Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 Plus vs S21 Ultra 1 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Update: September 6, 2021 (3 AM ET): We’ve updated our Samsung Galaxy S22 series hub with a rumor that points to the possible availability of Exynos models in the US and China. Read on for more.

Original article: September 1, 2021 (5:19 AM ET): It’s been well over six months since Samsung launched the Galaxy S21 series. The company has also unveiled its fresh set of foldable phones in the form of the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Z Flip 3. With no plans for Galaxy Note phones this year, the next set of Samsung flagships will come in the form of the Galaxy S22 lineup.

Samsung’s forthcoming S series phones have already made several appearances in leaks and rumors. From what we hear, there’s a lot that might change on the phones next year. We’re expecting big camera upgrades, faster charging, new chipsets, and more. So will the Galaxy S22 series offer something for everyone like the current S21 trio? Here’s everything we know so far and what we want to see.

Samsung Galaxy S22 series: Name and release date

Samsung Galaxy S21 front camera macro 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Samsung hasn’t officially announced the name of the next set of Galaxy S devices. However, we believe the company will stick to the nomenclature it has followed since the Galaxy S20 series. Keeping with the numbering system, the new phones should fall under the Galaxy S22 moniker. All the leaks we’ve seen till now also refer to the three upcoming phones in the lineup as the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus, and Galaxy S22 Ultra, so we doubt Samsung will stray from convention next year.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S series: A history of the biggest name in Android

As for the release date, Samsung pushed forward the launch of the Galaxy S21 series by almost a month this year. The phones were released in January as opposed to Samsung’s usual practice of unveiling Galaxy flagships in February. It’s too early to say whether Samsung will also stick to a January launch for the Galaxy S22 series. The ongoing global chip shortage might affect Samsung’s plans, forcing the company to push its launch timeline back to February. But for now, it’s safe to assume that the new flagships will launch sometime in the first two months of 2022.

We’re sure we’ll start hearing rumors about the actual launch date of the Galaxy S22 series near the end of the year. We’ll update this post if and when that happens.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra back next to S20 Ultra back

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Samsung has refreshed the design of the Galaxy S series almost every year. The S21 series added a distinct look to the rear camera module. The standard Galaxy S21 model also switched from a glass to glasstic design and joined the Galaxy S21 Plus to adopt a flat display as opposed to the curved screens of the Galaxy S20 series.

We feel Samsung will stick to some of these changes as they were welcomed by many users. Both the plastic build and flat panel make for a more durable design. They also probably helped Samsung lower the entry point of the Galaxy S21 flagships and reach that $799 price.

It won’t make sense now for Samsung to hit reverse gear and start using curved displays and glass backs again. Of course, Samsung can always switch up the way it presents the rear camera module and that’s something we expect the company will do on the Galaxy S22 phones.

A recent spec leak from Twitter tipster FrontTron suggests the Galaxy S22 devices will skip Samsung’s under-display camera tech that debuted on the Galaxy Z Fold 3. So Samsung could once again use the trusty punch-hole cutout up front.

Specs and features

Samsung Galaxy S21 in front of box

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Thanks to the aforementioned tipster, we have a fairly decent idea of some of the key specs of the Samsung Galaxy S22 series. However, since this is a super early leak, we suggest you take it with a grain of salt.

According to the leaker, the vanilla Samsung Galaxy S22 would feature a 6.06-inch LTPS display, while the S22 Plus could come with a 6.55-inch screen. The Galaxy S22 Ultra might be the only model in the series to get an LTPO panel. It’s rumored to retain the same 6.8-inch footprint as the S21 Ultra.

The leak also details some new camera upgrades for the Galaxy S22 trio. The Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are expected to finally move away from the 12MP main camera and house a 50MP primary shooter. This could be Samsung’s Isocell GN2 sensor that’s capable of producing 12.5MP pixel binned shots. It also features 4K/120fps slow-mo recording, upgraded dual-pixel autofocus, and 480fps video at 1080p.

Twitter tipster Yogesh also suggested that the 50MP sensor used on the Galaxy S22 phones could be an RGBW (red, green, blue, and white) unit. The addition of the white in the pixels should enable better low-light photography. However, we haven’t heard any other leakers back this info just yet.

A 12MP ultra-wide shooter and a 12MP telephoto sensor might accompany the 50MP sensor on both the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus.

