Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra — 7 biggest rumored upgrades

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra render
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

If the rumors prove true, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra should be in a league of its own compared to the regular Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus. And not just because of its bigger screen and more powerful zoom lens. We've been hearing about a host of upgrades that will not only take Samsung's flagship to the next level but make it a true successor to the Galaxy Note. 

From the phone's design and the display to the built-in S Pen and new camera capabilities, there seem to be a ton of upgrades coming to the Galaxy S22 Ultra, which could make it a viable candidate for our best phones list. It could also put the likes of the Google Pixel 6 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max on notice. Though we only have rumors to go on for now, we'll be hearing all the details at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2022 event, which is predicted to happen on February 8 or 9.

Here are the biggest Samsung Galaxy S22 rumors so far and what you should expect based on all the leaks. 

1. Galaxy S22 Ultra: Galaxy Note-like design

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra front and back with S Pen

(Image credit: Evan Blass)

The Galaxy S22 Ultra is rumored to feature a 6.8-inch display just like its predecessor, but it should have a completely fresh look. And that's because the Ultra is tipped to feature a Note-like design with a wider screen to accommodate the S Pen along with squared off edges. In other words, it should look like a sleeker version of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Based on the renders we've seen, there will be a camera patch on the back left corner of the design, but it appears much slimmer than the the Galaxy S21 Ultra's bulky camera patch. So it shouldn't protrude nearly as far from the rest of the body, and there's no contour cut design like last year's model. It's flat and minimalist.

2. S Pen included (and supercharged)

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

While the Galaxy S21 Ultra supported the S Pen, you needed to buy it separately. And even then there was nowhere to store it in the phone, necessitating a case. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is widely rumored to have an S Pen slot built in, so you could just pop out the stylus whenever you want. 

It gets better. According to a leak from Tech YouTuber Zaryab Khan, the S Pen could be three times faster. The S Pen latency for the Galaxy S22 Ultra could be as little as 2.98 milliseconds, compared to 9 ms for the Note 20 Ultra. 

3. Galaxy S22 Ultra camera upgrades

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra renders colors with S Pen

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital / Giuseppe Spinelli)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra will reportedly feature a similar 108MP main camera sensor to the one that shipped with the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but there are apparently a couple of big upgrades in store. First. leaker Ice Universe says that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will feature a 'AI detail enhancement mode' for the 108MP camera that will offer more details, colors and brightness. 

Meanwhile, YouTuber Zaryab Khan says that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will feature a Super Clear Lens based on a leaked specs sheet for the phone. We don't know exactly what this could mean, but a Super Clear Lens could mean Gorilla Glass on the main lens, potentially reducing glare and reflections. This would, in theory, help make your shots clearer, even in harsher situations. 

4. Brightest display ever in a phone

We all want to be able to see our flagship phones outdoors even in the brightest sunlight, and it looks like the Galaxy S22 Ultra will literally shine. 

Based on leaked Galaxy S22 Ultra display test results, the phone reaches a peak brightness of 1,750 nits. This would be over 900 nits brighter than the Galaxy S21 Ultra (based on our testing) and 550 nits brighter than the iPhone 13 Pro Max. We'll have to see how well the S22 Ultra performs in our lab tough. 

5. Faster charging

The rumors on S22 charging speeds have been all over the place, but the most recent and reliable info that we have says that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will offer 45W fast charging. This would be an upgrade over the Galaxy S21 Ultra (25W), but we don't yet know what this could mean in terms of how long it may take to reach a 50% or 100% charge. 

If this leak is accurate, the Galaxy S22 Ultra would trail the new OnePlus 10 Pro, which offers crazy-fast 80W wired charging. But this would still be a notable improvement. 

6. Snapdragon 8 Gen-1 or Exynos 2200 power

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1

(Image credit: Qualcomm)

Depending on where you live, it looks like Samsung will once again offer two processor options for its flagship phone. The Galaxy S22 Ultra will likely feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in the U.S. and the Exynos 2200 in the U.K. and other regions. 

The Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is rated to offer 20% faster CPU performance while being 30% more power efficient. Plus, you could get a 30% GPU boost along with 25% power savings there. 

However, the Exynos 2200 will have some advantages, including RDNA 2 graphics from AMD. And we've already seen one leak where the Exynos 2200 chip beats the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 on Geekbench

7. 1TB of storage

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra should live up to its name when it comes to storage. While the Galaxy S21 Ultra maxed out at 512GB, SamMobile reports that this year's Ultra will have a 1TB storage option. This would match the iPhone 13 Pro and iPhone 13 Pro Max. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Outlook

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra promises a ton of upgrades, but it's also tipped to be getting a price hike and could start as high as $1,299. That would be $100 more than the Galaxy S21 Ultra and $200 more than the iPhone 13 Pro Max.

So, Samsung really needs to convince shoppers that the versatility of the S Pen is worth the premium on top of the other rumored upgrades. We'll be putting the S22 Ultra to the test to find out. 

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.