When it comes to giant smartphones, Samsung has long led the way with its Galaxy Note lineup. A giant display paired with plenty of new features can be a thrill for Android audiences. With the Galaxy Note being replaced by the Galaxy S22 Ultra, this Samsung flagship model has a lot to live up to.
Competing with the memory of the Galaxy Note and the iPhone 13 Pro Max, the Ultra has to bring the goods. Well, there is no question Samsung delivered the S22 Ultra with plenty of good intentions, but this doesn’t mean it’s the right device for you.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at 7 reasons you can avoid this giant smartphone today.
What Is the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra?
Announced on February 9, 2022, by Samsung, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the largest of three models unveiled that day. The Galaxy S22 Ultra stood out most as it was anointed as the official successor to the Samsung Galaxy Note line. Instead of running two flagship lines side-by-side, Samsung has now condensed its best Note features into the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Featuring a rectangular body, the Galaxy S22 Ultra looks and feels different than its siblings. Unlike the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus rounded style, the Ultra’s design makes way for the S-Pen. Building the S-Pen into the Ultra helps solidify it as the true Note successor.
Now that you have a little background on the Ultra, let’s jump into why you don’t need to rush out and buy one.
Reasons to Avoid a Galaxy S22 Ultra
#1: Boxy Design
For better or worse, smartphones are getting bigger and bigger. Whether it’s to allow for more features or allowing for better battery life, Samsung looks at smartphones with a “bigger is better” mentality. Unfortunately, for Galaxy S22 Ultra owners, or at least those considering a purchase, bigger can also mean more uncomfortable.
The boxy design of the Ultra adds four sharp squared edges and they quickly dig into your palms. This is especially true if you have smaller hands as the corners really start to make their presence known. Measuring 6.8 inches diagonally for the screen and weighing 229 grams, this is definitely a large phone.
Having such a large display also makes it difficult to make any selections in the top half of the phone if you are holding it toward the bottom. Most users will need to really stretch their fingers to account for the size of the display. If you are holding the Ultra toward the bottom, getting to the notification panel might be a literal stretch.
#2: No Charger Included
Following Apple’s lead, Samsung has opted not to include the 45W charging adapter as part of your purchase. For a smartphone that retails for over $1,000, including a charging plug should be mandatory. Sure, there are environmental concerns to consider, but when one of your flagship features is fast charging, not throwing in the charger is a dealbreaker.
It’s great that Samsung enabled 45W of fast wired charging, which is a big upgrade from the year prior. However, you are not forced to purchase a very expensive smartphone and then go out and find a compatible charger. It’s not an impossible task, just one that feels very discouraging as a potential buyer.
Ultimately, having to go out and buy another charger now means you likely have two chargers sitting at home. One that is compatible with 45W and another that is not, so now you have increased waste which defeats the whole environmentally friendly idea Samsung touted.
#3: No Groundbreaking Features
By all accounts, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a feature-rich smartphone, but it doesn’t break any rules. For a period of time, Samsung tried just about every idea they could with their flagship Galaxy lineup. In the case of the Ultra, outside of including the S-Pen, there aren’t a lot of new features.
Samsung can argue the screen is gorgeous and the hardware is beautiful, but the Ultra doesn’t offer any big steps forward feature-wise. One of the reasons Samsung’s smartphones became the symbol of Android was because of the features Samsung would try.
Taking a page out of the Galaxy Note S-Pen handbook isn’t really new, it’s the same features with a different smartphone name. Hopefully, Samsung can try to bring new features to its Ultra lineup in the future. However, in the case of the 2022 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra release, it’s just another large Samsung smartphone.
#4: The Camera Is Good Enough
In the world of smartphone cameras, it used to be a race toward the top between Samsung and Apple. Today, it’s a race between Apple and the Google Pixel, with Samsung safely holding down third place. Even so, there is no arguing the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has a solid camera system and takes more than good enough photos for vacations, families, and even some pro needs. Unfortunately, one of the biggest user review concerns with the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is that the company has lost its edge.
Of course, this is very much a subjective opinion but when you see it popping up in various professional reviews and even on Reddit, it’s something to consider. Even the presence of a 108-megapixel wide-angle camera wasn’t enough to convince many users. Instead, reviewers pegged it as more of a gimmick than a practical feature.
#5: Lack of Expandable Memory
While it’s true this is something anyone tracking the smartphone industry could have seen coming, the lack of expandable memory is still a disappointment. Sure, Samsung is offering storage options from 128GB through 1TB, and for most users, this is more than enough room. However, if you really want your customers to take full advantage of the larger screen and camera system, you need to allow for expandable storage.
