Tech review: Samsung’s biggest new phone gets a stylus, new design and nightography |

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For several years now, Samsung has maintained two flagship phone models, the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note.

They’re both great phones, but you had to decide whether you were a Galaxy S person or a Galaxy Note person.

The choice usually came down to whether or not you liked using a stylus.

The main feature of the Note series has been a built-in stylus for handwriting on the screen or simply navigating the phone’s interface.

Every year Samsung would release a new Galaxy S and then a few months later it would introduce a new Galaxy Note.

In fact, over the past few years, there have been several Galaxy S phones.

For example, this year we have the Galaxy S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra (big, bigger and bigger).

The Note had not been updated since Note 20, introduced in 2020.

Both flagship phones had premium features but a slightly different design, and of course the Note had the S-Pen stylus.

The days of Samsung’s two flagship lines are over, but I don’t think anyone will be upset.

Goodbye, Note?

The S22 Ultra looks surprisingly similar to the Note 20 with rounded sides and a built-in stylus, and now the S22 Ultra has all the S-Pen features that made the Note unique.

During my product briefing with Samsung, I asked the obvious question: does the S22 Ultra take the place of the Note, and the answer is yes.

So Galaxy S customers who want the bigger screen and Galaxy Note fans who want the S-Pen can all be satisfied with the same phone.

I should add that Samsung worked towards this with S-Pen support in the Galaxy S21 Ultra and last year’s Z Fold 3, but neither of those phones come with an S-Pen.

S-Pen

The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s S-Pen comes with all the handwriting and note-taking features of the Note 20. The stylus works via Bluetooth, but it’s paired out of the box and charges while in its storage silo inside the phone.

A fun feature of the S-Pen is that the phone makes noise when you write. The scratching sound of a pen writing on paper may be faintly heard through the phone speakers when using the stylus.

Cameras

Samsung is known for pushing the design of its cameras forward, and this year it introduced a new tech feature and a new word to describe it: nightography.

As you might guess, the S22 Ultra has a very good camera setup for low-light shots.

It has four camera lenses protruding from the back of the phone case. Underrated is the word I would use to describe it.

The camera design is different, but the camera hardware is largely the same as the S21 Ultra.

The four cameras include two wide-angle and two telephoto lenses.

The wide angles are a 108-megapixel wide-angle and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide camera.

The telephoto lenses are 10MP 3x optical zoom and 10MP 10x optical zoom.

As for nightography (I like that word), it involves taking low-light photos that rely on a combination of hardware and software to produce the image.

Cameras capture light through their lenses and image sensors. Larger sensors collect more light and Samsung uses 2.4 micrometer sensors in the main camera.

Samsung is also using a new coating on the lens it calls “super clear lens” to reduce lens flare.

According to Samsung, Nightography uses enhanced artificial intelligence powered by a new NPU (neural processing unit) to help let in more light, bring out more detail, and capture color to make your images pop, even in the dark. .

Nightography works best using the primary wide-angle (108MP) or 40MP selfie camera.

For best results, keep the phone as still as possible, as the camera will take multiple images in seconds and then the processor will combine the best parts of those images to produce the final image.

The results were very impressive.

Another camera software feature I want to mention is the Object Eraser, which lets you erase things from your photos.

This type of photo manipulation usually involves an expensive program like Adobe Photoshop. The S22 Ultra’s Object Eraser does a good job if you want to remove a simple object from a static background, like removing trash from a lawn, but it’s much less effective with objects in front complex backgrounds.

Specifications

The S22 Ultra is anchored by a gorgeous 6.8-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED display. The screen has a brightness of 1,750 nits and a dynamic refresh rate of 1-120 Hertz.

The frame is aluminum and the front and back glass is made from Corning’s latest Gorilla Glass Victus+. It is IP68 dustproof and waterproof.

It has an in-screen fingerprint reader and face recognition to unlock. Both worked very quickly and without hesitation.

The Ultra has a 5,000 milliamp-hour battery with 45-watt super-fast charging. It also has fast wireless charging and reverse wireless charging.

Storage configurations range from 128 gigabytes to one terabyte.

It comes with Android 12 running on a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor with eight or 12 GB of RAM.

It has the latest Wi-Fi 6e and Bluetooth 5.2. The sync/charge port is USB-C 3.2.

The Ultra has sub6 and mmWave 5G.

Price and availability

The S22 Ultra goes on sale February 25 (you can pre-order now) and it’s available in Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, and Pink Gold.

Prices start at $1,199 for the 128GB model. If you pre-order from Samsung before February 24, it offers a free storage upgrade from 128GB to 256GB, or 256GB to 512GB. Check the website from Samsung for details.

If you want to get your hands on an S22 Ultra before you buy, a new Samsung Experience store will open at the Stonebriar Center on February 18.

All major carriers and regular electronics stores will carry the S22 Ultra. Check with your carrier or store for on-sale times and pre-order and pricing details.

conclusion

If I had to choose an Android phone to replace my iPhone 13 Pro Max, it would definitely be the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.

It has everything I look for in a phone.

There’s a big screen with a great processor and the option of a ton of storage.

The fact that the S-Pen is included is an added bonus.

The Ultra’s cameras are just as nice as my iPhone’s cameras, and while both phones do facial recognition, only the Ultra still has a fingerprint sensor, which is great for unlocking while wearing a mask.

If you’re into the Android ecosystem and can spend the money on a high-end phone, the S22 Ultra is now the one to beat.

Pros: Large screen, S-Pen, flagship features

Cons: Expensive, but not really a cons.

Bottom line: Great phone, especially if you can take advantage of trade-in and pre-order offers.

Jim Rossman writes for The Dallas Morning News. He can be reached at [email protected]

© 2022 The Dallas Morning News. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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