There is nothing innovative or different about the S22 phones. The new models are filled with iterative improvements over their predecessors that further refine this trio as some of the best phones you can buy. The range includes the S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra, all of which include an S Pen stylus. That is not the only reason you might want it.

There are no reasons to upgrade to a 2022 model if you are currently using the S21 series phone. These are great choices if you are rocking a phone that has been struggling.

These phones are the crème de la crème of hardware. They have the latest chips, components, and software. These days you don't need to spend more than $450 for a phone that can take great photos, last more than a day, and run all your usual apps. See the Best Cheap Phones guide for more information. If you want a device with the best and brightest screen, top-tier gaming performance, long-term software support, and high-end build materials, you can't go wrong.

Top brass.

Photograph: Julian Chokkattu

The refining of the S22 series has helped make them great. They act like they are smart too. You get rich audio coming through the stereo speakers, the unfathomably bright AMOLED screens stay legible with zero squinting required on sunny days, and the displays have variable 120-Hz refresh rates that keep them feeling responsive and fluid when scrolling through social media. It makes phone calls very pleasant.

All three of them are powered by the same processor in the US, which is the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 from Qualcomm. The new phones scored better in gaming tests than the previous model, and this is the top-end chip of the year.

I ran the most graphically demanding game, Genshin Impact, on the S22 Ultra and S21 Ultra, but those supposed improvements did not translate. I had to lower the graphics settings so they could run more smoothly, but the newer phone didn't perform as well as it should. The performance of Apple's mobile architecture still feels miles ahead, despite the fact that the iPhone 13 Pro struggles with the same game at its maximum graphical settings. This is not to say that the S22 is slow or laggy. Not at all. When you push the phones, they get quite warm, but Genshin Impact performs better than most other devices. You will not notice a huge difference when you move from an S21 Ultra to an S22 Ultra.

The sheer size of these phones will have an impact on you nearly every day. The Ultra is 6.9 inches across the screen. It is difficult to use with my large hands. At 6.1 inches, the S22+ feels more at home in my paw, but I couldn't stop loving it. It feels like a small phone, without the screen and battery life of the iPhone 13 Mini. The S22 and S22+ have flatter edges that make it easier to grip, while the curved screen on the Ultra is harder to stretch your fingers around without touching it. The S22 won between the two. Minor perks that come with the S22 are not worth $200 more than the S22+.

Photograph: Samsung