Samsung Galaxy S22 rumor teases smaller screen — but that's OK

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra zoom leak
(Image credit: Future)

With the Galaxy Z Fold 3 out of the way, it’s time to look forward to Samsung’s next big flagship. And while the Samsung Galaxy S22 likely won’t be out until early 2022, a new rumor suggests some big changes could be on the way.

That's according to well-known Samsung leaker Ice Universe, who has shared details of what he claims are the Galaxy S22 range’s design, battery, screen, and camera specs. And while some of the details may seem less than positive at a glance, there's also reason to think they might be sensible tweaks to a winning formula.

Samsung Galaxy S22 could have a smaller screen, and that's fine

The first detail of note is that, according to Ice Universe, the entire Galaxy S22 range — that's the S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra — will feature a modified version of the Galaxy S21’s design.

However, the leaker claims that all three phones will come with slightly different display sizes. If the information is accurate, it means that the S22 and S22 Plus will have Full HD+ resolution and 6.06-inch and 6.55-inch displays respectively, while the S22 Ultra will allegedly come with a 6.81-inch display and a QHD+ resolution. All three of the phones are said to have a 120Hz refresh rate.

For reference, The Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra had 6.2-inch, 6.7-inch, and 6.8-inch displays respectively. So in the case of the S22 and Plus models, this rumor claims you’ll be losing roughly 0.15-inches of screen space.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however. For starters, these rumored specs mean the S22 and S22 Plus would still be big phones — they'd just be a little smaller than the previous model. And there are genuine reasons why this could be beneficial.

For starters, a smaller screen needs less power to run, which could, in turn, help to extend both phones' battery life. A slightly smaller phone may also appeal to people who don't want a gargantuan near-tablet sized device like the S22 Ultra. Though, of course, whether they would notice a 0.15-inch difference is another matter entirely.

Samsung Galaxy S22 rumored camera specs are hit and miss

In terms of camera specs, the S22 and S22 Plus are said to come with the same camera array, featuring a 50MP main (likely wide angle) lens, a 12MP ultra-wide angle camera, and a 12MP telephoto lens with a 3x optical zoom. 

Meanwhile, the S22 Ultra is rumored to get a hefty upgrade, consisting of a 108MP main lens, a 12MP ultra-wide angle, 12MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, and a second 12MP telephoto lens — this time with a 12x optical zoom.

If this information turns out to be true, it means there may be mixed feelings over the S22 range's photography capabilities.

The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus both featured a 12MP wide and ultra-wide angle lenses, as well as a 64MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom. Obviously, this new rumor would see the telephoto resolution knocked down to 12MP, while at the same time increasing the wide-angle lens resolution.

However the S22 Ultra, once again, would get a clear upgrade. As well as receiving a boost to the zooming capabilities of its second lens, up to 12x, it would also have an increased resolution on both telephoto lenses of 12MP — up from the S21 Ultra's 10MP lenses.

There's more to camera quality than just resolution, of course, as the likes of Apple and Google have shown. These days, camera performance is less reliant on the hardware, and more focussed on the computational software applied after the shot has been taken.

So far, Samsung hasn't done much in this field, but if these rumors are true then the lack of spectacular upgrades on the S22 range could be an indication that it's going to focus more on behind-the-scenes work.

Alternatively, it could just be that Samsung thinks a high-resolution wide-angle lens is more useful than a megapixel-packed telephoto lens. Whether you agree may well depend more on what you shoot than anything else, but for many people that will be group shots and city scenes/landscapes — and there, the rumored changes may well be very welcome. 

Samsung S22 battery rumors can't be salvaged so easily

Battery capacities are supposed to be 3,800 mAh for the S22, 4,600 mAh for the S22 Plus, and 5,000 mAh for the S22 Ultra. Again, if accurate that’s a downgrade of 200 mAh on the S22 and Plus models compared to their S21 equivalents, while the S22 Ultra’s battery would be exactly the same as the S21 Ultra’s

A loss of battery capacity isn't quite so excusable as losing a little bit of screen space. After all, a long lasting battery is a crucial feature for any phone, and the bigger the battery the more likely it is to keep going throughout your day. The smaller screen may play into Samsung's decision to slice the batteries by 200 mAh, if indeed these specs turn out to be accurate, but it still isn't a very good look.

But batteries do take up a lot of space, and trimming the capacity by a small amount could make space for some other feature — assuming that's what Samsung has planned. It could also be that Samsung has found a way to reduce the S22's power requirements, particularly in the screen department, meaning a larger battery isn't entirely necessary. Unfortunately, we won't know for sure until the S22 range actually launches.

Of course none of this information has been confirmed by Samsung, and we shouldn’t treat it as if it’s the absolute truth. Plus, there’s still a long time between now and whenever the S22 range launches — presumably sometime in January. But if these rumors do prove to be based in fact, we won't be entirely upset.

Tom Pritchard
UK Phones Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.