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Surprise! Galaxy S22 Ultra could be called Galaxy S22 Note

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra rear with S Pen in three colors
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital)

Update: A new rumor claims the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and S22 Plus will sport some of the brightest displays ever, with both phones set to hit a peak brightness of 1,750 nits.

Samsung may have taken a pass on releasing a new Galaxy Note phablet this year, but the new year could bring a new Note — at least in name only.

It's no secret right now that Samsung is readying its Galaxy S22 lineup for a launch in early 2022, with February as the likely landing date for the new flagship phones. As in recent years, we're expecting three models, with Plus and Ultra versions joining the standard Galaxy S22. However, persistent rumors claim that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will instead be released as a Galaxy Note.

The latest person to make that claim is a Twitter leaker posting under the name of Tron, who posts tidbits here and there about upcoming Samsung phones. The latest tweet, spotted by PhoneArena.com, claims that the S22 Ultra is making way for the Galaxy S22 Note.

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We can't say definitively how reliable this claim is, though Tron is not the first to make it. What's more, other leaks about the Galaxy S22 Ultra/Galaxy S22 Note suggest that the phone will have more in common with Samsung's phablets than it does with the Galaxy S lineup.

For starters, the S22 Ultra/S22 Note is supposed to include S Pen support just like the Galaxy Notes of old. True, this year's Galaxy S21 Ultra also featured S Pen support, but only as an optional accessory. This time around, Samsung reportedly plans to offer the S Pen as a built-in feature with the largest device in its S22 lineup.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra/S22 Note could stand out from the rest of the S22 lineup in other ways. Rumors point to a different design for this phone. Leaked images, purportedly of the S22 Ultra, have shown off a device with a blocky look and a flat top and bottom. Those characteristics are far more Note-like than they are reminiscent of the Galaxy S models. The Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus are rumored to have more conventional designs.

In previous years, Samsung had kept its Galaxy S and Note devices separate, launching the former at the start of the year and the latter in the second half. But as Galaxy S phones got bigger, one of the key differentiating factors from the Note lineup disappeared. Adding S Pen support to the S22 Ultra further erased any boundaries between the different devices.

Merging the Galaxy S and Note into a single lineup would make a lot of sense, especially if Samsung preserves the Galaxy Note name for power users who appreciate having a productivity-boosting device. That would also free up Samsung to continue to develop foldable devices like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Galaxy Z Flip 3 for release in the latter half of the year.

While the Galaxy S22 Ultra/S22 Note might have a different look and some more powerful features than the other S22 devices, the basic guts of the phones should be the same. We're expecting the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 to power all three phones, at least those released in the U.S. All three phones should also have wide, ultrawide and telephoto cameras, though the S22 Ultra is likely to add a second telephoto lens as the S21 Ultra did. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has also been tipped to have 1TB of onboard storage

We'll find out exactly what Samsung has in mind — and what it will call its next phones — in just a couple months.

Philip Michaels
Philip Michaels is a senior editor at Tom's Guide. He has strong opinions about Apple, the Oakland Athletics and old movies. Follow him at @PhilipMichaels.