• Samsung announced six new products at the Galaxy Unpacked event.
• Of the Galaxy S22 series, the Ultra model merges Note features with the S-series.
• Samsung also announced the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra tablet with a massive 14.6-inch display.
At the virtual Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung announced the new Galaxy S22 line of flagship smartphones, along with three Galaxy Tab S8 models. Of the six products, the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra are the most appealing devices that pack the best productivity features that Samsung has to offer. Here is a look at everything that Samsung announced at the event.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra: The Galaxy Note 20 Successor
When Samsung ditched the Galaxy Note series last year to position the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 as premium offerings, loyal Note users were unhappy. Samsung did add S Pen compatibility to the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the foldable, but a dedicated slot was missing. The new Galaxy S22 Ultra fixes that issue as it builds on the Galaxy Note 20 design, essentially merging the Note into the S series.
In terms of design, the Galaxy S22 Ultra features the same boxy design and squared-off corners as the Note. The front and back are covered with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+ protection and curved edges. At the back, the camera module bump is now gone, instead, you now have the individual camera lenses sticking out.
There is now a dedicated S Pen slot at the bottom left corner. It comes with a built-in battery and Bluetooth, to let you remotely control the camera shutter, play/pause music, and more. Samsung has also reduced the touch latency by 70%, to 2.8ms to help you draw and write more naturally. The company is also using AI to predict which direction you will move next to improve the S Pen experience.
“The most eye-catching part about the Galaxy S22 Series is where the Galaxy S22 Ultra is now positioned as a successor to the Note series that was discontinued last year. The S Pen, the biggest feature of Note, is installed in the product in a built-in form, which will be welcomed by Note users. The active installed base of Note users is roughly estimated to reach 40 million by the end of 2021 globally. And, while the foldables are being positioned as a premium flagship offering with novelty form factor, some % of the existing Note users who prefer a bar-type form factor will be the target customers for the Galaxy S22 Ultra,” Senior Analyst Jene Park.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra features a 6.8-inch Edge QHD+, Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. It is an LTPO screen with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate that can go to as low as 1Hz when viewing static content on the screen. Samsung has also added Vision Booster algorithms that adapt the color and contrast on the screen to ensure great visibility under any lighting condition. It also features 1750nits of peak brightness for good legibility under direct sunlight.
In terms of performance, the smartphone is powered by a 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC (or Exynos 2200, which is region-dependent). You get 8GB/12GB of RAM, and 128GB,256GB, 512GB or 1TB storage options to choose from. The smartphone also comes with the Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System offering both Sub-6GHz and mmWave connectivity. FastConnect 6900 for Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.2 connectivity options are also present. Samsung also detailed the new vapor chamber cooling system with a bigger heat pipe that dissipates heat from AP to the battery, thus covering more area. There is also a thermal management software solution that optimizes each operation to control and dissipate heat faster.
In the photography department, there isn’t much of a change compared to the Galaxy S21 Ultra. You still get a 108MP primary wide camera, two 10MP telephoto lenses, one offering 3x optical zoom, and the other enabling 10X optical and 100X digital zoom with the periscope style camera. There is also a fourth 12MP ultrawide camera at the back, and then a 40MP front camera for selfies and video calling.
What’s different here though is the new software along with advanced night photography features, and AI-supported portrait mode, which is enabled by the new camera ISP on the SoC. Another improvement is the Super Clear Glass lens which should help in capturing clearer pictures at night with reduced flare.
To keep things ticking, the Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with a 5,000mAh battery with 45W fast charging support, wireless charging, and wireless reverse charging features. It is a little disappointing to see that while competitors are offering up to 120W fast charging, even at much lower price points, Samsung is just offering 45W support. Also, just like last year, the box does not come with a charging brick, so users will have to buy one separately. On the software front, the smartphone runs on Android 12 out-of-the-box with One UI 4.1 custom skin.
On the pricing front, the Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at $1,199 for the 256GB storage variant, whereas the 512GB and 1TB storage models will set you back by $1,299 & $1,599, respectively.
Samsung Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus: Iterative Upgrades
The Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus models come with the same design as last year’s S21 models. While there are some upgrades to the hardware such as a new chipset and better primary camera module, there are some downgrades too, like the screen is smaller by 0.1-inch, and the battery is also a bit smaller. In terms of pricing, the Galaxy S22 starts at $799, whereas the Galaxy S22+ starts at $999.
Talking about the upgrades first, both smartphones are powered by the same 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC (or Exynos 2200 SoC) and include, Snapdragon X65 5G Modem-RF System, and FastConnect 6900 connectivity solution. They feature 8GB of RAM, and an option to choose between 128GB/256GB storage. Both smartphones run on Android 12 with One UI 4.1, feature IP68 rating, and wireless charging features.
For shutterbugs, both the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ models feature a triple camera setup at the back which includes a 50MP (GN5) primary wide camera, a big upgrade over last year’s 12MP sensor on the Galaxy S21 and the Plus models. This is paired with a 12MP ultrawide camera, and a 10MP sensor with a telephoto lens enabling 3X optical zoom (replacing the 64MP sensor from last year that offered lossless zoom). For selfies and video calling, there is a 10MP camera on the front.
