Samsung has begun rolling out the official Android 13 update to owners of the Galaxy S22, bringing the full suite of One UI 5.0 changes.
Android 13 was officially released, starting on Google’s Pixel phones, on August 15, and just days before that launch, Samsung began beta testing the new changes on their Galaxy series phones. After over two months in beta, as spotted by SamMobile, Samsung is now rolling out the full, stable Android 13 release with One UI 5.0, starting with the Galaxy S22 series.
For now, the rollout seems to be limited to Exynos variants of the Galaxy S22 in South Korea and across Europe. Thus far, the Android 13 update has not been made available in the United States, but that is likely to change in the coming days.
To get fans acclimated with the new update and all of the hottest features of One UI 5.0, Samsung has released an official “Introduction Film” highlighting what’s changed. Samsung’s Android 13 and One UI 5.0 video, of course, kicks off with the new lock screen customization, meant to help the Galaxy S22 compete with what Apple brought to iOS 16. Another familiar feature from the iPhone series is the introduction of “Modes,” which quickly set your sound and notification settings to suit your daily activities.
Going beyond matching the iPhone’s feature set, Samsung’s lock screen options allow you to use a video wallpaper or change the artwork periodically. Just like it did for the Pixel series, the Android 13 update for Samsung Galaxy phones gives you multiple vibrant theme options generated from your current wallpaper.
Continuing the theme of customization, Samsung also showcases a new way to “stack” widgets on your homescreen, making them easily scrollable. You can even deeply customize your Galaxy Watch with the Watch Face Studio.
In changes that are less exciting but still quite useful, Samsung’s Android 13 and One UI 5.0 update combines privacy and security settings into one hub. This security and privacy dashboard is designed to be easily read and understood, making it easier to be sure you’re safe in the digital world.
For more on what’s new in the One UI 5.0 update with Android 13, across the Galaxy S22 and the rest of Samsung’s lineup, check out our video from the original beta.
Google has yet to finalize Android 13, but it seems more updates are coming up quick. Some new evidence points to the Android 13 beta coming soon for the Samsung Galaxy S22 series.
Samsung Android 13 beta seems to be coming up soon
Recently, Google released the third beta update for Android 13 which delivered a few tweaks and fixes as the platform refresh moves towards its final release. As it appears right now, Google should release Android 13 to the public sometime in August or September, well ahead of last year’s schedule.
As highlighted by the folks over at TizenHelp, it seems Samsung is ready to start testing out its own flavor of Android 13 in a beta update.
Firmware version S906NKSU2ZVF6 popped up in Samsung’s home country of South Korea, which is believed to be the first Android 13 build for a Galaxy S22 series device. The update has yet to roll out to anyone, but development is well underway.
As is usually the case, the update will likely be available first for the Galaxy S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra, Samsung’s current flagships. Foldables and the Galaxy S21 series will likely follow closely behind.
What will Android 13 bring to Samsung’s devices? “One UI 5.0” is still largely a mystery at this point, but we have some hints that it will improve some animations and other small tweaks, but larger changes remain to be seen. With One UI 4.0, Samsung adopted a form of Material You to bring accent colors to its Android skin based on a user’s wallpaper.
It was previously reported that Samsung would release its Android 13 beta in July. Last year, Samsung released the Android 12 beta in September, so this would be far ahead of schedule.
This continues Samsung’s speedy track record
Samsung has become a shining example of what Android updates should look like, delivering some of the longest support timelines and the fastest updates.
In 2021, Samsung beat Google’s Pixel by delivering four years of security updates to its Galaxy smartphones, and doubled down on that in 2022. Now, new Galaxy devices get four years of major Android updates and five years of security updates.
Samsung is, right now, quite literally the best brand for Android updates. Only Google’s Pixel 6 series rivals it, and even then, it falls a bit behind.
Everything you need to know about Android updates on Samsung Galaxy devices
Updates are crucial to the health and overall performance of your Samsung Galaxy phone, no matter when it was made. This complete guide will give you all the information you need about Samsung’s Android and security updates, timelines, and more.
