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This article was published on February 9, 2022

Everything Samsung announced at its Galaxy S22 event

The Galaxy Note is back (kind of)

Everything Samsung announced at its Galaxy S22 event

Another year, another batch of flagship Samsung phones. At its Unpacked event today, Samsung revealed the Galaxy S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra, setting the stage for the year of smartphones to come. It also announced a family of fancy new tablets in the form of the Tab S8, Tab S8+, and Tab S8 Ultra, showing that Android tablets are not quite dead yet.

Here’s what you need to know from what is likely to be Samsung’s biggest launch event of the year.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

Let’s get straight to the most interesting phone: the S22 Ultra has the biggest and baddest specs of Samsung’s lineup, and this time around the S-Pen is built right into the body. You’re no longer forced to buy the pen separately and use an awkward case to carry the S-Pen, as with the S21 Ultra.

Galaxy S22 Ultra
Credit: Samsung

Really, Samsung might as well just call it the Galaxy S22 Note and make everyone happy. I doubt anyone has an affinity to the ‘Ultra’ moniker like they do the Note — but I suppose a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Here are those beefy specs for you:

  • 6.8-inch 120Hz AMOLED display with dynamic refresh rate
  • A “4 nm” processor (more on this in a bit)
  • 1,750 nits brightness
  • 8GB/12GB RAM options
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB/1024GB SSD options
  • Quad rear cameras: 108MP F1.8 primary camera, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3X telephoto, 10MP 10X super-telephoto
  • 40MP selfie camera
  • 5,000 mAh battery
  • 45W charging (charger not included)
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Gorilla Glass Victus+ on front and rear
  • Android 12 with OneUI 4.1
  • Integrated S-Pen with 70% lower latency than the S21 Ultra’s

Aside from the integrated S-Pen, the most interesting specification is that “4 nm” processor. In typical Samsung fashion, the lack of specificity indicates that different regions will get different processors. In the US and Canada, you can expect the Qualcomm 8 Gen 1, while Europe will likely get Samsung’s home-grown Exynos 2200. Other regions tend to be less certain, so we’ll have to wait for confirmation from Samsung on that one.

Still, at first glance, it’s a bit disappointing that Samsung didn’t go all-in on Exynos this year. While Snapdragon variants have held a small performance advantage the last few years, this time around, the Exynos chip is certainly the more exciting option.

Credit: Samsung

You can read more about the Exynos 2200 in our article here, but the short of it is that it’s the first mobile processor to feature hardware ray tracing thanks to AMD’s RDNA2 graphics — the same graphics architecture in the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. Realistically, few games are likely to support ray tracing at launch, but it certainly seems like the Exynos 2200 is the better option for longevity.

Otherwise, the hardware hasn’t changed too much beyond the processor. Even the camera internals are largely the same as last year’s model, although Samsung removed the camera bump, which helps the S22 Ultra stand out compared to its predecessor and gives it a bit of a cleaner design.

Most of the camera improvements come in the form of software (although some of it is enabled by the more powerful CPU and NPU), including better low-light photography and video processing. There’s also a new AI stereo depth map for portrait mode, which Samsung claims can identify subjects with accuracy down to a single strand of hair; this should help prevent some of the choppy edges common to portrait mode photos.

The most exciting feature for serious photographers, however, might be the new Expert RAW mode. The S22 Ultra can capture 16-bit RAW photos, but unlike most phones, it actually applies HDR processing tricks to these RAW images for the best quality. Usually RAW on smartphones is just an afterthought, as you don’t get all the neat processing tricks that make modern phone cameras so good in the first place.

The S22 Ultra looks to be a compelling device, especially for Note fans, even if it’s not the most revolutionary device. It will be available for $1,199.99 starting February 25. Pre-orders open today.

Galaxy S22 and S22+

The Galaxy S22 and S22+ are largely just spec bumps over last year’s models, and even the design is nearly identical to the S21’s. But hey, not every year can mean major innovation.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus color options
The Galaxy S22 and S22+ look very similar to last year’s models.

Let’s start with the specs. Galaxy S22:

  • 6.1-inch 120 Hz AMOLED display with dynamic refresh rate
  • 1,300 nits brightness
  • 2340 x 1080 resolution
  • “4 nm” processor (see comments on the S21 Ultra above)
  • 8GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB SSD
  • 50MP F1.8 primary camera, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP telephoto
  • 12MP ultra-wide-angle, 10MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom
  • 10MP hole-punch selfie camera
  • 3,700 mAh battery
  • 25W charging (charger not included)
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Gorilla Glass Victus+ on front and rear
  • Android 12 with One UI 4.1

The Galaxy S22+ has nearly the same specs as the smaller variant this time around, except for the display and battery:

  • 6.6-inch 120Hz AMOLED display with dynamic refresh rate
  • 1,750 nits brightness
  • 4,500 mAh battery
  • 45W charging (charger not included)

In a puzzling move by Samsung, both phones have batteries that are approximately 300 mAh less than the S21 models; hopefully, the efficiency gains in the new processors make up the difference. The screens on both models are also 0.1″ smaller, but this is one of the few times I’ve seen a manufacturer cut battery specs in recent memory.

On the software side, the changes are largely the same as in the S22 Ultra, although it appears the cheaper models won’t be getting the new Expert RAW feature. The Galaxy S22 and S22+ will be available starting February 25 for $799.99 and $999.99, respectively. Pre-orders open today.

Samsung Galaxy Tab S8, S8+, and S8 Ultra

Samsung wants to step up its tablet game with the introduction of not one, but three new tablets: the Tab S8, S8+, and S8 Ultra. These tablet tiers are in many ways analogous to Samsung’s phones, ranging from an affordable 11-inch LCD display on the Tab S8, to a 12.4-inch OLED screen for the S8+, and a higher-end 14” OLED panel for the Ultra.

Credit: Samsung

That last one has the biggest screen and smallest bezels Samsung has ever used on a tablet, but that display does come with one big caveat: a notch. Thanks for normalizing unnecessary notches, Apple.

Samsung Tab S8 Ultra
Credit: Samsung
Get ready for the new era where every device has a notch that doesn’t need it. Thanks, Apple.

Overall, the tablets follow similar specifications to the S22 line. You get the same Snapdragon 8 or Exynos 2022, and the smaller two tablets come with 8 GB of RAM and 128 or 256 GB of storage. If you want beefier specs, you’ll need to move on up to the S8 Ultra, which comes in 8, 12, or 16 GB of RAM with 128, 256, or 512 GB of storage respectively.

Samsung designed the new tablets with video calls in mind. That notch on the S8 Ultra, for instance, holds an extra ultra-wide-angle camera, and the tablets use noise-canceling microphones to improve call quality. The tablets also each come with an S-Pen included, and an optional Book Cover adds a kickstand and keyboard that allows you to use the tablet just like a Surface.

The Tab S8 starts at $699.99, the S8 Plus starts at $899.99, and the Ultra costs $1,099.99. Pre-orders start today and the tablets will be available later in February.

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