The Samsung Galaxy S22 – the tech titan's next flagship mobile – is expected to arrive in 2022. It's tipped for a 120Hz display, ultra-fast chip (possibly with its own cooling fan), and even a camera with no fewer than five lenses.
It seems like only yesterday that the Samsung Galaxy S21 hit stores, but Samsung isn't one to rest on its laurels. The company launches a new Galaxy S series mobile every year without fail, which is why the Galaxy S22 is expected to launch in early 2022.
But how will the Galaxy S22 compare to the Apple iPhone 13? What exclusive features will it offer? Will it be cheaper than rival smartphones? The launch is still a few months off but we've examined all of the leaks, tips and rumours to get a good idea of what Samsung has in store with its next flagship phone.
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Samsung Galaxy S22: release date
Samsung launches a new flagship Android phone at the beginning of every year, like clockwork. Last year it was Galaxy S21, which debuted on 14th January 2021 (a few weeks earlier than the tech titan's usual February/March window).
That obviously indicates that the Galaxy S22 release date is likely to be early 2022. In fact, according to Korea's Pulse News, "multiple industry sources" have pegged the S22 for a January release. Samsung seems to favour Fridays, so there's some talk of the S22 breaking cover on Friday 28th January 2022.
We'll have to see. Tech analyst Jon Prosser correctly predicted the launch of the last Galaxy phone, so we'll be keeping a close eye on his Twitter feed towards the close of 2021.
- Read our full Samsung Galaxy S21 review
Samsung Galaxy S22: price
With no credible price leaks to go by, the cost of the Samsung Galaxy S22 is somewhat of a mystery. The Samsung S21 range debuted at less than the S20, so will the S22 be cheaper still?
The jury's out on that one. In the meantime, if you're in the market for a flagship Android phone, the standard S21 starts at £769 ($799, AU$1249). The S21+ costs from £949 ($999, AU$1549) and the S21 Ultra from £1149 ($1199, AU$1849). The standard S20 debuted at £899 ($999, AU$1499) back in 2019.
Samsung Galaxy S22: display
Samsung's phones are renowned for their crisp displays. No surprise there – the company has a pioneering display arm and created the 'Edge' screens that appear to cascade over the sides of the phone.
The latest rumours suggest that Samsung will shrink the Galaxy S22. Leaker Mauri QHD, who has a decent track record, claims that the standard Galaxy S22 will sport a 6.06-inch screen, down from 6.2 inches on the S21.
The S22 Plus could also shrink. Mauri QHD tips it for a 6.5-inch display, down from 6.7 inches, while the range-topping S22 Ultra is due to go from 6.9 inches to 6.81 inches. Of course, the best tech and glass will be reserved for the S22 Ultra.
(The same specs were also stated in a separate leak by reliable tipster Ice universe in mid-August, which lends them credence.)
All three phones in the current S21 line-up support 120Hz refresh rate – great for gaming and sports – so we'd expect the S22 family to follow suit.
That said, Mauri QHD claims 'only the S22 Ultra is LTPO', meaning that only the S22 Ultra will support variable refresh rates (i.e. the ability to scale up to maximum refresh rate when needed, then scale back down to a lower refresh to save battery life).
The S21 Ultra already offers variable refresh rate technology, but it doesn't scale right the way down to 1Hz, as the S22 Ultra is rumoured to. If Mauri QHD is right about the presence of LPTO, the S22 could get a major battery boost.
Samsung Galaxy S22: design
There are no leaked images of the Samsung Galaxy S22 as yet, but LetsGoDigital has mocked up some concept renders based on some S22 design rumours.
If the mock-ups prove accurate, the S22 will feature a major camera bump with no fewer than five lenses, an active cooling system (just like a high-powered games PC), much thinner bezels and a flat, rather than curved, display.
An even fresher set of mock-ups points to what could be the biggest design change: an under-display camera. The idea is that the S22's internal display would 'pop up' and fill in the punch hole whenever the selfie camera is not in use, thus creating a completely uninterrupted, edge-to-edge display.
A ground-breaking under-display camera could give the Samsung Galaxy S22 a huge advantage over its main rival, the iPhone 13.
On the other hand, there was talk of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Z Fold 3, not to mention last year's Apple iPhone 12, featuring under-display cameras. You might want to take that talk of a 'pop-up' internal display with a hefty pinch of salt.
The same goes for the S22's rumoured active cooling system. The imagined 'Adaptive Heat Fan' inside the phone would keep temperatures down during processor-heavy functions such as 3D gaming or 4K movie playback, but do we really want a phone that whirs away for hours when it gets hot? Probably not.
