Samsung Galaxy S22 vs. S21: unpacking the key specs

It’s that Samsung time of year again when an Unpacked event announces new Galaxy S flagship phones as the latest iPhone fighters. In fact, it’s another year of Samsung triplets: the new models are the Galaxy S22, Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S22 Ultra. This time, they’re introducing updated specs and even some Note-like functionality with the Ultra model – which comes with the S-Pen. But how do these compare to last year’s S21 line? Is it a worthwhile upgrade? Should you sit out this one or hop on the S22 train and get that pre-order in? Let’s break down the new Galaxy S22 lineup from its predecessor, the S21 line.

Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S21

What a difference a year makes – or not. In fact, you could think of this as an ascending year. The lineup of the Samsung Galaxy S22 is very similar to the S21 line – the designs have not been completely revised, but refined.

As mentioned, the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra all came out a little over a year ago. The S21 represented the base model (smallest) in the line, with a 6.2-inch OLED screen, a Snapdragon 888 processor, 8 GB of RAM, an in-display ultrasonic fingerprint sensor, triple camera array (12 MP wide, 12 MP). MP ultra-wide, 64 MP telephoto), 8K video recording, wireless charging and IP68 protection, all starting at $799. The S21 Plus had all that with a larger 6.7-inch screen and a bigger battery for $999. The top-of-the-line S21 Ultra was the crème de la crème, with a slightly larger 6.8-inch screen, a whopping 108MP main camera on the back, a 40MP front-facing camera — and an equally colossal starting price of $1,199. It also had support for the S-Pen, which was a taste of things to come.

Fast forward to yesterday’s Unpacked event and we’ve got the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra. Sounds familiar? It’s the same approach again, with the base S22 now featuring the latest Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU (which is a smaller 4nm processor), slightly smaller 6.1-inch screen and revised cameras (now 50MP for main wide angle, 10MP in telephoto, and again 12MP ultra-wide angle) for $799. The S22 Plus now has a 6.6-inch screen, while most of the other specs match the S22, except for the addition of Wi-Fi 6E, for $999. See you trends here?

Finally, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has a 6.8-inch display, just like the S21 Ultra, although the 120Hz display can now go all the way down to 1Hz to save battery power when that ultra-fast speed isn’t needed — like looking at a still image. . Speaking of photos, the S22 Ultra shares the same camera specs as last year’s Ultra, although Samsung touts new claims of improved low-light performance as a theme across the board.

The other big theme of the S22 Ultra is that it now serves as the spiritual successor to the Galaxy Note line with a built-in S-Pen, integrated into the chassis. If you’re a long-time Note user who’s been waiting for an update, the Ultra might be ideal.

But wait a minute, there’s one more phone we shouldn’t forget. Last month, the S21 line was launched with the Galaxy S21 FE (short for Fan Edition). This one is designed to be the cheaper option without compromising on the more modest Galaxy A models. It doesn’t come with many sacrifices – in line with the S21 in most specs, but downgrading the RAM and telephoto camera while clocking in at a 6.4-inch screen size that sits between the S21 and S21 Plus. The $699 price puts it within $100 of the outgoing S21 and new S22, so it might just be worth considering if you find it on upcoming deals.

OK, so that’s a lot to unpack (sorry). If you’re looking for the latest in cutting edge, you might consider your favorite flavor and size from the Galaxy S22 lineup, but if you look at the specs side by side, you’ll see that this year has mostly modest changes. There could be a lot to love about the S22 Ultra, though, if you’ve studied the ways of the Samsung S-Pen and felt a Note-sized hole in your heart. We’ll be sure to give you our opinion once we’ve fully reviewed these new galaxies.

The specifications of the S21 and S22 side by side

Specification Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Samsung Galaxy S21 Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Samsung Galaxy S22 Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Specification Samsung Galaxy S21 FE Samsung Galaxy S21 Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Samsung Galaxy S22 Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
OS Android 12 Updated to Android 12 Updated to Android 12 Updated to Android 12 Android 12 Android 12 Android 12
Display 6.4-inch OLED 6.2-inch OLED 6.7-inch OLED 6.8-inch OLED 6.1-inch OLED 6.6-inch OLED 6.8-inch OLED
Solution 2340×1080 2400×1080 2400×1080 3200×1440 2340×1080 2340×1080 3088 x 1440
Maximum refresh rate up to 120Hz up to 120Hz up to 120Hz up to 120Hz up to 120Hz up to 120Hz 1Hz to 120Hz
Dimensions (mm) 155.7 x 74.5 x 7.9″ 71.2 x 151.7 x 7.9″ 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8″ 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9″ 70.6 x 146 x 7.6 75.8 x 157.4 x 7.6″ 77.9 x 163.3 x 8.9″
Weight 177 g (6.24 ounces) 171 g (6.03 ounces) 200 g (7.05 ounces) 227g 8.01 oz) 168 g (5.92 ounces) 196 g (6.91 ounces) 229 g (8.07 ounces)
Battery capacity 4.500mAh 4,000 mAh 4,800 mah 5,000 mah 3,700 mah 4,500 mah 5,000 mah
Processor Snapdragon 888 (in the US) Snapdragon 888 (in the US) Snapdragon 888 (in the US) Snapdragon 888 (in the US) 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU (in the US) 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU (in the US) 4nm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 CPU (in the US)
RAM 6GB 8GB 8GB 12GB, 16GB 8GB 8GB 8GB, 12GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Ports USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C USB-C
reversing camera 12 MP (f/1.8) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide, 8 MP (f/2.4) telephoto 12 MP (f/1.8) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide, 64 MP (f/2.0) telephoto 12 MP (f/1.8) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide, 64 MP (f/2.0) telephoto 108 MP (f/2.2) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra wide, 10 MP (f2.4 / f4.9) telephoto 50 MP (f/1.8) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide, 10 MP (f/2.4) telephoto 50 MP (f/1.8) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra-wide, 10 MP (f/2.4) telephoto 108 MP (f/2.2) wide, 12 MP (f/2.2) ultra wide, 10 MP (f2.4 / f4.9) telephoto
Front camera 32MP (f/2.2) 10MP (f/2.2) 10MP (f/2.2) 40MP (f2.2) 10MP (f/2.2) 10MP (f/2.2) 40MP (f2.2)
Front video 4K @ 60FPS 4K @ 60FPS 4K @ 60FPS 4K @ 60FPS 4K @ 60FPS 4K @ 60FPS 4K @ 60FPS
Back video 4K @ 60FPS 8K@24FPS, 4K@60FPS 8K@24FPS, 4K@60FPS 8K@24FPS, 4K@60FPS 8K@24FPS, 4K@60FPS 8K@24FPS, 4K@60FPS 8K@24FPS, 4K@60FPS
biometrics Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor Ultrasonic Fingerprint Sensor
Water and dust protection IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68 IP68
Wireless 5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.0 5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2 5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E (6Ghz), Bluetooth 5.2 5G mmWave / sub-6GHz, LTE, Wi-Fi 6E (6Ghz), Bluetooth 5.2
Starting price $699 $799 $999 $1,199.00 $799 $999 $1,199.00
Wireless charging? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
S-Pen support? new new new Yes new new Yes (included)

Correction Feb 10, 13:38 ET: An earlier version of this post claimed that the Samsung Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus have S-Pen support. Only the Galaxy S22 Ultra supports the S-Pen. We regret the mistake.


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