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Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Biggest differences we expect

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra
(Image credit: Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital/OnLeaks/91Mobiles.com)

Our Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra preview could help you pick which Samsung Galaxy S22 model you like best before launch day. In essence, you've got two choices: the standard Galaxy S22 (and the slightly larger Galaxy S22 Pro) or the fully kitted-out Galaxy S22 Ultra.

There are changes rumored for all three models in the S22 family, including a new name for the middle model, the Galaxy S22 Pro (instead of Plus). The more meaningful rumored changes seem to be making the S22 and S22 Pro more compact while switching out a few parts like cameras and chipsets for updated ones, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra could be in a league of its own as a proper replacement for the Galaxy Note.

With the anticipated release window of January or February 2022 coming up fast, the Galaxy S22 leaks are really starting to flow. From the design and specs to the cameras and batteries, our Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra comparison has everything we've heard about so far. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: specs (rumored)

Samsung Galaxy S22Samsung Galaxy S22 ProSamsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
Display size6.06 inches6.5 inches6.8 inches
Refresh rate120Hz120Hz120Hz (LTPO)
Cameras50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x optical telephoto50MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10MP 3x optical telephoto180MP main, 12MP ultrawide, 10x optical zoom telephoto, 3x optical zoom telephoto
ChipsetSnapdragon 895/Exynos 2200Snapdragon 895/Exynos 2200Snapdragon 895/Exynos 2200
Battery3,800 mAh4,600 mAh5,000 mAh
Size149.98 x 70.56 x 7.65mm157.43 x 75.83 x 7.65mm163.29 x 77.87 x 9.05mm

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Design

Aside from the extra width of its rear camera bump, the Galaxy S21 Ultra looks pretty much the same as the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus. This familial resemblance may diverge by quite a lot for the S22 phones though.

There have been numerous leaks suggesting how the back cameras on the S22 Ultra will have a new look, with the current consensus being the camera will be "water drops" individually embedded into the phone and flush with the main back panel. The S22 Ultra is also thought to be getting a boxier profile with pointed corners, similar to the Galaxy Note series. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen

(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

On the other hand, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Pro are thought to look a lot like their S21 counterparts. The "contour cut" camera bump and rounded corners are both thought to be returning, and that's been reflected in recent renders.

a Galaxy s22 concept graphic based on new rumors about the phone's design

(Image credit: Super Roader/YouTube)

The basic Galaxy S22 and the S22 Pro are rumored to be decreasing in size slightly. The S22 may shrink in all three dimensions, while the S22 Pro will get shorter and thinner, but be a touch broader, according to one leak.

As for the S22 Ultra's dimensions, these reveal that the phone will be slightly shorter but wider and thicker than the Galaxy S21 Ultra that came before it. That may have something to do with it featuring a S Pen silo this time around, if the rumors turn out to be true.

Rumored color choices differ a little between the models. It's said you will be able to pick from black, green, pink gold and white on the S22 and S22 Pro, and black, green, white and dark red on the S22 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Displays

The big difference between the S22 and S22 Ultra is likely going to be their curvature. The S22 is rumored to be fitted with a flat display, while the S22 Ultra could have a slightly curved screen.

An unofficial render of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, showing the phone's front, back and S Pen in burgundy red on a black background

(Image credit: Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital)

As a result of their shrinking size, the displays of the S22 and S22 Pro are rumored to be getting smaller, too. The S22's panel is claimed to be 6.06 inches (down from 6.2 inches), while the S22 Pro could have a 6.5-inch screen (down from 6.7 inches)

Rather than getting smaller, the S22 Ultra is thought to just be adjusting the screen ratio of its 6.8-inch display. As above, the screen should be getting shorter and fatter, which is good news if you're a stylus user or struggle to reach the top of taller phones.

We expect all three phones to have a maximum 120Hz refresh rate for their displays. However, just like on the S21 series, only the S22 Ultra is rumored to use LTPO display tech, which allows for a more variable and therefore more power efficient screen.

It's also been claimed that Samsung's Galaxy S22 Ultra display is the brightest one it's ever produced. That would be good news for when you need to use your phone in bright sunlight.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Cameras

The S22 Ultra will allegedly see minor camera upgrades compared to the S21 Ultra, using the same resolution for all its cameras (108MP main, 12MP ultrawide, and two 10MP telephoto cameras). However, changes to the hardware may include a new wider f/1.8 aperture for the 108MP main camera, while the two telephoto sensors will be larger and more sensitive for better image brightness

There is also tipped to be a new 108MP camera mode for the Ultra, allowing users to make the most of the highly detailed main sensor. Video could see a boost, too, in the form of a 60fps option for 8K resolution recordings, a big increase over the current 24fps limit on the S21 Ultra.

