Should you buy Samsung Galaxy S22 now or wait for Galaxy S23?

galaxy s23 and galaxy s22 comp shot
(Image credit: OnLeaks / Tom's Guide)

You might be asking yourself whether you should pick up a Galaxy S22 now — and among the best Black Friday deals — or wait for the Galaxy S23, set to debut early next year. It's a great question to ask because you probably want to get the most for your money.

On the one hand, we're sure to see incredible Galaxy S22 deals in the next few weeks, but the Galaxy S23 will be the latest and greatest with all of the newest hardware. So you have to ask yourself what's more important to you, a bargain or the next big thing?

We've collected all of the rumors and leaks about Samsung's upcoming flagship to come up with some buying advice to help you decide. 

Galaxy S23: Reasons to wait

Of course, all of the reasons we're about to outline are based on Galaxy S23 rumors and leaks, so take them with a grain of salt. But as with every new model, the shiny thing is what will catch a lot of people's attention. However, from what we've heard so far, the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus might be remarkably similar to their predecessors.

A render of the Galaxy S23 Plus

(Image credit: OnLeaks/SmartPrix)

New 12MP front camera for Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus

Rumors say that Samsung will upgrade the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus front camera resolutions for the first time since the Galaxy S9 in 2019. The non-Ultra models have made do with 10MP selfie cams, but we hear that the resolution will see a bump to 12MP next year.

That could theoretically mean clearer selfies with sharper detail from a sensor that lets in more light. A 12MP sensor would put the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus more in line with the likes of the iPhone 14 and Pixel 7, which have 12MP and 10.8MP front cameras, respectively. 

New Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 chip

Of course, a new year means a new chipset and for the Galaxy S23, that equals the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2. Following up on the chipmaker's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, the 8 Gen 2 is set to boost performance across the board according to some leaked benchmarks.

In fact, those leaked Galaxy S23 benchmarks point to an Android chipset that matches the iPhone 14 and its A15 Bionic. In that leak, the Galaxy S23, theoretically running the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, managed a Geekbench 5 single-core score of 1,524 and multicore score of 4,597. That handily beats the Galaxy S22's 1,204 / 3,348. We expect the new GPU to also impress.

Larger batteries for Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus

Battery life is an issue for Samsung, so all of us hope that the Galaxy S23 series will finally offer better than average longevity on a charge. The Galaxy 23 Ultra is rumored to stick with a massive 5,000 mAh power pack, but the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus might get larger batteries.

The current rumor mill says the Galaxy S23 will get a 3,885 mAh battery, up from 3,700 mAh in the Galaxy S22. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S23 Plus could get a 4,700 mAh power pack, up from 4,500 mAh. Those are pretty minor boosts — 5% in the Galaxy S23's case — but every little bit helps.

Longer update lifespan

As far as Android phones go, Samsung has the best update policy in the business. With every Galaxy S, Z, and most A devices, you get a substantial four years of Android updates and five years of security patches. No other Android phone maker, not even Google, does that. 

Of course, the Galaxy S23 will be the new kid on the block, so it'll enjoy more years than the Galaxy S22 will, even if you bought one of the latter today. The S22 will stop at Android 16 in 2025 (since Android 13 counted as one of its updates) and see end-of-life in 2027, while the Galaxy S23 will get Android 17 in 2026 and see its last patch in 2028. That means you could technically get more out of your phone when you make your purchase.

200MP main camera for Galaxy S23 Ultra

Finally, a lot of rumors say the Galaxy S22 Ultra will get a huge main camera upgrade to 200MP. The Galaxy S22 Ultra uses its 108MP main sensor to great effect, coming close to the iPhone 14 Pro and Pixel 7 Pro in a lot of cases. 

Leaker Ice Universe says the huge jump in resolution will be extremely noticeable, claiming that it'll be the biggest leap that Samsung's nighttime smartphone photography has had in the last five years. If the Korean phone maker plays its cards right, the Galaxy S23 Ultra could take the crown for the best camera phone.

Galaxy S22: Reasons to buy now

Of course, we don't know when the Galaxy S23 will come out exactly. The Galaxy S22 launched in February 2022, but the latest rumors say Samsung might return to a January launch window for the Galaxy S23.

