Samsung Galaxy S22 price hike — here's why it could cost more

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra S Pen
(Image credit: Let's Go Digital)

Some potentially bad news surfaced for anyone anticipating the Samsung Galaxy S22 launch, which is likely to happen within a month or two. If you were planning on getting the next version of Samsung's flagship phone, it sounds like you'll need to budget a little extra money over last year's models.

That's because a single leaker is claiming that Samsung is going to raise the price of the three Galaxy S22 models over what it charged for the three comparable Galaxy S21 phones. As you may recall, Samsung slashed prices on last year's flagships, introducing the Galaxy S21 at $799. The Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra saw similar discounts, costing $999 and $1,199, respectively.

But leaker @chunvn8888, posting on Twitter, says Samsung plans to tack another $100 on the price of the various S22 models. That would mean a starting price of $899 for the Galaxy S22, while the Plus and Ultra versions would cost a respect $1,099 and $1,299.

It bears pointing out that we don't know for certain if this price hike is set in stone or if it's even something Samsung is considering. It's the word of one leaker at this point and not one of the more established ones at that. Should you see similar prices repeated by other sources, then it's time to acknowledge there might actually be some fire to this smoke.

Even if the price hike rumor turns out to be true, though, it's not the end of the world. I don't want to minimize the impact of rising costs — not in this economy — but there may be a couple silver linings to be found should Samsung feel it's necessary to charge more for the Galaxy S22.

A higher price suggests a bigger Galaxy S22 update

Not many people would begrudge Samsung upping the cost of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, based on the rumors surrounding that particular model. Not only is that phone expected to get a new, more Galaxy Note-like design, the S Pen is likely to be included with the S22 Ultra — and not just as a standalone accessory, but an upgrade where the phone itself comes with a slot for the stylus. The Galaxy S21 Ultra supported the S Pen, too, but only as an optional accessory, so you had to add that cost into the phone's $1,199 asking price. With the S22 Ultra, it sounds as if Samsung's taking that into account for you.

leaked image of a lavender galaxy s22 ultra on a table with a clear case beside it

A higher Galaxy S22 Ultra price might be justified by the inclusion of an S Pen. (Image credit: Ice Universe)

In contrast, the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus have sound like more modest updates, at least in comparison to the more fully featured Ultra. The phones should have a more advanced chipset in the form of the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and we could get some pretty substantive camera improvements, too. But at the same time, the displays on both new phones are rumored to be shrinking from the S21 and S21 Plus, which could mean smaller batteries as well.

In other words, there's going to need to be a feature in there to justify a $100 boost in starting price. Maybe that's increased storage. Maybe the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus are also adapting the updated LTPO 2.0 display technology that's slated to power the newly announced OnePlus 10 Pro. Or maybe there's more to the camera updates than just a main camera with more megapixels and a telephoto lens with a better optical zoom. 

At this point, that's all just speculation as to the features Samsung might reveal. But one thing that can't be denied is that asking people to pay $100 more for a phone requires an explanation as to why this year's model is at least $100 better than the current version. The onus will be on Samsung to deliver on this point.

Samsung's already got a low-cost alternative

Should the Galaxy S22 prove to be too rich for your blood, you won't have to look too far for a more affordable option. Earlier this week, the Galaxy S21 FE went on sale, and it's every bit as capable as the Galaxy S21 lineup it shares a name with.

Samsung galaxy s21 fe review

So it's low-cost Samsung flagships you're looking for? The Galaxy S21 FE says "Hi." (Image credit: Tom's Guide)

I wrote our Galaxy S21 FE review, and really, my biggest complaints with the phone were the odd timing of its release — a little more than a month ahead of the Galaxy S22's rumored launch — and the fact that the price difference between it and the standard Galaxy S21 isn't all that big. A $200 price difference between the Galaxy S21 FE and Galaxy S22, though, is a lot more noteworthy.

You can criticize Samsung for a price hike on the S22 if you want, and fret about whether rewarding the company for such a move by buying its less expensive phone sends the wrong message. But the fact of the matter is the Galaxy S21 FE becomes a lot easier to recommend if this year's entry-level Galaxy S phone comes in at $899.

Samsung Galaxy S22 price outlook

Were I a betting man — and betting on phone releases is a sign of a serious gambling addiction, so please don't do it — I'd assume that the Galaxy S22 Ultra is going to go up in price. The phone's more premium features justify the move.

On the other hand, I'd expect Samsung to try to hold the line on the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus — or at least raise prices less than this latest rumor is claiming. Either that, or Samsung could have a more impressive update in the works than we realized.

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.