How will Samsung improve on the best phones of 2021?
Now that the Pixel 6 and the iPhone 13 have closed out 2021, Samsung is ready to open up the 2022 smartphone season in style. It announced the delayed Galaxy S21 FE in January, allegedly pushing out the Galaxy S22 release date to February to make room for its mid-range Fan Edition phone.
The Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra both topped our list of the best Android phones for most of last year (before the new Pixels supplanted them), so how will Samsung follow up on such great hardware? Based on leaked info, its flagship phone will combine the S and Note series, with a built-in S Pen slot and a more rectangular design than the S22(+).
As for the S22 and S22+, we’ve heard credible rumors that they will ditch the S21’s glasstic design and return to proper glass backs. That’ll make them prettier, but also more fragile without a case, and also potentially more expensive.
We also suspect that the Galaxy S22 series will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or the Exynos 2200 depending on where you live. Either should give these phones a decent boost over the already-speedy S21s.
If you’re weighing buying a discounted S21, saving money with the S21 FE, or waiting for the S22, we’ve collected all the available info to help make your decision. Here’s everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy S22.
- Release date
- Design and display
- A Galaxy Note S22 Ultra?
- Specs and cameras
The best for now
Samsung Galaxy S21
From $800 at Samsung
From $800 at Amazon
From $800 at Best Buy
While the S22 will arrive soon, the S21 remains an excellent phone with fast performance, a durable glasstic frame, and a slightly larger display. If you don’t want to wait and want to save money, you can’t go wrong with the S21.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Release date
The Galaxy S21 arrived in January 2021, while the previous two Galaxy series — the S20 and S10 — shipped in March. This year, it looks like Samsung could split the difference, all thanks to the confusing Galaxy S21 FE launch.
Samsung initially delayed (and considered canceling) the S21 FE due to production issues before eventually announcing it in early 2022 with a Jan. 11 release date. It would make no sense to launch two competing brands at the same time, as it would hurt sales; so Samsung allegedly delayed the S22 release date to February 2022.
The most recent leak suggests the S22 will launch on Feb. 8, with preorders opening that day. If this leak is accurate, the S22 ship date will be Feb. 18.
While Samsung is “investigating” my S22 Ultra leak…EXCLUSIVE 👀Unpacked event for S21 FEJanuary 4, 2022No pre-order periodAvailable January 11, 2022Unpacked event for S22 lineupFebruary 8, 2022 @ 10:00am ETPre-orders begin same day (2/8)Available February 18, 2022🤫 pic.twitter.com/S9n9rAf1cs
— Jon Prosser (@jon_prosser) November 6, 2021
Given the early November leak that the S22 is fully in production, it tracks that the new phones will arrive very soon, regardless of the exact launch date.
Whenever the S22 does appear, other recent leaks have suggested the Galaxy Tab S8 will also ship around the same time. One massive phone/tablet push could help Samsung overcome its recent financial setbacks with its smartphone sales.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Price
We don’t yet have official confirmation of Galaxy S22 pricing. Given the Galaxy S21 FE launched at $699, there’s no way the S22 costs less than $799, which would match the price of the S21.
The S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra cost $799, $999, and $1,199, respectively. For comparison, the S20 phones ranged from $999 to $1,399 with the same $200 gaps. You can likely count on the same $200 price differences between the three S22 phones; we just can’t guarantee where its pricing will start.
The most recent Galaxy S22 price leak from tipster @chunvn8888 indicates the Galaxy S22 could start at $899, followed by $1,099 and $1,299 for the Plus and Ultra, respectively. Given the rumored switch from glasstic to glass, and the Ultra’s addition of an S Pen, it makes sense that Samsung would charge slightly more this year.
While leaking Galaxy S22 renders and specs, @OnLeaks and Zouton claimed the phones will retail between $799 and $1,199, which fits with Samsung sticking to the status quo this year instead.
The Galaxy S22 series will primarily compete with the iPhone 13 lineup in sales. The 13, 13 Pro, and 13 Pro Max cost $799, $999, and $1,199, respectively, so if Samsung does increase S22 prices, it could make Apple phones look more affordable (or less premium) by comparison.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Design and Display
Several leakers have gotten their hands on the Galaxy S22 — or photos of it — already. Prolific leaker Yogesh Brar posted photos of all three Galaxy S22 phones side-by-side, giving a glimpse of how they should look in person.
Here’s something for Samsung fans.Galaxy S22 is 🔥 pic.twitter.com/iRkddK3pML
— Yogesh Brar (@heyitsyogesh) December 13, 2021
Several credible sources have confirmed that the Galaxy S22 will have a 6.06-inch display and 3,700mAh battery, downgraded from the 6.2-inch, 4,000mAh S21 — making it the “smallest flagship phone in recent years.” The S22 Plus will also (allegedly) shrink from 6.7 to 6.55 inches and 4,800 to 4,500mAh. But the S22, like the S21, will stick with a 6.8-inch display and 5,000mAh battery.
