If you are a regular listener to The Chrome Cast, you know full well that I’m now twice-removed from the Pixel 6 at this point. The first step was an ASUS ROG Phone 5 that I really enjoyed but ultimately returned. With it’s 6.7-inch screen and larger-than-standard bezels on top and bottom to house its ridiculously-fantastic stereo speakers, that phone was just too big when in a case. I tried to find some slim-fit TPU cases to ease the burden a bit, but the market isn’t exactly large for ASUS’ niche phones and the case selection is – as expected – quite small.
My next move? The new Samsung Galaxy S22+ with it’s sweet build, exceptional (and totally flat) screen, and ecosystem of accessories caught my eye this year unlike any other Galaxy phone has in the past 7 or 8 iterations. Why? Mainly it was due to their keynote at Samsung’s Unpacked event where the new phones were introduced. In that keynote, things like Google Messages out of the box, full camera access for apps like Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok, and a few new Duo features that you’d expect from Google first were all announced for these new phones and it all added up to the feeling that Samsung is solidifying itself as the go-to Android phone.
Where Samsung used to overload their phones with pointless gimmicks and hardware tricks, the One UI 4 feels restrained and clean. The hardware shines where it should and gets out of the way where it shouldn’t and there’s a focus on user experience from Samsung that I’ve not seen in a long time. Put simply, my time with the Samsung Galaxy S22+ has been phenomenal and at least for the time being, I’m going to enjoy the ecosystem of product like their Galaxy Buds 2 and Galaxy Watch 4 that are also fantastic and play extremely nicely with my phone.
Let’s talk about the camera
All those reasons for my switch don’t really hit on the camera, though. Just like it was with the ASUS ROG Phone 5, my reasoning for trying another phone was completely in spite of the camera, not because of it. Both of these non-Pixel phones I’ve been carrying lately attract me for all sorts of different reasons, but I didn’t really go into all this switching with high hopes about the camera being Pixel-level. At the end of the day, I’m no photographer, so if I have to sacrifice a bit in that area, I can tolerate it.
But that’s the thing so far: I don’t feel like I’m missing out with the Samsung Galaxy S22+ camera. Not even a little bit. Sure, Samsung and Google don’t shoot the same scene in exactly the same way, but I’m not overly concerned with my camera looking exactly like a Pixel camera. I just want the resulting photos to look good. If they are sharp, colorful, and punchy without me having to do much with the camera aside from pointing and shooting, I’m sold.
And the Galaxy S22+ camera does exactly this. Look at that image up there. We were driving the other day and I noticed the sunset and asked my wife to slow the card down a bit. I pointed, captured the photo, and I put it on here. No edits, no settings, no setup. And that was shot with the sun shining directly into the lens. At the end of the day, the image it captured replicated what I was seeing, it was detailed, and it communicated the beauty of the sunset in a conversation I had later that evening. Case in point: it did all I need from my camera.
Admittedly, there’s a power line or two I’d love to remove from these photos with the Pixel 6’s Magic Eraser, but I’m hopeful some of those types of features that reside in Google Photos will eventually come to phones like the Galaxy S22+. But in the meantime, with a camera this good, I feel like I’m getting the best of both worlds. I’m not having a buggy experience, I have the fastest processor on the market in my phone, the design is on-point, the screen (and its tiny bezels all around) is phenomenal, the case selection is vast, the UI is clean and out of the way, and the accessory ecosystem is fantastic. Am I a Samsung guy again? Well, I guess I am for now. We just need a better Chromebook from them to complete my set.