Apple has long since convinced its audience that expandable memory is a thing of the past. Historically, this was a major differentiator for Samsung and something Android fans cheered for. Today, the lack of expandable storage is one of the bigger complaints.
Given that microSD cards have a really low barrier to entry, often costing as little as $10-$15 for 128GB of storage, it’s easy to think why customers would want this flexibility. Given the body size of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, it’s hopeful that Samsung could have made this work, but by not doing so, raised an additional complaint among its most die-hard fanbase.
#6: Less Overall Memory
For reasons Samsung has yet to explain, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has less available memory than its predecessor. In 2021, the Galaxy Ultra offered a starting point of 12GB of RAM for its $1,200 price tag. The 2021 model would go up through 16GB of RAM, which helped keep the phone smoothly running. In the case of the 2022 Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, the base starting point is 8GB of memory with a cap of 12GB, which is 4GB less than the year prior.
Now, some of this might do with the Snapdragon improvements year over year, but still, potential buyers look at this as a disappointing change. For a demanding smartphone with a lot of different capabilities, including the S-Pen, and the hope the large screen can lead to multitasking, it’s a frustrating change.
This is even more of a consideration when you factor in Samsung DeX, its hopeful desktop computer component as part of the Galaxy S22 lineup. The more room RAM the better, so the lack of RAM compared to the year prior is a long-term concern.
#7: Big Price Tag
Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is its price tag. A starting price of $1,200 is a tall order for most people, even with a carrier subsidy that helps break it up into monthly payments. The thing is, $1,200 is only the starting point as the price increases as you jump up in both memory and storage.
It’s also easy to up the price tag to $1,400 before you have even blinked with the 512GB storage option. Unfortunately, new smartphone release prices seem to be going in the wrong direction. While this isn’t unique to Samsung, the case is getting tougher for companies to ask for these higher price tags when the feature offerings are not dramatically different year over year.
Best Alternatives to the Galaxy S22 Ultra
#1 Best Overall: Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
At the time the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra was released, the best overall alternative was the iPhone 13 Pro Max.
Offering a similarly sized screen at 6.7 inches, where Apple really shines is with the A15 Bionic chip. This processor was both on paper and in practice better than the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s Snapdragon model. Because of this, everything about the iOS system feels a whole lot more fluid. Between the smoother scrolling and faster app opening times, it’s a notable performance improvement.
Apple even outpaced the Galaxy S22 Ultra with its Pro camera system. The 12MP telephoto, wide, and ultra-wide cameras are really something. Add in a LiDAR scanner, 6x optical zoom, macro photography, and Apple ProRAW, and the iPhone 13 Pro Max was a photographer’s dream.
Last but not least, the iPhone 13 Pro Max well outpaced the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s battery life. At 28 hours of video playback, the iPhone 13 Pro Max is the best Apple has ever offered.
Best Android Device: Google Pixel 7 Pro
Arguably the best Android alternative to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is the Google Pixel 7 Pro.
Powered by the Google Tensor G2 processor, everything about the Pixel 7 Pro feels fast. Really fast. On top of speed, the Pixel 7 Pro’s screen is great. At 6.7 inches, the Smooth Display screen offers the same 120Hz refresh rate as the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Another big benefit of the Google Pixel 7 Pro is the 5x telephoto lens and the 30x Super Res Zoom. It’s hard to deny the upgraded cameras on the Pixel 7 Pro are just outstanding. It’s even been said it captures some of the best details of any Android smartphone.
As an added benefit, you get a great ecosystem of products with the Pixel 7 Pro. Between earbuds and the Google Pixel Watch, there is a similar feeling to the Ultra, Galaxy Watch, and earbuds.
Reasons to Avoid a Galaxy S22 Ultra Summary
|#1: The boxy design is just not comfortable as the sharp edges dig into your palms.|
|#2: Not including a charger while touting 45W charging is a big oversight.|
|#3: There are no groundbreaking features year-over-year with the S22 Ultra|
|#4: The camera is good enough, but doesn’t shatter the ceiling of smartphone cameras.|
|#5: A lack of expandable memory, especially given the price point, is a disappointment.|
|#6: Arriving with less RAM (memory) while asking the same price as the year before is head-scratching.|
|#7: The price of the Galaxy S22 Ultra makes it difficult to purchase for many smartphone buyers.|
There is no doubt the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has many good properties. The beautiful screen, S-Pen features, and solid camera system all make it a good smartphone. Unfortunately, none of these features are groundbreaking nor do they help convince you to pay the premium price. Plus, you have to contend with an uncomfortable form factor. All of this combined helps make the best alternatives to the Galaxy S22 Ultra all the more intriguing.
The image featured at the top of this post is ©Jack Skeens/Shutterstock.com.