The brightest smartphone screen in a Samsung Galaxy, cameras that see in the dark, and an ultra-long-lasting battery – Samsung’s latest flagship phones have arrived, and we’ve found plenty to be excited about.

Announced earlier in the month and available to pre-order now, Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Series takes all the things we loved about last year’s Galaxy S21 Series and turns the notch up to 11 – especially when it comes to vivid displays and impressive camera systems.

This year’s line-up is headlined by the powerhouse Galaxy S22 Ultra and joined by the Galaxy S22+ and Galaxy S22. Pricing starts at $1,849 for the Galaxy S22 Ultra, $1,549 for the Galaxy S22+, and $1,249 for the Galaxy S22.

We got our hands on all three models – here’s what we love.

Samsung’s superpower: the display

For years Samsung has been one of the leaders in the mobile market when it comes to smartphone displays, and with the Galaxy S22 series it outdid itself again – especially on the 6.8-inch Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Do you know that moment where you go to turn up your screen brightness in the middle of the day, and it’s still not enough? Well, that shouldn’t be a problem with the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

It packs the brightest phone display Samsung has ever built, going head to head with the dreaded midday sun. Not only does it mean that direct sunlight is mostly a concern of the past, the brightness also makes colours super vivid and really pop out at you from the screen wherever you are.

Like the Galaxy S22 Ultra, both the 6.1-inch display Galaxy S22 and 6.6-inch Galaxy S22+ also feature Samsung’s bright and vibrant new Dynamic AMOLED 2x display tech and support up to 120Hz refresh rate. Scrolling through Instagram has never looked smoother.

There is genuinely a big difference in the hand between the smaller Galaxy S22 and the S22 Ultra – which we think is great. It means if you’re someone who prefers a smaller device, you can still get flagship level features inside a device size suited better for you.

Shooting for the stars

If the screen doesn’t catch your attention, the upgraded camera systems certainly will.

The camera systems have been spec’d up from the inside out, with Adaptive Pixel technology, on top of already huge sensors.

Speaking of sensors – the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra packs an updated 108-megapixel main lens like last year’s Galaxy S21 Ultra. The Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ share the same 50-megapixel main camera and 12-megapixel 3x telephoto lens, which are no slouches, either. All three phones also share the same 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle camera, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 10-megapixel 10x optical zoom lens to go along with its 3x telephoto lens.

While megapixel count isn’t everything – Samsung use a couple of clever software tricks – pixel binning and Adaptive Pixel tech.

Usually having a large megapixel count means you need to sacrifice how much light reaches the camera sensor – on a high level, when enabled, pixel binning combines the sensor’s pixels to allow more light to reach the sensor for better quality images.

A lot of manufacturers also do this with their cameras – but it means that in low-light conditions the sensor will take images in a lower resolution so enough light reaches the lens for a good picture – so that 64-megapixel shot might end up as a 12-megapixel photo, for example. The advantage though, is when you compare the pixel size of a regular 12-megapixel lens, it’s often smaller than a “binned” pixel, with less light to work with.

The best example of this is comparing the 50-megapixel Galaxy S22 sensor against last year’s Galaxy S21 12-megapixel sensor – with Samsung claiming quite a large 23% improvement in light reaching the sensor on the S22.

Samsung’s new Adaptive Pixel is something we haven’t seen on a Samsung phone before though and works with the pixel binning technology to get the best shot possible. Essentially, it combines the light information from the lower resolution “binned” image with the full 108-megapixel image so you can get the level of detail from the full resolution photo without sacrificing light.

Updates to the camera software make an even bigger difference though – especially if in low-light and of your furry friends, with new Night Portrait and Pet Portrait modes. Low-light modes have improved for incredible night photography – not only is the new Night Portrait mode enabled on the main cameras, you can also use it for better pub selfies this weekend.

No matter the angle in our tests, the night portraits feel sharp, and the details are defined. And you get the same 8K video resolution as the S21, but it’s way better in low light.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra also has a 512GB option to hold all those photos and videos, more than many laptops, which if you’re a keen photographer planning to take photos in RAW (one photo can be over 100mb in size) is a must.

Have you written that down?

Writing notes and drawing on images is loads of fun with the new S-Pen.

It’s back. Back in a big way.

“What’s back?” you ask.

The S-Pen. And for the first time in an S-Series device, there’s a slot built into the Galaxy S22 Ultra for it to slide into when you’re not using it. If you were missing Samsung’s Galaxy Note series, Samsung has heard you.

Not only is it the first time an S-Pen has been seen like this in a S-Series, but Samsung claims it’s also – faster than the Galaxy Note20’s S-Pen. Numbers don’t mean a lot if you can’t feel the difference – and with the Galaxy S22 Ultra you really can. Handwriting, drawing and even just using the S-Pen to navigate around the phone feels more natural than ever before.

You might be thinking that with that extra space needed to fit the S-Pen, the battery life will take a hit in the Galaxy S22 Ultra. But nope, based on our experience of moderate usage, this monster will go all day and then some. And if you do manage to run it down, both the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S22+ support 45W fast charging* which will have you back up to 50% in 20 minutes.

On the outside of the Galaxy S22 Ultra body, the ArmourAluminum frame and Gorilla Glass Victus+ are like an impenetrable water-resistant suit of armour – Samsung say it’s the most durable Galaxy S device yet!

*45W Power Adapter and data cable required and sold separately. S22 does not support 45W fast charging.

S Pen comes with S22Ultra only, otherwise sold separately.