How to check for updates on Galaxy devices
Most of the time, updates are pushed automatically to your Galaxy phone. You’ll know one is ready if you see a little notification that says “Update ready to install.” All that’s required to start the update is a password entry or verification that you want to initiate the update. The problem with this system is that it takes a little while for these updates to automatically push to your device.
The solution? By manually checking for updates on your Samsung Galaxy phone, you’ll be able to discover updates earlier, meaning you get the latest security patch or new OS even sooner. Here’s how to check for updates on your Samsung Galaxy phone:
Head into settings on your Samsung Galaxy device.
Scroll all the way to the bottom and look for Software update. Tap it.
Tap Download and install.
Your device will start looking for new updates. If one is available, your device will prompt you to either install it or schedule an install time. You can schedule the update to install during the night so it won’t disturb your routine.
After the installation starts, it should only take about 10 minutes or so to completely install a security update. If it’s a larger Android update, you may want to schedule it to initiate at night, since it may take a good amount of time.
Can I sideload on Samsung phones?
Android devices are built on the idea of being able to configure them to your liking. This includes being able to push new updates to your device before they’re officially available. This is called sideloading, and it takes a little more than just a few taps on your device. You’ll usually need a computer and added software.
Sideloading involves using a computer to manually send a file image to your device – usually in developer or recovery mode, depending on the method used – and having the computer use a series of tools to install the new OS on your device. Samsung devices make this a little tricky compared to Google’s Pixel line since Google has a lot of support available for Android sideloading.
While it’s absolutely possible to do, it isn’t an ideal process for the average user. There are a lot of things that can go wrong in this process that could critically damage your device. So, unless you absolutely know what you’re doing, sideloading should be a last resort when it comes to updates on your Samsung device. Waiting for the built-in update tool to get the update is safer and much easier.
How often does Samsung release security updates?
Samsung has a few different schedules when it comes to updates, but the company is one of the best in the industry for Android updates and security patches. Some devices get monthly security updates, some get quarterly, and some phones are only updated twice a year.
Generally, the older the device is, the more sparse the updates are. Devices like the Galaxy S8 Lite and some A-Series phones only get biannual security updates since they were released before 2019. Newer devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 get monthly security updates and likely will for a while.
Some Samsung devices slow down in update frequency as they age, moving from a monthly schedule to a quarterly schedule. For example, the Galaxy Note 9 launched with monthly updates but now has a quarterly schedule. To check the status of your device, check here.
How long will my Samsung device get Android updates?
There are two different types of updates for your Samsung Galaxy phone. The first is security updates, which keep your device up to date with the newest cybersecurity precautions Samsung can offer. The other is system updates, otherwise known as Android updates. These are software updates meant to fix bugs and add features like those found in Android 12.
Samsung’s security update schedules
Recently, Samsung announced that phones sold in 2019 and later would receive four years of security updates. This means after four years of owning your device, you can rest assured knowing that the latest update for your phone is still keeping you safe. Here are the devices that will get four years of security updates:
In 2022, Samsung made an even better promise than in 2019. The company decided to improve it and begin offering five years of security updates for certain new devices, like the S22 line. Products that will be getting five years of security updates are:
Samsung provides up to five years of security updates to certain devices that are a part of the company’s Enterprise lineup as well.
