Earlier this year Samsung came out with their typical yearly updates on their Galaxy S series.
They announced the iterative and beautiful S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra (the latter of which was lauded for finally adding the coveted S-Pen to the Galaxy S series for the first time).
However, a few people were shocked at the price considering the upgrades this year - a staggering £1149 for the BASE model of the S22 Ultra.
Which made us think… with the cost of living crisis, economic pressure in society, and most importantly, our mission to become eco-friendly and rehome phones - is this really worth the price over a similar, older device that can be found for nearly half the price at £599 with refurbished brands like reboxed? Take a look for yourself here.
What’s that you ask? The Samsung Note 20 Ultra, it’s time to flex.
Incredible Zoom camera? Check.
Big, beautiful AMOLED display with excellent battery life? Check.
At reboxed, we don’t worry about the tech specs.
What matters to us, matters to you - is the ACTUAL experience.
How does it feel, what can the software do, how are the pictures of my dog going to come out?
Samsung S22 Ultra vs Note 20 Ultra - Camera comparison
Let’s kick off with the camera.
Straight up, you’re not going to have any qualms with either of these when you’re taking a quick snap - but for you eagle eyed photographers out there, you may see a bit of a difference.
The image below (Note 20 Ultra) has some nicely boosted saturation, which really enhances the detail and makes it an affordable Instagram worthy camera.
Not only that, but the laser autofocus really helped us get a quick snap in a fast moving environment.
Here the S22 Ultra doesn’t seem to capture quite as much detail, and mutes a lot of the colours - not the best for getting a quick pic for social media, but if you like to edit your pictures, the S22 Ultra may be best for you.
The S22 Ultra also has a 1.7x larger sensor, so for lower light pictures you get a bit of an advantage on the S22 - but not as much as you’d think considering the price difference.
If you’re just looking for a decent everyday camera overall though, shockingly, we’re going to have to go Note 20 Ultra here.
Samsung S22 Ultra vs Note 20 Ultra - S-Pen Screen AND Features
Finally, Samsung have stopped hogging the S-pen for Note users, and brought it to the Galaxy S series - although it’s only on the S22 Ultra, it’s a start.
But does is there a difference between it and the Note 20 Ultra?
No. Well, mostly no.
Although you’re getting slightly fast writing speeds due to the faster connectivity in the S-Pen on the S22, we couldn’t notice a day to day difference at all - and if anything, we noticed the S-Pen on the older Note 20 Ultra lasted a little bit longer - although you’re highly unlikely to need to charge the S-Pen while using it (it charges inside the device - handy!).
Now, obviously you want to know about that slab of glass you interact every day - the screen.
In terms of size, you’re essentially getting the same screen here with only 0.1 inches difference between the two - and both supporting 120HZ refresh rate (if that’s a load of tech talk to you - it makes your screen look real smooth).
The only advantage for the S22 Ultra is it supports LTPO refresh rates, which means it can drop the rate down when the screen isn’t moving (for example, reading an article online) this gives the S22 a bit of a head start in battery life, which we’ll come on to shortly.
Lastly - for you power users out there, the Note 20 Ultra offers expandable storage, something that’s fallen by the wayside with recent Android devices.
Not only does this give you more space for music, videos and the rest - if you’re a budding photographer/filmmaker, you can swap out memory cards to your heart's desire. Take that, new phones!
Samsung S22 Ultra vs Note 20 Ultra - Battery life
A lot of phones these days lie about the weight of the device - as you usually need to carry a power bank with them to get through the day, from scrolling the news to sharing memes to video calls and streaming TV.
Not with these two though.
Now, we’ll admit - we put both of these devices through their paces, and it may not reflect your usual use in a day - but that’s a good thing.
In our own reboxed one day use tests, we came home around 7PM at night after a long day of calls, texts, pictures and videos and the typical commute, watching YouTube and listening to music with around 50% of battery life left on the S22 Ultra, and around 40% on the Note 20 Ultra.
Basically, you’re not going to have an issue getting either of these through a normal day, but there’s a slight advantage on the S22 we admit.
Samsung S22 Ultra vs Note 20 Ultra - Which is better?
It would be very easy to arrive at this point, hold our hands up and say the S22 Ultra is the better phone - which it is. But, it’s certainly not the better purchase at £1149.
The S22 Ultra does add a couple of handy features - a bit more battery life, 100x zoom rather than the 50x on the Note 20 Ultra - but you’re paying a hefty price for smaller, iterative upgrades.
With the Note 20 Ultra, you can save yourself a minimum of £500 buying with reboxed, and you won’t really miss anything from the S22 Ultra.
If you’re still keen on the S22 - we’d highly recommend to wait until they hit the refurbished market so you can bring the cost down (and rehome an existing phone rather than buying new).
So, we have a winner,
All in all the Note 20 Ultra is our clear winner here, and by far the best bang for your buck.
Not only are there a couple more advantages of getting the Note 20 Ultra (outside of the price 😍) but you also get the same advantages as buying new when you go reboxed!
Don’t forget all our reboxed squad get a 12 month warranty, a pristine phone (depending on chosen condition), more money in your pocket and you’re helping the planet. We think it’s a no brainer.