Samsung was behind some of our favorite phones this year, including its latest foldables and, of course, the Galaxy S21 Ultra. If you skipped out on the company's 2021 phones, you're in luck — we're just a couple of weeks away from the launch of its next mainline series. The Galaxy S22 lineup promises to keep what worked about its predecessors while boosting performance and — at least in the case of the S22 Ultra — bring back some features once exclusive to the Note. Here's everything we know so far about Samsung's next flagship smartphones.
The Galaxy S22 series is official
After months of leaks and rumors, we finally got to see Samsung's newest flagship smartphones for ourselves. We'll have reviews for all three models coming soon, but for now, check out our hands-on with the Galaxy S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra right here.
As with the last few releases, Samsung is sticking to three models for its 2022 phones: the Galaxy S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra. While the first two devices look a lot like upgraded variants of this year's releases, the S22 Ultra has an all-new design, making it the most exciting phone of the bunch.ANDROIDPOLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY
A quick glance at Samsung's high-end flagship for 2022 makes one thing clear: this is a Note by any other name. With a squared-off design and a dedicated S Pen slot, the S22 Ultra looks nearly identical to the Galaxy Note20, especially from the front of the phone. Meanwhile, the back panel drops the S21's signature camera bump for a smooth piece of glass, with four lenses protruding out independently from each other.
The S22 Ultra's design has been controversial since first sight, especially since some leakers couldn't quite develop a consensus on what the camera module would look like. Thankfully, we've already seen real-world photos of a pre-production model, more or less cementing the design for Samsung's 2022 flagship.Image Gallery (3 Images)Expand Expand Expand
With the inclusion of an S Pen slot, the S22 Ultra seems to spell demise for the Note series moving forward. Without a release in 2021 — replaced, of course, by the S Pen-equipped Galaxy Z Fold3 — there were plenty of questions of how and when the original phablet would return. It's increasingly sounding like it might never make a comeback, as Samsung is reportedly ending all production on Note devices at the end of this year. Thankfully, for anyone holding out hope for a Note successor, here's the good news: the S22 Ultra seems to have everything you'd want in a new stylus-equipped smartphone, and you won't have to wait until the usual late summer release date to get it.
As for color choices, you'll find four variants on store shelves. In addition to the usual black and white offerings, Samsung is adding green and dark red options to the lineup. We've opined about the need for premium flagships to receive more interesting hues, and adding at least one new colorway to the lineup would be more than what's offered by most of the competition.
If the S Pen isn't important to you, the smaller S22 and S22+ might be worth a look. Although we haven't seen nearly as much of these two phones in recent months compared to their big brother, they might be perfect upgrades for S10 and S20 users who skipped this year's releases.
Early renders from back in September provided our best look at the phones so far, showing off a refined take on their predecessors. Unlike with the Ultra, the S22 and S22+ retain the camera bump, helping to protect the lenses on both phones should you opt to go caseless. The rounded corners and metal rail will look familiar to anyone who's held a recent Samsung phone. Even the camera flash is kept in the same spot as last year. Thankfully, the Galaxy S22 has switched away from its controversial "glasstic" back panel for a plain ol' sheet of glass.
Not that there's anything wrong with reusing a design with improved specs. We were pretty big fans of the looks for both phones when we reviewed them in early 2021, and while the S22 Ultra has veered into Note territory with its new look, keeping a similar identity for the "smaller" S22 phones might help Samsung establish a signature style.
As for colors, we're looking at four hues to pick from: white, black, rose gold, and green. We've seen the latter two shades appear in early renders, and they both look excellent as always.Image Gallery (4 Images)Expand Expand Expand Expand
Like most 2022 flagship Android phones are bound to have, the Galaxy S22 series will primarily adopt Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 throughout the US and most of the rest of the world. An Exynos variant is also on the way, but unlike years past, it'll be much more geographically limited. While the United Kingdom and European markets will use an Exynos 2200, Asian and African regions are switching to Qualcomm.
As for improvements to storage and RAM, it's a mixed bag. On the one hand, it sounds like the S22 Ultra will feature a 1TB model — perfect for anyone who loves keeping their entire Spotify collection downloaded and available offline at all times. Unfortunately, recent rumors suggest Samsung's next flagship will only be available with 8GB or 12GB of RAM. The S21 Ultra came in a 16GB configuration, so it's odd to see the company stepping backward with a spec reduction. 12GB of RAM is still plenty, even in 2022, but for anyone looking to future-proof their next smartphone, it's something to keep in mind.
We also know quite a bit about screen sizes, cameras, and batteries — at least for specific models. The Galaxy S22 is the smallest of the bunch, with its screen measuring in at a (relatively) puny 6.06 inches. With the smaller footprint comes a smaller battery; early rumors suggest the S22 will shrink its capacity to a rated 3,590mAh. While it'll likely be advertised at 3,700mAh, that's a sizable loss when matched against the S21's 4,000mAh battery.
