The Galaxy S22 series is Samsung's next set of flagship smartphones, and we're mere weeks away from meeting them officially.
With sales slowly declining for the S-series flagships, the S22 line has a lot riding on it, and Samsung should be pulling out all the stops to prove that it still makes the best Android phones around.
Here’s all we know so far about what the Korean giant has in store for the S22 generation, including the latest camera leaks and the hands-on photos of the Galaxy S22 Ultra - which may in fact be called the Galaxy S22 Note instead.
When is the release date for the Samsung Galaxy S22?
Samsung has all-but confirmed that it will launch the Galaxy S22 series in February 2022, but we don't have a specific date just yet. We know that the company is holding an Unpacked event that month though, and it's teased we'll be seeing phones.
Leaker Jon Prosser says the S22 will be unveiled on 8 February - even predicting a time, 10am EST - with pre-orders the same day and a full release on 18 February. This date has been corroborated by a report from Korean news site DDaily, however the latter suggests pre-orders from 9 February and an on-sale date of 24 February. Meanwhile Chinese leaker Ice Universe says the launch will be 9 February - so basically we don't know for sure, but it looks to be one of those two days.
If you're in the US, you're able to reserve the chance to buy the phone even before the launch event. Reservations open on the Samsung website from 7am PT/10am ET today, and going by the company's previous approach you should be able to put your name down without paying anything upfront - and be inline for $50 of Samsung store credit once you place your order.
Curiously, one leaker has hinted that the S22 Ultra may get a later release than the other models, potentially after February. If this is true, we'd still expect to see all three phones announced together, but the Ultra may simply go on sale a little after the others.
It's also possible that we'll see Galaxy Tab S8 tablets launch at the same event. They've been heavily leaked, so we know they're on the way soon - but don't feature in Samsung's teaser video above, so they may instead be launching on their own a little later.
How much will the new Galaxy S22 cost?
Again, no firm details when it comes to price. We would expect Samsung to try and stay around the same areas as the current line-up though, with competition fierce in the premium smartphone market at the moment.
That's exactly what the first leak suggests too. SamMobile reports that at least the base S22 model will stay the same price as its predecessor in the US, starting from $799 - though it's not clear if that will also hold for other markets or the other models.
By contrast, Vietnamese leaker Chun expects a price rise, with the phones instead going for $899, $1,099, and $1,299 respectively - a $100 price hike for each model. We hope that's not true.
There are three models in the S21 line-up, which should remain the case for the successors. Here's how much they cost, for reference:
- Galaxy S21 - £769/$799
- Galaxy S21+ - £949/$999
- Galaxy S21 Ultra - £1,149/$1,199
You can find out where to pre-order the Galaxy S22 series in the UK and US here.
What are the specs and design of the Samsung Galaxy S22 series?
It’s still too early to know what the finished models will have under the hood, but rumours are already circulating that give us some idea of the improvements Samsung are planning.
We discussed the latest rumours on an episode of our podcast Fast Charge which you can watch here, and below we've broken the phones down by model.
Let's start with the main model in the series: the standard S22. We have a good idea of how this phone might look thanks to renders from OnLeaks, based on material he's received from his sources.
The 5K renders in full resolution, because unfortunately not available on the website due to technical issue... pic.twitter.com/7kBKzfrdxm— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) September 25, 2021
For a better look at how the design will look in real life, LetsGoDigital and Giuseppe Spinelli have created a few renders of the phone's likely design. We've included one below, but click through to the site to see more.
We even now have an alleged photo of the S22 - or more likely a dummy unit - in real life, courtesy of Ice Universe on Weibo. Photos like this always have to be taken with a pinch of salt, but this one does look like it could be the real deal, especially since more photos and videos have since appeared of S22 series dummy units.
One thing we haven't seen from leaks is the possibility that Samsung will offer customisable colours for the S22, similar to the Bespoke Edition Galaxy Z Flip 3 options, but it seems likely that Samsung would expand this offering if it proves successful - though maybe not until a few months after the S22's launch.
