Samsung Galaxy S22 upgrade reportedly just got killed — and that’s okay

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Olympus
(Image credit: Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital)

The Samsung Galaxy S22 figures to be a hot item when the flagship makes its debut early next year. But that could also be true in a literal sense, depending on a design decision facing the company.

Twitter leaker @FrontTron points to a post on Korean message board Clien that claims Samsung may not include a vapor chamber cooling system, as had previously been rumored. The cooling system could be nixed in an effort to keep costs down on the flagship phone.

It doesn't sound like the decision is final yet, as the post alludes to Samsung VIPs making the final call on whether to use the vapor cooling system or not.

Vapor chamber cooling systems typically appear on gaming phones, as a way of keep mobile devices from getting too hot when playing graphically intensive games. Overheating can cause performance to falter — something you'd definitely notice when playing a demanding game.

Rumors of the Galaxy S22 adopting vapor chamber cooling appeared earlier this summer. If adopted, it would be a return to form for Samsung which first introduced the feature in the Galaxy S10 Plus. The Galaxy S20 also used vapor chamber cooling, while teardowns of the Galaxy Note 20 revealed a switch to graphite thermal pads.

Samsung also used the graphite thermal pad approach to keep the Galaxy S21 cool. In posts on both Samsung's community forums and Reddit, a handful of users have complained of overheating triggered by multitasking on various S21 models.

That would seem to be a cause for concern if Samsung were to adopt the same graphite thermal pad approach for the Galaxy S22. But it's not clear if vapor chamber cooling makes that much of a difference for the typical Samsung smartphone user. When we tested the Galaxy Note 9 and its water-carbon cooling system, we didn't notice that much of a temperature change with the phone. It could well be that whatever improvement there is doesn't justify the added cost of an elaborate cooling system.

And cost is more important than ever for Samsung with its Galaxy S lineup. With the cost of flagship phones creeping upward in recent years, Samsung reversed course with the Galaxy S21, cutting the cost on each model by $200 from its S20 equivalent. That allowed Samsung to feature a starting price of $799 for the Galaxy S21 — more in line with what Apple charges for the iPhone 12.

It's unlikely Samsung will want to jack up prices on its smartphones so soon after cutting them. So you can understand why any costly feature like a vapor chamber cooling system may be on the chopping block.

The Galaxy S22 already figures to be something of a departure from Samsung's current flagship lineup, as the phone will reportedly feature an Exynos chip with integrated AMD graphics. The new phone could adapt an under-display camera too along with a thinner design.

It'll be some time before we find out if the rumored vapor chamber cooling system makes the final cut on Samsung's next flagship. The Galaxy S22 isn't expected until early 2022, with a January unveiling the earliest likely appearance.

Philip Michaels

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.