Samsung has a slew of new devices dropping this month, and we got a sneak peek at its three new flagship phones and three tablets ahead of its Galaxy Unpacked event.
We went hands-on with the Galaxy S22, 22+, and 22 Ultra, as well as the new Galaxy Tab S8 lineup — including the Tab S8 Ultra, which looks to be a true laptop replacement (or an iPad Pro rival). Check out our in-depth first looks at both the Galaxy S22 series and the Galaxy Tab S8 after you click through for a closer look at everything Samsung announced today.
The Galaxy S22 Lineup
The 6.1-inch Galaxy S22 (left) is the smallest of the lineup, and the massive 6.8-inch Galaxy S22 Ultra (right) is the Note-like entry. The Galaxy S22+ sits squarely in the middle with a 6.6-inch display. You’ll find a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 powering up each of them, though only the Galaxy S22+ and S22 Ultra feature up to 12GB of RAM.
One Telephoto or Two?
One of the other main distinctions between the regular set of Galaxy S22s and the Galaxy S22 Ultra is their rear camera systems. The Ultra has a four-camera array, including a 108-MP wide-angle lens, a 12-MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and two 10-MP telephoto lenses, one with 3x optical zoom and one with 10X optical zoom.
The smaller two Galaxy S22s have triple-camera systems with a a 50-MP wide-angle camera and a 12-MP ultra-wide camera with a 120-degree field of view. There’s only one telephoto lens on both the Galaxy S22 and S22+, both with a maximum of 3x optical zoom.
An Unfortunate Camera Bulge
The powerful optical zoom mean the camera hardware sticks out a tiny bit on the back of the Galaxy S22 Ultra. This is definitely something you’re going to want to get a case for to help the smartphone lay flush on a table.
Did We Mention 108 Megapixels?
The S22 Ultra’s ridiculous 108-MP wide-angle lens is…ridiculous. I’m curious to see the difference in photo quality between it and the 12-MP sensor Samsung bundled on the back, especially since the bigger sensor has a larger aperture.
The Built-In Stylus Returns
I am happy to see the S Pen is back on the Galaxy Note — sorry, I meant the S22 Ultra. It’s even in the same spot it was on the Galaxy Note 20, which was the last of the Note lineup.
This version of the S Pen is apparently one millisecond faster than its predecessor. It also supports Air Actions, so you can make gestures in the air to skip tracks on the phone, for instance.
Same Helpful S Pen Features
The S Pen features on the Galaxy S22 Ultra haven’t deviated much from the way it functions on Samsung’s other stylus-compatible devices. A click of the button on the pen brings up an actions menu with helpful features.
Share A Charge
If you’re going to spend a whopping $US1,200 ($1,666) on a smartphone, it had better charge your other devices. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 5,000 mAh battery that is capable of charging another smartphone with a tethered cable. You can also wirelessly charge accessories like smartwatches by simply placing them on the back of the device. The smaller two Galaxy S22 smartphones also offer power-sharing.
Galaxy Tablets Get Supersized
We’ll move on to the tablets and start with a size comparison between the three new devices. As you can see, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is gigantic when compared to the 12.4-inch Galaxy Tab S8+ and 11-inch Galaxy Tab S8. It makes the smallest of these look like an iPad mini (though it’s considerably larger than Apple’s pint-sized 8.3-inch slate). These are the official measurements: Tab S8 Ultra (12.85 x 8.21 x 0.22 inches, 1 kg), Tab S8+ (11.22 x 7.28 x 0.22 inches, 0 kg), Tab S8 (9.99 x 6.51 x 0.25 inches, 0 kg).
S Pen and Magnetic Holder
That black, teardrop-shaped strip on the back of these tablets holds and charges the new-and-improved S Pen. The digital writing utensil was upgraded with “prediction algorithms” that drop latency down to 2.8 milliseconds. In our hands-on time, the pen felt responsive, though we’ll put that through more rigorous testing.
OLED With a Notch
This is the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra and its huge 14.6-inch, 2960 x 1848-pixel OLED display. Yes, that’s a notch. Yes, I regret to inform you that after poking fun at Apple for its notch, Samsung is adopting one on its newest flagship tablet. At least it takes up a smaller portion of the screen than the cutout on the iPhone.
Full-size Backlit Keyboard
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra’s exclusive keyboard has large, backlit keys, a glass touchpad, and adjustable stand angles. Dock the tablet into this accessory and switch to DeX mode to have the closest thing to a laptop experience. While not as feature-filled as this one, the Galaxy Tab S8 and Tab S8+ come with their own keyboards and covers.
AKG Speakers and WiFi 6E/5G
Found on each of these tablets are quad speakers tuned by AKG (part of Samsung’s Harman subsidiary) that should deliver loud, clear audio when you’re listening to music, playing games, or watching movies. These antenna bands are for the tablets’ WiFi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, and 5G (available in select regions) connectivity. What you won’t find is a 3.5mm headphone jack.
Transforming Into a Laptop
The keyboards and covers for the Galaxy Tab S8 series have kickstands so you can switch from tablet to clamshell or stand mode. It is a simple solution, but one I fear won’t be great to use on your lap or any other non-flat surface. Next to the camera is a nifty stylus garage for housing the S Pen when you’re done writing or drawing.