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.
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.
Obviously, Covid has played havoc with production schedules, all of which filters down to when the new models arrive. At the moment, we’re quietly confident that January will see the S22 appear, but don’t be surprised if Samsung returns to its old schedule instead.
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 of the Samsung Galaxy S21?
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.
Perhaps the most debated area of the Galaxy S22 is that of its cameras.
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/ 🧂
— 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.
Moving on to the Ultra, Phone Arena and others reported that the S22 Ultra at least would 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.
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, perhaps with the even tougher DX+ reserved for the S22 Ultra.
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.
Another area that has seen some speculation is that of display, with size being a particular focus. Mauri QHD (yes, that’s another leaker/tipster) leaked what they claim are the screen sizes of the S21 range, along with the detail that only the Ultra will support LTPO:
Only Ultra is LTPO
from my source Hades (7/8 correct) pic.twitter.com/Rfbd4VSdT7
— Mauri QHD (@MauriQHD) June 11, 2021
The latter makes sense, as the current S21 range reserves the Low Temperature Polycrystalline Oxide display for the Ultra model, making it the only one able to offer a variable refresh rate with usable power performance.
More surprising is that the S22 and S22+ could both have smaller displays than the S21 models, which clock in at 6.2in and 6.7in respectively. Conversely, the Galaxy S21 Ultra would see a tiny expansion, going from 6.8in to 6.81in. Ice Universe has repeated the prediction though, adding weight to this leak.
The Ultra is also expected to once again feature S Pen stylus support, as the S21 Ultra did.
It’s expected that in at least some markets the new phones will be powered by the new Exynos 2200 chipset, which will feature an AMD GPU. This makes sense, as the two companies have been working together for a few years now, and Dr Lisa Su, AMD CEO, was quoted on the Samsung Exynos twitter feed:
Did you see that? “The next place you will find #RDNA2 will be the high-performance mobile phone market. We’re happy to announce that we will bring custom graphics IP to Samsung’s next flagship mobile SOC, with ray-tracing and variable rate shading capabilities.” @LisaSu of @AMD pic.twitter.com/c0z1iLl85r
— Samsung Exynos (@SamsungExynos) June 1, 2021
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 Qualcomm 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.
Battery and charging
Battery leaks were limited for a while, but now we have a good idea of both the battery capacities and charging speeds.
Ice Universe’s big spec leak predicts battery capacities of 3800mAh, 4600mAh, and 5000mAh for the three phones – that’s a small drop in size for the S22 and S22+, while the Ultra remains identical to the previous model.
Two batteries listed on China’s 3C Certification line up fairly closely with this – albeit not exactly. One battery with model number EB-BS906ABY has a rated capacity of 4,370mAh (typical capacity of 4,500mAh), and is expected to end up inside the Galaxy S22+. The EB-BS908ABY, which has a rated capacity of 4,855mAh (typical capacity of 5,000mAh), will power the Galaxy S22 Ultra.
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.
Ice Universe has also tried to predict charging speeds. He posted on Weibo that “S22 is testing the charging power above 25W, 45W or 65W” (Google translated from Chinese).
The 65W claim was repeated by FrontTron on Twitter, referencing ‘Rainbow RGB’ – Rainbow is the codename for the S22 series, with R, G, and B each referencing the three expected models – so it sounds like the top charging speed might not be limited to the Ultra.
Hearing 65W in test phase for Rainbow RGB…
— Tron ❂ #GalaxyUnpacked (@FrontTron) July 20, 2021
A 65W Samsung charger has already been certified by multiple international certification systems, so we know that Samsung is working on 65W charging, but we don’t yet have confirmation that it will appear in the S22 series specifically.
Unfortunately, since then Ice Universe has posted again, claiming to know “100%” that the S22 Ultra will feature 45W charging – suggesting that the tests for 65W didn’t quite pan out.
While Samsung has offered 45W charging before, it dropped back down to 25W for the S21 series, and has never delivered 65W or faster in any of its phones – even as the competition is already approaching 100W+ speeds in other Android devices. Samsung’s slower approach here may well be down to nervousness after the infamous battery issues that plagued the Galaxy Note 7 phones.
So 65W wired charging speeds wouldn’t be market-leading, but would be a welcome improvement on one of Samsung’s historic weakpoints.
Design and build
Finally, when it comes to the actual build of the new devices, GSM Arena reports that the two smaller variants will feature a new kind of plastic material on the rear, with the glass back saved for the S22 Ultra – much like with the S21 series.
SamMobile recently reported that the new S22 models could see 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.
Let’s Go Digital teamed up with designer Technizo Concept to produce the following video of their vision for what the S22 Ultra could look like. We’ve already used several images they created throughout this article, but you can see their concept in all its glory below.
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.