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The cheapest 5G smartphone any given manufacturer currently has on the market has become sort of a weird competitive category in itself this year. For Samsung, that used to be the Galaxy A32 5G, which was released back in January, alongside the A52 5G and A72 5G. Now that title has officially been transferred over to the Galaxy A22 5G. Like its higher-tier sibling, the A22 is available in both a 5G variant and regular 4G. And once again, cramming in 5G, without deviating too much from the original price point has necessitated some major downgrades, compared to the LTE model.
For the Galaxy A22 pair goes, in particular, some of the major advantages the LTE model has over its sibling include its Super AMOLED display – slightly lower resolution, but otherwise better all around. Also, slightly better cameras, including an 8MP ultrawide, 2MP dedicated macro and a 13MP selfie cam. As of writing this review, all of this will set you back €209 for the base 64GB/4GB model.
On the flip side, the Galaxy A22 5G has an MSRP of €230, which will require you to settle for a 90Hz LCD display, a 5MP ultrawide, no depth camera and an 8MP selfie cam. However, the Galaxy A22 5G also has quite a few redeeming qualities. One thing that stands out, in particular, is its FHD+, 90Hz LCD display, which is notably better than the basic 60Hz, 720p+ LCD on the Galaxy A32 5G – a device that technically stands higher in the lineup and is still a bit pricier than the A22 5G. That’s what half a year’s worth of developments on the budget mobile scene can result in. Impressive stuff.
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G specs at a glance:
- Body: 167.2×76.4×9.0mm, 203g; Glass front, plastic frame, plastic back.
- Display: 6.60″ TFT, 90Hz, 1080x2400px resolution, 20:9 aspect ratio, 399ppi.
- Chipset: MediaTek MT6833 Dimensity 700 5G (7 nm): Octa-core (2×2.2 GHz Cortex-A76 & 6×2.0 GHz Cortex-A55); Mali-G57 MC2.
- Memory: 64GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 4GB RAM, 128GB 6GB RAM, 128GB 8GB RAM; microSDXC (dedicated slot).
- OS/Software: Android 11, One UI Core 3.1.
- Rear camera: Wide (main): 48 MP, f/1.8, PDAF; Ultra wide angle: 5 MP, f/2.2, 115-degree, 1/5.0″, 1.12µm; Depth: 2 MP, f/2.4.
- Front camera: 8 MP, f/2.0, (wide).
- Video capture: Rear camera: 1152p@30fps; Front camera: 1080p@30fps.
- Battery: 5000mAh; Fast charging 15W.
- Misc: Fingerprint reader (side-mounted); FM radio; 3.5mm jack.
There are plenty of other interesting aspects of the A22 5G to examine beyond that as well, like its Dimensity 700 chipset, which on the surface sounds like just a slight downgrade compared to the Dimensity 720 powering the Galaxy A32 5G, yet has some particular limitations of its own, like a 2K maximum video capture resolution. But, we’ll get to all that in due time.
Circling back to the important bits, just like its siblings, the Galaxy A22 5G is part of Samsung‘s new and ambitious plan for the best-selling Galaxy A family. The new “Awesome is for everyone” tagline fits like a glove. The value proposition is a clear priority on all of these devices.
Offering both 4G and 5G versions of all of the handsets is another way of making the lineup as appealing as possible. Speaking of which, budget or not, the Galaxy A22 5G still gets all the benefits and goodies that come with One UI 3.1, on top of Android 11, as well as Samsung’s better and longer-term software support commitment, as of late.
On a more positive note, at least the A32 5G itself comes well wrapped in plastic all around, including thin strips stuck along the plastic frame, for extra protection.
Speaking of protection, or lack thereof, the Galaxy A22 5G does not have a pre-applied screen protector, nor is there a case in the box. Both are common with budget phones from other manufacturers. What you do get is a basic 15W wall charger (9V@1.67A or 5V@2A) and a simple and fairly short USB Type-A to Type-C cable. At last, there is no proprietary charging scheme at play here, so you don’t necessarily need to stick to the included cable to get the full 15W.
Our Galaxy A22 5G unit also came with a wired handsfree (buds with an inline microphone) in the box. This is a fairly basic Samsung-branded unit, nothing too fancy, though you do get an inline button as well. It is worth noting that this might be a regional accessory that not all packages get because we didn’t get buds with the higher-tier A32 5G.
At the time of writing, the Galaxy A22 5G will set you back about €250 for the base 4GB + 64GB variant. The A22 5G’s specs sheet appears to have been strategically downgraded to allow for the coveted 5G connectivity to be included while still keeping within the target price point of the A22 series.
The vanilla Galaxy A22 can currently be had for just over €200, while also offering an arguably better 90Hz Super AMOLED, 720p+ display, as well as a slightly-better camera setup. The point here is that 5G clearly comes at a cost. This is the reality all manufacturers currently have to deal with, especially in this price range.