There's no word on colourways yet, but there is lots of talk of Samsung switching the S22 Plus to plastic. The entry-level S21 is already plastic, and so a plastic-bodied S22 Plus wouldn't be anything out of the ordinary. More importantly, it could deliver a big price drop. Perhaps Samsung is hoping to tempt a few more buyers to pass over the standard S22 in favour of the S22 Plus?
Finally, we'd expect the S22 Ultra to mimic the S21 Ultra and work with the S Pen stylus. Renders made by reliable leaker OnLeaks and Digit (below) show the S22 Ultra with a stylus slot, which would minimise the chance of losing it.
Samsung Galaxy S22: cameras
We found the top-spec camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra to be a real highlight. It features Samsung's "most advanced Pro-grade" technology, comprising a quad rear configuration with a 108MP main lens.
The S22 is expected to take things even further, though. It's rumoured to tote five rear lenses. That might sound a bit outlandish, but it's a number we’ve previously seen on the Nokia 9 PureView.
Other credible rumours suggest that Samsung has teamed up with Japanese camera giant Olympus to overhaul the S22's camera. With OnePlus collaborating with Hasselblad, Huawei linking up with Leica and Nokia using Carl Zeiss lenses, a Samsung-Olympus collaboration could be a match made in heaven.
Well-known leaker Ice Universe originally tipped the S22 Ultra for a massive 200MP sensor, which would capture a phenomenal amount of detail, but he recently backtracked on that claim. Instead, it seems likely that the S22 Ultra will get an improved version of the S21's 108MP camera.
That certainly seems to be the case looking at the above render. The camera bump looks to be similar to the S21 Ultra's, but with a corner shorn off, giving it a unique, P-shape. Bizarre.
As for the S22 and S22 Plus, crystal ball-gazer @FronTron says they will each get a 50MP main camera, plus 12MP ultra-wide and telephoto lenses. If true, that would mean the S22 and S22 Plus will offer less resolution than their S21 counterparts (something Ice universe has since also leaked).
That might not be a bad thing, though, as Samsung is expected to bless the S22 with its new 'ISOCELL JN1' 50MP sensor, which uses larger, 1.4μm-sized pixels. If that's the case, the S22 could afford to drop a few pixels and still outperform the S21. The new sensor could also mean a smaller camera bump and improved low light performance.
Lastly, Samsung is said to be testing 8K video at 60fps on the Galaxy S22 Ultra (the S21 Ultra maxes out at 24fps when shooting in 8K). That could be good news for anyone thinking of buying an 8K TV.
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Samsung Galaxy S22: features and specs
So, what's under the hood? Plenty of grunt, if rumours are to believed. The Galaxy S22 is expected to feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 895 chip (possibly manufactured by Samsung itself).
Excitingly, the S22 is also tipped for a graphics processor based on AMD's RDNA 2 architecture (the basis of the graphics chip in the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5). By no means are we suggesting the S22 will have the power of a next-gen games console, but it could turn out to be one of the most powerful gaming phones around.
It's unclear whether all Galaxy S22 phones will get the rumoured AMD gaming chip, or whether the chip will be reserved for selected models (or indeed specific sales territories).
Battery capacities are said to either stay the same or actually reduce compared to the S21 range. The standard S22 should have a 3800mAh battery (down from 4000mAh on the S21) and the S22+ 4600mAh (down from 4800mAh on the S21+). The S22 Ultra is the only one that emerges unscathed in this department, with the same 5000mAh capacity as its predecessor.
That came via Ice universe, who also claims that Samsung is testing 65W, 45W and 25W fast charging (via MyFixGuide). The company previously introduced 45W fast charging when it launched the Galaxy S20 Ultra in 2019 – could it bring it back? Or will Samsung go a step further and introduce 65W fast charging capability?
Finally, the Galaxy S21 saw the removal of the microSD card slot. While some fans have demanded Samsung bring back an expandable storage option, the popularity of cloud storage and spread of 5G networks for streaming content rather than storing it locally mean microSD will most likely be absent from the S22.
Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S22
So, plenty of rumours and leaks to digest. Weighing up whether to buy the S21 or wait until 2022 for the new flagship? Overall, it certainly sounds like the S22 will be a solid improvement on the Galaxy S21.
The upgraded five lens camera sounds like it could be a big draw for photography fans, while the potential for mobile gaming sounds pretty exciting. Super-fast charging could come in handy, too.
Then again, the five-star Samsung Galaxy S21 has been out a while and with prices starting to drop off, it could prove too tempting to resist. And let's not forget that the iPhone 13 has just arrived fresh on shop shelves. Decisions, decisions...
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