Unpacking Samsung's Hot New Galaxy S22 And Tab S8 Flagships, A Hands-On First Look

Samsung's New Galaxy Flagships Arrive With A Spiritual Successor To The Note

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S22 side-by-side on a desk
Ahead of today's Galaxy Unpacked 2022 event, Samsung had teased the introduction of "the most noteworthy S series device we've ever created," and had even been accepting reservations, with a $50 credit serving as an incentive for doing so. Samsung was obviously referencing its Galaxy S22 series, and today's reveal makes it official—the Galaxy S22 lineup is here, and we've gone hands on with the series for a first look at the actual phones (read: these are not renders). And spoiler alert, they're gorgeous.

There are three main models to choose from, including the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Galaxy S22+, and Galaxy S22. Shown above are the biggest (Galaxy S22 Ultra) and smallest (Galaxy S22) of the swank bunch standing side-by-side, offering both a size perspective and a view of the how the design language differs between the top SKU and the other two models in Samsung's lineup.

Unpacking The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: Big, Bold And Premium

Watch Our Hands On With Samsung's Latest Device Here

The Galaxy S22 Ultra takes on some of the industrial design language of the retired Galaxy Note series, the last of those being the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G we reviewed in 2020. You can think of the S22 Ultra as an extension of the Note into the Galaxy S22 lineup, with an integrated S-Pen and a spacious 6.8-inch, slightly curved Edge display (Dynamic AMOLED) with a QHD+ resolution (3200x1800), 120Hz refresh rate, and 240Hz touch sampling rate when running in Game Mode.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra on a book

There are four RAM and storage combinations to choose from, starting with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of built-in storage. From there, the remaining SKUs pack 12GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB, and even 1TB of onboard storage.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra punch hole closupe
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra rear cameras
Samsung again opted for a punch-hole design on the front camera, in the top-center position. This houses a 40-megapixel selfie camera (f/2.2) with an 80-degree field of view for snapping selfies. Then around back there is a quad-camera arrangement headlined by a 108-megapixel wide-angle main shooter (f/2.2, 85-degree FoV). This is supplemented with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens (f/2.2, 120-degree FoV), a 10-megapixel left telephoto lens (f/4.9, 11-degree FoV) with a 10x optical zoom and 100x Space zoom, and a 10-megapixel right telephoto camera (f/2.4, 36-degree FoV) with a 3x optical zoom.

There's also a laser autofocus to assist the 108-megapixel camera with snapping clear shots, and of course an LED flash. All of these elements are situated in the upper-left corner of the phone. We've generally been very impressed with the photo chops of Samsung's previous flagship Galaxy S series, so we're eager to put this one to the test as well.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra bottom ports
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra right side
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra left side
You can record up to 8K resolution videos at 24 frames per second (and then watch them on a Samsung 8K QLED TV) or 4K at 60 frames per second, with auto-framing and low-light frame rate optimization helping tap into your inner Spielberg (or Tarantino, as the case might be).

Other features include Wi-Fi 6E and 5G (mmWave and Sub 6GHz) wireless connectivity, stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support, and a 5,000 mAh battery with up to 45W (wired) and 15W (wireless) charging support.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Powers These Galaxy S22 Series Flagships

Of course, there's one other notable feature that we saved for last, and that's the processor. Interestingly, the US and certain other regions will see Samsung stick with a Qualcomm engine underneath the hood, and specifically the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. That's a stout chip for sure, and as you can see in our collection of Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 benchmarks on a prototype handset provided by Qualcomm, it especially excels in AI performance. To briefly recap, it's built on a 4-nanometer node featuring a Kyro CPU complex with a 1+3+4 configuration. That translates into a single Prime Cortex-X2 core, three Cortex-A71 Performance cores, and four Cortex-A51 Efficiency cores.

What about Samsung's recently announced Exynos 2200 hardware? It's an intriguing slice of silicon that's also built on a 4-nanometer node. What makes this chip so special, though, is the infusion of AMD's RDNA 2 graphics, an Xclipse 920 GPU.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in hand

"The Xclipse GPU is a one-of-a-kind hybrid graphic processor that is positioned between the console and the mobile graphic processor. Xclipse is the combination of ‘X’ that represents Exynos, and the word ‘eclipse’. Like an eclipse, the Xclipse GPU will bring an end to the old era of mobile gaming and mark the start of an exciting new chapter," Samsung previously said.

Samsung hasn't definitively confirmed to us whether or the Galaxy S22 series will employ the Exynos 2200 in certain regions. If that ends up happening, though, the Galaxy S22 would be the first product to come from the partnership Samsung and AMD announced two and half years ago. Leaks and rumors have been all over the place so we're not going to speculate. Suffice to say, we're very eager to see how the Exynos 2200 stacks up against the competition, especially in graphics, if it does come to a Galaxy S22 incarnation somewhere in the world. We'll have to wait and see.

