It’s kinda ironic where I ended up if you checked why I canceled my Galaxy S22 Ultra pre-order. And if you’ve listened to the Android Central podcast, it might already be spoiled for you. But my impulsiveness and my inability to be satisfied with smartphones got the better of me. I now own a Galaxy S22 Ultra after all, but the reasons go beyond just wanting to play with another toy.
Yes, this is the ultimate first-world problem of first-world problems, but despite owning the Galaxy Z Fold 3, Pixel 6 Pro, and iPhone 13 Pro Max, I wanted something else. A few years ago, I was an avid OnePlus fanboy trying to get my hands on every new phone that OnePlus released.
My love affair with OnePlus
Granted, I was late to the OnePlus train, but there were other (unrelated) reasons for that. My first OnePlus phone was the OnePlus 3T, and it was the perfect phone at the time. Rooting and rom’ing was fun, exciting, and OnePlus phones offered the perfect combination of fantastic hardware with an open platform to install anything I wanted on my phone. Unsurprisingly, it was also around this time that my disdain for Samsung phones really grew, as Tizen was just awful to look at and use.
Over time, I kept grabbing every OnePlus phone I could get my hands on, but something happened last year. I also started to get a little more into the world of Samsung phones when we saw LG and Motorola exit the flagship space. That really only left OnePlus, Samsung, and Google (at least up to the Pixel 4 and 4 XL) competing for the title of best Android phone in any given year.
Saving everyone even more of a history lesson, let’s quickly dive into the launch of the OnePlus 9. The company was on an upward trajectory, eventually bringing OxygenOS to a place where it had just enough features to keep people happy without bog down the system. Then OnePlus announced its partnership with Hasselblad, giving the impression that the camera issues we had to deal with would finally be resolved.
To me, I really felt like OnePlus was going to start a fight with Samsung and it could actually keep up in the flagship space. The OnePlus 9 Pro’s camera was definitely its weakness, but the upgraded hardware paired with the software tuning was way better than I expected. And given that the partnership with Hasselblad was (and still is) in its infancy, there was certainly room to grow.
The end of the OnePlus honeymoon phase
The honeymoon phase for me and the OnePlus 9 Pro has lasted much longer than usual whenever I get a new phone. But then it came to a screeching halt. Without diving into all the details, let’s just say that OnePlus took a steep plunge.
From little things like app notifications not working properly, to dealing with overheating issues, it all started to snowball. Then there was the whole awkward intentional performance that was just extremely frustrating. OnePlus got its hands on the cookie jar, the same way Samsung just did with the Galaxy S22 series. And while I hoped that would be the end of the nonsense, it wasn’t meant to be.
The Android 12 update cycle with OxygenOS 12 was simply an abomination. OnePlus announced that it would essentially be absorbed by OPPO, operating as a second-class citizen (my words, not theirs), but the thing is, the software never improved. I ended up tossing my OnePlus 9 Pro in a drawer and only taking it out to try and refresh my rooting brain.
So, let’s wrap it all up: the OnePlus 9 and 9 Pro showed so much promise that I truly believed the company’s next flagship would be even better and could take the best of the best smartphones. There was room to grow, and I hoped OnePlus would take advantage of it. Then came CES 2022.
Ignoring the stupidity of multiple embargoes where OnePlus leaked OnePlus 10 Pro details in days, there’s an even bigger problem. Instead of making the phone readily available at launch for everyone, OnePlus opted for a staggered release. Much of this is probably attributed to the different software versions found on the Chinese variant (ColorOS) versus the rest of the world (OxygenOS), but my problem goes deeper than that.
If you want the OnePlus 10 Pro anywhere other than China, you can’t get the “best” version. You’ll be stuck with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage instead, leaving the model with 12GB of RAM as a China-only option. It 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 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” with no actual release date scheduled.
With OnePlus out of the picture, Galaxy reigns supreme
So instead of going with a brand that I’ve grown to love over the years and was extremely excited to see what’s next, it’s clearly not the same company anymore. Carl Pei is gone, trying to take on Apple in a veiled attempt to grab headlines. OxygenOS and ColorOS will end up being one and the same at some point, and OnePlus seems like a lost company. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a great phone and will be one of the best phones of the year, easily, but OnePlus could have really shaken up the market. Maybe Pei played a more pivotal role than just being a “hype man”, but that’s just disappointing to see.
If you want the best of Android phones, just get a Galaxy S22 Ultra. That’s about all that’s left here in the United States.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Reluctantly the best
The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most complete and best Android phone you can get in many regions. From the S Pen to great camera gear, it’s really hard to find a real competitor.