If you don’t necessarily need 5G in your next phone, it is easy to get better overall specs in a 4G handset instead.
You don’t even have to look far either, as the vanilla Galaxy A32 is pretty much comparably priced like the A22 5G. Unlike the A32 5G, which also sacrifices on some specs for the sake of 5G, the vanilla offers things like a notably better FullHD, Super AMOLED, 90Hz display with 800 nits of advertised brightness. Also, a better all-around camera setup, plus a few extra features here and there, sprinkled within One UI 3.1. Better still, unlike the A22 5G, the A32 gets to partake in Samsung‘s new initiative for three major OS updates and four years of security patches.
There is arguably better value still to be had in camp Xiaomi. The Redmi Note 10 Pro costs as much as the Galaxy A22 5G while rocking hardware like a 120Hz, HDR10-enabled AMOLED panel and a 108MP main camera. Also, things like stereo speakers and an IP53 rating and 33W fast charging. Just to name a few. The list is definitely longer.
You can even save some money and go for something like the Redmi Note 10, which tones down many of the specs of the Redmi Note 10 Pro, but still manages to preserve the core experience. It outshines the Galaxy A22 5G in pretty much every hardware aspect. We are also throwing in the Poco X3 Pro for those out there seeking the best raw performance possible on a budget. While its raw power does come with some compromises here and there, a Snapdragon 860 chipset at just over €200 is almost a market anomaly and deserves due attention.
Circling back to the question of 5G, if you absolutely must have 5G for €250 or less, most manufacturers are clearly faced with the same general hardware decisions and compromises, which have resulted in the niche getting occupied by surprisingly similar devices.
Handsets like the Realme 8 5G, Poco M3 Pro 5G and the Redmi Note 10 5G all rock 90Hz LCD panels, just like the Galaxy A22 5G and even use the same Dimensity 700 chipset – the entry-level chip in MediaTek’s Dimensity line. All three also have triple camera setups, with a 48MP main snapper. Also, 5,000 mAh batteries with 18W charging. The list goes on, and it’s almost like some homework copying has taken place. Or rather – this is just currently the budget 5G hardware setup that makes sense. Sure, the Realme 8 5G does have a slightly better selfie cam, but it also costs a bit more than the others. Going for the Poco can probably get you the best value due to its lower price.
Our overarching point here, however, is that your decision on which €250 5G phone to get will mostly come down to subtle differences in specs and the software experience and features. Samsung might just have a leg up there for many, thanks to One UI 3.1.
Beyond that, you might just have to look around really hard, wait for promos or potentially even go for an imported unit, which definitely has its drawbacks. That way, it might be potentially possible to get more for your money. For instance, the Galaxy M42 5G costs about as much as the Galaxy A22 5G, but comes with a Super AMOLED panel, higher-res selfie, a macro camera and a Snapdragon 750G chipset. Its availability, however is pretty limited.
Samsung has created a solid phone in the Galaxy A22 5G. While it’s not getting the full benefits of three major OS updates and four years of security patches, like its bigger siblings – A32, A52 and A72, it still gets most of the feature trickle-down. Its FullHD, 90Hz LCD display is not spectacular in terms of performance, but it is still a good neck above what you used to be able to get from Samsung’s previous cheapest 5G device – the Galaxy A32 5G.
The Dimensity 700 chipset delivers solid battery life from the 5,000 mAh pack, as well as modern features and connectivity and plenty of performance for most tasks. Even light gaming is no issue for the A22 5G, with most games we tried successfully making use of the 90Hz refresh rate of the panel for extra-smooth gameplay.
While very simple, Samsung’s software setup and handling for the high refresh rate mode is perfectly functional, which is not always a given with the competition.
In fact, most aspects of the One UI 3.1/Android 11 combo on the Galaxy A22 5G are well-crafted, polished and surprisingly feature-rich. With all said and done, the excellent user experience is a big part of the appeal of Samsung’s cheapest 5G phone. It’s likely the reason some might want to go for it instead of one of the many similar offers from other manufacturers like Realme and Xiaomi.
And that’s kind of leads to the elephant in the room – should you even get a 5G phone for under €250? If you really need 5G in your next device and can’t stretch your budget any further, then the Galaxy A22 5G is worth considering. If you can compromise and settle for a 4G model instead, there is much more overall value to be had from other devices in this price range.
- FullHD+ resolution and 90Hz are a welcome sight at this price point, even if the panel has somewhat disappointing performance. 90Hz mode works great.
- Very solid battery life.
- Latest Android and One UI, with most features intact.
- The MediaTek 700 is a modern, efficient and well-equipped chipset, with decent performance for the price.
- Decent main camera performance, including potent and useful Night mode.
- Body feels a bit hollow and there is no ingress protection, no pre-applied screen protector and no official info on display glass protection.
- Pretty slow charging.
- Just a single loudspeaker with underwhelming performance.
- Poor all-round ultrawide performance. No 4K video capture. 2K capture is a mixed bag.