Samsung Galaxy: S22 preview

The Samsung Galaxy S22 could offer a new look and plenty of upgrades

2022 isn’t far away, which likely means neither is the Samsung Galaxy S22. The rumors, leaks and speculation are in high gear right now, which means we’ve already got a pretty good idea of what Samsung’s cooked up for Android phone buyers next year.

One of the most compelling rumors is that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will have a lot of the Note lines DNA, which our Phones Editor Jordan Palmer reckons could make it the Galaxy Note we’ve all been waiting for. And it’s one of our most anticipated phones of 2022

And across the line of next-gen phones, we’re expecting camera upgrades, a new chipset, refined design and more. Such upgrades will be rather welcome. While our Samsung Galaxy S21 review was largely positive, shoppers didn’t seem all that excited about Samsung’s three flagship phones. The Galaxy S22 Ultra should be the most exciting model, as it’s tipped to include an S Pen and a Galaxy Note-like design. 

Notably, some refinement in camera performance would be welcome, as the iPhone 13 series delivers better image quality than the S21 in some scenarios. And the Galaxy S22 will also have to compete against the Google Pixel 6 and its Tensor chip, as well as against the cheaper S21 FE, which leaked again recently and is expected to arrive in January. 

Here are all the early rumors for the Samsung Galaxy S22 and what we want to see from this series. And because the S22 is just one of many new devices expected from the Korean company next year, we’ve also put together a guide to what to expect from Samsung in 2022.

Samsung Galaxy S22 news (updated December 28)

Samsung Galaxy S22 release date rumors

A suite of rumors have the Samsung Galaxy S22 pegged for a February launch date. The latest whispers say that the reveal event will be on February 9, which will also be the day pre-orders open, followed by the full launch on the 25th. We’d previously heard from the same source that the S22 would appear on February 8, but it seems like Samsung’s struggling with its supply chain issues once again. 

Assuming that the launch date now remains in February, that would mean the Galaxy S22 range will launch a little later than the Galaxy S21 lineup, which arrived late January 2021. But this should indicate that the Galaxy S22 is back on track with its more usual release cadence, which has often be some point in February, sitting around Mobile World Congress time and thereby garnering the full attention of the smartphone world. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 price

With the Galaxy S21 lineup, Samsung reduced the cost for all three models by $200, and we don’t see prices going back up.

So if Samsung stays consistent, the Galaxy S22 will cost $799, the Galaxy S22 Plus will be $999 and the Galaxy S22 Ultra will be priced at $1,199. 

However, a new rumor has the Galaxy S22 range tipped to get a price increase. The Galaxy S22 will reportedly increase to an $849 starting price, the Galaxy S22 Plus to $1,049 and the Galaxy S22 Ultra to $1,299. Seeing the Ultra bump up to the same price that the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra launched at isn’t all that surprising given it’s expected to be a spiritual successor to the Note. 

That said, yet another rumor says that the Galaxy S22 could start at $799 just like its predecessor. This rumor comes from SamMobile, which cites sources staking that claim. We’re partial to believe this one, since it would make sense for Samsung to keep the price of the non-Ultra models the same.

Samsung Galaxy S22 design 

We’re getting closer to the Galaxy S22 launch, as we’ve seen the first alleged live photos of the Galaxy S22. This is thanks to a leak from Ice Universe. The back shows a contour cut camera that’s less pronounced, which is a good thing. 

Subsequent photos of what’s likely the Galaxy S22 lineup show the same look for both the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, has a matte back and a flatter design. The phone looks a lot like one of Samsung’s Galaxy Note phablets, which is consistent with rumors we’ll get into in a moment.

There’s also a video leak of the Galaxy S22 that shows all three models and backs up what we’ve seen from the photos. The S22 Ultra/S22 Note is definitely in a class of its own with a flatter, squarer design and built-in S Pen holster.

If alleged leaked Galaxy S22 diagrams are to be believed, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Pro will sport similar designs to their S21 predecessor but with smaller dimensions. 

The regular S22 could measure 149.98 x 70.56 x 7.65mm, compared to 151.7x 71.2 x 7.9mm. And the Galaxy S22 Pro (not the Plus) could be 157.43 x 75.83 x 7.65mm for the S22 Pro; the S21 Plus was 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm. 

Elsewhere, a tip from leaker Mauri QHD on Twitter claims that the Samsung Galaxy S22 will feature a thinner design than the Galaxy S21. However, this may result in smaller batteries. 

There’s also a set of concept renders for the Galaxy S22 from LetsGoDigital, which highlights possible design changes. These include a massive main camera flanked by four smaller sensors, and a possible active cooling system.

