It’s kind of ironic that I ended up checking out why my pre-order for the Galaxy S22 Ultra was cancelled. And if you’ve been listening to the Android Central podcast, this one might already be spoiled for you. But my impulsiveness and inability to be satisfied with smartphones were better than me. I am now the owner of a Galaxy S22 Ultra after all, but the reasons go beyond just wanting to play another game.
Yes, this is the ultimate first world problem to first world problems, but despite owning a Galaxy Z Fold 3, Pixel 6 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max, I wanted something else. Back in the past few years, I was a fervent OnePlus fan who tried to get his hands on every new phone OnePlus released.
My love affair with OnePlus
Admittedly, I was late on 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 romance was fun and exciting, and OnePlus phones offered the perfect blend of great hardware with an open platform to install everything I wanted on my phone. Unsurprisingly, this was also at a time when my disdain for Samsung phones really grew, as Tizen was horrible to look at and use.
Over time, I’ve continued to grab every OnePlus phone I can get my hands on, but something happened last year. I’ve also started working a bit more in the world of Samsung phones as we’ve seen the likes of LG and Motorola move out of the mainstream space. That really only left OnePlus, Samsung, and Google (at least even the Pixel 4 and 4 XL) vying for the title of best Android phone in any given year.
To provide more history lessons for everyone, let’s jump right into the launch of the OnePlus 9. The company has been on an upward trajectory, and finally brought OxygenOS to a place with enough features to keep people happy without bogging down in the system. Then OnePlus announced its partnership with Hasselblad, making it look like the camera issues we had to deal with would finally be addressed.
For me, it really felt like OnePlus was going to start going deep with Samsung and could really keep pace with the flagship space. The OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera was definitely still its weak point, but the upgraded hardware paired with software tuning was much better than I expected. Given that the partnership 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 a lot longer than it usually does when I get a new phone. But then the screaming stopped. Without going into all the details, let’s just say OnePlus made a surprise plunge.
From little things like app notifications not working properly, to dealing with overheating issues, everything is just starting to deteriorate. After that, there was a complete intentional obstruction of performance which was very frustrating. OnePlus got its hands on a cookie bowl, in the same way that Samsung just did with the Galaxy S22 series. And while I hoped that was the end of the nonsense, it wasn’t meant to be.
The update cycle for Android 12 with OxygenOS 12 was just plain obnoxious. OnePlus has announced that it will basically be absorbed by OPPO, acting as a second-class citizen (my words, not theirs), but the thing is that the software has never improved. I ended up throwing my OnePlus 9 Pro in a drawer and only took it out to try to refresh my mind when it came to rooting.
So, let’s sum it all up: the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro showed so much promise that I really thought the company’s next flagship would be even better and could handle the best smartphones. There was room for growth, and I was hoping OnePlus would take advantage of it. Then came CES 2022.
Ignoring the stupidity of the multiple bans as OnePlus teased out OnePlus 10 Pro details over a few days, there’s an even bigger problem. Instead of making the phone easily available at launch to everyone, OnePlus opted for an amazing edition. Much of this is due to the different software versions present in the Chinese variant (ColorOS) compared to the rest of the world (OxygenOS), but my problem runs deeper than that.
If you want your OnePlus 10 Pro anywhere other than China, you can’t get the “best” version. Instead, you’ll be stuck with 8GB of RAM and 128GB or 256GB of storage, leaving the model with 12GB of RAM as the China-only option. This frustrates me to no end, and it doesn’t matter if it’s OnePlus or another phone maker.
I understand that the US market is too saturated with the iPhone and so many Galaxy devices that it’s hard for OnePlus to make an impact. That’s probably why OnePlus made the decision, but it also stuck a carrot in front of those of us who want a more powerful version that says “come later” with no actual expected release date.
With OnePlus out of the picture, Galaxy reigns
So instead of going with a brand that I’ve loved over the years and been super excited to see what’s next, this is clearly not the same company anymore. Carl Pei is gone, trying to take on Apple in some covert attempts to grab the headlines. OxygenOS and ColorOS will end up being the same at some point, and OnePlus seems like a missing company. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a great phone and would easily be one of the best phones of the year, but OnePlus could already turn the market on its head. Pei may have played more of a pivotal role than just a “noise guy,” but it’s disappointing to see him.
If you want the best that Android phones have to offer, just get the Galaxy S22 Ultra. That’s pretty much all that’s left here in the US.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Impossibly, the best
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the best Android phone and the best you can get in many areas. From the S Pen to the amazing camera hardware, it’s really hard to find a real contender anymore.