GSM Arena reports that the S22's rear will once again be made from plastic, but Ice Universe disagrees: he tweeted that all three phones in the S22 series will this time feature glass backs, in a return to premium materials that fans of the phones will no doubt appreciate.
He's since added that he believes all three phones will feature the introduction of a new Gorilla Glass Victus+ material, which would presumably be Corning's toughest glass yet. However it's not clear if this would feature on both the front and back of the phones, or only be used to protect their displays.
The design is basically similar to the S21, with only subtle refinements to the back and camera bump. It is apparently smaller though, going by this size comparison from Ice Universe which also compares the new model to the iPhone 13:
S21，S22，iPhone 13 pic.twitter.com/e84Zci2iCc— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) September 20, 2021
The smaller size has been backed up by other sources, with MauriQHD predicting that the S22 will have a 6.06in display - down from the 6.2in panel used in the S21. This will once again be a 120Hz AMOLED screen, but won't support the LTPO tech found in the S21 Ultra.
Another Ice Universe leak reveals tempered glass screen protectors that show another look at the phone's tweaked display. The S22 and S22+ seem to be slightly thicker than their predecessors, though other than that there isn't much else to tell from this brief look.
This is the first time we have seen the Tempered Glass Screen Protector of Galaxy S22 and S22 +. We can find that they are more rounded and slightly fatter than S21 series. pic.twitter.com/3BhneQsSTq— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) October 15, 2021
In a subsequent tweet, Ice Universe added that the S22 and S22+ will have flat fronts and backs, with a symmetrical bezel, suggesting that the phones will look similar to the iPhone 13 in that respect - though we're not taking that to mean that you'll also see flat sides, though you may on the Ultra.
Inside the phone, expect to find the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in some markets, with Samsung's own Exynos 2200 used elsewhere. This isn't quite certain, as Samsung didn't appear on Qualcomm's list of manufacturers confirmed to use the 8 Gen 1 - but then Samsung also wasn't on that list for last year's 888, and went on to use that in multiple handsets.
The Exynos 2200 is a 4nm chip that uses the Armv9 architecture. It features a single powerful Cortex-X2 core, three Cortex-A710 balancing performance and efficiency, and four Cortex-A510 little cores for power efficiency - the same rough structure as the 8 Gen 1, though we don't know the Exynos chip's clock speeds.
More excitingly, it includes a new GPU call Xclipse based on the AMD RDNA2 architecture. It supports advanced features such as ray tracing and variable rate shading, which is a first in the mobile space. Curiously the first benchmark results since the announcement aren't too impressive, with no CPU performance gains at all year-on-year in Geekbench 5, and GFXBench GPU results that lag behind even last year's Snapdragon 888 - though take these with a pinch of salt, since they're unofficial results and we don't know for sure what hardware they were running on.
A chip believed to be the Exynos 2200 appeared on Geekbench 5 in September in an S22+ then in November in an S22 Ultra, paired with 8GB of RAM. Leaker FrontTron suggests that this may be from a phone running on power saving mode, which might explain the unexpectedly low overall performance scores.
The Snapdragon variant has also appeared on Geekbench 5, with a model number matching the S22+, posting broadly comparable scores to the Exynos variants.
Exynos chips are usually reserved for Europe and other territories, with the US more likely to find the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in their handsets. Some European retailers have already listed Exynos handsets, suggesting the trend will continue, and one leaker has even predicted the exact market splits this time around (with a few regions getting both).
Galaxy S22 Series AP by Regions— Dohyun Kim (@dohyun854) January 20, 2022
1. Europe: Exynos
2. North America: Snapdragon
3. South America: Snapdragon
4. East Asia: Snapdragon
5. South East Asia/Oceania: Snapdragon
6. West Asia: Exynos & Snapdragon
7. Middle East Asia: Exynos & Snapdragon
8. Africa: Exynos & Snapdragon
While the company is apparently intending to use the Exynos in most of Europe and the Snapdragon in most of the US, there may be some variation - Verizon is reportedly negotiating for an exclusive Exynos version, so there could be some Exynos handsets in the States.