That said, Black Friday is right around the corner, and Samsung and the carriers often roll out some crazy phone deals. We think the Galaxy S22 is about to get a lot more tempting, which makes sense since it's still a great batch of phones. Here's why we think we should consider picking one up if a sale catches your eye.

galaxy s22 plus review

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Not many rumored design changes

Many complaints of the modern smartphone come down to the idea that most new models are iterative rather than innovative. People, including us, often get bored with the same design every year, something we've felt with the iPhone 14, which is on its third year of its design.

The Galaxy S23 doesn't look like it'll change too much, though some leaks suggest that Samsung will drop the contoured camera module, instead setting each camera lens up separately on the back of the phone, much like the Galaxy S22 Ultra. We won't know until Samsung takes off the wraps next year, but from what we've heard, it might be the same, or similar, look this time around.

Same three models

Samsung has offered three models since the Galaxy S20, giving people a nice range of prices and features to meet their needs and budgets. That looks to remain the same with the Galaxy S23, which is set to keep the regular model, the Galaxy S23 Plus, and Galaxy S23 Ultra.

We've heard no rumors about any other models, which makes it easier to extrapolate out what to expect. The Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus will be basically identical in all but size while Samsung puts all its focus on the Galaxy S23 Ultra. And based on the Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus, we don't expect huge leaps forward, making the current variants still appealing.

Better deals

Being the older model, the Galaxy S22 will likely see some major discounts both in the upcoming holiday season and when the Galaxy S23 launches. Carriers will want to empty their inventories, as will Samsung.

That means you might be able to get one of the Galaxy S22 models for dirt cheap. For example, we've seen the Galaxy S22 Ultra for as low as $899, which is $300 off. Check out our Galaxy S22 deals roundup for more and our best Black Friday deals roundup. 

Cameras are still really good

While Samsung sits firmly in third place behind Apple and Google for best camera phones, the Galaxy S22 et al still provide great photos. Nighttime photography is especially good, with Samsung giving Apple and Google a serious run for their money. 

So while the Galaxy S23 series will likely get some boosts in camera technology, such as the 12MP selfie upgrade for the non-Ultra models, it doesn't make the Galaxy S22's photography merits any less. They're still great in a lot of situations.

Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is still very powerful

Sure, the leaks about the Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 are pretty exciting as Qualcomm continues to close the gap with Apple. However, that does not diminish the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1's power and capabilities. It's more than powerful enough for most people, including gaming and photography.

Don't get distracted by the latest chipset when today's flagship is still more than adequate in all situations.

Only major camera upgrades for Galaxy S23 Ultra

Going back to cameras for a second, it looks like most of the upgrades will be reserved for the Galaxy S22 Ultra. So if you weren't planning to spring for the top-of-the-line handset, then you might be disappointed by what Samsung offers with the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus as far as cameras go.

But Samsung is often in the habit of trickling down camera features from its latest devices to its older ones, so you might see a lot of the Galaxy S23 Ultra's software tricks come to the Galaxy S22 Ultra. So it might not be worth going for the latest if Samsung's MO holds true.

Bottom line

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

(Image credit: Future)

Regardless of whether you go for the Galaxy S22 now or hold out for the Galaxy S23, you'll more than likely have an excellent phone. It's your needs that'll sway your decision, as budgetary concerns are on a lot of people's minds. When the Galaxy S23 does launch, the Galaxy S22 might still be an attractive option as a way to save some money.

Based on rumors so far, it looks like Samsung will once again focus most of its attention on the Galaxy S23 Ultra while making minor improvements to the Galaxy S23 and Galaxy S23 Plus. It's a very Apple approach.

As for whether to buy a Galaxy S22 now or wait for the Galaxy S23, we don't have a definitive answer. It really depends on your needs, budget, time frame and what you want out of a smartphone. However, we've outlined what you need to know to best make your buying decision, so now it's up to you.

Jordan Palmer
Phones Editor

Jordan is the Phones Editor for Tom's Guide, covering all things phone-related. He's written about phones for over six years and plans to continue for a long while to come. He loves nothing more than relaxing in his home with a book, game, or his latest personal writing project. Jordan likes finding new things to dive into, from books and games to new mechanical keyboard switches and fun keycap sets. Outside of work, you can find him poring over open-source software and his studies.