As a lifelong iPhone user, Apple has pretty much crept into every corner of my life. But after almost a week with the Samsung Galaxy S22+, I was almost willing to scrap my Apple identity and convert to the dark side — ahem, Android side.
Yep, this iPhone girly was just about ready to go the way of the green bubble, and honestly, the biggest thing holding me back wasn’t even Samsung’s fault. The Galaxy S22+ is a gorgeous, easy to use, dependable phone that I genuinely enjoyed.
Here’s how my week with it went, and how it compared to my trusty iPhone 13 Pro.
The design is nothing fancy, but that’s what’s so *chef’s kiss* about it
I can’t even lie: When I opened the Samsung S22+’s box, I sort of let out a soft gasp of admiration. I got to test out the phone in the pink gold shade, which happens to be one of my favorite colors. Did Samsung know this? Was it a ploy to get in my good graces? If it was, it worked.
Yes, I took a glamor shot of the pretty pink phone. What about it? Credit: Jennimai Nguyen / Mashable
The S22+ comes in phantom white, phantom black, green, and pink gold. If you buy it online, you can also get online-exclusive colors, like graphite, cream, sky blue, and violet. Now, I admit I am very particular to the shade I received, but I mention my gasp because this shade of pink gold is exactly what pink gold should be: Soft, yet metallic. Subtle, yet shiny. And, comparatively, it didn’t set me up for disappointment and claim it was just pink — like Apple’s latest iPhone 13 shade is supposed to be.
Beyond color, the S22+ has a design that doesn’t mess with what works. It has a 6.6-inch Gorilla Glass Victus+ screen and flat edges encased in what Samsung calls Armor Aluminum, which gives the phone’s sides a juicy sheen. I didn’t drop the phone from any significant height while using it, but the edges do give off a feeling of durability.
It has the same vertical, three camera setup as its predecessor, which sits inside a module that creates just a slightly annoying bump. While I wish the module could be flush with what is otherwise a very flat, thin phone, I can imagine that a thicker phone case could make this much less noticeable. Alas, such a case would take away from how remarkably lithe this phone feels in my hand, an element I found myself continuously marveling at. Compromise, I suppose, is necessary.
There are little things in its design that regular Samsung users definitely would not have noticed, nor cared about. Namely, the S22+’s physical buttons, which include a volume button and a power button, are both on the right side, as they’ve always been. As an iPhone person, I’m used to these buttons being on opposite sides of my phone. While it’s pretty minor, I kinda hated having the buttons on the same side, as it led to me constantly pressing the wrong button every time I wanted to adjust volume or lock the phone. iPhones also tote a silencing switch on the left side, which I found myself pining after. While the S22+’s volume button did the same thing, I wanted the extra security of being able to see that my phone was on silent.
On the bottom of the S22+ sits its stereo speaker, SIM card slot, and USB-C charging port. The port was a major difference from iPhone life that I immediately loved. While I didn’t time the charging speed (which Samsung boasts uses 45W super-fast charging), it did feel like the S22+ juiced up pretty quick whenever I plugged it in. And the literal action of plugging it in was blissfully simple: I never had to peer at each end of my cord to determine which was lightning or USB-C. Just plug, charge, and go. Who knew such a small thing could be so helpful?
Lights, camera, action
Here’s where I was honestly blown away: The cameras felt better than the iPhone’s.
Specs-wise, it’s pretty comparable to Apple’s 12 MP Pro camera system, with one notable exception. The S22+ packs in a 10 MP selfie camera in the front, and 12 MP ultrawide, 50 MP wide angle, and 10 MP telephoto cameras in the back. I suspect that the mega-detailed wide-angle camera is what gives the overall crisp effect that I found myself oohing and aahing over.
I used the cameras in my day-to-day life, capturing portrait shots of my boyfriend, close-up pics of a bouquet of roses, food shots, and selfies. I even took some of these pics in what I knew was pretty bad lighting to see what the cameras could do. Even backlit against my sun-flooded windows, my subject was very in focus and well-saturated on the S22+. I took the same shot on my iPhone 13 Pro, and well…
Backlit roses captured on a Samsung S22+ Credit: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen Backlit roses captured on an iPhone 13 Pro Credit: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen
I was much more impressed with the S22+’s version, as the camera seemed to capture the roses better than the surrounding sky. And it wasn’t just a test of which phone dealt with bad lighting better. In Portrait mode, which I have always felt the iPhone executes very well, I still found the S22+ to be crisper and somehow more real. It let me get closer to my subject, and the bokeh effect was still noticeable against a pretty plain background.