We don't know the exact screen size or battery ratings for either the S22+ or Ultra just yet, but expect them both to be larger than what Samsung's including in its smallest flagship. As a bonus, the Ultra might sport 45W fast-charging, something included on the S20 nearly two years ago before being unceremoniously dropped with the most recent generation. We've also seen a 25W wireless pad pass through the FCC — a bump up from the usual 15W chargers offered in recent generations.
Don't expect much with the camera to change compared to the S21 series. Looking at the lineup of lenses on the S22 Ultra is like playing a game of spot the difference:
Although leaks confirm the primary sensor is an improved variant of the 108MP lens used last year, all in all, not much has changed between generations for the camera — at least, not hardware-wise. Processing is everything these days, and we'll have to wait and see what software tweaks Samsung has cooked up for its latest phones once they're officially unveiled.
As for the camera lineup on the smaller models, here's what you can look forward to on the S22 and S22+:
Despite the under-display camera used on the Galaxy Z Fold3, the S22 series will keep the usual hole-punch for its front-facing lens. It sounds like the resolution is unchanged as well, with a 10MP sensor used for the fourth year in a row.
Samsung also plans to offer new ways to enhance their camera's AI software, adding a new toggle that automatically enhances photos taken on the S22 Ultra when shooting in 108MP mode.
It's a safe bet that Samsung's latest phones will launch with Android 12 and One UI 4 — especially since the S21 series has already received a stable update. Unfortunately, we haven't seen any new tricks or tweaks leak out for any of these devices. With the S Pen now built directly into the S22's chassis, it'd be great to see some new tools and apps taking advantage of everything the stylus has to offer.
Because the update is already out for some phones — and with it coming to more devices very shortly — we basically know what to expect on the software side for the S22. As our review for One UI 4 notes, Samsung's latest software combines the best of its own design with all of the features Google built for Android 12. It's a solid update, one that doesn't rock the boat too hard. If you're coming from an older Galaxy S device, you should be pretty excited. Plus, Samsung's software support has been excellent these days, which may make some Pixel users consider jumping ship for any of these new phones.
But hey, if you're looking to make your phone feel like an S22 — especially if you're rocking an S21 with One UI 4 — it's worth checking out our collection of leaked wallpapers. An even larger selection recently leaked to help give your phone a new coat of paint. It might not be new hardware, but it's the best you're going to get until next year.
It's not enough to just have a great phone — you need some exceptional cases to go along with it. Samsung has some of the best first-party cases in the game right now, and that strategy looks to continue with the Galaxy S22 series. Leather, silicon, Clear View, rigid — it's all here, along with a new strap case brought over from last year's foldable lineup. Samsung knows how competitive the accessories market is, but it seems like it's done a great job in making its own gear a pretty compelling choice.Image Gallery (3 Images)Expand Expand Expand
Last year's S21 lineup arrived earlier than usual, with Samsung holding an Unpacked event before the end of January. Of course, the gadget world is still being battered by an ongoing chip shortage, resulting in a slightly later reveal for the S22 series.
Samsung's next Galaxy Unpacked event is officially set for February 9th. Previous rumors suggested the phones would go up for sale on February 25th, though supply chain issues may have thrown a wrench in those plans. Look for the Galaxy S22 Ultra to hit store shelves on the 25th, with the smaller S22 and S22+ following up on March 11th.
It's not all bad news. While earlier rumors suggested each S22 model would cost $100 more than their 2021 counterparts, that might not be the case. The most recent word on prices suggests a $799 starting point for the S22, with the S22+ at $999 and the S22 Ultra rounding out at $1,200. Those are expensive phones, don't get us wrong, but it's certainly better than a markup compared to the S21 series.
If you'd rather not risk losing out on pre-orders next month, Samsung has opened up reservations for all three devices. You have until February 9th to hold your spot, and as long as you place an order by February 24th, you'll get a free $50 credit for the company's web store to spend on whatever you want.
Samsung really impressed us with the Galaxy S21 series last year, and it's safe to say the S22 family is looking to be yet another excellent bunch of phones from the company. While there's nothing here that looks to immediately sway those who already upgraded within the last 12 months, if you're still holding onto an aging Galaxy S10, this year might be the perfect time to buy a new phone.Google tweaks its launcher in Android 13 DP1 to accommodate a folding Pixel
It now supports two independent layouts at different screen sizesRead NextShareTweetEmailRelated TopicsAbout The AuthorWill Sattelberg(850 Articles Published)
Will has been an Android enthusiast since he got his first smartphone in 2011. He loves watching movies, has a never-ending backlog of video games, and produces a comedy podcast in his spare time. He lives in Buffalo, NY and is willing to give you chicken wing recommendations at any time. Just ask.MoreFrom Will Sattelberg