The S22 and S22+ will arguably resemble the iPhone 13 with flat displays, symmetrical bezels, and flat backs. In the embedded tweet below by OnLeaks, you can see the phones’ fronts and backs, showcasing the ultra-thin bezels around each display.
Well, OK… #Samsung #GalaxyS22 #GalaxyS22Plus #GalaxyS22Ultra #Dummy pic.twitter.com/CD8rnHhStx
— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) December 13, 2021
While the displays may have shrunk, the display tech itself will be identical to the S21 lineup in quality. Both the S22 and S22+ will have FHD+ displays and 120Hz refresh rates, while the S22 Ultra should have QHD+ resolution and an LTPO 120Hz display.
DigiTimes claimed that Samsung considered incorporating vapor cooling into the S22, which it hadn’t used since the Note 10+. Since then, FrontTron claims upper management nixed the design idea to “save costs,” so we’ll have to wait and see.
Samsung Galaxy S22 The return of the Note Ultra
Samsung may shrink the S22 and S22+, but the S22 Ultra should stick to the same 6.8-inch display size and 5,000mAh battery as the Galaxy S21 Ultra. More importantly, it could get a significant redesign that would convert it into a replacement for the deprecated Galaxy Note lineup.
Multiple leak sources have suggested the Galaxy S22 Ultra will have an S Pen slot and will be the only S22 model with S Pen support. Those same leaks suggest the S22 Ultra will have less rounded edges than the S21 Ultra but won’t be quite as rectangular as the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
In fact, it may or may not be called the Samsung Galaxy Note 22 Ultra, not using the “S” label at all.
In recent smuggled photos of the device, you could see its 6.8-inch curved AMOLED display and a P-shaped camera sensor arrangement, with the sensors sticking directly out of the backplate instead of being housed in a traditional camera module. The phone itself looks remarkably thick, but the curved design should help make it less unwieldy to hold.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Specs and cameras
While Samsung hasn’t confirmed it, it’s near-certain the U.S. Galaxy S22 variant will use the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the latest Qualcomm flagship chipset. During an earnings call, Qualcomm claimed it would power 40-50% of Galaxy S phones in 2022, and no other SoC but the 8 Gen 1 makes sense for Samsung’s flagship.
According to Qualcomm, it beats the S21’s Snapdragon 888 by 20% in CPU performance, 30% in CPU efficiency, 30% in GPU performance, and 25% in GPU efficiency. It also supports faster AI, better imaging, and improved 5G compatibility.
The international variant, meanwhile, should use the Exynos 2200, a 5nm chip co-made by Samsung and AMD with RDNA2 tech for “ray tracing and variable rate shading.” We previously heard rumors that Samsung would use Snapdragons in the S22 globally due to chip shortages with its own Exynos production. But this doesn’t seem likely, given Qualcomm’s statement.
For the S22 and S22+, we expect RAM and storage to remain consistent with the S21 lineup: 8GB and 128/256GB. As for the S22 Ultra, we’ve heard conflicting rumors. While the S21 Ultra came with either 12GB or 16GB of memory, SamMobile claims the base S22 Ultra will also have 8GB of RAM, but you can upgrade to 12/16GB. Plus, the 16GB model could have 1TB of storage. But this upgraded version is likely to be extremely pricey.
All three phones should retain IP68 water/dust resistance, but none are likely to have 3.5mm headphone jacks, and dual SIM support will vary by country and carrier.
Allegedly, the Galaxy S22 Ultra could support 45W charging, while the S22 and S22+ could stick with the 25W charging of their antecedents.
Mysteries about the S22 chipset aside, all of the other major rumors have concerned the S22 lineup’s cameras. The Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22+ should have the 50MP ISOCELL GN5 sensor for their main cameras, according to a recent leak.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S22 Ultra allegedly will sport a 108MP main sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide lens with optical image stabilization, two 10MP telephoto lenses — one with 10X zoom and one with 3X zoom — and a 40MP selfie cam with a hole-punch cutout. Most of those numbers match the S21 Ultra, with the exception of the revamped 108MP lens. It may also have a new “Detail Enhancer” with optimized camera processing for better quality.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Software
The Galaxy S22 series will ship with One UI 4 out of the box. From that point, it will receive three OS updates through One UI 7/ Android 15, along with four years of security updates through early 2026.
This new update added Dynamic Color with a color picker for the UI based on your phone background, virtual RAM upgrades, new widgets, camera software updates, and other significant improvements.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
$1,200 at Amazon
$1,200 at Best Buy
Again, why wait?
How you feel about the Galaxy S22 Ultra will depend on whether or not you miss Samsung’s old Galaxy Note phones. If you don’t care about the S Pen slot or care for the new boxy design, the S21 Ultra still absolutely holds up in performance, display quality, and camera quality. You can even buy a case with an S Pen slot if you want.