South Korea, Hong Kong, and China will reportedly in turn get the Snapdragon variant, but again China Telecom is negotiating for an exclusive Exynos version. Snapdragons would then be used across the rest of Asia, and the Exynos in South America.
All of this remains unconfirmed, and even Samsung apparently hasn't reached any final decisions. Low production yields on the Exynos have made the company's negotiations more challenging, but the outcome for now is that it looks like for the first time we might see different chipsets used within the same countries, varying by carrier.
Whatever chip is used, Snoopy reports that it will be paired with 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage.
As for battery, Ice Universe says the regular S22 will have a capacity of 3800mAh - a small drop from last year. Meanwhile GalaxyClub claims that the base S22 will have a rated capacity of 3590mAh, which suggests a typical capacity of 3700mAh - a little lower than Ice Universe's prediction.
Turning to charging, the whole S22 series has appeared on China's 3C certification listed with 25W charging speeds, seemingly dashing any hopes for faster speeds - after rumours of tests up to 65W. There is speculation that the other S22 models may yet get faster charging - more on that below - but for the base model, 25W seems to be the best bet.
Finally, let's turn to the camera, where it looks like we'll be getting some serious upgrades. Here are the specs as leaked by Ice Universe:
- 50Mp, f/1.8 main lens
- 12Mp, f/2.2 ultrawide
- 10Mp, f/2.4 3x optical telephoto
- 10Mp, f/2.2 selfie camera
The main camera rumour makes sense, as in September 2021 Samsung unveiled its new 50Mp ISOCELL GN5 sensor, a 1.0μm image sensor with Dual Pixel Pro autofocus technology, supposedly enabling almost instant autofocus. Both Ice Universe and fellow leaker Yogesh have since suggested this sensor will be seen on the S22 series, specifically the S22 and S22+.
Just as importantly, note that the tweet mentions a true 3x zoom telephoto lens - as opposed to the 64Mp, 1.1x zoom lenses the company has used for the last two generations, cropping in to replicate zoom.
It also looks likely that we'll see tougher and more scratch-proof cameras here. Corning has developed a new tougher glass for camera modules, dubbed Gorilla Glass with DX and DX+. DX debuted on the Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3, so it seems likely that we'll also see them appear on the S22 series.
One final note: don't expect big changes for the phones' front cameras. Ice Universe has declared that they won't use the under-display camera tech seen on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but will instead retain more traditional punch-hole selfie shooters. Galaxy Club says that in fact this will once again be a 10Mp shooter, though we're not sure if it's the exact same sensor as in the previous models or not.
Now let's turn to the S22+, which will share many of its specs with the standard S22.
Images shared by Roland Quandt show a design that's very similar to the base S22, and indeed to last year's S21+ - though note that the corner camera module now colour matches the rest of the phone.
S22 Plus Black pic.twitter.com/BJqr2K47YC— Roland Quandt (@rquandt) January 17, 2022
Colours are supposedly the same as the base S22 (black, white, rose gold, and green). It will also have the same RAM and storage options: 8+128GB or 8+256GB.
As you'd expect the screen will be larger though, with a 6.55in panel reported - bigger than the S22, but like that phone a little smaller than its predecessor, which used a 6.7in screen. According to 91mobiles (along with its own set of renders of the phone) it will apparently weigh 195g.
Size comparison of S22, S22+ and S22 Ultra— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) September 20, 2021
Ice Universe predicts a 4600mAh battery - once again, a touch smaller - though a battery listing on China's 3C Certification suggests it may be smaller still. One battery with model number EB-BS906ABY has a rated capacity of 4370mAh, which means a typical capacity of 4500mAh - and this is expected to be found in the S22+.
Like the base S22, the S22+ appeared on 3C certification with 25W charging. Despite that, FrontTron predicts that this phone will instead use 45W charging, pointing out that 3C certification speeds don't always match the final product.
