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Latest Samsung Galaxy S22 leak raises concerns over performance

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra compared to Galaxy S21 Ultra in an Unbox Therapy video
(Image credit: Unbox Therapy)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 figures to be among the top performing Android phones when it arrives later this month. But early signs suggest it won't be a big leap forward from the best Android phones released in the last year, even with new silicon powering Samsung's handsets.

In fact, the latest leak surrounding the top-of-the-line Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra suggests the upcoming phone will lag behind last year's comparable model when it comes to benchmarks.

That's based on leaked Geekbench 5 results posted to Twitter by a leaker named @Shadow_Leak. The tables compare results in the general performance test between an unreleased S22 Ultra powered by Samsung's upcoming Exynos 2200 chipset and a Galaxy S21 Ultra running on the Exynos 2100.

According to the screenshots, the S22 Ultra posted a single-core score of 1,019 and a multicore result of 3,513. Both numbers trailed the S21 Ultra's respective results of 1,099 and 3,545.

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More telling, the alleged Galaxy S22 Ultra numbers were only slightly better than older Samsung phones running on Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipsets. The Galaxy S20 Ultra (891 single core, 3210 multicore) and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (950, 3,234) trail the S22 Ultra numbers @Shadow_Leak posted, but not so much as to suggest that the upcoming phone will blow away its predecessors from 2020.

There are reasons to view claims about the Galaxy S22 Ultra's performance with some skepticism, and not just because @Shadow_Leak doesn't have as established a reputation as some of the other online leakers out there. Benchmark results from unreleased phones aren't always reliable indicators, as the phone being tested may not have been optimized for performance. The actual S22 models that ship could produce very different results once they're in reviewers' hands.

Still, this isn't the first leak surrounding the Galaxy S22's performance that suggest it's not going to be noticeably faster than last year's model. Benchmarks that surfaced in November suggested the Galaxy S22 Ultra was a lot slower than the A15 Bionic-powered iPhone 13. Other alleged results have suggested the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1-powered S22 will post better single-core scores than the Exynos-powered version, but that Samsung's chip has the better multicore result in Geekbench.

However, you could be forgiven for asking just how much these numbers actually mean. Those kind of differences in benchmark testing are rarely visible to the naked eye (though in our real-world test in which we transcode video using Adobe Premiere Rush, Apple's iPhone typically competes the task much faster than comparable Android flagships.) For many users, whatever marginal performance gains the chipset inside the Galaxy S22 family delivers will be enough if it means apps open smoothly and you can switch between them without lag.

In the case of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is expected to power S22 models released in the U.S., Qualcomm does tout some performance gains over last year's chipset. But the real focus with this generation of silicon seems to be on an improved artificial intelligence engine, a more capable image signal processor to support smartphone cameras and features aimed at improving gaming experience.

As for the Galaxy S22 lineup, rumors to this point have not really focused on performance gains, but rather on other areas of improvement for Samsung's flagships. Specifically, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are expected to get more powerful main cameras and an improved optical zoom for their telephoto lenses. The Galaxy S22 Ultra figures to see an improved version of its own 108MP sensor with special attention paid to improving low-light photography and reducing glare in images. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is expected to include an S Pen this time around as well.

We'll find out more about the Galaxy S22 lineup very shortly, as the phones are expected to make their debut at the next Samsung Unpacked event on Feb. 9. The event gets underway at 10 a.m. ET/7 a.m. PT. So be sure to bookmark our how to watch Samsung Unpacked guide. 

Philip Michaels is a Managing Editor at Tom's Guide. He's been covering personal technology since 1999 and was in the building when Steve Jobs showed off the iPhone for the first time. He's been evaluating smartphones since that first iPhone debuted in 2007, and he's been following phone carriers and smartphone plans since 2015. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics, old movies and proper butchery techniques. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.