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Winners & losers: Was the S22 launch good or bad?

Samsung launched the Galaxy S22 series this week and I was basically live on site! Therefore, I would like to use the current edition of the Winners and Losers to tell you my impressions of the Galaxy Unpacked event. Because my first impression of the new devices was not particularly positive. Stay tuned to find out why!

Before you all could watch the new Galaxy devices in the live stream, Samsung let Stefan and me have an exclusive look at the devices. Of course, we weren’t the only tech journalists who got to do that, but we were certainly the best looking! Joking aside, the launch event left me riding the Berlin subway on the way back with mixed feelings..

Samsung Galaxy S22 Full Coverage

As every week, you can read what I liked about the S22 launch and what disappointed me quite a bit in the “Winners” and “Losers” sections. You can also find our complete coverage of the Galaxy S22 launch right above this paragraph. If you are a Samsung fan, you can continue reading directly – if you are against the South Korean technology giant, you should skip to the loser section!

Winner: Galaxy S22 Ultra and longer updates

Of course, there are positive things that come to mind when I think back to the event in Berlin. It’s not just the snacks and the free coffee, of which I drank several as a junkie. No, the S22 Ultra very elegantly closes a gap left by the Galaxy Note 20 almost two years ago. Finally, there is a smartphone again that has the practical S Pen integrated.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra – and I can tell you this from first-hand experience – feels completely like a real Note. With a rather bulky giant display, an almost magical connection between S Pen and smartphone, and top specs. The merging of the two series is now complete and in my opinion, Samsung has finally harmonized its lineup.

The fact that only the Ultra model got a fresh look could also be an indication that the launch of a Note model was originally planned. So it is a win that Samsung did not release another S22 Ultra in the old design with the S Pen flying around.

But winners are also those who do not buy a new Galaxy S22 Ultra for $1,199 (!). Because Samsung has extended its update support once again. In the linked article, I listed for you which Samsung smartphones will now get five years of security updates and four Android version updates. Since the Galaxy S21 FE is included, Samsung has retroactively given the phone a price-longevity ratio that is hard to beat.

Am I spinning or is this spinning? The camera array of the S22 Ultra! / © NextPit

Another win: Samsung uses recycled fishing nets to produce certain plastic components of the devices. A small, but still welcome step towards more sustainability.

Loser: Too few significant changes

But it wasn’t these positive impressions that got me thinking on the commute back. Because overall, there were too few innovations that were really groundbreaking. The fact that we have a Note again is cool – but nothing new. The fact that Samsung has improved the cameras is cool – but there were no new groundbreaking features. The fact that the back of the S22 base model is now made of glass is cool – but that should have happened last year.

nextpit samsung galaxy s22 vs s22 plus b w clr2
S22 and S22+ are rather boring, don’t you think? / © NextPit

What I want to say: One of the big leaders in the smartphone industry has unveiled its new high-end devices!!!! And the tech press can only report about longer updates, mini improvements in the camera, and a camera array that looks like the eyes of a spider. Fabi said a few months ago “The smartphone is fully developed, something new has to come!” and unfortunately the Samsung launch is an indication of that.

Because the real party is now going on with Samsung’s foldables, which are clearly more interesting. The Samsung launch left me pensive, as we are in the summer slump of smartphone development. We have reached a very high level that is only being refined. And are waiting for the next step, which, however, cannot be accurately estimated yet. Because AR and VR glasses are all still too clunky and too stupid to replace a smartphone.

What’s the next step? Share it with me in the comments to cheer up my bad mood a bit! And let me know what you think of the Unpacked event!

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