The camera will also be the same, which likely means a 50Mp main lens, 12Mp ultrawide, and 10Mp 3x telephoto.
Galaxy S22 Ultra
It shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that the S22 Ultra will be a little different to the other two phones, though recent rumours suggest the gap may be greater than we'd thought.
For one, there's the name, and brace yourself for this one: the S22 Ultra might in fact be called the S22 Note.
With the Note 21 cancelled we'd been unsure of Samsung's plans for the line, and with the S22 Ultra set to once again include S Pen stylus support it makes some sense to re-brand it, but it does seem a little confusing. We think a Note name is unlikely, but it's a small possibility.
We do at least know with some certainty that the phone will take after the Note series. In a blog post, Samsung's TM Roh acknowledges that "many of you were surprised when Samsung didn’t release a new Galaxy Note last year," going on to say that the new phones are "bringing together the greatest experiences of our Samsung Galaxy into one ultimate device."
If that wasn't enough, everything we've seen of the phone suggests a design that's very different to the other two S22 models - and bears a few of the hallmarks of Note design language. We're not just reliant on renders either - Jon Prosser's Front Page Tech has shared photos of what it claims is an actual S22 Ultra handset in the flesh.
You can see the new camera module, squared off top and bottom edges, and most notably of course the inclusion of an S-Pen built right into the phone itself.
These photos are a close match to renders we've seen from other sources, based on leaked specs and CAD info. The first OnLeaks renders of the Ultra show a phone that looks very similar to Prosser's photos, except around the camera module - a source of some disagreement until now.
The camera module sparked some debate, prompting OnLeaks to update his renders with a slightly different possible design, dubbed by some the '11'.
Following @UniverseIce comments on my #GalaxyS22Ultra, I asked my sources to investigate.— Steve H.McFly (@OnLeaks) September 26, 2021
Seems a prototype w/ uniform body frame indeed exist but I got no confirmation on the camera housing design.
Nonetheless, here two updated renders depicting these prospective differences. pic.twitter.com/14bNzFxqDP
While there was some debate for a time about which camera module would be seen on the final phone, the so-called 'waterdrop' camera design appears to be the one: it's appeared in a leak of photos of an early case for the phone; two separate unboxings of dummy phones; an Evan Blass render that he says he was forced to delist after a copyright claim by Samsung; and an allegedly leaked poster for the phone.
Ishan Agarwal and MySmartPrice have released some (sadly low resolution) renders that show off this design in the full colour range expected for the phone.
UK retailer Box has also shared images of what it says are Samsung's official first-party cases for the S22 Ultra. The site also says it has received the replacement S Pens for the phones too, in black, white, green, and dark red - all but confirming the launch colour line-up.
While early reports suggested the phone is a touch shorter than the S21 Ultra, the dummy units mentioned above suggest it's in fact ever so slightly taller. In any case, it's roughly the same size otherwise. That makes sense given rumours of a 2K 6.81in display - about the same as before - which will once again utilise LTPO tech for dynamic variable refresh rate, capping at 120Hz.
It will be a different panel to before though, with Ice Universe claiming the new screen is Samsung's brightest OLED yet. He also adds that it's less curved than before, returning to Note 10+ levels of curvature.
The chipset options should match the two cheaper models, but RAM and storage are a little different. Apparently we can expect three configurations: 12+128GB, 12+256GB, and 16+512G. Leaker SuperRoader predicts a new 1TB storage option though, and intriguingly suggests that unlike the two cheaper models, the S22 Ultra will ship with the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 worldwide - with no Exynos version at all.
Two devices alleged to be US and Korean S22 Ultra models have appeared on Geekbench, but apparently only include 8GB and 10GB of RAM - so we're not convinced the listings are legit, though having said that there is growing speculation that we may see an 8GB RAM base model this year - an odd downgrade for the phone.
The battery will of course be bigger than on the other S22 models, with predictions pointing unanimously to a 5000mAh cell (likely the EB-BS908ABY, which appeared on 3C Certification with a rated capacity of 4,855mAh).
