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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: Bigger and better?

Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
949
inc VAT

Aside from a bigger battery and a larger screen, is there anything else that separates the Galaxy S22 Plus from the regular model?

Pros 
Bigger screen than the S21
Bigger battery than the S21
Excellent cameras
Cons 
No microSD slot
Battery life downgrade
S22 Ultra’s features are worth the extra £200
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The awkward middle child of the family, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Plus is a bit of a relic of a bygone era. Clinging to a time when the most expensive version of a flagship would simply get you a bigger screen, a bigger battery and not much else, its arrival is a particularly tough sell this year.

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That’s because the top-end Galaxy S22 Ultra is so, so much more. With an exclusive set of features, including the addition of the S Pen stylus, why should you settle for minor changes when you can spend just a little more and get the whole shebang?

Buy Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus


Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: What you need to know

Still, if you’ve already decided against paying more for the Ultra, the good news is that the S22 Plus is pretty much everything you could possibly want from a flagship smartphone in 2022. It’s just that it’s not quite as head-turning as its more expensive sibling, and there’s a good chance that you’d be better off saving more money and buying the cheapest S22 instead.

The benefit of paying extra on top of the regular model is that you get a 6.6in Dynamic AMOLED 2x display on the S22 Plus, rather than the smaller 6.1in number on the S22. They’re both FHD+ (2,340 x 1,080) panels, with 120Hz maximum refresh rate, and HDR10+ playback. The S22 Ultra gets a QHD+ screen.

The next big difference is the battery, which at 4,500mAh is 22% larger than the cell found in the regular S22. All three phones are powered by Samsung’s new Exynos 2200 chipset in the UK, with the S22 and S22 Plus coming with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of non-expandable storage. The cameras are the same as the S22, too: there’s a 50MP (f/1.8) main sensor, flanked by a 10MP (f/2.4) 3x zoom camera and a 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: Price and competition

Naturally, if you want a bigger battery and screen, you’ve got to pay extra for the privilege. Starting at £949 for the 128GB model and rising to £999 for the 256GB variant, the S22 Plus costs a whole £180 more than its “basic” sibling. That’s a lot of change for not a lot extra.

The top-end S22 Ultra, meanwhile, costs £200 more than the S22 Plus. With all of its added features – including that S Pen stylus, QHD+ 6.8in screen and boosted cameras – it might be worth considering if you don’t mind venturing into four-figure territory.

At the time of writing this review, the cheapest S22 Plus contract we’ve seen costs £41/mth with an upfront cost of £79 on iD Mobile. This particular deal gets you 25GB of monthly data, with a total cost of £1,063 by the end of your two-year contract.

SIM-free, the Galaxy S22 Plus finds itself in a familiar high-cost region. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro also starts at £949, while the brand-new Oppo Find X5 Pro costs £100 more (£1,049). Alternatively, if you fancy a foldable, Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip 3 5G is currently a bit cheaper at £899.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: Design and key features

Let’s start with the design. The S22 Plus’ overall look has changed slightly this year, with harsher-edged sides and a flatter back. The “Contour Cut” rear camera housing remains, though, which is good news, especially since it blends in nicely with whichever colour you decide to go for: Phantom White, Phantom Black, green, Pink Gold, Graphite, cream, violet or sky blue. Those last four colours are exclusive to samsung.com.

It’s much easier to hold in one hand than the Ultra, too, and it’s only a smidge wider and taller than the iPhone 13 Pro’s dimensions. Of course, if size and weight is your most important buying metric, the regular S22 has them all beat.

All the phones are IP68-rated against water and dust, sandwiched between protective layers of Gorilla Glass Victus+ on both the front and back. The volume rocker and power button (which can also be used to summon Bixby) are located on the right edge of the handset, with a single speaker grille, dual-SIM tray and USB-C charging port at the bottom.

READ NEXT: Best phone battery life

Wired USB-C charging speeds have increased to 45W from 25W, which in our tests achieved 50% charge from zero in roughly 25 minutes. Wireless charging is the same as last year, however, rated at just 15W, and yet again the phone can reverse wireless charge compatible devices such as the Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4. You won’t find a wall plug in the box, though – only a single USB-C to USB-C charging cable.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: Display

The S22 Plus’ screen is a 6.6in Dynamic AMOLED 2X affair, which feels noticeably larger in use than the comparatively dinky 6.1in display on the standard S22. Specifications remain the same, however, with a maximum FHD+ resolution, 120Hz refresh rate and a touch sampling rate of 240Hz. These new displays also have a lowered minimum refresh rate of 1Hz, which in theory should help to increase battery life.

As for the actual quality of the display, it’s no surprise that it’s one of Samsung’s best. It covers 94% of the sRGB colour gamut in the phone’s Natural display profile, with a total volume of 96% and an average Delta E of 1.25. In short, this is as good as it gets – colours looked great and I was particularly impressed with the specular highlights when watching 4K HDR content on Netflix.

