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Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) Audio test

OTHER AVAILABLE TESTS FOR THIS DEVICE

Samsung’s latest flagship, just released at the end of February, has multiple upgrades over its predecessor, like a built-in S pen and bigger sensors to improve night photography. It sports a 6.8″ display with an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. Samsung says the new chipset, the Exynos 2200 (4 nm) in Europe, is its fastest ever. On the audio front, the device has two speakers producing “surround sound with Dolby Atmos technology.” Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus are included. As for recording, S22 Ultra has Zoom-in MIC (Audio zoom), which Samsung describes as “an audio recording function that focuses on the direction of interest using a combination of 3 built-in MICs while video recording.”

We put the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) through our rigorous DXOMARK Audio test suite to measure its performance both at recording sound using its built-in microphones, and at playing audio back through its speakers. In this review, we will break down how it fared in a variety of tests and several common use cases.

Key audio specifications include:

  • Two speakers: Top front, bottom side firing.
  • Dolby Atmos tuning
  • Enhanced Bluetooth connection
  • No jack


About DXOMARK Audio tests: For scoring and analysis in our smartphone audio reviews, DXOMARK engineers perform a variety of objective tests and undertake more than 20 hours of perceptual evaluation under controlled lab conditions. This article highlights the most important results of our testing. Note that we evaluate both Playback and Recording using only the device’s built-in hardware and default apps.
(For more details about our Playback protocol, click here; for more details about our Recording protocol, click here.)


Test summary


Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)
71
audio
64

89

67

81

68

88

70

85

87

113


84

91

69

81

69

78

70

99

79

97

38

60

Playback

Pros

  • Correct performance overall
  • Mostly free of artifacts
  • Maximum volume is loud enough

Cons

  • Midrange focused tonal balance
  • Lack of sharpness and weak punch
  • At minimum volume, some contents are not properly audible

Recording

Pros

  • Very good tonal balance and envelope in electronic concert use case
  • Very good dynamics performance in most of the use cases
  • Mostly free of artifacts

Cons

  • Canny overall tonal balance
  • Inaccurate envelope in selfie video mode
  • Background is not realistic due to its unnatural timbre

With a global score of 71, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) lands just outside the top 10 among the Ultra-Premium smartphones in our database, matching the score of the Apple iPhone 11 Pro Max, the Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra, and the Google Pixel 6 Pro. It is just one point behind its brand sibling, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, at 72.

For the most part, the S22 Ultra (Exynos) placed in average territory in playback and was on par with other Galaxy smartphones. There were no glaring weaknesses — the smartphone is functional across use cases — but it only rises above average in the volume and artifacts attributes.

As a recording device, the S22 Ultra (Exynos) was a much stronger performer, especially in high sound pressure level scenarios, where it did an excellent job at capturing the dynamic range of the music with good tonal balance, pleasing midrange, clear treble, and a lot (maybe a little too much at times) bass. It also performed ably in more normal situations, capturing pleasing and accurate sound with good timbre, dynamics, and spatial attributes.

Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos)
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

Sub-scores explained

The DXOMARK Audio overall score of 71 for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) is derived from its Playback and Recording scores and their respective sub-scores. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at these audio quality sub-scores and explain what they mean for the user.

Playback

Timbre

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

64

89

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (89)

Timbre tests measure how well a phone reproduces sound across the audible tonal range and takes into account bass, midrange, treble, tonal balance, and volume dependency.

The score for timbre slightly betters the score of the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos), which received a 62, but it’s still well outside the top tier in this attribute.

Music playback frequency response

The overall tonal balance demonstrates clear and fairly precise high-end extension and midrange, producing a good reproduction of voices. But the S22 Ultra suffers from a strong lack of low-end extension. At maximum volume, the device tends to sound aggressive.

Dynamics

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

67

81

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (81)

DXOMARK’s dynamics tests measure how well a device reproduces the energy level of a sound source, and how precisely it reproduces bass frequencies.

The dynamics score is in average territory. The attack is slightly lacking in sharpness. Bass precision is thrown off by a shortfall of low-end; hence, the bass envelope is not accurately preserved. Punch is relatively weak, making the sound a bit flat and lacking a good dynamic range.

Spatial

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

68

88

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (88)

The sub-attributes for perceptual spatial tests include localizability, balance, distance, and wideness.

The S22 Ultra’s spatial score puts it in better company, closer to the top 10 in our Ultra-Premium category in this attribute. The sound stage is somewhat blurry, but localizability is still satisfactory — you can locate the sources of instruments correctly. 

