Tech writers like me have to keep swapping phones as we evaluate different devices that come through our testing lab. There are times when we are happy to move on from a phone, and then there are some break-ups that leave us heartbroken. The Samsung Galaxy S22 is one such phone that belongs in the latter category. The tiniest member of the S22 trio has been overshadowed by the Galaxy S22 Ultra, Samsung’s most expensive phone that doesn’t belong in the ‘foldables’ category. But after using this device on and off for the past two months, I’ve missed the times I’ve had to swap this for a bulkier device. Does the S22 make a strong case for a small Android smartphone and how does it compare with its rivals?

How it stacks up

If you ask me about the rivals for the S22, I would pick the Apple iPhone 13 and the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It might seem like an odd duo but I’ll tell you why. The iPhone 13 vs S22 choice boils down to an ecosystem choice. This is one choice that only the fence-sitters (those who keep flitting between the iPhone and Android flagships) have to confront. Both phones have a 6.1-inch display, cost around the same and weigh almost the same (the S22 is 7 gm lighter). The Samsung has a triple rear cam while the iPhone 13 misses out on the telephoto lens.

Samsung Galaxy S22

Now between the S22 and the S22 Ultra it boils down to three things: price, feature set and size. When I speak to retailers, most of them believe that their typical Samsung flagship customers don’t mind paying the extra premium for the Ultra. So, this might actually be purely a choice driven by size and the feature set. It’s more about what you miss out on if you choose the S22 over the formidable Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S22

Can small be beautiful?

Most of us share love-hate relationships with smaller smartphones. Let’s start with the love. The Samsung Galaxy S22 feels light in your hand and is designed for one-handed navigation. We think that 160 to 175gm is the sweet spot for a smartphone with a 6.1-inch to 6.5-inch display. You get a gorgeous 6.1-inch (1080 x 2340 pixels) Dynamic AMOLED 2X display with a peak brightness of 1300 nits. Colours are punchy and blacks are deep. The 3700 mAh battery lasted a whole day during our testing that included some camera usage and about 90 minutes of videos on high brightness. The rear cam makes improvements over last year’s S21. It’s driven by a much improved 50MP (f/1.8 aperture) lens that teams up with a 10MP telephoto lens and a 12MP ultra-wide cam. The S22 Ultra trumps the S22 in the camera department with its 10X optical zoom feature. The larger 6.8-inch screen is handy when you’re ‘Netflixing’ or viewing email attachments.

Samsung Galaxy S22

The choice is yours

The choice around a smaller phone is a personal decision. Android doesn’t offer too many options in the flagship space with the same firepower as larger phones. If you’re looking at a sub Rs 45,000 option, you could also consider the ASUS 8Z. The Samsung Galaxy S22 offers a dependable battery, a vibrant display, the same internals as the Ultra, and a flagship-class camera. The only decision is whether you’re good with the available screen real estate. That’s not a deal breaker if you’re unlikely to binge watch. Don’t buy the S22 because it’s the cheapest of the S22 flagships, buy it if you’re looking for the best small Android smartphone.   

The Samsung Galaxy S22 comes in Green, Phantom White and Phantom Black. The 8GB/128GB variant costs Rs 72,999 while the 8GB/256GB variant is priced at Rs 76,999.