Samsung’s newest range of S Series phones includes the S22, S22 Plus and the S22 Ultra. But, how does the base model differ from last year’s cheapest S Series phone, the Galaxy S21?
We’ve created this guide detailing our early thoughts after having a brief few hours to play with the new Galaxy S22 and fully reviewed the S21 when it launched last year. We’ll update this page with a final verdict comparing the two phones when we’ve had a chance to properly test the S22.
Pricing and availability
Samsung announced the Galaxy S22 on February 9. The phone is priced at £769/$799.99/€859 for 128GB/8GB, or £819/$849.99/€909 for 256GB/8GB.
The Galaxy S21 launched in January 2021 in the same configurations for the same RRP, meaning you won’t need to pay any extra to get the newer phone.
That said, you can definitely bag some savings on the S21 right now. The phone has been discounted to £669 on Amazon, for example.
Design and display
When it comes to design, the Galaxy S22 is the more expensive-looking phone of the two.
This is largely down to the glass back on its rear, which looks more premium than the plastic back on the S21. The glass on the front and back is also Gorilla Glass Victus Plus, making it 12.5% stronger than the Victus Glass on previous Galaxy phones. During our hands on we found this was a key upgrade that made the S22 feel much more premium and solidly built than its predecessor.
Both phones come in four colours. The S21 was available in violet, grey, white and pink, whereas the S22 comes in green, pink/gold, white and black shades.
The Galaxy S22 is also slightly smaller and lighter than the S21 at 70.6 x 146 x 7.6mm and 168g to the S21’s 71.2 x 151.7 x 7.9mm and 169g measurements.
Both phones are water resistant to IP68 and feature fingerprint sensors.
Moving on to the display, both phones feature 6.1-inch FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X displays with adaptive 120Hz refresh rates and 240Hz touch sampling rates in Game Mode.
Both the S21 and the S22 also take advantage of Eye Comfort Shield for AI-based blue light control, while the S22 also features Vision Booster for better detail and contrast in sunny conditions. According to Samsung, the newer phone can hit up to 1300 nits of brightness.
This means the S22 should be better for streaming HDR content and gaming than its predecessor, but until we’ve had a chance to review the new handset we can’t confirm this.
Both the S21 and the S22 feature triple camera arrays, but with slightly different hardware.
The S22 packs a 50-megapixel (f/1.8) wide angle lens, a 12-megapixel (f/2.2) ultra-wide angle lens and 10-megapixel (f/2.4) telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom.
The S21, on the other hand, has a 12-megapixel (f/1.8) wide angle lens, a 12-megapixel (f/2.2) ultra-wide angle lens and a 64-megapixel (f/2.0) telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom.
This means that Samsung has essentially flipped the sizes on its wide and telephoto sensors, as was rumoured. While you might be concerned this will downgrade the zoom, we weren’t overly impressed by the 64-megapixel shooter on the S21 – especially when compared with the duo of telephoto lenses on the S21 Ultra – so this might not be a huge loss. The ultra-wide angle lenses appear to remain unchanged.
Both phones take advantage of the same 10-megapixel (f/2.2) front cameras, which based on our experience reviewing the S21 means they should both be more than good enough for Zoom calls and the selfie.
Like all phones in the S22 line, the Galaxy S22 is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 in the US and the Exynos 2200 in the UK. This chipsets are based on 4nm processes, so you can expect a boost in performance over the previous 5nm generation of processors (including the Snapdragon 888/Exynos 2100 found in the S21). We’ve had nothing but positive things to say about the performance of phones running the Gen 1 chip, with each powering through our benchmarks and every real world test we through at them, so we have high hopes for the S22 when it comes to speed. Sadly we haven’t had a chance to test any device running the new Exynos, so we can comment on its performance or how big an update it will be on its predecessor yet.
Both phones run Samsung’s Android-based One UI software. The S22 actually comes running One UI 4.1 out of the box, so you can take advantage of features like the new colour palette and privacy dashboards right from the get go.
Both phones include support or 5G, Wi-Fi 6 and Samsung Pay contactless payments. The S22 features Bluetooth 5.2, while the S21 supports Bluetooth 5.0.
Both devices includes 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage.
Below you can see a full breakdown of the two phones specs in the table below.
As far as battery life goes, the Galaxy S21 actually has a larger battery than the S22. The S21 packs a 4000 mAh battery, whereas the S22 features a 3700 mAh one.
While we haven’t gotten a chance to test the battery on the S22 for ourselves just yet, we found that the S21 was capable of offering around five to six hours of screen-time when we reviewed the phone.
Both phones also support 25W wired charging and 15W wireless charging, and both come with Wireless PowerShare built-in, so you can use the phone as a charging pad to juice up other devices, such as your Galaxy Buds.
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The S22 has brought with it changes in every area but the price, with a glass back, faster performance and a better main camera to tempt Samsung fans.
However, the battery is smaller and the telephoto lens has taken a hit. The S21 has also been discounted on a number of third-party sites in the lead up to the S22’s release. If you’re looking to save a bit of cash, the S21 remains a great smartphone.