No surprise: Samsung’s Galaxy S22 is here. Arguably the worst-kept secret since, well, the Galaxy S21, the launch of Samsung’s latest flagship smartphone line-up hasn’t exactly been shrouded in mystery.
But with the Samsung Galaxy S22 officially revealed – alongside its Plus and Ultra siblings – we can finally dive headlong into the confirmed spec sheets of the new devices.
We’ll share our full reviews of each handset once we’ve put them through our rigorous testing process. Which includes endlessly scrolling through YouTube Shorts to see which lasts longer: the battery or our thumb muscles.
Until then, there’s plenty to analyse on paper. From camera hardware to processor performance, the guide below will give you the complete low-down on Samsung’s Galaxy S22 family – and how it stack ups against the iPhone competition.
Samsung Galaxy S22: models, prices & specs
Samsung’s Galaxy S22 range features three models: the standard S22, the larger S22 Plus and the flagship S22 Ultra, which standards apart in terms of specs, styling and price.
While the S22 range is far from affordable, there is some good news: pricing for the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus hasn’t increased from last year’s equivalent S21 models. That means the standard S22 starts at £769 for the 128GB version, rising to £819 for 256GB of non-expandable storage capacity. Not exactly pocket change, but a welcome break from the annual inflation of smartphone prices.
Like last year’s middle mobile, the larger Galaxy S22 Plus also comes in at £949 for the 128GB version and £999 for the 256GB version.
Topping the bill is the flagship Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, which treads a different path. Aping the design and approach of previous Galaxy Note devices, it ships with a bigger screen, a squarer design and an extra camera – plus S Pen support. It also has larger price tags. Like the S21 Ultra, the 128GB version will set buyers back £1149 – but unlike the S21 Ultra, it only ships with 8GB of RAM (instead of 12GB).
If you want 12GB of RAM with your S22 Ultra, you’ll need to opt for the 256GB (£1249) or the 512GB (£1329) variants. Alternatively, you can stump up for the new bank-busting 1TB edition – which will set you back a whopping £1499. Who needs a summer holiday when you can have a range-topping smartphone instead?
|Spec||S22||S22 Plus||S22 Ultra|
|Screen||6.1in 1080×2340 AMOLED, 120Hz||6.6in 1080×2340 AMOLED, 120Hz||6.8in 1440×3080 AMOLED, 120Hz|
|Processor||Exynos 2200 / Snapdragon 8||Exynos 2200 / Snapdragon 8||Exynos 2200 / Snapdragon 8|
|Cameras||50+10+12MP (rear), 10MP (front)||50+10+12MP (rear), 10MP (front)||108+10+10+12MP (rear), 40MP (front)|
|Software||Android 12 / OneUI 4.1||Android 12 / OneUI 4.1||Android 12 / OneUI 4.1|
|Charging||25W wired, 15W wireless||45W wired, 15W wireless||45W wired, 15W wireless|
|Price||From £769||From £949||From £1149|
Samsung Galaxy S22: design & build
As revealed by endless leaks in the lead up to its unveiling, the Samsung Galaxy S22 family actually spans two quite different smartphone concepts.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus follow the mould set by the S21 and S21 Plus in 2021. That means metal chassis, frame-filling notchless displays (with uniform bezels), neatly rounded corners and flat rear panels. Both the S22 and S22 Plus are fitted with tough Corning Gorilla Glass Victus Plus. Round the back, the familiar Contour Cut camera housing harbours three lenses in a vertical line.
What about the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra? Well, it’s more of an S22/Note hybrid. The most expensive entry in the latest Galaxy line-up keeps a few design cues from the S21 Ultra, but also adopts several styling hints from the apparently defunct Note series. Chief among them are squared-off corners which give the S22 Ultra the same bold, angular look previously adopted by the Note series. It’s also the only phone in the updated Galaxy family to feature a screen which wraps around slightly at the edges.
