comfortably hold your phone in one hand while you write. Doodlers and handwriters will definitely get a kick out of this thing.

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

The cameras

The S22 Ultra has an absolutely stacked camera system. Just look at these specs.

Rear cameras

  • 108MP, f/1.8, 23mm (wide)
  • 10MP, f/4.9, 230mm (periscope telephoto), 10x optical zoom
  • 10MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), 3x optical zoom
  • 12MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide)

Selfie camera

  • 40MP, f/2.2, 26mm (wide)

Most impressive is the return of that 10x zoom lens from last year's Ultra. Using it reminds me how I felt when ultra wides started to appear on phones back in the late 2010s, unlocking yet another cool perspective to capture the world around you. Photographing far away birds or landscapes with it is an absolute treat, and you'll be astonished at how well a phone can take sharp images from that far away.

Both it and the 3x zoom have lower megapixel counts than the wider lenses but the shots are impressive enough that you won't notice it very often. The f4.9 aperture also means it performs a little worse in dark spaces but let's be honest, you'll be mostly using this lens in well lit wide open spaces anyway.

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

The stabilisation when shooting video is also impressive. With a lens this long you'd expect it to pick up every little movement your hands make but everything I filmed came out buttery smooth.

That same tech can also help keep your viewfinder steady when shooting photos with the 100x digital space zoom. While it's very cool that you can take photos of things over 5kms away, it doesn't mean you should. At about 20x you get a useable (if a bit ugly) image but beyond that the image quickly devolves into a pixelated mess.

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

If you really want to get the best detail out of the S22 Ultra the main wide lens is a whopping 108 megapixels and even the selfie camera gets 40 megapixels. These both take incredibly detailed images for a phone and it gets even better when you can expertly dial in the settings using Samsung's new camera raw app.

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

All of these camera features add up to what I believe is the Android phone of choice if you consider yourself a photography enthusiast. It's not quite replacing your SLR (yet) but there's just so many creative tools to play with here.

Samsung Dex

Besides the cheapest model, this phone comes with 12GB of RAM in it (for comparison the S22 and S22+ both have 8GB of RAM across all versions).

This is a pretty epic amount of RAM for a mobile phone to come with, rivalling that of most mid-ranged laptops. So why not make it a laptop with Samsung Dex?

S22 Ultra

Image: Tobias Venus/Finder/Finder

With an HDMI adapter or a screen with mirrorcast, Samsung Dex turns your Samsung phone into a laptop-like device complete with desktop, windowed apps and multi-tasking.

Connect to a keyboard and mouse via Bluetooth or a USB dongle, and voila! You've just built a pretty capable little PC.

I used Samsung Dex a fair bit in my time with the Ultra, because I was convinced that Dex wouldn't perform as well as it claims to. I was proven wrong. I used it to do almost everything I do on my Macbook: I typed scripts, did my general life admin and even made complete edits of the raw photos I took on the device itself.

Most impressive is that you can even run all this stuff at the same time just like a laptop would. Not once did any of these apps crash or slow down.

Plenty of other Samsung devices with far less power also have Dex (try it out if you have one!) but the reason I like using the Ultra for it, beyond the massive RAM of course, is that you can still use the S-pen on the phone's touch screen. If you need to sign PDFs or draw a picture the S22 Ultra will let you do that.

You're still on an Android device so the apps can't compete with what's achievable on MacOS or Windows but if you mostly work on web based services like Google Docs and Slack, it absolutely does the trick.

A big reason not to buy: the price.
Here's what it costs to buy from Samsung's website on 30 May 2022.

  • 128GB – $1,849
  • 256GB – $1,999
  • 512GB – $2,149
  • 1TB – $2,499

Yep, all but the cheapest models will set you back 2 grand. That's just so much money for a single phone. If we drop down to the 256GB model it is still a whopping $1,999 compared to a 256GB S22+ at $1,349.

That's a difference of $650, or enough money for an entire second mid range phone.

So, due to its price, it's really hard to recommend the Ultra to anyone besides the most cashed up of phone enthusiasts.

If the features I've listed do sound like fun or seem useful to you, perhaps this phone really is for you, but if they don't you'll be much happier sticking with the similarly specced, and far cheaper S22+ or S22.


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