Forget the Samsung Galaxy S23 — buy the Galaxy S22 instead

Samsung Galaxy S22 review
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Fans of Samsung's Galaxy S flagships find themselves smack dab in the middle of a "Should I or Shouldn't I" dilemma if they're in the market for a new phone. Right now, the best Samsung phones available are highlighted by the Galaxy S22 models released earlier this year. And with excellent cameras, a solid processor, and now the availability of Android 13 via Samsung's One UI 5 update, a Galaxy S22 would be an excellent choice for a new phone.

But wait just one moment — in a couple months' time, there will be a new Samsung flagship on the block. It's no secret that the smartphone giant is currently working on the Galaxy S23, with the most recent rumors suggesting that the phone will make its debut at a Galaxy Unpacked launch event in early February 2023.

Thus, the dilemma if you're considering a new Galaxy device — buy the Galaxy S22 now, or wait for the Galaxy S23 to arrive?

Allow me to be the devil on your shoulder. If you're in the market for a new Samsung phone, you should turn your gaze away from whatever phones are coming down the pike and get the Galaxy S22 right now.

Let me clarify that I'm speaking only about the entry-level Galaxy 22 model and maybe a little bit about the slightly larger Galaxy S22 Plus. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a completely different matter, as the rumored changes coming to the Galaxy S23 Ultra sound like they'll be worth the two-month wait. But if you're not the sort to pay top dollar for a Galaxy flagship, jump on the Galaxy S22 without reservation or regret.

Here's why I think it probably doesn't pay for Galaxy phone fans to wait for next year's flagship.

The Galaxy S22 is a great phone

As I said at the outset, the Galaxy S22 is a great device, one of the best phones we reviewed in the last year. It may not have the Ultra's flashy features, but it does provide a premium experience at a reasonable starting price of $799. (We'll talk a little bit more about pricing in a moment.) 

The Galaxy S22 has a bright, colorful display — I think it's the best screen of any of the flagship phones released in 2022, as a matter of fact. And while I'm always going to roll my eyes at the clunky "Nightography" branding Samsung's been promoting with this phone, you can't ignore how well the Galaxy S22 cameras perform in low-light.

Samsung Galaxy S22 review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Speaking as a fan of compact phones, I also appreciate how the Galaxy S22 packs its 6.1-inch display into a design that fits so easily in my hand. And if you prefer more screen space, well, that's what the Galaxy 22 Plus is for. You get all the great features found in the Galaxy S22, only with a larger 6.6-inch screen (and faster wired charging).

So let's be clear — if you pick up either a Galaxy S22 or Galaxy S22 Plus, you're getting one of Samsung's best phones for less than $1,000. You're hardly settling by choosing either device.

Galaxy S22 deals are everywhere

And at this point, you're not exactly paying full price, either. Black Friday may be in the rear view mirror, but Galaxy S22 deals remain in full force.

At Samsung right now, you can save up to $475 on the cost of a Galaxy S22 (opens in new tab) depending on what phone you trade in. Both Verizon (opens in new tab) and AT&T (opens in new tab) are offering the Galaxy S22 for free with an eligible trade-in and when you sign up for one of the carriers' unlimited plans. You'll find similar discounts on the Galaxy S22 Plus as well. Don't want to bother with trade-ins or carriers? Amazon sells an unlocked Galaxy S22 at a $135 discount (opens in new tab) as of this writing.

Yes, retailers and wireless carriers are trying to clear out their Galaxy S22 inventory in advance of next year's Galaxy S23 launch. But why not take advantage of that, especially if it means saving big on one of the year's best phones?

The Galaxy S23 doesn't sound like a big leap forward

There's a question hanging over every tech purchase:  Is there about to be something better than what I'm buying? The answer to that question is, invariably, yes. Device makers are always working on an improved version of what they're trying to sell. The thing you have to determine is whether those likely changes are going to bring about something you'll rue missing out on.

A split image with unofficial renders of the Galaxy S23 and the Galaxy S22

(Image credit: Tom's Guide/OnLeaks/Digit.In)

We won't know for sure until that rumored Unpacked event this coming February, but based on what we've heard so far, the Galaxy S23 is likely to be an incremental improvement over the Galaxy S22. You'll get a much faster. more power efficient chipset with the Galaxy S23, should Samsung do what everyone's expecting and adopt the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 silicon for its new phone. The S23 could ditched the contour cut design of the S22, with the rear camera lenses sticking out less. We've also heard about modest bumps in battery size. 

None of those are major changes, as it appears that the Galaxy S23 Ultra could be getting the bulk of Samsung's attention this time around. A 200MP main camera — which is reportedly headed to the Ultra — would certainly be worth waiting for, so again, if you're eyeing Samsung's premium phone, you should put off a purchase until next year. But I don't think anyone holding a Galaxy S22 will be consumed envy the day after the Galaxy S23 lands.

Outlook

Any purchase involves an opportunity cost of some sort. In the case of buying a Galaxy S22 right now, that means foregoing whatever changes Samsung is planning for the S23. But if what we're hearing is correct, there's not much the standard Galaxy S23 model will offer that you can't get with the Galaxy S22. And you get the latter very cheaply right now.

To me, the decision couldn't be any clearer. Buy the Galaxy S22, and laugh yourself all the way to the bank about how much money you saved.

Next: Samsung Galaxy S23 just tipped for upgrade that beats iPhone 14 Pro (opens in new tab)

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.