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Samsung Galaxy A22 5G review: How good is the cheap S21?

NextPit Samsung Galaxy A22 vs A54 5G camera close up
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Even though expensive smartphones tend to come under the spotlight a whole lot more, mid-range models happen to be the secret stars on store shelves worldwide. Samsung understood that fact some time ago and offers many mid-ranger models in 2021. With a starting price of $300 and above, you can currently pick up the Galaxy A22 5G for cheap online. This particular review shows how Samsung has the best alternatives offered to the masses.

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Rating

Good

  • Nice finish
  • Smooth performance
  • Headphone jack included
  • Large battery capacity

Bad

  • Will not receive 4 years of updates
  • Single speaker can be easily covered
  • LCD display
  • 15-watts quick-charging

A brief summary

The Galaxy A22 5G is a pretty average mid-range smartphone. That means there are neither big surprises nor does the smartphone disappoint when it comes to everyday use. Both the design and operating system will definitely convince Samsung fans, while the entire package offers solid performance with a price tag that hovers around $300.

Buy the Samsung Galaxy A22 5G on Amazon

(Attention: Keep in mind that the device is not officially imported by Samsung in the USA market thus the price is higher near $400. Also, it is important to note that in our affiliate link, the product has no official warranty. That said, you still get the ability to return the device in the eligible Amazon period.)

However, there are smartphones that offer more at that price point, so you might want to tread carefully here. In addition, Samsung does not offer a longer warranty period or software updates for the A22 5G with the Android 12 update arriving only in July 2022. If your heart doesn't beat for a sleek smartphone with a white back, you would be better off looking elsewhere.

Design & Display: Smattering of Samsung's strengths

The Galaxy A22 5G offers a 6.6-inch LCD display with a refresh rate of 90 Hertz. Due to the large display size, the casing has grown to 167.2 x 76.4 x 9.0 millimeters while retaining the same weight as before - 203 grams. The back will feature polycarbonate material alongside the edges of the smartphone. You will have to make do without IP certification, though.

What I liked:

  • Solid build quality.
  • Bright display with 90 Hertz refresh rate.
  • 3.5 mm headphone jack connector.

What I disliked:

Visually, the Samsung Galaxy A22 5G reminds me of the Galaxy S21 5G that arrives in white. This is because both devices use the same white material for the back. However, the polycarbonate on the A22 5G looks a bit more hollow than on the flagship handset. In addition, Samsung has also incorporated a plastic frame in the A22 5G. Overall, the build quality of the smartphone is acceptable.

Apart from that, Samsung is also known for its excellent displays. The Galaxy A22 5G only offers an LCD display albeit with a high refresh rate of 90 Hertz. The resolution stands at 1,080 x 2,400 pixels, where content on the screen will be interrupted by a water drop notch at the upper edge of the screen. In this department, other models in the same price range already offer a modern punch-hole variant.

NextPit Samsung Galaxy A22 vs A54 5G front camera
The A22 5G (left) comes with a water drop notch. On the right is the Oppo 54 5G / © NextPit

Despite carrying LCD technology, the Galaxy A22 5G's display is convincing enough in everyday use. It's bright enough to be legible even when viewed under the bright sunlight. And it has also been calibrated well enough to display screen contents in realistic and true colors. The fingerprint sensor of the A22 5G is not located under the display, as it remains in a convenient position on the right edge of the screen.

A few more things that I think receive far too little attention in reviews: The vibration motor is very spongy, and it is definitely not fun to type with. I also have to reserve some criticism for the single speaker which performs loud and powerful, it gets covered all too often when one holds the phone in a horizontal manner. I also miss having IP certification on the A22 5G. Too bad!

Software: Does not benefit from the 4-year update policy

The Galaxy A22 5G runs on Android 11 out of the box! An update to the next Android operating system is in the pipeline, but buyers of the A22 5G will probably have to wait until July 2022 for it to arrive on their handset. This is a flaw that I did not want to leave unmentioned in this review. Furthermore, there is another downside when we take a closer look at the software.