Android system updates
In terms of system updates, Samsung promises three years of Android updates for phones sold in 2019 or later, as well as a couple of other select devices. In essence, this means these devices get to see three different versions of Android in their lifetime, a new precedent previously unheard of from Samsung. Here are the devices eligible for three years of Android updates:
S10, S10 +, S10e, S10 5G, S10 Lite
S20 5G, S20 + 5G, S20 Ultra 5G, S20 FE 5G
Galaxy Note 20
Note 20 5G, Note 20 Ultra 5G
Note10, Note10 +, Note10+ 5G
Fold, Z Fold 2 5G, Z Flip 5G
A51 5G, A52 5G, A71 5G, A72, A90 5G
With the release of the Galaxy S22, S22+, S22 Ultra, and Tab S8 Samsung has pushed the limit even further. Those who purchase these devices will be looking at a whole four years of Android updates! This also extends to “select” future A series devices as well, with those getting five years of security updates and four years of Android system updates. Here are the devices looking at four years of Android system updates:
When three years were promised for some Galaxy devices, we initially thought this was a great move and an impressive one at that. With the newest Android system update guarantee for S22 devices, we’re even more blown away with the commitment to these phones. At this point, Google has no excuses to limit updates to three years.
This is the most that Samsung has ever offered in the way of making sure your device stays up to date for a long time. With that being the case, don’t be afraid to check for updates every once in a while since they take a bit to get pushed to your Samsung Galaxy device.
Now that we’ve covered the Galaxy S22 Plus, as well as the S22 Ultra in their own respective in-depth reviews, it’s time we take a closer look at the vanilla Galaxy S22 as well.
Most of you are likely already familiar with the Galaxy S22 lineup in at least some extent, but we still feel like we need to preface the review by saying that expectations towards the trio should be moderated. Not regarding the quality of the products. That is still excellent, but rather regarding any major generational changes or innovations. Those are few and far between on the S22 line. Well, perhaps sans for the reincarnation of the Galaxy Note line in the S22 Ultra, but without the legendary “Note” branding.
While arguably getting increasingly boring (or tamer for lack of better words) over the last few years, Samsung‘s flagship offers are nothing if not consistent. That has a lot of merit in itself. Apple proved that much time and time again with its incremental year-over-year strategy. So, what’s new with the S22 this year? Well, summing things up before we dive into the nitty-gritty – you get a new camera setup, new chipsets and slightly less battery that Samsung promises it will offset through better chipset and display efficiency. The displays on the vanilla and plus are now slightly shorter but do promise certain technological improvements.
The vanilla S22, which is the subject of this particular review, has shrunken down in overall size considerably compared to its Galaxy S21 predecessor. So much so, in fact, it can now be considered part of a rare breed of “compact” flagship devices. All in relative terms, of course.
The phone measures 146 x 70.6 x 7.6 mm and it tips the scale at 167 grams (168 for the mmWave version). Compare that to the S21 and its 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm, 170g, or so, body. The new 6.1-inch display on the S22 has gotten shorter, which is a trend across the entire S22 line. Unfortunately, a smaller body has also mandated a smaller 3,700 mAh battery back. Down from 4,000 mAh last year.
Aside from the obvious move to the latest flagship chipset generation – the Exynos 2200 in Europe and the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 pretty much everywhere else, the S22 also has a new main 50MP camera, with a 23% larger sensor than last year’s 12MP model. Also, a new 10MP telephoto with optical rather than hybrid 3x zoom. The ultrawide and selfie cams are carried over from the S21.
Samsung Galaxy S22 5G specs at a glance:
Body: 146.0×70.6×7.6mm, 167g; Glass front (Gorilla Glass Victus+), glass back (Gorilla Glass Victus+), aluminum frame; IP68 dust/water resistant (up to 1.5m for 30 mins), Armour aluminum frame with tougher drop and scratch resistance (advertised).
Another thing Samsung has been doing exceptionally well over the past few Galaxy S generations is segmentation. Obviously, the Ultra is in a feature league of its own this year, even if it’s lacking a “Note” moniker. Comparing the vanilla S22 to the S22+, though only reveals a few significant differences. The S22+ is obviously bigger, with a larger 4,500 mAh battery and advertised 45W fast charging support instead of the 25W that the S22 carries forward from older Samsung devices. We’ll get into more detail in the charging section, but, spoiler alert, the 45W omission is hardly significant. The omission of Ultra-Wideband (UWB) support on the vanilla S22 is hardly a deal-breaker too. The difference in display panels between the two is a bit more complex and goes beyond size. We’ll dive into that as well, but the vanilla S22 does miss out on the small yet nifty generational OLED brightness improvements of the S22+ and S22 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S22 • S22 Plus • S22 Ultra
None of these “omissions” in the vanilla S22 are that important and hardly take away from its undisputed and well-rounded flagship nature. That’s what we mean by great segmentation – for most prospective buyers, the choice between an S22 and S22+ will come down to size and, of course, price.
