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Samsung Galaxy S22 preview: everything we know so far

What to expect from Samsung’s next flagship

With 2022 right around the corner, so is a Samsung Galaxy handset numbered to match: the S22. And with a launch expected in January or February, there’s plenty of guesswork going on.

Looking to build on all the best bits of its S21 predecessors – and to make up for the complete cancellation of the Galaxy Note 21 after the lacklustre Note 20 – the S22 has plenty to do in 2022.

So what can you expect from Samsung’s next generation of flagship handsets? With all sorts of leaks and rumours circulating, we’ve sorted through the noise to sift out the most reasonable and reliable predictions. Here’s everything we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy S22.

When will the Samsung Galaxy S22 be available?

Samsung has traditionally unveiled its flagship handsets in the first few months of the year. Almost all Galaxy S devices have a birthday in February or March to coincide with Mobile World Congress (MWC).

Last year was a little different due to the impact of the pandemic (haven’t you heard?), so the S21 was instead revealed at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event in the middle of January.

Assuming supply chains aren’t disrupted too significantly, we’d expect Samsung to return to a slightly later date for the launch of the Galaxy S22.

MWC is now back to its traditional February slot, taking place from 28 February to 3 March 2022. Although some high-profile rumours point towards a launch much earlier in the month, we’d expect all three Samsung Galaxy S22 devices to break cover during or just before MWC. We reckon the final week of February looks like the most likely time frame.

How many Samsung Galaxy S22 models will there be?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 line-up featured a trio of devices: the standard S21, the slightly larger S21+ and the larger still S21 Ultra.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 is widely predicted to follow suit. That means we’re expecting to see a Samsung Galaxy S22, a bigger, more premium S22+ (although there are some murmurings that the S22+ will in fact be called the S22 Pro), as well as a flagship S22 Ultra with all the bells and whistles.

Before any of those models officially break cover, though, industry insiders reckon we’ll see the long-rumoured Samsung Galaxy S21 FE (to follow up the successful S20 FE). This Fan Edition should be a more affordable handset which cherry-picks the key features from the standard S21.

How much will the Samsung Galaxy S22 cost?

There’s very little firm info around right now about how much the Samsung Galaxy S22 will set you back. That said, we’d expect launch prices for each model to be broadly similar to the cost of their equivalent Galaxy S21 version from 2022.

Last year’s standard Samsung Galaxy S21 started at £769 for the 128GB variant, rising to £819 for the 256GB variant. Stepping up to the S21+ cost £949 for 128GB of storage space or £999 for twice the capacity. Top of the bill was the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, which hit shelves at £1149 for 128GB, £1199 for 256GB or a hefty £1329 for the largest 512GB capacity.

If Samsung sticks with similar prices, the standard S22 will be going directly up against Apple’s iPhone 13, while the S22+ will in competition with the iPhone 13 Pro. That leaves the S22 Ultra to duke it out with Apple’s range-topping iPhone 13 Pro Max.

What will the Samsung Galaxy S22 look like?

Image credit: OnLeaks

Samsung has long favoured evolution over revolution when it comes to smartphone design – and the Galaxy S22 series looks to be no exception. While we’re still some way off seeing anything like official visuals, a number of renders and leaks suggestion the S22 line will broadly stick with the familiar form of the S21.

That likely means we’ll see a trio of rectangular handsets with frame-filling notchless screens, metal frames and multiple cameras in the upper-left corner of the back (complete with a version of last year’s Contour Cut camera housing). According to some sources, the S22 and S22+ will feature fully flat backs and symmetrical bezels. As before, the more affordable Galaxy S22 is likely to have a glass-effect plastic back, with actual Gorilla Glass reserved for the S22+ and an even tougher Corning shield on the rear of the S22 Ultra.

Several industry insiders have indicated that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will represent the biggest departure from last year’s S21 line-up, instead taking a form much closer to that of the Note 20. Why? Because it may in fact be a hybrid of the S22 and the cancelled Note 21.

There’s a growing weight of evidence which suggests the Galaxy S22 Ultra will ape the Note 20. A number of renders (and even a small batch of hands-on photos) indicate it’ll feature the more angular corners of recent Note devices, plus an S Pen slot, a display which wraps around slightly and camera lenses which protrude individually from the rear (rather than residing in a distinct housing panel).

So the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra won’t be a step-change, in the sense that it builds on the Note 20. But it’s nevertheless significant that Samsung has merged two styles of product design within a single range. Whether that means Samsung is permanently combining the Galaxy S and Note product lines remains to be seen.

What screen will the Samsung Galaxy S22 have?

Image credit: OnLeaks

Each device in the Galaxy S21 family shipped with different screen size. The smallest was the standard S21 at 6.2in, followed by the 6.7in display on the Galaxy S21+, topped by a 6.8in panel on the S21 Ultra.

While it’s almost certain that the S22 devices will follow a similar progression in display dimension, several insiders suggest that outright screen size will actually shrink for two of Samsung’s 2022 handsets. Various sources have reported that the S22 will feature a 6.06in screen, while the S22 Plus will use a 6.55in display. Only the Galaxy S22 Ultra looks set to grow, with rumours indicating a 6.81in display. This would fit with the idea of the S22 Ultra as a replacement for the Note 20, which itself had a 6.7in display (while its bigger sibling, the Note 20 Ultra, measured in at 6.9in).