Pricing on the Galaxy S22 Ultra will start at $1,199.99 beginning February 25. Color options will include Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Burgundy.

Samsung Galaxy S22+, Galaxy S22 Options, Specs, Colors And Choices

galaxy s22 colors
Samsung Galaxy S22 Series Colors And Models

The regular Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ round out the latest flagship family, and quite literally, with more prominently rounded corners in line with previous Galaxy S handsets. Neither of these come with an embedded S-Pen, as they're not really targeting fans of the retired Note series (that's where the big and bold Galaxy S22 Ultra comes into play).

The Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22 are very similar, mainly differing in screen size. We're looking at a 6.1-inch screen for the Galaxy S22 and a larger 6.6-inch display for the Galaxy S22+, both with the same 3240x1080 (FHD+) resolution. And like their bigger brother, these smaller siblings rock Dynamic AMOLED screens with a gaming-ready 120Hz refresh rate and 240Hz touch sampling rate in Game Mode.

These are both powered by the same Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 as found in the Galaxy S22 series, by the way, and have 8GB of RAM paired with either 128GB or 256GB of built-in storage. And here as well, we'll have to wait and see if Eyxnos 2200 finds its way into these phones in certain regions.

Samsung Galaxy S22 rear camera arrangement
Samsung is using the same 40-megapixel selfie camera for all three models, with the same punch hole position. On the rear, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ both wield a 50-megapixel wide-angle camera (f/1.8, 85-degree FoV) for primary shooting chores, flanked by a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera (f/2.2, 120-degree FoV) and a 10-megapixel telephoto lens (f/2.4) with a 3x optical zoom and 30x Space zoom.

Once again, we're looking at 8K resolution recording capabilities at 24 frames per second, and 4K resolution recording at 60 frames per second, with auto-framing and low light frame rate optimization.

As we go down the spec sheet, there are some points of separation between the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+. Starting with the latter, the Galaxy S22+ features Wi-Fi 6E and 5G (mmWave and Sub-6GHz), a 4,500 mAh battery, and up to 45W (wired) and 15W (wireless) charging support.

The standard Galaxy S22, meanwhile, also boasts 5G connectivity, but rolls with standard Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) instead of Wi-Fi 6E, and a 3,700 mAh battery with up to 25W (wired) and 15W (wireless) charging capabilities. It also lacks ultra wide band (UWB).

It's an interesting lineup with some strong specifications and robust features across the board. We're working on review coverage, so stay tuned! As for pricing, the Galaxy S22 will start at $799.99 and the Galaxy S22+ at $999.99 beginning February 25.

Unpacking Samsung's New Galaxy Tab S8, Also With Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8
Samsung also unveiled its Galaxy Tab S8 series. There are three variants here as well, including the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, Galaxy Tab S8+, and Galaxy Tab S8.

The biggest of the bunch is the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. It wields a 14.6-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2960x1848 (WQXGA+) resolution and 120Hz refresh rate, and like Samsung's latest smartphone lineup is powered a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, except in all regions (not just the US).. It will be offered with three RAM and storage combos, including 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, 12GB of RAM and 256GB of storage, and 16GB of RAM and 512GB storage. Users can expand the storage with a microSD card slot that supports up to 1TB.

Sitting in the middle of the pack, the Galaxy Tab 8+ sports a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED display with a 2800x1752 resolution and the same 120Hz refresh rate. Then for the regular Galaxy Tab S8, we're looking at an 11-inch LED display with a 2560x1600 resolution and 120Hz rate.

Looking beyond the display, the Galaxy Tab S8+ and Galaxy Tab S8 are very similar, with both featuring 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. And of course, all of these new tablets are driving the Android 12 operating system as well. 

Other features are mostly the same across all three tablets. All three share the same rear camera arrangement consisting of a 13-megapixel main shooter with autofocus, a 6-megapixel ultra-wide camera, and LED flash. On the front, the Galaxy Tab S8+ and Galaxy Tab S8 utilize a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens, whereas the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra adds a second 12-megapixel camera to the fray.

All three also pump out sound through four AKG speakers with Dolby Atmos support. Other shared features include Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 wireless connectivity, a USB 3.2 Type-C port (DisplayPort out), and a included S-Pen. As for the battery, there's a 11,200mAh pack in the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra, 10,090 mAh in the Galaxy Tab S8+, and 8,000 mAh in the Galaxy Tab, all three with fast-charging support.

Stay tuned for our full deep-dive reviews of Samsung's hot new Galaxy S22 series, as well the Tab S8 in the days ahead. We'll be burning the midnight oil here starting today, to bring you all the details, benchmarks and camera samples your Android-loving hearts desire.

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