Speaking of budget, Samsung has remained impressively consistent on that front as well. You can check detailed pricing on the entire S22 lineup and the Galaxy Tab S8 here, but the S22 basically starts at $800, €850 or £770, which is essentially the original S21 MSRP. Getting the same price point is not an insignificant feat given the ongoing tough situation regarding supply chain and material shortages in the tech industry as a whole.
Samsung Galaxy S22 • S22 Plus • S22 Ultra
So, that’s the S22 in a nutshell – an incremental boring upgrade for some, a consistently-solid all-around flagship with no unexpected potentially deal-breaking surprises or price hikes for others. As usual, the devil is in the details. Follow along as we dig through them and really see what makes the Galaxy S22 tick.
Just like its S22+ and S22 Ultra sibling, the vanilla S22 ships in a minimal retail box in every sense of the word. In case you were wondering, there is still no charger in the box. That seemingly went away for good with the Galaxy S21 generation. The S22 family ships with a relatively short, sturdy USB Type-C to Type-C cable and a SIM ejector, plus some obligatory paperwork. And that’s it. As barren of a package as conceivable, but that’s the rule of the day.
Of course, there is the ecological angle to consider. The thin and compact two-piece box is made from 100% recycled paper, and Samsung has limited the use of plastics in the packaging as much as it can too. The printing is done with soy-based ink as well, making this among the most ecological retail packages around.
The Galaxy S22 trio is not cheap by any means. Even so, pricing is mostly unchanged from last year’s models, which should be considered an achievement given the even-climbing prices of materials, scarcity, and other ongoing global economic and relater factors. Plus, the vanilla S22 is naturally the cheapest of the bunch, with an MSRP of $800/€850/£770 for the base 128GB variant and $850/€900/£820 for the 256GB one. As per our price-tracker, as of writing this review, actual retail pricing has even come down a bit in some places.
Beyond being the cheapest of the bunch, which might be alluring to certain customers, the Galaxy S22 has another potentially even bigger thing going for it, pun intended – its size. Very few devices offer a full flagship experience in quite as compact of a form factor. That, coupled with the fact that the S22+ offers almost nothing over the vanilla S22 except for size, battery, and at a notably higher price, convinced us to leave it off of the list. What is a viable option, though, is the older Galaxy S21. It is still a great, all-around flagship. You’ll have to live with the controversial plastic back panel, which is mostly us joking since the S21 still has great build quality. You do also get a bigger battery. Plus, the S21 gets to benefit retroactively from Samsung‘s new promise of extended software support.
The same is also true for the Galaxy S21 FE 5G. It is a great way to get a comparable modern Samsung experience while also saving a few bucks in the process. You do have to be ok with a notably larger device, though, and last year’s flagship chipset and Samsung camera setup, which we have already established, still hold up in 2022.
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G • Samsung Galaxy S21 FE 5G
Circling back to the topic of compact flagships, while your options are limited, there are still a few devices to consider. The Asus Zenfone 8 is an interesting device in more than a few ways. It is compact but without skipping on major flagship features, like a great 120Hz, HDR10+ Super AMOLED panel, great stereo speakers, IP68 ingress protection and a respectable 4,000 mAh battery. Asus has its priorities aligned a bit differently than most going out of its way to fit additional hardware like an FM radio, NFC, 3.5mm jack and even a notification LED into the small Zenfone 8. Its ZenUI software is also a particular mix of clean and AOSP-like and highly customizable. The Zenfone 8 does, however, come with some notable camera compromises.