Balance is slightly inaccurate; elements that should be centered seem to be coming from different corners of the S22 Ultra. This shift would not be perceptible by every user, so it remains in acceptable territory here. The wideness performance is decent, and distance performance is good.

Volume

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

70

85

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (85)

Volume tests measure both the overall loudness a device is able to reproduce and how smoothly volume increases and decreases based on user input.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) performs well in the volume attribute, with an above-average score. The maximum volume is good in comparison with other devices.

Music volume consistency

The minimum volume step is not well-tuned — certain highly dynamic contents (like classical music) are not intelligible.

Here are a few sound pressure levels (SPL) measured when playing our sample recordings of hip-hop and classical music at maximum volume:

Hip-Hop Classical
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) 74.1 dBA 70.2 dBA
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) 73.2 dBA 71 dBA
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max 72.5 dBA 69.5 dBA

Artifacts

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

87

113

POCO F4 GT
Best: POCO F4 GT (113)

Artifacts tests measure how much source audio is distorted when played back through a device’s speakers. Distortion can occur both because of sound processing in the device and because of the quality of the speakers.

The S22 Ultra had a strong showing in the artifacts attribute, with very few artifacts discernible at all. On synthetic signals used in testing, there were some granular noises and overshoots. At loud volumes, bass distortion emerges. Some static hissing was also noted on certain contents.

Recording

Timbre

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

84

91

Honor Magic3 Pro+
Best: Honor Magic3 Pro+ (91)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) was excellent in the timbre category. Moreover, it was exceptional in recording in the electronic music concert use case, where high sound pressure levels (SPL) often stymie other devices. In such high SPL scenarios, the tonal balance produced by the Samsung device is superb, with bright treble rendition, full and natural midrange, and powerful (if a bit intrusive) bass.

In regular environments, the performance is still quite good in both life video and selfie video modes; tonal balance is well rendered except for a slight lack of extra brightness and high-end extension, as well as clarity in the high midrange. In memo mode, tonal balance is impaired by a lack of treble and sounds more muffled. In this use case, the overall sound is pretty canny.

Life video frequency response

Dynamics

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

69

81

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (81)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) had a strong performance in recording dynamics. The signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) was very good across use cases, and background is well attenuated. In life video mode and the memo app, envelope is accurate, with sharp attack and precise plosives. In selfie video mode, however, envelope is impaired by a lack of sharpness and attack is more rounded.

At high SPL, dynamics performance is strong but a bit unrealistic; attack seems somewhat rounded and bass is pretty imprecise, rendering a pretty blurry envelope.

Spatial

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

69

78

Black Shark 4S Pro
Best: Black Shark 4S Pro (78)

The S22 Ultra delivers a solid spatial performance as a recording device. Sources are precisely reproduced in the audio scene, delivering accurate localizability. Wideness is great, creating a very realistic stereo rendering, even in selfie video, where despite being held in portrait mode, the device delivers good wideness. Distance performance is impaired by the unnatural midrange, which tends to push voices further away, but still seems fairly realistic.

Volume

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

70

99

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (99)

The S22 Ultra delivered an average performance in the volume attribute. Recording loudness was good in all use cases. As in some other recording attributes, the capacity for recording in high SPL environments was excellent, showing nearly no distortion at all.

Here are our test results, measured in LUFS (Loudness Unit Full Scale); as a reference, we expect loudness levels to be above -24 LUFS for recorded content:

Meeting Life Video Selfie Video Memo
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) -28.8 LUFS -21.7 LUFS -21.2 LUFS -23.9 LUFS
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G (Exynos) -26.8 LUFS -20.1 LUFS -22.5 LUFS -22.3 LUFS
Apple iPhone 13 Pro Max -25.5 LUFS -22.7 LUFS -20.2 LUFS -18.2 LUFS

Artifacts

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

79

97

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (97)

The Samsung device earned an excellent score here. Very few artifacts were observed overall. Slight distortion was observed on shouting voices. The handset was also mostly exempt from microphone occlusion artifacts.

You can check for artifacts yourself in this sample recording:

Background

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos)

38

60

Black Shark 5 Pro
Best: Black Shark 5 Pro (60)

The background performance was middling. Background was a bit unrealistic because of a slightly unnatural tonal balance. Sound is midrange focused and canny. No artifacts were observed, however.

Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) is a decent general performer as an audio device, in line with what we’ve seen from other Samsung Galaxy smartphones. And it was actually quite good as a recording device, proving to be a handy tool for those needing to capture good quality audio in a variety of settings.

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