The retail Galaxy S22 Ultra with Exynos has performance and display issues

Adam Conway

XDA Developers

The retail Galaxy S22 Ultra with Exynos has performance and display issues

The Samsung Galaxy S22 series is the flavor of the month, as it is Samsung’s biggest mainstream launch for this year. We have had our hands on a Galaxy S22 Ultra review unit in the U.S., and retail units have just recently begun to ship in parts of the world. Users in North America, South America, Africa, and India get Snapdragon variants of Samsung’s latest flagship series, while European consumers (and some select Asian markets) are getting Exynos chipsets in their phones. Apart from the chips, everything else in the phones are identical, but this chip variance can have material effects on the user experience. As more and more users are getting their hands on the device, it is becoming clear that the Exynos Galaxy S22 series has some issues, specifically with performance and with the display on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

These performance and display problems have been reported by many users, and I have also been able to reproduce them on my device. I have the retail Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra (Exynos) purchased by XDA through Samsung’s own website serving Ireland, and I have not been in contact with Samsung’s PR to receive a unit. This is what anyone else in Ireland would have received if they had purchased the device through an official channel, and since there have been no Day 1 patches, the software on the device is deemed to be release software that is stable for end users. I have had debilitating problems with performance on this Galaxy S22 Ultra, and other users have also spotted display issues easily reproduced by using QHD+ and enabling the “natural” color mode.

Performance problems in the Exynos Galaxy S22 series

As for my first impressions of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra with the Exynos 2200… so far, it’s not good. It’s so laggy, and I had the same experience when I set it up completely fresh without restoring my apps, too.

This is shockingly bad.

— Adam Conway (@AdamConwayIE) February 23, 2022

My Galaxy S22 Ultra has numerous performance problems, as outlined in the video above. It lags at multiple places across the UX — right from unlocking, across apps, and more. I’m not really sure what the problem is though. Take a look at the two tests I conducted below: one is a CPU Throttling Test, and the other is a Geekbench 5 benchmark.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Exynos CPU Throttling Test Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Exynos Geekbench 5

Both of these are fine, though a pretty far cry behind what the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 has been documented to be capable of. Performance shouldn’t be this poor. While it’s hard to see in the picture above, it also takes quite a while for the Galaxy S22 Exynos variant to reach the maximum 261GIPS that is shown in the above screenshot.

The phone lagged during setup, and I had configured the phone without restoring my data initially. Because of that, and the fact that the phone was laggy, I factory reset it so that I could restore all of my data while setting up the phone. It did not fix any of my performance issues.

Investigating the problem is difficult without root access, but it doesn’t appear to be a memory problem, nor does there appear to be any rogue services running in the background. I couldn’t identify high CPU usage when this was happening, and there was nothing spamming in the logcat. We have the base 8GB of RAM, 128GB storage model, but even if that were the cause (and I see no indication of that being the case), then Samsung shouldn’t be selling the phone in the first place with those specifications.

All in all, it’s entirely possible that something else is happening… or it could be as a result of the Exynos 2200 itself. Exynos chipsets aren’t exactly known for being the best of the best, and it’s entirely possible that Samsung was considering canceling it entirely. As it stands though, this €1300 flagship phone is borderline unusable. Apps sometimes crash (including the CPU Throttling Test the first time I ran it), apps take multiple seconds to load, and multi-tasking is a nightmare. I’m not the only person to have issues either, as Nils Ahrensmeier of TechnikNews has complained that the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is “very laggy”, along with Nicolas La Rocco of ComputerBase‘s complaints that the phone is stuttery and slow at times.

Is any of this fixable via software? I would hope so, but it’s a shocking state for the phone to be released in the way that it is now. Given that the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 units are nowhere near as hampered by way of performance, it’s hard not to come to the conclusion that the problem is the chipset, especially since the previous generation Snapdragon vs Exynos experiences have been on similar lines. Nevertheless, I’m keeping an open mind as drivers and other proprietary software will differ between both variants of the Galaxy S22 series. As a result, it’s possible that there are driver-related bugs or other problems that are the cause behind this that just so happened to have presented themselves in Exynos variants.

Display problems in the Exynos Galaxy S22 Ultra

If you have an Exynos #GalaxyS22Ultra pls check if your device is affected by this bug, too.
(Notice the graphic glitches/artifacts on lock screen clock.)
Seems to be a widespread issue now.
Reproduce steps in comments.

— Golden Reviewer (@Golden_Reviewer) February 22, 2022

The above only happens when Exynos Galaxy S22 Ultra has both QHD+ enabled and natural color mode, though I can reproduce it consistently. It’s also not as niche as it may sound — the phone is obviously a QHD+ phone, and many people have a preference for the “natural” color mode instead of the vivid color mode for the more accurate colors. Samsung has already given a statement saying that it will be fixed in a future update:

“We are aware of a limited number of Galaxy S22 Ultra devices experiencing a pixelated line on the display when customer plays Youtube or unlocks the device with fingerprints. This issue may occur rarely when user set the device resolution to WQHD and Screen mode to Natural mode.

We have already worked to develop a patch on Galaxy S22 Ultra and will release software updates to address the issue soon. We recommend that until then, please change the screen mode to Vivid or resolution to FHD+ of your device. And please keep your devices updated with the latest software.”

While Samsung may say that this bug occurs rarely, I was able to trigger it instantly. The issue does not appear to be affecting the regular and Plus variants, so far, and we haven’t seen reports of it occurring on Snapdragon Galaxy S22 Ultra units either.

Exynos, or bad software?

Front screen of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

It’s hard to say what the cause of these problems is. It could well be the Exynos 2200, or it could be that Samsung has coincidentally managed to mess up the software on Exynos variants. It doesn’t appear that Samsung has publicly given a statement to any publication about Exynos variants, as ComputerBase even says that while the company reached out, it declined to say whether an update would be coming. In the past, like with the Exynos Galaxy S21 Ultra, gaming performance remained poor all through the product lifecycle, as the Exynos 2100 just couldn’t perform, and no amount of software update could bring it at par with its Snapdragon counterpart.

For now, the only thing I can say is to hold off on purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra for now if you live in Europe, because as it stands right now, the Exynos 2200 Galaxy S22 Ultra is completely unusable as a daily driver. It’s incredibly laggy and the battery life is terrible, too. This isn’t even the first day, it’s the second, and even “calibration” shouldn’t cause it to only have 50 minutes of SOT with 67% left.

We’ll be keeping an eye out for any updates from Samsung, and hopefully, this can be addressed sooner rather than later. Consumers deserve better with their €1,299 purchase.

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