Meanwhile, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s leaked camera configuration suggests the phone would pack a 108MP main sensor, two 12MP telephoto shooters (up from 10MP on the S21 Ultra), and another 12MP ultra-wide camera. The setup is also rumored to include laser autofocus.

Besides the camera changes, the Samsung Galaxy S22 series will obviously get more grunt under the hood with new SoCs. While the next Snapdragon flagship — reportedly the Snapdragon 898 — should power the series in the US, all eyes are on Samsung’s rumored Exynos 2200 chipset with the AMD GPU. We already know that the new Exynos will bring ray tracing and variable rate shading capabilities to Samsung’s flagships. We’ll just have to wait and see what else is in store when the company finally reveals the SoC, likely later this year.

The usual regional chipset exclusivity could come under threat, too. According to a new leak on September 5, several global carriers are requesting devices with the Exynos SoC over the Snapdragon option. Notably, Verizon is in this camp, which would be a stark departure from the usual US-Snapdragon Galaxy offering. China Telecom reportedly also wants to offer the Exynos option as an exclusive in China.

Related: A history of Samsung’s Exynos chipsets

Interestingly, it looks like Exynos variants could be in limited supply. Twitter tipster FrontTron claimed that there aren’t enough Exynos 2200 chipsets to go around, resulting in Exynos models only being available in a few markets. We’ll need to wait and see about this, as it would mark a major turnaround for Samsung. The company has traditionally launched Snapdragon variants in a couple of markets and Exynos models in the rest of the world.

One particular claim in recent weeks is that Samsung might not use vapor chamber cooling on the S22 family. It’s believed that cost-related reasons are to blame if the phones don’t offer this cooling method, with thermal graphene pads mooted instead. For what it’s worth, iFixit found that there was little difference between the cooling methods.

Elsewhere, the batteries powering the vanilla Galaxy S22 and the S22 Plus might get a slight downgrade this time around. The phones could draw power from 3,800mAh and 4,600 batteries, respectively, as opposed to the 4,000mAh and 4,800mAh batteries on the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is estimated to have a 5,000mAh battery, the same as the current Ultra model.

More recently, a 3C certification listing spotted by SamMobile points to a Galaxy S22 Plus battery with a 4,370mAh capacity (typical capacity of 4,500mAh) and an S22 Ultra battery with 4,855mAh capacity (5,000mAh typical).

Samsung Galaxy S22: Wishlist

There are a few things we’d love to see Samsung change. Below, you’ll find six things we hope to see with the Samsung Galaxy S22 series. These are all realistic wishes, meaning they are not pie-in-the-sky hopes — it would be totally feasible for Samsung to offer all these changes. Let’s get to it.

Faster wired charging

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Charging USB C

Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority

Samsung has been way behind the curve for years now when it comes to wired charging speeds. The phones in the Galaxy S21 series all top out at 25W speeds when using a cable, which is less than half of what the OnePlus 9 series offers. In fact, it’s less than what the OnePlus 8 series offered in 2020 and what the OnePlus 7 series offered in 2019.

With more and more companies offering faster wired charging speeds, Samsung simply can’t ignore the trend any longer. Every phone in the Samsung Galaxy S22 series should at least offer 45W wired charging. Thankfully, a leak suggests that 65W charging is being tested for all three Galaxy S22 models

See also: How fast charging really works: Your guide to wireless and wired fast charging

It’s pretty much guaranteed Samsung won’t offer 45W chargers in the boxes of the Galaxy S22 series. That’s unfortunate, but at least people who care about fast charging will have the option. Either way, 25W just doesn’t cut it anymore.

More perks for the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus back on table macro

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

In the past, the differences between the vanilla Galaxy S and its Plus counterpart have been significant. Usually, we see more rear camera lenses, higher resolution displays, more RAM, etc.

That wasn’t the case with the Galaxy S21 series. Aside from a glass back, larger body/display, and slightly bigger battery, the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus are pretty much the same. This isn’t a big problem on its own, but when you factor in that the Galaxy S21 Plus is $200 more expensive, it becomes a real head-scratcher.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus review: The typical middle child

We’re going to get more into our hopeful pricing structure for the Samsung Galaxy S22 series in a bit. For now, though, we’ll say that if Samsung continues offering a Plus model, it either needs to add more perks or drop the price. We suggest offering faster wired charging, a higher-resolution display, and a slightly higher-end camera system, along with the glass back and larger battery we saw in the Galaxy S21 Plus.

