We've hit a point in smartphone development where yearly upgrades are less relevant. Nowadays, a phone you buy will still be good for a few years to come, especially with companies like Samsung and Apple supporting their devices for longer; in the case of the former, the Galaxy S21 and onward will benefit from four years of platform updates, something previously unheard of for Android phones.
The Galaxy S22 Plus proves my point. It's an incredibly boring phone in almost all regards, but in the best sense of the word. This handset proves that traditional smartphones have gotten so good that there's not a lot of room for upward mobility. When you don't need features like the Galaxy S22 Ultra's crazy zoom or a built-in (albeit excellent) stylus, phones like the S22 Plus cover all the bases.
Even looking at the iPhone 13, Apple iterated on what made the iPhone 12 series great. While we might see bigger changes with the iPhone 14 later this year, the fact is that smartphones are starting to hit a point of diminishing returns; well, unless you want to have the latest, greatest, and most powerful device possible.
In my Galaxy S22 Plus review, I remarked at how well the phone did at basically everything. Sure, it has some sore spots like mediocre battery life and cameras that still can't beat the Pixel 6 Pro — not to mention the kerfuffle with the minimum refresh rate being 48Hz instead of the 10Hz initially advertised. But all told, the Galaxy S22 Plus is incredibly dull.
Dull, boring, whatever word you want to use, is not always a negative thing. The last decade and change has seen remarkable advancements in the modern smartphone. But now we've hit a point where it's much harder to innovate, so companies like Samsung and Apple instead iterate. Google is a bit of an exception to this, since the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro introduced the new Tensor system-on-chip, a merciful break from the monotony we face with Qualcomm's yearly Snapdragon chips.
But Samsung addressed two things that still get us excited about smartphones: cameras and displays. The Galaxy S22 Plus' display is simply stunning, with beautiful colors and an insane peak brightness of 1,750 nits. Bye bye, poor visibility in sunlight. And while the S22 Plus isn't the best camera phone, it's still very capable and shows that Samsung continues to mature. (The trademark Samsung oversaturation effect seemed more reined-in this year after I've complained about it for longer than I can recall.)
Boring it may be, but the Galaxy S22 Plus is the hallmark of the modern (Android) smartphone. Powerful with an attractive design and a great feature set, Samsung figured it didn't need to reinvent the Galaxy S this year. No, that effort was saved for the new G̶a̶l̶a̶x̶y̶ ̶N̶o̶t̶e̶, er, Galaxy S22 Ultra.
I think we're long beyond the age where every smartphone release is going to knock our socks off. Many have grown jaded or perhaps even cynical about annual phone launches, and that's completely understandable. And although we may look to foldables as the future, I think we should content ourselves with the devices that do boring right. And the Galaxy S22 Plus does just that.
For an alternative view on the Galaxy S22 Plus, read how one of TG's other phones experts has enjoyed the S22 Plus so much he's thinking about ditching his iPhone.