On that note, the S22 Plus’ screen has a boosted brightness up to a measured 1,500cd/m² in HDR playback. In normal use, that figure drops to around 700cd/m², which is still very good for general readability in the great outdoors. Since this is an AMOLED panel, you also get effectively perfect contrast.

Buy Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus


Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: Performance and battery life

Internally, there’s not much that separates the S22 range. All three models share the same Exynos 2200 in the UK, which is the first mobile chipset with support for ray-traced visuals and variable rate shading (VRS). In the case of the S22 and S22 Plus, both variants come with 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of non-expandable storage.

The Exynos 2200 performed well in our benchmarks, although the speed gains are negligible compared to last year. In the Geekbench 5 single- and multicore CPU tests, the S22 Plus scored 1,144 and 3,488, which, as you can see from the graph below, is pretty much identical to the previous Exynos 2100 found inside the S21 Plus.

It’s a similar story in terms of graphics processing. Topping out at the screen’s maximum refresh rate, the GFXBench Manhattan 3 onscreen score is flawless, although the off-screen result is actually slightly weaker than last year’s model.

This is all quite disappointing, especially if you were hoping to upgrade from the S21. However, I’m going to caveat this with the fact that these speeds are still extremely good. The S22 Plus doesn’t feel sluggish in operation – far from it – and I didn’t notice a single instance of slowdown throughout my testing.

Naturally, one of the S22 Plus’ biggest differentiators is the battery size. The S22 Plus comes with a large 4,500mAh battery, while the S22 has to make do with a cut-down 3,700mAh cell. Sadly, while I’m yet to test the regular version, the S22 Plus’ stamina doesn’t paint a positive picture.

In our continuous video rundown test, the S22 Plus lasted for 19hrs 13mins before conking out – that’s two hours less than the S21 Plus. Come to think of it, battery life was also down on the S22 Ultra, so it’s quite obvious that the Exynos 2200 just isn’t as power-efficient as the previous Exynos 2100.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus: Software and sustainability

During the launch, Samsung made a big song and dance about its sustainability efforts this year. Some of the S22’s components have been manufactured using repurposed fishing nets, while the volume of the packaging (made from fully recyclable materials) has been reduced by 19%.

However, if Samsung is as environmentally conscious as it says it is, might I also suggest doing away with the removable plastic layers from the edges of its smartphones? I assume these are to protect the shiny sides during shipping, but they’re not really necessary, especially since the phones are securely placed inside the boxes anyway.

In other news, the Galaxy S22 Plus launches with Android 12, albeit with Samsung’s own One UI 4 launcher placed on top. This comes with a number of new improvements this year, including new themes, a new privacy dashboard and a green icon on the phone’s status bar whenever an application is using the microphone or camera.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: Cameras

Camera-wise, the S22 and S22 Plus are exactly the same. Both phones have a main 50MP (f/1.8) camera, which is accompanied by a second 12MP (f/2.2) ultrawide with a 120-degree field of view, as well as a third 10MP (f/2.4) 3x telephoto zoom lens. A simple 10MP (f/2.2) selfie camera is situated within a centrally placed hole-punch notch, and all S22 models can record at up to 8K resolution at 24fps.


It’s no surprise that the camera quality is exceptional. Much like the S22 Ultra, there’s a lot to like here, with the main camera producing detail-packed images with excellent use of HDR, especially when taking pictures in well-lit conditions. The phone’s auto exposure is still a bit on the aggressive side, though, and I frequently had to dial the brightness down a notch or two before pressing the shutter.

Zoomed images are much improved, too. Pictures taken at 3x optical zoom looked phenomenal, and even the 10x hybrid zoom produced some Insta-worthy snaps (30x is still a bit iffy, but is miles better than last year). Telephoto images looked both crisp and clear, with very little visual noise, even as the light levels dropped.

On that note, I was also impressed with the S22 Plus’ Night mode. Again, there’s plenty of definition to images, and the phone’s AI algorithms did a good job at boosting the brightness without adding any unnatural colour tints or visual noise. There’s one caveat, however: you often have to hold the phone steady for a few seconds – not ideal if you’re taking night-time pictures in freezing temperatures with your gloves off.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus review: Verdict

All that said, despite its positives, the Galaxy S22 Plus is in danger of falling out of the limelight. With the S22 Ultra catching admiring glances and the regular S22 shaping up to be a great-value option, the Plus is a bit of an oddity.

Sitting slap bang in the middle of the range in terms of price, it’s a decent option, but it doesn’t really stand apart from the rest, either. The bigger screen is a nice bonus, as is the chunkier battery, but sadly I can’t see many of these flying off the shelves.

Buy Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

After all, if you’re already prepared to pay flagship-sized sums on a new phone, you’d be better off spending the extra cash and picking up the S22 Ultra instead. On the flip side, if money is a bit tight, the regular S22 ought to be your go-to upgrade.

In closing, the S22 Plus is no doubt a lovely handset, but it continues to be a bit of an enigma. Samsung should be doing more to separate the middle child from the rest of the family next year, or perhaps even consider scrapping it altogether.

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