As with the other models, certification suggests a charging speed of 25W, but as with the S22+, leakers disagree.
Both FrontTron and Ice Universe claim that the S22 Ultra will feature 45W charging - both adding that there were tests for faster 65W speeds that didn't quite pan out. Ice Universe has since added that this 45W tech will charge the 5000mAh battery to 70% in 35 minutes.
Roland Quandt has now even shared an image of packaging for the new 45W charger, so it looks fairly certain that we'll see at least the Ultra support the faster speed.
There's also a chance we'll see wireless charging get an upgrade. Previously capped at 15W, it may jump to 25W in the Ultra/Note model, at least going by the fact that Samsung has been granted FCC certification for a 25W wireless charger.
The bigger difference for the Ultra/Note is the camera. Phone Arena and others reported that the S22 Ultra will feature a 200Mp main shooter, which would be a considerable jump in resolution from the 108Mp one found in the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
This was reiterated by a Korean publication, adding that this will be one of five cameras on the Ultra, and echoed earlier reports that Samsung might partner with Olympus on the camera's branding, just as OnePlus recently did with Hasselblad on the OnePlus 9 Pro.
Adding weight to the idea that Samsung might go for 200Mp is the fact that alongside the 50Mp GN5 it also unveiled the 200Mp ISOCELL HP1. That doesn't necessarily mean that this sensor will make its way into the S22 Ultra however - and in fact it's just as likely that this sensor will debut in the Xiaomi 12 Ultra, also tipped to hit 200Mp.
The 200Mp prediction has been challenged by tech leaker Ice Universe, who has claimed to have "100% confirmation" that Samsung will once again use a 108Mp sensor, and that it will have a new enhanced detail mode for taking photos at the full 108Mp - as opposed to pixel-binned shots at a lower resolution.
Ice Universe has added that this main lens will be joined by a 12Mp ultrawide, 10Mp 3x optical zoom, and 10Mp 10x optical zoom - a prediction shared by Galaxy Club. This matches the site's predictions for the S22 and S22+ telephoto lenses, and indeed Galaxy Club predicts that the exact same 3x telephoto will be found on all three phones.
S22 Ultra camera— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) October 26, 2021
108mp Improved version of HM3 main 1 / 1.33 "0.8 um F1.8 FOV 85
12MP 0.6X sony 1/2.55" 1.4um F2.2 FOV 120
10MP 10X new sony 1/3.52" 1.12um F4.9 FOV 11
10MP 3X new sony 1/3.52" 1.12um F2.4 FOV 36
On the whole these specs are pretty similar to the S21 Ultra, but Ice Universe reports that thanks to software optimisations there's actually improved performance from the 108Mp mode and the 3x and 10x zoom lenses, and that based on sample shots he's seen, the S22 Ultra's camera is an improvement on the year before.
A recent report based on an allegedly leaked spec sheet also suggests that the S22 Ultra's main lens will have a 'Super Clear Lens'. It's not clear (*ahem*) what exactly this entails, but it seems to be some sort of lens coating or glass type provided by Corning - the makers of Gorilla Glass - to reduce glare and reflections.
One more out there prediction comes from Tom’s Guide, which reports that the S22 models could feature a continuous zoom that moves from 3x to 10x, which would rival similar tech seen in the Sony Xperia 1 III periscope lens. This hasn't been predicted by the big leaks above though, so we're a little sceptical.
As for the front-facing camera, this is tipped to once again be 40Mp, as on the S20 Ultra and S21 Ultra. As mentioned earlier, expect a punch-hole, and not an under-display camera.
It should be noted that at the time of writing the number one spot on our best camera phone chart is occupied by the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra, so it’s already doing most things right.
As you can see, there’s plenty of news surrounding Samsung’s upcoming products. So, be sure to come back to this page, as we’ll be updating everything as more details become apparent.
In the meantime, be sure to check out our guide to the best new phones coming this year, to know what Samsung has to beat.