Samsung's Galaxy S22 ($799.99) offers all the power of the Galaxy S22+ in a much smaller package for $200 less. That would be a winning proposition, except for one critical trade-off: The S22 sits right at the edge of acceptable battery life. Because of this shortcoming, the S22+ ($999.99) is Editors’ Choice winner for Android phones out of the three S22 models, including the Note-like S22 Ultra ($1,199.99). We have much longer reviews of the Galaxy S22+ and the Galaxy S22 Ultra, but here we outline how the smaller S22 compares with those two models.
The S22 is available with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB ($799.99) or 256GB ($849.99) of storage. Buy the 256GB model if you can, as the phone doesn't have expandable memory. None of the S22 models do (or the S21 models, for that matter).
The back of the phone is made of an attractive matte material (Photo: Molly Flores)
The phone comes in black, gold, green, or white through carriers, but Samsung also sells four exclusive colors, including blue, cream, graphite, or violet. The Samsung-exclusive models are real standouts.
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Whereas the S21 feels a little cheap, the S22 does not. Like the S22+, the S22 has a flat, matte back with a camera bump in the corner. It feels dense and solid with hard edges. It's rated IP68 for water resistance, like its siblings, and it doesn't scratch as easily as the S22 Ultra.
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At 5.75 by 2.78 by 0.29 inches (HWD) and 5.93 ounces, the phone is smaller and lighter than the Galaxy S21 (5.97 by 2.80 by .31 inches, 6.03 ounces), as well as any of the other models in the S22 lineup and the Google Pixel 6 (6.24 by 2.94 by 0.35 inches, 7.30 ounces). I wouldn't call it a mini phone, but I can get my thumb across the screen in one stretch.
The 6.1-inch, 2,340-by-1,080-pixel screen is very bright and dense (422 ppi). The panel has the same resolution as the 6.6-inch one on the S22+, so you see the same amount of content, just smaller. Like on the S22+, the screen automatically adjusts its refresh rate between 48Hz and 120Hz depending on the content. You can also lock it to 60Hz to save battery.
The phone has a single SIM slot and a USB-C port, with no microSD card or headphone jack (Photo: Molly Flores)
Mostly the Same as the Others
The S22 is functionally similar to the other models in the S22 lineup. It runs Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor and Samsung's OneUI 4.1 skin over Google's Android 12. Like the other models, Samsung promises feature updates through Android 16 and security updates into the Android 17 cycle.
All of the S22 models throttle a bit harder under heat than the S21 models, and the S22 throttled sooner than the S22+ in testing: The S22's performance dropped after just six minutes of heavy use as compared with after 10 minutes with the S22+. In a 15-minute test with the CPU Throttling Test app, the phone's average performance of 223kGIPS was a bit lower than the S22+'s 254kGIPS, too. Check out our full story on Galaxy S22 benchmarks for more details.
Hands On With the Samsung Galaxy S22 and Galaxy Tab S8 Series
I tested cellular signal strength with the Net Monitor app and got very similar 4G/5G signal test results between the S22 and S22+. The S22 supports all of the 5G networks in the US, and, like its siblings, offers better connectivity than models from the S21 generation, particularly in low-signal environments. Samsung sells half a dozen different international models of the phone, so make sure you get the right one for your country; we have more details on these variants in our Galaxy S22 Ultra review.
The camera stack, most notably, is the same one you get with the Galaxy S22+. If smartphone photography is what you care about most, you don't have to worry about missing out on any features with the less expensive S22. For more, see our story on testing the Galaxy S22's camera.
A true 3x optical zoom is a step up from the sensor-crop zoom on the S21 (Photo: Molly Flores)
That said, the Galaxy S22 lacks a couple of features and capabilities compared with the two larger S22 models. It doesn't support Wi-Fi 6E, for example, but Wi-Fi 6E routers are currently rare and expensive. It also doesn't have UWB positioning, but devices using that technology are also extremely uncommon (the only one that comes to mind is the Samsung Galaxy SmartTag+).
Battery: The Big Question
As I mentioned, battery life is the S22's major issue. The phone has only a 3,700mAh battery. For comparison, the S22+ has a 4,500mAh battery and the S22 Ultra has a 5,000mAh cell. Although the other phones have bigger screens, that difference doesn't matter much in terms of energy use.
The S22 streamed video for 9 hours and 5 minutes over Wi-Fi, and a mere 5 hours and 10 minutes over 5G in our tests. That's more than an hour less of usable battery life in both scenarios than the S22+. You might not be comfortable with those results if you use your phone heavily throughout the day.
The S22 also charges at 25W rather than the supposed 45W of the larger phones. However, in our tests, it charges just as quickly overall as the others (likely because of the smaller battery), to the tune of 18% in the first 10 minutes, and from zero to 100% in 75 minutes. The bigger phones require more wattage to get to the same battery percentages because they use larger batteries. Like the other S22 models, the small S22 supports 15W wireless charging and reverse charging.
Left to right: Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22+, Galaxy S21 (Photo: Molly Flores)
The Best Small Android Phone, But Not the Right Galaxy S22 for Everyone
If you're specifically looking for a small phone that's less than 2.8 inches wide, your choices are limited to the Galaxy S22, Apple's iPhone 13 mini ($699.99) and SE ($399) models, and the obscure Sony Xperia 5 III ($999.99). The Xperia costs $200 more (at a minimum) than the other options, and doesn't noticeably offer anything more for your money. Your decision at that point boils down to a choice between Android and iOS. The Galaxy S22 and the iPhone 13 mini are both terrific phones, but neither does anything that may convince you to switch between the two platforms.
So while the Galaxy S22 is the best small Android phone you can buy, the Galaxy S22+ wins our Editors' Choice award for Android phones this year despite its slightly larger size. Ultimately, it offers a big enough advantage in battery life to justify its higher cost. And if you're a longtime fan of the Galaxy Note series, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is your best bet thanks to its larger screen and built-in S Pen stylus.
Samsung Galaxy S22
See It$699.99 at Samsung
Excellent signal strength
True 3x zoom camera
High-quality build and design
Short battery life
The Bottom Line
The Samsung Galaxy S22 fits comfortably in one hand and is as powerful as its larger siblings, but its small size makes for less battery life.
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