Gone is the bulky camera bump of the S21 Ultra in favour of five protrusions residing individually on the rear – although these don’t sit flush with the shell, so the S22 Ultra still won’t lie flat on a surface.
The S22 Ultra is also the only Galaxy smartphone in 2022 to offer S Pen support, with a Note-style slot for the in the bottom left corner. And it’s a whopper at 6.8in. So while it might be labelled as an S22, the Ultra is clearly a spiritual successor to the Note – and it’s being pitched at the same target market: people who want a giant flagship smartphone with a stylus.
As for finishes, the whole S22 range will be available in ‘Phantom Black’, ‘Phantom White’ and ghoul-free ‘Green’ colour schemes. The S22 and S22 Plus will also ship with a ‘Pink Gold’ jacket, while the S22 Ultra gets a classy ‘Burgundy’ coat instead.
Samsung Galaxy S22: display
The clearest way to tell the new S22 devices apart is by screen size. All three models feature AMOLED displays with slick 120Hz refresh rates and support for HDR10+. What differentiates them are the diagonal display dimensions: the S22 measures in at 6.1in, the S22 Plus at 6.6in and the S22 Ultra at a palm-filling 6.8in – the same as last year’s S21 Ultra.
Both the S22 and S22 Plus feature Full HD+ resolutions. While the larger screen of the S22 Plus translates to a lower pixel density, the difference will be difficult to notice in reality. Like the S21 Ultra, the S22 Ultra features a QHD+ resolution, making it sharper than the screen on the iPhone 13 Pro.
The entire Galaxy S22 trio also offers variable refresh rates, thanks to Dynamic AMOLED displays. This means each model can adapt to the task at hand, delivering the slickest 120Hz visuals only when necessary – and slowing things down to conserve battery life when the task at hand doesn’t demand buttery smooth motion. The S22 and S22 Plus can drop down to 10Hz, while the S22 can do as low as 1Hz for extreme efficiency.
That’s equivalent to just one image per second – so it will presumably be reserved for a mode which puts your phone into a sort of battery-saving stasis, or tasks which primarily involve audio.
Samsung claims that the S22 Ultra’s display can achieve a peak brightness of 1750 nits (up from 1500 on the S21 Ultra). It’s also been certified for 100% Mobile Colour Volume in the DCI-P3 colour range. Translation? It should look as vibrant as any other smartphone out there – and the 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio should give it plenty of visual punch.
Samsung Galaxy S22: cameras
Samsung’s Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus featured three rear cameras: a 12MP wide, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 64MP telephoto. Their 2022 equivalents benefit from one significant upgrade: the main sensor has been boosted from 12MP to 50MP. Equipped with Dual Pixel autofocus, optical image stabilisation and a wide aperture of f/1.8, the specs suggest it should deliver a serious upgrade in shooting performance.
That said, the ultra-wide sensor has been reduced to 10MP, while the telephoto has dropped from 64MP to 12MP. That might sound like quite a downgrade, but it’s the main sensor that matters more for most people – and Samsung has upgraded the telephoto on the S22 and S22 Plus with 3x optical zoom. Plus there’s also no shortage of software trickery on tap to help make the most of all three sensors.
As for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, it sticks with the same 108MP main sensor resolution as its predecessor. That’s partnered with Dual Pixel autofocus and the same wide aperture of f/1.8 as the standard S22. And like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, it’s backed up by a 12MP ultra-wide, a 10MP telephoto with 3x optical zoom and a 10MP periscope telephoto with 10x optical zoom. So there’s nothing new here to make headlines. But given how much we praised the camera capabilities of the S21 Ultra, that’s no bad thing. Whether software tweaks have made even more of its potential will only be clear from our full review.
Things are similar up front. All three S22 devices feature hole-punch selfie cameras (none of the Z Fold 3’s under-display camera tech here) and all three match the specs of their predecessors. That means a 10MP front-facing sensor on the S22 and S22 Plus, while the S22 Ultra continues to benefit from a 40MP selfie camera.
