It’s a bit ironic where I ended up if you checked out why I canceled my Galaxy S22 Ultra pre-order. And if you’ve listened to the Android Central podcast, this may already be a treat for you. But my impulsivity and inability to be happy with smartphones prevailed. I am now the owner of a Galaxy S22 Ultra after all, but the reasons go beyond just having another toy to play with.
Yes, this is the ultimate first world problem with first world problems, but despite owning the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max, I wanted something different. When I go back a few years, I was an avid OnePlus fanboy trying to get my fingers in every single phone that OnePlus released.
My love affair with OnePlus
Admittedly, I arrived late for the OnePlus train, but there were other (unrelated) reasons for that. My first OnePlus phone was the OnePlus 3T, and it felt like the perfect phone at the time. Rooting and rom’ing was fun, exciting, and OnePlus phones provided the perfect combination of great hardware with an open platform to install whatever I wanted on my phone. Not surprisingly, it was also around the time when my contempt for Samsung phones really grew when the Tizen was just awful to look at and use.
Over time, I continued to grab every single OnePlus phone I could get my hands on, but something happened last year. I also started to frolic a bit more in the world of Samsung phones when we saw LG and Motorola move out of the flagship range. This really only left OnePlus, Samsung and Google (at least up to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL) to compete for the title of best Android phone in a given year.
Let’s spare everyone even more of a history lesson, and let’s fast forward to the launch of OnePlus 9. The company had been on an upward trajectory and finally got OxygenOS to a place where it had just enough features to keep people happy without to run down the system. Then OnePlus announced its partnership with Hasselblad, which made it look like the camera issues we’ve had to deal with would finally be remedied.
To me, it really felt like OnePlus would start tabling it out with Samsung, and it could actually keep up with the flagship range. The OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera was certainly still its weakness, but the upgraded hardware paired with software tuning was much better than I expected. And considering that the collaboration with Hasselblad was (and still is) in its infancy, there was certainly room for growth.
The end of the OnePlus honeymoon phase
The honeymoon phase for me and the OnePlus 9 Pro lasted much longer than usual when I get a new phone. But then the screaming stopped. Without diving into all the details, let’s just say that OnePlus took an abrupt nose dive.
From little things like app messages not working properly, to dealing with overheating issues, everything is just starting to snowball. Then there was the whole conscious achievement that hindered, which was just extremely frustrating. OnePlus got its hand trapped in the cake tin, just like Samsung just did with the Galaxy S22 series. And even though I was hoping this would be the end of the nonsense, it was not meant to be.
The update cycle for Android 12 with OxygenOS 12 was simply an abomination. OnePlus announced that it would essentially be absorbed by OPPO, which acted as a second-tier citizen (my words, not theirs), but the thing is, the software never got better. I ended up throwing my OnePlus 9 Pro in a drawer and have only taken it out to try and refresh my brain when it comes to clutter.
So let’s sum it all up: the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro showed so much promise that I really believed the company’s next flagship would be even better and able to accommodate the best of the best smartphones. There was room to grow, and I was hoping OnePlus would take advantage of that. Then came CES 2022.
When one ignores the stupidity of several embargoes where OnePlus leaked details out of OnePlus 10 Pro in a matter of a few days, there is an even bigger problem. Instead of making the phone easily accessible at launch for all, OnePlus opted for a staggered release. Much of this is probably attributed to the different software versions found on the Chinese variant (ColorOS) compared to the rest of the world (OxygenOS), but my problem is even deeper than that.
If you want OnePlus 10 Pro other than China, you can not get the “best” version. You will instead be stuck with 8 GB of RAM and 128 GB or 256 GB of storage space, leaving the model with 12 GB of RAM as an option only for China. This frustrates me endlessly, and it does not matter if it is OnePlus or another phone manufacturer.
I understand that the US market is so saturated with iPhone and various Galaxy devices that OnePlus can hardly make a dent. And that’s probably why OnePlus made the decision, but it also hung a carrot in front of those of us who want the more powerful version, saying it’s coming later ‘without any actual expected release date.
With OnePlus out of the picture, Galaxy reigns supreme
So instead of going with a brand that I have come to love over the years and was extremely excited to see what was next, it is clear that this is not the same company anymore. Carl Pei is gone, trying to take on Apple in a veiled attempt to capture headlines. OxygenOS and ColorOS end up being the same at some point, and OnePlus just seems like a lost company. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a great phone and will easily be one of the best phones of the year, but OnePlus could really have turned the market upside down. Maybe Pei played a more crucial role than just being a “hype man,” but it’s just disappointing to see.
If you want the best that Android phones have to offer, just get a Galaxy S22 Ultra. That’s pretty much all that’s left here in the States.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Reluctantly, the best
Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most well-rounded and best Android phone you can get in many regions. From the S Pen to the amazing camera hardware, it’s really hard to find a real competitor anymore.