You might think that a difference in the chip should only affect processing speeds, but it turns out that having a different chip means the same camera system and hardware perform quite differently.
Can you spot a difference in photos shot during the day?
Colors and detail both differ
While photos during the day look very similar most of the time, you can spot some differences. For example, on the first photo, there is quite a bit of noise in the ceiling on the pictures taken by the Exynos model, while the Snapdragon one is much cleaner.
Colors are also mutated on the Exynos photo, while you get more vibrant and saturated tonalities out of the Snapdragon.
Additionally, notice on the second photo how shadows get much darker on the Exynos vs the Snapdragon.
These nuances build up, and most of the time, we were happier with the picture out of the Snapdragon model.
What about night photos?
You can also see the gap in low light photos
In low light, even from the first photo, you see a similar issue: right in the center where you have the night sky, it’s very noisy on the Exynos photo while the same area is perfectly clean on the Snapdragon version. Most everything else is similar, but you do get a bit more saturated colors on the Snapdragon (the red walls on the building on the left).
It’s not a huge difference between the two, but a similar story: the Snapdragon version looks better to our eyes on most of these pictures.
Are the ultra-wide cameras different?
You guessed it… yes
Ultra-wide cameras share the same color characteristics as the main ones, which means that we also see similar trends.
Colors out of the Exynos model are just a bit more muted and have less “pop”, and detail is just a bit cleaner on the Snapdragon photos. It’s definitely not a gigantic difference by any means but it is there, and it is consistent across all photos, so no coincidence here.
This one should be pretty close
The S22 Ultra is probably the best zooming phone on the market right now, but you already know that.
The Snapdragon version is just a bit sharper too.
No difference in blurring capabilities, but the color science is
You can capture portrait mode shots using either the 1X or the 3X cameras, and we love ’em both.
But just look at that first photo captured by the Exynos model, what an immense difference in the colors! I look pale and the whole scene looks has these almost depressing tonalities that lack vibrancy. The Snapdragon model has a lively image with a lot more contrast, it’s an easy win for it here.
You can see the same trend across all portrait mode photos, 1X or 3X, colors are almost always not rendered in an appealing manner on the Exynos version. By the way, kudos to Samsung for perfecting portrait mode, it does an incredible job separating the subject from the background!
Finally, when it comes to selfies, we don’t see huge differences, and we’d call this round a tie.
Both phones support a wider field of view for group shots or a close-up view for true selfies.
At the end of the day, most people we showed these photos to, agreed that the Snapdragon version is the one they would go for.
And we can certainly see why. The Snapdragon has more saturated, punchy colors, it has a bit more sharpening, while the Exynos model often looks bleak with more toned down colors that lack the ‘wow’ factor.
You might not believe that a change in processor could lead to quite big changes in image quality but it does. Sometimes that difference is subtle, at other times it’s more noticeable, but it’s always there.
In conclusion, we should say that in our view this difference is not really big enough to completely shut you off a decision to buy the S22 Ultra, the Exynos model remains quite the capable camera, but if you value a truly incredible camera, our advice is to seek a way to import a Snapdragon model.