Samsung Galaxy S22: performance
We can’t give a proper performance assessment of Samsung’s new smartphones until we’ve had time to push each of the new Galaxy S22 handsets with the latest mobile games and multi-tasking trials. What we can do is peek eagerly at their hardware.
Samsung has been officially coy about which chips will the S22 will ship with. It’s widely understood that two processor options have been produced for the S22 family: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, and Exynos 2200 chips developed by Samsung in collaboration with AMD.
What’s still not clear is which markets will receive which chips. Industry intel indicate that most regions will receive Galaxy S22 devices fitted with Snapdragon silicone, although that could well depend on supply chain stability. Pre-release benchmark scores show that the two chips are pretty evenly matched.
Less equal is the RAM allocation across the Galaxy S22 family: the S22 and S22 Plus both top out at a solid 8GB each, which should be more than enough to power through demanding tasks. But as the name suggests, the Ultra goes further: while the base model ships with 8GB of RAM, the Galaxy S22 Ultra can also be ordered with 12GB for peak performance chops.
Samsung Galaxy S22: storage & battery life
Longevity is often overlooked in the quest for speed and speedier connectivity. On paper, that again seems to be the case with the latest generation of Samsung Galaxy smartphones: the battery capacity of the S22 and S22 Plus has actually reduced from the previous generation, by 300mAh in both cases. That leaves the S22 with 3700mAh and the S22 Plus with 4500mAh. Only the S22 Ultra remains the same at 5000mAh.
How these battery capacities perform in real terms remains to be seen. There’s every chance that improved processors and more efficient RAM (as has long been rumoured) could offset any longevity lost in reducing battery capacity. Variable screen refresh rates will also have a part to play in eking out the energy available from those fuel tanks.
Software will also have a bearing. The new Galaxy devices ship with Android 12, skinned with the latest version of Samsung’s OneUI. Version 4.1 promises improved virtual RAM management and an extended battery life mode. How these shape up in practice will be one for our full review.
As for on-board storage, the S22 and S22 Plus are available with 128GB and 256GB. And no, there’s no microSD card slot, so you can’t expand this capacity. Need more space? You’ll need to look at the S22 Ultra which, in addition to 128GB and 256GB variants, is available with 512GB of storage. And for the first time since the S10+ in 2019, you’ll also be able to buy a Samsung Galaxy phone with 1TB of storage – although the top-end S22 Ultra will set you back a pretty penny.
Samsung Galaxy S22 early verdict
As has long been the case for Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones, the latest generation looks very much like an evolution, not a revolution. Sure, the S22 Ultra has assumed the phablet mantle from the Note 20 – complete with S Pen support – but the fresh flagships otherwise stay true to the established Galaxy mould.
That’s as true for the hardware as it is for the design of each phone. Each advances a little in key ways, but no single improvement will set your world on fire. Yes, the 50MP sensor on the S22 and S22 Plus should serve up much sharper wide-angle shots, but the flip side is a reduced battery capacity.
Leaks aside, the Samsung Galaxy S22 launch lacks a little excitement: there are no huge surprises and no game-changing features. Unless full testing reveals something major which was missed off the spec sheets, there’s nothing here to make iOS users drop their iPhone and switch immediately.
Then again, the same criticism can be levelled at Apple – whose iPhone 13, Pro and Pro Max devices are the direct rivals to the S22. Generational smartphone upgrades are now about refining a proven formula. On that basis, the S22 is likely to sell well: if you’re already a fan of Galaxy hardware, you’ll be a fan of Samsung’s newest smartphones. Especially as Samsung’s stuck to last year’s pricing model.
It’s also clear that the S22 Ultra is the most exciting of the three, with the strongest performance specs, largest storage capacity, sharpest screen and best camera array. But the jury’s still out on whether ditching the Note branding and brining it into the S22 line-up will make Samsung’s biggest flagship appealing to more people – especially with such hefty price tags attached. Watch this space.