Our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review unit is already gathering dust, and we haven’t even had it a week. No, it’s not from a lack of use (as if we’d put down a brand-new phone!), but thanks to a design change the new phone brings over its predecessor.
You see, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra – and all its siblings for that matter – use what Samsung calls ‘contour cut’, where the cameras are embedded in a stylish camera block, Samsung didn’t use this for its 2022 Ultra phone.
Instead, the lenses on the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra are all individual – and we’ve found, in our briefing testing time, that it’s accumulated loads of dust between those bumps. Well, this could be dust, or pocket fluff, or crumbs, we’re not exactly sure.
Unfortunately, our photography didn’t pick out the dust too well, so you might have looked at the picture above and thought “that’s not dusty” – but trust us, it is. This isn’t a phone for people with amathophobia, more commonly known as a fear of dust.
We’ve taken to wiping down the back of the phone several times a day, with the microfiber cloth that came with our glasses, to make sure it’s not too grimy. It’s not an ideal solution, but it’s better than having a dusty old phone.
Analysis: a history of messy mobiles
While wearables like smartwatches can really easily get dusty and messy, particularly in the gap between the bands and the bodies, smartphones are relatively mess-free. That’s because they have fewer hidden nooks and crannies where small particles can hide.
Certain smartphones, like the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, do opt to have split-apart camera bumps, which can accrue dust in the gaps between them. But other design features can become mess-traps too, for example moving segments.
When we tested the Galaxy A80, which has a rear panel that rises and flips the rear cameras around to face front for selfies, we found that this segment could get incredibly mucky.
This isn’t a problem exclusive to Samsung phones, and we’re surprised the biggest examples off the top of our head were both Galaxy devices.
When a smartphone is chic, sleek or svelte, a big patch of dust or muck can ruin its aesthetic appeal, and that’s what we’ve found has happened with the Galaxy S22 Ultra. So phone makers really need to think about this kind of design snafu in the future.