Otherwise, the price of the Galaxy S22 Plus needs to come down by at least $100. There’s just no reason to spend $200 more to get a slightly bigger phone.

More storage and/or return of microSD slot

MicroSD card slot stock photo 5

Credit: Edgar Cervantes / Android Authority

The phones in the Galaxy S21 series all support recording 8K video. Recording at that quality requires massive amounts of data, about 10MB per second. Even if you decide that’s overkill and stick to 4K recording, your files will still be huge. Yet, strangely, the Galaxy S21 series starts with 128GB of internal storage with no option to expand it.

See also: The best Android phones with expandable memory

We understand why Samsung removed microSD card support from the Galaxy S21 series. It’s not a popular feature for the average consumer, and it makes phones more expensive and trickier to design. However, the company can’t have its cake and eat it too; it can’t remove support for expandable storage without offering higher levels of internal storage as a baseline.

We’re hoping the company will rectify this mistake with the S22. We’d love to see the return of the microSD card slot — that seems like the perfect compromise. If not, though, we want to see 256GB of internal storage as the minimum for the phones. That would allow you to record at least five hours of 8K footage before you start to run out of space (and need to figure out to which cloud service you’re going to save it).

A wider range of color options

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 Plus vs S21 Ultra 2 1

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

This item on our wishlist is a bit nitpicky. Most Galaxy S fans know that Samsung is offering a whole swath of colorways for the Galaxy S21 series, a few of which you can see in the image above.

While we will agree that Samsung offered many colors, it’s the kind of colors it offers that we hope to see changed with the Samsung Galaxy S22.

See also: Region-exclusive smartphone colors need to stop, please

For example, the vanilla Galaxy S21 comes in four colors: Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Pink, and Phantom Violet. I don’t know about you, but as a man in his 30s, I don’t really have much interest in the pink or purple ones. So that leaves me with two choices: white or gray. Boring. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is even worse, with your color options being Phantom Black or Phantom Silver (or Navy Blue if you head to Best Buy). Not a whole lot of variety there.

We’d love to see Samsung continue to offer many colors for its phones, but maybe some that run a wider gamut would be cool. I shouldn’t need to choose between boring neutral colors or Easter pastels. There’s plenty of room in there for more options.

Seamless updates

Samsung Galaxy S10 Plus Update

This is one of our biggest complaints with not only the Galaxy S line but all Samsung phones and tablets. When you receive a system update, your Samsung device needs to restart, go through a long series of updates, and then, once it restarts, analyze and optimize all the apps on your phone. The whole process can take anywhere from five to 20 minutes. It’s excessive.

Meanwhile, Pixel phones have seamless updates. This means most of the actual update process happens in the background while the phone is powered on. You can continue to use your phone normally while it’s happening. Once it’s done, a restart that takes the normal length of time finishes it all up. It’s much more user-friendly.

We sincerely hope Samsung ends its ridiculously long update procedure with the Samsung Galaxy S22 series. Not only would it be more convenient, it would help people update more often.

Samsung Galaxy S22 pricing matches Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S21 Plus vs S21 Ultra in hand

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

Samsung nailed the pricing strategy for the Galaxy S21 series. At $799, the vanilla Samsung Galaxy S21 is a perfectly adequate affordable flagship. Meanwhile, at $1,199, the Galaxy S21 Ultra offers pretty much everything a power user could want at a price that’s significantly lower than 2020’s Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Now, we’ve already touched on how the Galaxy S21 Plus was the odd man out in the pricing scheme, but a $999 phone in the lineup makes sense. We hope Samsung sticks to this pricing strategy with the Galaxy S22 series — or at least emulates it as closely as possible.

See also: How the price of Samsung Galaxy S phones changed over the years

This is what Apple has been doing for years. Ignoring the iPhone 12 Mini, the vanilla iPhone 12 starts at $799. The iPhone 12 Pro starts at $999, and the iPhone 12 Pro Max starts at $1,099. Who would’ve thought that what works well for Apple would also work well for Samsung, eh?

Depending on the upgrades we see in the Samsung Galaxy S22 series, these prices might need to increase. However, we hope Samsung does everything it can to avoid that. 2021’s strategy worked very well, and there’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t work well again in 2022.