New information obtained by Let’s Go Digital (from an alleged former Samsung employee) claims that the Galaxy S22 will look different than the Galaxy S22 Ultra. The site produced some renders which show a phone that looks a lot like the Galaxy S21 with a similar camera hump. Meanwhile, the S22 Ultra is expected to adopt a more Note-like design, further separating the upcoming Galaxy S22 family.

As far as colors go, analyst Ross Young has tweeted the likely options. He claims the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus will come in black, green, pink gold and white varieties, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra will be available in black, green, white and a dark red model.

Another titbit of design information around the Galaxy S22 models comes courtesy of alleged images of a trio of screen protectors for the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra

Going by these images, if legit, it would appear that the both the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus models are indeed getting smaller screens with with sizes of around  6.06- and 6.55-inches respectively. Whereas the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which is set to be a surrogate Galaxy Note 22, is set to retain its 6.81-inch frame.

Last year, while the Galaxy S21 Plus and Ultra had glass backs, the standard S21 used a plastic back. That seems to be changing for the Galaxy S22 series though, which leaker Ice Universe says will have glass bodies for all three models in the range.

The screen protector for the rumored Galaxy S22 Ultra (more on that below) is particularly compelling as it shows how the phone could very much have the more rectangular shape of the seemingly defunct Galaxy Note phones, where as the smaller models have more rounded sides and overall shape. 

If you’re looking for more detail, Korean site ITMaterials and leaker IceUniverse have found alleged Galaxy S22 wallpapers, which have been mocked up in renders published by LetsGoDigital. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra or Galaxy S22 Note

Things could get very interesting with the rumoured Ultra version of the Galaxy S22 line, as that phone is set to get a lot of the DNA from the seemingly dead Galaxy Note line. One rumor, in fact, suggests that the phone could even get the Note name, launching as the Galaxy S22 Note instead of the S22 Ultra. (Until we hear a more definitive rumor about the phone’s name, we’ll continue to call it the S22 Ultra to avoid confusion.)

One Twitter leaker @hypark22 claims to have a dummy unit of a near final Galaxy S22 Ultra, and it looks like a Galaxy Note-like design, complete with a camera array that’s not nearly as bulky as the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Another set of images of what is claimed to be a dummy unit of the Galaxy S22 Ultra shows off how it could have a blockier, squared-off design that harks back to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

The usually reliable leaker OnLeakers has also shared unofficial renders of the Galaxy S22 family, with designs for the Galaxy S22 Ultra showing an unusual camera array in a “P” shape, also seen in the dummy units. A Note-like style is also apparent, complete with S Pen dock, though that wasn’t seen in the dummy units; the jury is out on the Galaxy S22 Ultra having a built-in S Pen holder. 

To further back up these renders, leaker Ice Universe has shared some leaked renders that are supposedly of the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s case. These again show a cutout for a P-shaped camera module, and otherwise point to a Note-like design.

Claimed Samsung Galaxy S22 camera specs

Samsung Galaxy S21 UltraSamsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Main sensor108MP, f/1.8, 1/1.33”, 0.8µm108MP, f/1.8, 1/1.33”, 0.8µm
Periscope telephoto (10x)10MP, f/4.9, 1/3.24”, 1.22µm10MP, f/4.9, 1/3.52”, 1.12µm
Optical telephoto (3x)10MP, f/2.4, 1/3.24”, 1.22µm10MP, f/2.4, 1/3.52”, 1.12µm
Ultrawide12MP, f/2.2, 1/2.55”, 1.4µm
12MP, f/2.2, 1/2.55”, 1.4µm

Finally, another advantage the Galaxy S22 Ultra could have over its standard and Plus siblings is that it has been tipped to have 1TB of onboard storage, meaning it could challenge the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max when it comes to hefty amounts of storage. Don’t expect such a model to come in cheap, as when pushing past 512GB of storage, flagship smartphones can get very pricey indeed. 

For more on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, see our Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra comparison.

Samsung Galaxy S22 displays

A rumor from leaker Mauri QHD, who has a pretty good track record with Samsung leaks, claims that Samsung is shrinking the displays on the Galaxy S22 lineup compared to the Galaxy S21; Ice Universe, another reputable leaker has shared the same thing. Our take is that this is a good thing and that the Galaxy S22 could save us from oversized phones

The Galaxy S22 would be 6.06 inches (down from 6.2 inches on the S21); the S22 Plus would sport a 6.5-inch panel (down from 6.7 inches); and the Galaxy S22 Ultra would be 6.81 inches (down from 6.9 inches).

Samsung will keep the overall shape of the display the same for the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, according to a leak showing the phone’s displays or display protectors. However the Galaxy S22 Ultra appears to feature squared corners, again a sign of the phone’s Galaxy Note-ification.