Now, talking about small downgrades, the Galaxy S22 features a 6.1-inch display (6.2-inch on Galaxy S21), whereas the Galaxy S22+ features a 6.6-inch screen (to 6.7-inch on Galaxy S21+). Both are Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays with 120Hz adaptive refresh rate that can adjust between 48Hz-120Hz depending on the screen content. The vision booster feature from the Ultra model is present on these models also. On the battery front, the Galaxy S22 is armed with a 3,700mAh one (4,000mAh on Galaxy S21) and comes with 25W wired fast charging. Similarly, the Galaxy S22+ comes with a 4,500mAh battery (4,800mAh on Galaxy S21+), but the wired fast charging speed is now bumped to 45W. Better efficiency of the 4nm chip could likely help in offering the same (or slightly better) battery life over the previous models.
Samsung Galaxy Tab S8 Series Unveiled, Tab S8 Ultra to Compete with 12.9-inch iPad Pro
Alongside the Galaxy S22 Series smartphones, Samsung also announced the trio of Galaxy Tab S8 tablets. The series features the vanilla Galaxy Tab S8, the Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, and the most premium offering, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra. All three tablets are powered by the 4nm Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 SoC under the hood, paired with 8GB/12GB of RAM, and 128GB/256GB storage options. The Ultra model also has an option of 16GB RAM and 512GB storage. A microSD card slot with support for up to 1TB is also present on all three tablets.
All three tablets run on Android 12 OS, come with S Pen bundled in the box, and include AKG tuned quad-speaker setup for an immersive audio experience. They also include connectivity features such as 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, and Bluetooth 5.2. In the camera department, the Galaxy Tab S8 series come with two cameras at the back featuring a 13MP main wide lens, and, a 6MP ultrawide lens, and a 12MP front camera.
What changes between the three tablets is the screen size and the battery capacity. With a massive 14.6-inch Super AMOLED display (2960x1848pixels resolution), featuring a variable refresh rate of 120Hz, the Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra is the biggest and the most powerful Android tablet from Samsung. With this screen size, the Ultra will directly compete with Apple’s 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which is also positioned as a productivity tool. Bundling S Pen in the box is where Samsung offers a complete out-of-the-box Note-taking and drawing experience, whereas iPad users have to buy the $129 Apple Pencil as an add-on. On the pricing front, the Galaxy Tab S8 starts at $699, the Plus model at $899, whereas the Ultra model starts at $1,099.
“It is impressive that Samsung tries to redefine the category of tablets with its Galaxy S8 Ultra having a huge 14.6-inch Super AMOLED screen, which is comparable to the size of a laptop PC. Samsung will aim to shorten the market share gap with Apple targeting the demand for large-screen tablets, which is rapidly increasing due to the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic,” said Senior Analyst Liz Lee.
The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra brings the controversial notched display, which houses two 12MP cameras – one with a wide lens and the other with an ultrawide lens (120-degree field of view), which allows you to make video calls with more people in the frame. The cameras also feature 4K video recording capabilities. The tablet comes packed with an 11,200mAh battery with 45W fast charging capabilities.
Moving to the vanilla Galaxy Tab S8, it features an 11-inch (2560x1600pixels WQXGA) LTPS TFT display featuring an adaptive refresh rate of 120Hz. On the battery front, it packs an 8,000mAh unit with up to 45W fast charging tech. The Galaxy Tab S8 Plus, on the other hand, features a 12.4-inch Super AMOLED (2800x1752pixels WQXGA+) display with a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. On the battery front, there is a 10,090mAh unit with up to 45W fast charging support.
The new Galaxy Tab S8 series is positioned as a productivity powerhouse, and that shows from the partnerships that Samsung has struck. Support for apps like LumaFusion enables content creators to edit videos on the go. The Samsung Notes app is now integrated with Microsoft OneNote, PowerPoint, and Outlook, so that your presentations, notes, and emails remain in sync centrally. Users can also collaborate with colleagues using the Samsung Notes app. Apps like Clip Studio enable you to use the smartphone as a pallet, and the tablet as a canvas, offering a more connected experience.
Samsung’s Initiatives Towards Greener & Sustainable Future
Besides the device announcements, Samsung also talked about its renewed efforts in reducing environmental waste. Components like the power and volume key inner, key bracket and the S Pen inner cover, and the speaker module are made from plastic recycled from discarded fishing nets in the ocean. Samsung also touched upon the Global Goals app that is developed with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) where Galaxy smartphone users can contribute to local causes.
Key Takeaways from Galaxy Unpacked Event
• Qualcomm showcased a strong set of design wins with the Galaxy S22 series, demonstrating a continued strong partnership and integration effort between Samsung and Qualcomm.
• The Galaxy S22 Ultra looks like the Note replacement at a price point of $1,199, a move by Samsung to consolidate its different premium flagship line-ups as the Note series and S-series Ultra models served similar purposes and consumers.
• The Galaxy Tab S8 Ultra boasts up to a 14.6-inch AMOLED screen and 120Hz refresh rate, promising better multitasking via split screening for up to three apps. This makes it a strong alternative for laptops and positions the device as an iPad Pro alternative.
• Striking key “out-of-the-box” partnerships with the likes of Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Snapchat, and Instagram to name a few, makes the Galaxy devices “optimized” and content powerhouse.