Samsung’s hugely popular Galaxy S range of smartphones are undoubtedly the closest rival to Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone, and the S22 series is the next set of phones to arrive, expected in early 2022 - though they could launch sooner.
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 some surprising rumours about which chipsets Samsung will ship the phones with.
When is the release date for the Samsung Galaxy S22?
There's no confirmed date for the release of the next generation Galaxy S devices, but January 2022 is likely. This would make it a year since the introduction of the Galaxy S21 line-up, which is the normal gap between updates.
That's what Korean site The Elec reports too, citing anonymous sources that claim Samsung will begin mass production of the S22 series in November 2021, targeting a January launch for the phones.
This isn’t as certain as in past years though, as the S21 series actually appeared earlier than expected. For the previous recent generations, Samsung usually announced the models in February and released them by the end of that month or early in March.
Samsung could return to its old schedule this time around. In fact, that's exactly what SamMobile reports, claiming that the S22 will launch in February to make space for a delayed Galaxy S21 FE launch in January.
Or, as other leakers have speculated, it could double down and announce the S22 series as early as December 2021.
It will feel like a particularly long wait this time around, as Samsung has already confirmed that the Galaxy Note 21 won’t launch this year, with the Galaxy S21 Ultra and Z Fold 3 supporting the S-Pen instead - the latter having launched this August alongside the Galaxy Z Flip 3, Galaxy Watch 4, and Galaxy Buds 2.
What 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.
There are three models in the S21 line-up, which should remain the case for the successors. If we use those as a guide, here’s what you’ll probably be looking at for the new device:
- Galaxy S21 - £769/$799
- Galaxy S21+ - £949/$999
- Galaxy S21 Ultra - £1149/$1199
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
If you're still sceptical, the same broad design can be seen in case renders leaked by Tron on Twitter, which makes it seem plausible.
We also know the likely colours, which will be black, white, rose gold, and green according to GalaxyClub. GSM Arena reports that the S22's rear will once again be made from plastic, though internally it may feature the return of vapour chamber cooling, to keep temperatures down, which would match with other rumours that the new models would be thinner that the S21 range.
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.
Inside the phone, it's expected to be powered by Samsung's own Exynos 2200 - which will feature an AMD GPU - in some markets, with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 898 used elsewhere.
As ever, Ice Universe is here to give us more info. He claims that the 2200 will be an octa-core chip, with a single Cortex-X2 core running at 2.9GHz, three big Cortex-A710 cores at 2.8GHz, and four energy-efficient Cortex-A510 cores at 2.2GHz. As expected it's bolstered by an AMD GPU with 1250MHz clock speeds.
He's quick to note that these are the clock speeds for the Ultra, not the other phones, suggesting that they may be clocked slower. That would make sense given that a chip believed to be the Exynos 2200 has appeared on Geekbench 5, paired with 8GB of RAM, but with slower clock speeds. Leaker FrontTron suggests that this may be from a phone running on power saving mode, which might also explain the slower speeds, and the unexpectedly low overall performance scores.
Exynos chips are usually reserved for Europe and other territories, with the US more likely to find the rumoured Snapdragon 898 in their handsets.
This year things might be a little different though, at least according to an unverified report from Korea on Samsung's potential plans.
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.
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. Tech tipster @FrontTron has posted that the S22 and S22+ models might see an upgrade from 12Mp to 50Mp for their main lens.
Samsung Rainbow R/G Rear Cam
Telephoto 12MP 3x
Take w/ 🧂
~BV— Tron ❂ #GalaxyUnpacked (@FrontTron) June 23, 2021
This make 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. The change to a true telephoto has been repeated by Galaxy Club, though according to their sources this lens will only be 10Mp, not 12Mp.
Following that post, in August 2021 Ice Universe posted more specs on Weibo predicting a similar camera setup for the S22 and S22+, only adding that the 50Mp main camera will have an aperture of f/1.55.
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: while we haven't seen many leaks on 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.
Now let's turn to the S22+, which will share many of its specs with the standard S22.
First up, it's worth addressing one oddity: OnLeaks claims that specs he received for the S22+ refer to it as the S22 Pro, suggesting that Samsung may be about to shake up its naming system - though this is far from confirmed.
The design at least will be less controversial. OnLeaks' renders show another design that's incredibly similar to last year's S21 series.
Colours are supposedly the same as the base S22 (black, white, rose gold, and green), and like that phone it will have a plastic rear.
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.
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 12Mp 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 Note 22 Ultra.
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.
Adding credence to that claim is the fact that the first OnLeaks renders of the new Ultra show a phone that looks very different to the other two S22 models - and bears a few of the hallmarks of Note design language.
The phone includes a squared off body, new P-shaped camera module, and reportedly includes a slot for the S Pen to be stored in - unlike on the S21 Ultra, which supported the stylus but couldn't store it.
The camera module specifically has 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
Unfortunately the first leaked case designs don't settle the camera module discussion, but do seem to confirm that the broad strokes of the design rendered by OnLeaks are correct.
It's the 'P' camera module that we see in what's allegedly a metal dummy unit of the phone, shared by case manufacturer Pigtou, though since this also doesn't feature an S-Pen slot we should take it as definitive:
But then it's the '11' module that pops up in updated renders from Technizo Concept and LetsGoDigital, which also show off what we expect to be the phone's official colours: black, white, and a new dark red finish that may be called 'Burgundy Red'.
Interestingly the phone is supposedly a touch shorter than the S21 Ultra, but is about the same size otherwise. That makes sense given rumours of a 6.81in display - about the same as before - which will once again utilise LTPO tech for dynamic variable refresh rate.
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.
The bigger difference of course 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 12Mp sensor in the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ or 108Mp one found in the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
These have been challenged by tech leaker Ice Universe, who stated on Chinese social media site Weibo that, ‘Almost 100% confirmed that Samsung S22 Ultra will not follow up with 200 million pixels and will polish the third-generation 108Mp sensor.’ [Translated from the original Chinese by Google Translate]
On the other hand, following that, a Korean publication has reiterated the claim that the main sensor will be 200Mp, added 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.
In August Ice Universe doubled down on his 108Mp prediction, adding that this main lens will be joined by a 12Mp ultrawide, 12Mp 3x optical zoom, and 12Mp 10x optical zoom.
Dutch site Galaxy Club has echoed elements of Ice Universe's prediction, but unexpectedly suggests that the two zoom lenses will instead be at 10Mp, not 12Mp - which would mean they remain at the same resolution as on the previous generation. 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.
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.
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 uncertain.
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.