As mentioned above, it seems that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will be the only phone of the three to have a display that curves ever so slightly at the edges. Both the S22 and S22+ look set to feature purely flat panels.

As for the screen tech itself – and those all-important refresh rates – it seems there won’t be a major upgrade from the Galaxy S21 family. Both the S22 and S22+ are rumoured to arrive with 120Hz refresh rates and Full HD+ resolutions, matching last year’s handsets on both counts.

Several sources suggest that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will be the only one to feature an LTPO panel. This unlocks more efficient variable refresh rates which adapt to the task at hand, delivering the slickest visuals only when necessary. Variable rates were reserved for the S21 Ultra last year – and that Ultra exclusivity looks set to continue if rumours are to be believed.

One leaker has also claimed that the S22 will feature the brightest screen ever seen on a Samsung smartphone, although there’s no firm word on an actual nits figure. Still, given the S21 Ultra already had a 1500-nit display (easily beating the iPhone 13’s maximum of 1200), that could make for a very vibrant screen.

What cameras will the Samsung Galaxy S22 have?

Image credit: OnLeaks

Last year’s Galaxy S21 and S21+ devices featured three rear cameras: a 12MP main, a 12MP ultra-wide and a 64MP telephoto. If rumours prove accurate, their 2022 equivalents will benefit from a significant upgrade: online chatter suggests the 3x telephoto could be downgraded to 12MP, with the main sensor boosted to 50MP instead.

As for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra, early reports indicated its main sensor might be boosted from 108MP last year to a whopping 200MP. More recent intel suggests that might not be the case, with Samsung instead likely to introduce hardware and software refinements that improve the shooting skills of the existing 108MP number.

Backing up the main sensor, the S21 featured a 12MP ultra-wide which doubled up as a macro lens, plus dual 10MP telephoto cameras (with 3x and 10x optical zoom ranges). Reports indicate that the two zoom cameras on the S22 Ultra may be boosted to 12MP, but could equally remain the same (with the same zoom ranges). That would be consistent with the rumoured improvements to the S22, suggesting that Samsung may be focusing on upgrades for the main sensors, while refining the existing tech behind the other cameras.

As for the front-facing lenses, these are widely expected to match the cameras on the equivalent S21 series devices. That means a 10MP selfie camera on the Galaxy S22 and S22+, and a 40MP number on the S22 Ultra.

There’s been no shortage of discussion online about whether the S22 Ultra will benefit from an under-display selfie camera. This would certainly give a cleaner appearance to the front – and Samsung has shown it has the tech to pull it off with the Z Fold 3. But that camera felt very much like a work in progress and there’s no consensus yet as to whether Samsung will actually transfer the tech over to its flagship non-folding handset. Watch this space.

How much power will the Samsung Galaxy S22 have?

There’s growing agreement that two chips are in production for Samsung’s Galaxy S22 devices: a Samsung Exynos 2200 processor and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 898. It seems Samsung has developed its new Exynos chip in collaboration with AMD (a confirmed partnership). But for an unknown reason – possibly supply chain delays or development problems – Samsung has reportedly encountered production issues.

As a result, it’s widely expected that the Samsung Galaxy S22 models will ship in two processor variants – just like the Galaxy S21 models did last year. Reports suggest that most (if not all) regions will likely receive Galaxy S22 devices fitted with Snapdragon 898 chips.

Early figures from leaked benchmark tests indicate that the processor is currently only marginally more powerful than last year’s S21 Plus – and has lower Geekbench scores than the OnePlus 9 Pro. But with a few months to go until rollout, we’d expect these numbers to improve as development continues.

Those benchmark tests also reveal that the Galaxy S22+ will feature 8GB RAM, just as the S21+ did before it. If the other devices follow suit, we’d expect to see the standard S22 also equipped with 8GB, while the S22 Ultra is highly likely to ship with 16GB RAM. Samsung has revealed high-speed RAM which is a third faster and a fifth more efficient, although it’s unclear whether this same memory will find its way into the Galaxy S22.

More efficient RAM could be key to extending battery life, which will be particularly important if rumoured cell stats prove true. More than one source has suggested that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will ship with the same 5000mAh capacity as the S21 Ultra, while the S22+ will drop down from 4800mAh by either 200 or 300mAh. The battery also looks set to shrink on the standard S22, potentially down to 3700mAh – although if Samsung’s promised efficiencies materialise, this may not be too much cause for concern.

Samsung is reportedly also considering reintroducing vapour chambers into the design of all three handsets – a feature not seen in a Samsung flagship for several years. It would certainly improve cooling and, therefore, efficiency.

What else should I know about the Samsung Galaxy S22?

Image credit: Jon Prosser

As for charging performance, a whole range of charging speeds are up for discussion at the rumour mill. Some say Samsung is testing 45W or even 65W charging, which would be a significant step up from the 25W of the Galaxy S21 series. Others say the 45W option will be reserved for the S21 Ultra, while others still suggest the entire range will remain restricted to 25W.

One thing that’s pretty much a given is the software. Those benchmark tests show the Samsung Galaxy S22+ running Android 12, which is almost guaranteed to be skinned with Samsung’s polished OneUI.

Much as we’d like to see microSD card support return, there’s slim chance of that happening. More of a possibility is an increase in maximum storage capacity, at least for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. With the iPhone 13 Pro now offered with up to 1TB of storage, there’s a chance Samsung will follow suit (the S21 Ultra topped out at 512GB) – although we haven’t yet seen anything to indicate what storage capacities will be available.