Samsung’s hugely popular Galaxy S range of smartphones are undoubtedly the closest rival to Apple’s ubiquitous iPhone.
So, Android fans look forward to their annual introduction with an understandable amount of zeal. Here’s all we know so far about what the Korean giant has in store for the S22 generation.
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 many are predicting that January 2022 is likely. This would make it a year since the introduction of the Galaxy S21 lineup, which is the normal gap between updates.
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 supporting the S-Pen instead.
We have had confirmation from Korean tech site Digital Daily of a Galaxy Unpacked event on 11 August 2021, and the new Note’s absence is expected to be addressed by the arrival of the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Flip 3, Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch Active 4, plus the Galaxy Buds 2.
There’s also the question of when we’ll see the rumoured Galaxy Z Fold S and Galaxy Z Roll. So Samsung has plenty to fill out the roster.
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.
First, early rumours from sites like Phone Arena and others reported that the S22 Ultra at least would feature a 200Mp main shooter, which would be a considerable jump 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]
This isn’t a disaster by any means, as the S21 and S21+ (not to mention iPhone 12 Max and Google Pixel 5) offer class-leading photography with only 12Mp sensors. This shows that more than ever, when it comes to the cameras in smartphones, much of the greatness is found in the software rather than massive sensors. If Samsung can tease every pixel out of the existing 108Mp unit, then it could be far more significant than upgrading the hardware.
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.
Setting the Ultra aside for now, another 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
Main 50MPUltrawide 12MP Telephoto 12MP 3x
Take w/ 🧂
— Tron ❂ #GalaxyUnpacked (@FrontTron)
June 23, 2021
This makes sense, as Samsung did unveil its new 50MP ISOCELL GN2 sensor in February 2021, which it states has better light capturing performance, Dual Pixel Pro autofocus technology, improved low-light images, 8K video and enhanced HDR. So, if this is sensor that the rumours are referencing, it could be good news for the devices.
Image: Let’s Go Digital
Tom’s Guide also reports that the S22 models could feature a continuous zoom that moves from 3x to 10x, which could rival similar tech seen in the Sony Xperia 1 III periscope lens.
Although 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.
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:
6.06″6.55″6.81″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. But 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.
The Ultra is also expected to once again feature S Pen stylus support, as the S21 Ultra did.
It’s expected that the new phones will be powered by the new Exynos 2200 chipset, which feature AMD GPUs. 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
Exynos chips are usually reserved for Europe and other territories, so US customers should look forward to the rumoured Qualcomm Snapdragon 895 in their handsets.
Battery and charging
So far we haven’t heard much about the S22 series’ battery capabilities, but we do have one rumour pointing towards improved charging.
Chinese leaker IceUniverse – who has a good track record – posted on Weibo that “S22 is testing the charging power above 25W, 45W or 65W” (Google translated from Chinese).
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.