That's because Samsung made headlines in early 2021 by promising four years of security updates to its countless smartphones. It's a smart move, even if the truth is that a great many low-cost smartphones only receive a new security patch every half a year. The Galaxy A22 5G doesn't benefit from this new policy, at least not on an official basis. In the list that Samsung published, the Galaxy A22 5G does not appear.

What I also found to be rather strange: the smartphone comes with exactly one pre-installed app, which is the social media network known as "TikTok". This is an app that is known for not being very careful when it comes to keeping your personal data secure. Perhaps it would be in your best interest to uninstall TikTok right from the get go, unless you are a TikTokker yourself. If that is the case, then this disadvantage becomes a big advantage!

Performance: Sufficient performance with 5G bonus

The Galaxy A22 5G is powered by a MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G chipset, one of the most popular mid-range 5G SoCs of 2021. The eight-core CPU is clocked at 2.2 and 2 Gigahertz, divided into efficiency and performance clusters. The cores work together with 4 GB of RAM and either 64 or 128 GB of internal storage. NFC is on board, and storage is expandable via microSD card.

What I liked:

  • Solid everyday performance.
  • NFC for digital payment supported.
  • Expandable memory.

What I disliked:

  • Only 4 GB of RAM.
  • No support for "n3", "n1" and "n28" 5G bands.
  • Just under 18 GB memory used by One UI.

In the mid-range smartphone market, you can expect support for the new mobile network and a smooth everyday performance in 2021. Furthermore, all common mobile games should also be playable, albeit with longer load times and low graphics settings. The Galaxy A22 5G does meet such requirements, although only just in some cases.

NextPit Samsung Galaxy A22 vs A54 5G display
The A22 5G (left) pulls off the Oppo A54 5G in terms of performance! / © NextPit

The MediaTek Dimensity 700 used, which is used in the Redmi Note 10 5G among others, launches apps with short loading times. As always, though, I would recommend you dial down the animation in the developer settings to make performance a bit faster. Mobile games like Call of Duty: Mobile or the new PUBG: New State will be able to run smoothly on low graphics settings. The A22 5G does beat comparable models like the Oppo A54 5G in benchmark tests.

However, there is also a fair number of points to criticize about the A22 5G. While I was happy about the NFC support, the 4 GB of working memory is simply too little in this day and age. You will miss having more RAM, especially during multitasking moments and when additional apps are installed. Furthermore, almost 18 GB of the already available memory is occupied by the operating system.

Even though the smartphone supports microSD cards, using them is always a bit more cumbersome than relying on native device storage. Looking at the supported 5G bands, it is also noticeable that the handset does not support the "n3", "n1" and "n28" bands used in Germany. However, the most common 5G band in Germany, "n258", is supported.

Camera: Triple camera configuration has many pitfalls

The back of the Galaxy A22 5G features a triple camera configuration with a maximum resolution of 48 megapixels. The sensors consist of a main sensor, an ultra-wide-angle camera with 5 megapixels, and a depth camera at 2 megapixels. You take selfies via an 8-megapixel camera.

What I liked:

  • Main camera is sharp.
  • Nice neutral color reproduction for Samsung.
  • Good portrait mode.

What I liked:

  • Ultra wide-angle camera could be better.
  • Night shots in dark areas look very muddy.
  • Zooming is not recommended.

Samsung's expensive smartphones are among the best camera smartphones on the market. This is due to a mix of high-quality cameras and very good software. This results in a few advantages that trickle down to the entry-level class and includes the Galaxy A22 5G. You can check out the test photos in our fancy new image gallery, which I'll write a bit more about below.

Pictures taken by the main camera surprised me with a neutral color reproduction, which is rather untypical for Samsung. Sharpness is very good for a smartphone with a $300 price tag, despite the fact that there was hardly any light in Berlin at the time of the review. The Galaxy A22 5G achieved such results via pixel binning. The native 48 megapixels of the sensor are down sampled to 12 megapixels. You can also deactivate this in the settings, which in turn increases the resolution and the storage requirements. However, the pictures are not really all that sharper.