Portrait mode photo taken on a Samsung S22+ Credit: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen Portrait mode photo taken on an iPhone 13 Pro Credit: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen
I also played around with lowlight mode and what I think of as the phone’s built-in camera “helpers.” Samsung calls this “Nightography,” so I put it to the test capturing videos while eating dinner outside at night. Nightography did a great job capturing the colors and details of my food and the surrounding scene, and it let in plenty of light without making it look overly enhanced. I could still tell the video was taken at night, but I didn’t have to squint to see what was going on either.
Taken with the S22+’s telephoto lens and Shot Suggestions Credit: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen Taken using the S22+’s food mode Credit: Mashable/Jennimai Nguyen
As for the helpers, I loved that the camera had settings like Director’s View, which showed and captured footage from all four cameras at once. Deeper in the settings, I turned on intelligent features like Shot Suggestions, which helped me line up photos in the perfect spot for an optimal shot. There were also a bunch of other useful little things like gesture controls and voice commands that I honestly found made the camera experience delightful.
The S22+ and me: A story of (mostly) happiness
The biggest adjustment to using the S22+ didn’t come from the phone’s physical features, but rather its Android operating software. Using the new (to me) messaging, Google Play store, and other general apps took a little recalibrating, some of which was easy and useful to do, others more annoying to stick to.
I have trained my fingers to instinctively know the swipe patterns to navigate my iPhone, and even when I turned on swipe controls on the S22+, I found them to not work as satisfyingly as I’d hoped. The screen remained bright and responsive as ever, but when I wanted to swipe side to side to move between tweets or Instagram posts, I often found that I had to swipe from a very specific point on the screen to get it to work.
However, I found the opposite to be true when texting. Using swipe to text was so much more accurate on the S22+ than it ever is on my iPhone, and I think it made texting much faster than normal. And yet, I didn’t like the haptic feedback of the normal tap to type on the S22+ as much as I like the iPhone’s.
Other small tradeoffs popped up throughout the week. My TikToks looked beautiful on the AMOLED display, and I could feel how smooth the scrolling experience was when the variable refresh rate — which moves between 10hz and 120hz — was in play. But experience-wise, so many of TikTok’s best AR filters weren’t compatible with the device. So I often felt let down by the technically impressive phone.
I fell in love with the ease of the in-screen fingerprint sensor and was glad to bid the iPhone’s ugly notch adieu, but I had more trouble with the S22+’s face unlock than I ever do with my iPhone’s Face ID. And I was pleasantly surprised to find that pairing my AirPods was pretty easy, despite the clash of ideologies. But I was later unpleasantly surprised to discover that using my AirPods’ microphones to capture video proved more of an issue.
Did these tradeoffs make me hate the phone? No, not even a little bit. Most of these things were fixable with practice or time, and even the AirPods problem simply piqued my interest in the arguably cuter Galaxy Buds Pro for a future upgrade. I didn’t expect the S22+ to be perfect, and most of my gripes with it became easily forgivable.
Alas… I am a woman of habit. Also, FOMO.
You may be wondering why, after all of this praise and willingness to bypass some of the S22+’s flaws, I started this review by saying I was only almost willing to become an Android convert. You see, my lifetime of Apple usage has created a product ecosystem I’m so used to that I’m not sure what would break it. But it’s not just my devotion to FaceTime and Memojis that Samsung and Android have to battle.
Despite thoroughly enjoying my week with the S22+, and even seeing how it outperforms some of my beloved iPhone’s capabilities, one tiny little thing made it so I simply cannot make the switch: iMessage group chats.
At the start of the week, I tried to add my Android number to existing group chats on my boyfriend’s iPhone, and I made the startling discovery that Apple BARS YOU FROM ADDING NON-IPHONE NUMBERS to iMessage group chats entirely. So if you have an all-iPhone friend group who happens to make a group chat without you, then tries to add you, they won’t be able to do it. You will be left out forever, unless you can convince them to make a whole new group chat. And let’s be honest, who the heck is doing that?
So yeah. Unfortunately, I can’t be the Android queen in my Apple-dominated life. Nearly every single person I interact with daily has an iPhone, and I can’t handle knowing that I’d be on the outs. If Samsung wants someone like me to make the switch, it’s going to have to do more than convince me that its beautiful, well-functioning phone is worth it. It’s going to have to convince my fellow stubborn iPhone friends, too.
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