Renders allegedly of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus phone, on a white background

(Image credit: OnLeaks/91Mobiles.com)

The rumors about the cameras of the S22 and S22 Pro models are limited. We may see Samsung's new 50MP sensor make an appearance as the main camera on both phones (replacing the S21 and S21 Plus' 64MP sensor), along with a 12MP ultrawide camera and a 10MP 3x optical zoom camera, improving on the 3x hybrid zoom telephoto camera on the Galaxy S21.

Rumors of under-display cameras, like the one used on the Galaxy Z Fold 3, have also been floating around. However, it doesn't look like it'll come to any of the models currently.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Processor and specs

We're expecting all three Galaxy S22 models to use the same chipset, but what that chip is will likely depend on where you're buying. In the U.S., the silicon running the show will should be the next flagship Qualcomm chip, thought to be called the Snapdragon 895 or 898.

In Europe and most of the rest of the world, Samsung's own Exynos 2200 coudl power the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Ultra. The Exynos version of Samsung flagships has traditionally been the less powerful one, but this year it's tipped to come with AMD rDNA graphics, which could give the phone a crucial edge for mobile gaming.

While all the S22s may use identical chips, it's likely there will still be memory and storage differences. The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus both offer only 8GB RAM, and either 128GB or 256GB storage. The Galaxy S21 Ultra offers either 12GB or 16GB RAM, and either 128GB, 256GB or 512GB storage. We'd not be surprised to see a similar split between the Galaxy S22 models.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Batteries and charging

The rumors for the S22 series' battery size have some bad news. The Galaxy S22 will apparently use a 3,800 mAh battery (down from the S21's 4,000 mAh), and the Galaxy S22 Pro will have a 4,600 mAh one (down from the S21 Plus' 4,800 mAh). Only the S22 Ultra would have a capacity unchanged from its S21 counterpart at 5,000 mAh.

To be fair, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Pro are tipped for smaller displays, so the smaller rumored batteries might not result in less battery life. 

There are rumors of Samsung trying out 45W and 65W charging for the Galaxy S22 series, but chances are all the phones will use the same 25W charging standard as the S21 series. If anything, we'd expect a faster charging option for the S22 Ultra only.  

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: S Pen

One of the Galaxy S21 Ultra's unique selling points was its compatibility with the S Pen stylus. However, the phone didn't come with one included, and requires separate storage or the use of specific cases to keep it with the phone.

That may change with the S22 Ultra, which has been rumored to have room for the S Pen built into its body. After skipping a Galaxy Note release this year, it's good to see Samsung potentially turn one of its Galaxy S models into the new Galaxy Note, even if it means we only get one Samsung flagship launch a year from now on.

There doesn't seem to be any hint of the S22 and S22 Pro having an S Pen built-in like this. These phones could still be compatible with separate S Pens like the S21 Ultra was, but adding support for a digitizer would add weight and cost. 

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Price

galaxy s22 concept design

(Image credit: Giuseppe Spinelli, Let's Go Digital)

There's nothing definite or even convincingly rumored about the prices for the Galaxy S22 series so far. It's a safe bet to make that the S22 Ultra will be significantly more expensive than the other two phones, though.

Let's take a look at the current Galaxy S21 range for reference. It starts with the $799 Galaxy S21, and then goes up to the $999 Galaxy S21 Plus, and ends with the $1,199 Galaxy S21 Ultra. That $400 range in prices will probably stick around, even if the phones go up or down a little in price.

There's arguably some pressure from the Google Pixel 6 or OnePlus 9 for Samsung to drop the price of the S22 series, but Apple didn't alter the price of the iPhone 13 compared to the iPhone 12, so it seems doubtful Samsung would want to break that pattern.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Outlook

The Galaxy S22 Ultra looks as if it will deserve the Ultra name compared to the normal S22 and S22 Pro models. In addition to potentially having the best cameras of the whole range and the biggest battery, it'll also reportedly build on the stylus compatibility of the S21 Ultra by having an S Pen built in, along with a new wider display that's more pen friendly.

You'll likely pay a premium for this though, so if you're not bothered by having an S Pen or the top specs, the base Galaxy S22 and the new S22 Pro should still offer upgraded cameras and other new features. Stay tuned as we get closer to launch to learn more about the Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S22 Ultra differences. 

Richard Priday

Richard is a Tom's Guide staff writer based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, gaming, audio and whatever else people need advice on. He's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.