The ultra-wide-angle camera stinks quite a bit in the review. Although the extended viewing angle is very practical for many subjects, the quality is not convincing. In the photo of my front door, the dark areas are pretty disastrous. The same goes for the night mode, which does a good job of brightening up the subject, but again captures very little detail. Overall, night shots have a bad, digital muddy haze around it.

On the other hand, I'm once again a fan of Samsung's portrait mode! It produces a precise and natural bokeh, even when there's no person in the frame. Last but not least, I'd like to criticize the smartphone's zoom capabilities: you shouldn't zoom at all even though the digital magnification goes all the way up to 10x, as the image quality will suffer quite a bit. 

The Galaxy A22 5G can also record videos at a maximum of 1080p at 30 frames per second. This is really antiquated even in the mid-range smartphone market, and Samsung should definitely work on an upgrade here.

Overall, the camera configuration found on the A22 5G is pretty mediocre. For the same price, you can obtain far better camera systems from the likes of Google or Xiaomi. However, that does not mean that you cannot take some nice snapshots with the A22 5G. If the overall package convinces you, the camera quality is acceptable.

Battery: Lots of mAh, few watts

The Galaxy A22 5G has a battery with a capacity of 5,000 mAh. That is almost standard in the mid-range smartphone category and ensures a runtime of close to two days for the average user. While many of Samsung's rivals boast some form of Quick Charging, you will have to be content with only a 15-watt charger in Samsung's model. Needless to say, the charging times are long (relatively speaking) as a result.

What I liked:

  • Large battery capacity.

What I disliked:

  • Long charging times.
  • No wireless charging support.

While the battery capacity of Samsung smartphones has often been criticized in the past, the manufacturer has made good progress this year. The Galaxy A22 5G comes with a 5,000 mAh capacity and is thus on par with many other mid-range handsets. The battery life works great for a solid two days of usage, which is what we have come to expect in this price range.

However, you will have to make some allowance for a little more time when the smartphone runs dry after two days of use. Charging with the included power adapter took a good two hours in the review. This is due to the lame Quick-Charging, which only maxes out at 15 watts. The A22 5G clearly lags behind the competition here. Unfortunately, you will have to make do without wireless charging or other additional features.

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G technical specifications

  Data sheet of the A22 5G
Product
Photo Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Display 6.6 inch LCD display with 90 Hertz refresh rate | 1,080 x 2,400 pixels
Performance MediaTek Dimensity 700 5G | 4GB RAM
Memory 64 GB
Camera

48 MP, f/1.8
5 MP, f/2.2, 115°, 1/5.0"
2MP, f/2.4

Selfie camera 8 MP, f/2.0
Connectivity Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5-millimeter jack
NFC Yes
Fingerprint sensor In the on button
Battery 5,000 mAh, quick-charging at 15 watts
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Final verdict

The Galaxy A22 5G receives a lot of positive criticism on the web, which I cannot quite understand after trying it out for myself. They even view the smartphone as a better alternative to the Samsung A32 5G, which is the cheapest model from the trio that consists of the A32, A52, and A72.

While I find the A22 5G compelling on many counts, I definitely have to disagree on the second point. The A22 5G is on par with the A32 5G in some respects, but you'll benefit from Samsung's software update promise on the more expensive model. In the long run, the A22 5G is therefore the worse choice in my eyes.

NextPit Samsung Galaxy A22 vs A54 5G back
Overall, there are too many alternatives to the A22 5G that offer more! / © NextPit

Apart from that, you end up with a typical mid-range smartphone from Samsung in the form of the A22 5G. It's ahead of many alternatives in terms of build quality and design. At the same time, it is technically behind the times in certain aspects. An LCD display with a 90 Hertz refresh rate feels strange for Samsung, the camera only really performs during the day and with a standard zoom, and the quick-charging hardly deserves its name.

The A22 5G is a matter of taste: If you like the design and the price, you can buy it. If you can also live with other manufacturers offer, you should continue looking in our list of the best phones under $300.

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