The S22 Plus’ display shrinkage was further backed by a report from SlashGear.

In addition, Mauri QHD claims that only the Galaxy S22 Ultra will boast LTPO technology, which means only it would be able to scale the refresh rate on its display from 120Hz down to 1Hz. This helps save battery life.

A more recent Galaxy S22 Ultra tip claims the phone will have the brightest display ever for a Galaxy phone. Given the Galaxy S21 Ultra hits a brightness of 1500 nits, we could except the next-gen Ultra to top that, possibly pushing towards 2,000 nits. And a boost in brightness can help deliver more convincing HDR and colors, ideal for watching movies and playing games. 

In terms of product mix, one report from The Elec says that 6.1-inch Galaxy S22 will see the highest volume of production at 50-60%. Just 20% of the allocation is reportedly earmarked to be 6.6-inch S22 Plus. The Galaxy S22 Ultra will apparently account for the remaining 20 to 30%. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 cameras

It’s looking like the Galaxy S22 and it’s Plus stablemate are set to get upgraded main and telephoto rear cameras, at least according to reliable leaker Ice Universe. 

Apparently, both phones will make use of a 50MP main camera, which could be equipped with a Samsung GN5 sensor that the company unveiled earlier in the year, and that has already been providing impressive results on the Google Pixel 6.

What about the zooming power? One rumor points to the Galaxy S22 offering a 3X telephoto zoom lens with a 10MP resolution. This would be an upgrade over the previous 3x hybrid optical zoom. 

Samsung is also reportedly testing the ability to shoot 8K video at 60 frames per second for the Galaxy S22. This would be an improvement over the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which maxes out at 24fps for 8K video. Granted, there are very few people who own 8K TVs, as they are prohibitively expensive. But this upgrade would result in a more future-proof phone.

Around the front, the Galaxy S22 range has been tipped to come with the same resolution sensors as their predecessors; so 10MP for the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus and 40MP for the Galaxy S22 Ultra.  This may seem a bit disappointing, but there’s potential for some hardware changes, such as wider apertures. And Samsung is very likely to have worked to improve the image processing on the software side of its next-gen phones, hopefully reducing over-sharpening or over-smoothing, as well as letting in more light and delivering even colors. 

Samsung Galaxy S22: What we want to see

With plenty of time between now and the S22’s launch, we’ve got a wishlist of features we hope Samsung will incorporate.

A true full-screen design: This is rumored to be coming true so it’s not a big ask. We’d like to see a full-screen design for the Galaxy S22 with a front camera that disappears when you don’t need it. We’d also like to be able to use apps in full-screen mode without having to dig into settings as you do now with some apps and games. 

A sharper display: Samsung dropped the resolution on the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus from quad HD to 1080p, likely in an effort to save cost. But it would be nice if the sharpest resolution wasn’t a Galaxy S22 Ultra-exclusive feature this time around. 

S Pen support for every Galaxy S22: Right now, only the Galaxy S21 Ultra supports the S Pen as an option, while the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus do not. So if Samsung is serious about adding S Pen support to more devices, providing a digitizer for all three Galaxy S22 models would be welcome. 

Faster charging (even if it’s not in the box): After offering a 45W charger option on the Galaxy S20 Ultra, Samsung stepped away from that perk for the Galaxy S21 lineup. However, a leak points to Samsung releasing a 65W charger, and we hope that it supports the Galaxy S22 lineup. 

Longer battery life: The Galaxy S21’s battery life wasn’t bad, but it could be better. On the Tom’s Guide battery test, the regular Galaxy S21 lasted 9 hours and 53 minutes when web surfing over 5G, but that dipped all the way down to 6:31 with adaptive display mode on.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra fared better, as it endured for 11 hours and 25 minutes in 60Hz mode and 10:07 in adaptive mode. Keep in mind that the the adaptive display on the S21 Ultra is more dynamic, as it can scale down to 10 Hz, as opposed to 48Hz for the S21 and S21 Plus. So it would be nice if Samsung graced the S22 and S22 Plus with the same refresh rate range as the Ultra for its next phones. 

Better cooling: Some Galaxy S21 users and reviewers have complained that the Galaxy S22 can run quite warm under heavy workloads or when gaming for longer stretches. So it would be good to see a better cooling solution for the Galaxy S22. 

Bring back microSD: The Galaxy S21 saw the removal of the microSD card slot, much to the chagrin of many users and fans. While Samsung didn’t provide reasoning for this, we expect it might have something to do with keeping the S21 costs reduced as much as possible. However, that doesn’t mean we don’t want to see expandable storage come back in the Galaxy S22. Samsung was one of the last bastions of this feature in the flagship market after all.


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