Asus Zenfone 8 • Apple iPhone 13 Pro • Sony Xperia 5 III
The Sony Xperia 5 III places much more emphasis on the camera department. It is also an all-around flagship in most other aspects, with IP65/IP68 ingress protection, stereo speakers, and a Snapdragon 888 chipset. It does have a bit of a “quirky” extra tall, “skinny” aspect ratio and a matching 21:9 display that is also a bit off in its BT.2020 HDR support but still excellent all-around with 120Hz refresh rate and 10-bit colors.
A valid argument can be made that the Xperia 5 III and the Zenfone 8 are “particular” in their own way. That’s pretty much us saying that they are not what we would consider “mainstream flagships” like the Samsung Galaxy S22. Enter the Apple iPhone 13 Pro – arguably the most viable and actual competitor to the Galaxy S22. There is hardly any need to sing the praises of the iPhone 13 Pro. We’ll just remind you that not unlike the S22 and S22+, the iPhone 13 Pro and 13 Pro Max are basically all-around identical in their excellent flagship features, with size and battery capacity as the sole major differences.
The vanilla S22 is pretty much an incremental update like the rest of the Galaxy S22 line. Samsung is playing it safe yet again – no major breakthroughs or innovation and no jarring and potentially disruptive changes. It uses a familiar formula that has proven effective in drawing in crowds of satisfied, even if often unexcited users.
It’s hard to find any significant faults with the Galaxy S22. We can keep on dreaming of microSD cards and 3.5mm jacks, but that’s clearly not happening. And sure, its battery life could have been better or at least as good as the S21, and perhaps the Exynos 2200 overpromised a bit compared to its initial delivery.
Even so, the entire S22 lineup is as solid as ever. For better or worse, it is kind of the definition of “a safe choice”. Consistency is the name of the game, and it’s arguably the most difficult game to play in the smartphone realm, particularly with flagships. While it’s cool to be disruptive and strive to tread new ground with things like amazing charging speeds or price-defying specs at the expense of other cutbacks, that’s not how you stay on top of the game. The likes of Samsung and Apple have proven time and time again that the key is relentless consistency and extremely calculated moves and incremental upgrades while always building on a solid foundation year over year. That’s how you get the new iPhone and the next Galaxy S device.
The flip side of that reality is that while the S22 is engineered to be as good as possible for as many people as possible, it is pretty boring. Once again, boring in a dependable sense, but still hardly the device that is going to tickle a smartphone enthusiast’s fancy. We definitely wish we could have a more exciting smartphone scene like years past when even titans like Nokia could afford to roll the dice and experiment. Then again, there is something to be said about having an ever-dependable choice in the latest (and greatest) Galaxy S phones. That is a significant draw for many users out there. Plus, the vanilla S22, in particular, has the size aspect going for it, potentially drawing in a crowd seeking a true flagship experience in the smallest possible form factor. And that’s on top of those users simply wanting to pick up the cheapest of the S22 trio.
If you believe you fit nicely into either category getting the Galaxy S22 is a pretty easy decision. If “default” is not your style, there is a vast sea of more interesting and exciting devices out there for anyone willing to explore them.
Industry-leading build quality with IP68 rating. Small and compact in modern terms. The new flatter and more symmetrical design is still very recognizable.
Excellent 120Hz AMOLED display with great brightness, improved sunlight legibility, superb color accuracy and a great HDR video experience.
Solid all-around hybrid stereo speaker system.
Likable no-nonsense OneUI 4.1 OS with powerful features and extended software support (four OS updates and five years of security patches).
Solid flagship camera experience both in photos and videos. Incrementally better or just as good as the S21 generation, it adds further small refinements here and there, particularly in low-light photography.
No charger in the box and no pre-applied screen protector.
Worse battery life than last year’s Galaxy S21 5G.
The new RDNA2-based Xclipse 920 AMD GPU collaboration looks promising, but is experiencing some early bugs and we feel its potential is nowhere near fully utilized in practice yet.