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Galaxy S22 vs. Galaxy S21: The biggest rumored differences

Rumor has it Samsung's Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra could have some key differences compared to the Galaxy S21 series.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 could get a few features that the Galaxy S21 (shown above) doesn't have. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

When the Galaxy S21 was released last year, it impressed us with solid all-around performance. But as we inch closer to Samsung's Galaxy S22 rumored release date, how will the Galaxy S21 compare to its successor? So far, we've heard the Galaxy S22 lineup, featuring a standard, Plus and Ultra version of the phone, could offer a plethora of camera, processor and battery upgrades. Although we heard the pricing for the Galaxy S22 line may stay fairly consistent with the Galaxy S21 collections, the base S22 Ultra may have less RAM than before

Although Samsung teased a February Unpacked event, the exact launch date for the Galaxy S22 is still unclear. Leaker Jon Prosser speculates Samsung's new smartphone will be revealed on Feb. 8, and leaker Ice Universe suggests the phone line will arrive on Feb. 9. The Galaxy S21 was revealed in January 2021. This was a change from the phone-maker's previous timeline for the Galaxy S Series, which is usually unveiled in February. 

Samsung's Galaxy S21 series features three phones, the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. (Here are CNET's Galaxy S21 review and Galaxy S21 Ultra review.) The Galaxy S22 series is rumored to mirror this three-phone lineup, if leaks around the phones' screen sizes are to be believed. 

Here are the rumors we've heard about the Galaxy S22 specs, so far, and how they compare to the Galaxy S21. Just note that none of the Galaxy S22 specs have been confirmed by Samsung. We'll keep this story updated as we hear more.

If you're curious about the earlier Galaxy S series phones, here's how the Galaxy S21 compares to Galaxy S20 and the best Android phones you can buy in 2022. 

Read more: CES 2022's phone reveals include new specs, 5G updates and lower prices

Now playing: Watch this: Top 5 most exciting Galaxy S22 Ultra rumors
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Price: Will the Galaxy S22 cost more than the S21? 

We haven't yet heard any official word about the price of the upcoming Galaxy S22 lineup, but we anticipate that Samsung will keep prices fairly consistent with last year's flagship. The South Korean electronics giant slashed the price of its Galaxy S21 handset by $200 compared with the previous year's flagship, the Galaxy S20. The Galaxy S21 ranges in price from $799 to $1,379 depending on the model.

Here's the Galaxy S21's US pricing, for reference.

Galaxy S21 US Pricing


128GB 256GB 512GB
Galaxy S21 $799 $849 N/A
Galaxy S21 Plus $999 $1,049 N/A
Galaxy S21 Ultra $1,199 $1,249 $1,379

Leaker Roland Quandt revealed speculative European pricing information for the Galaxy S22 series in a recent tweet. The pricing seems to be consistent with the Galaxy S21 line, however, the equally-price Ultra model appears to come with less RAM than it's Galaxy S21 counterpart. 

Quandt speculates the S22 will start at 849 euros, the S22 Plus at 1,049 euros and the base S22 Ultra will cost 1,249 euros. That starting price of 849 euros converts to about $960, £715 or AU$1,850, but bear in mind euro prices include tax. All the base models of the Galaxy S21 could come with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, while the Galaxy S22 Ultra also offers options for 12GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage, according to Quandt. If this rumor rings true, the base Galaxy S22 Ultra could come with 8GB of RAM instead of the 12GB that is in the base Galaxy S21 Ultra. 

Previous leaks speculate the Galaxy S22 line may be more expensive than initially expected. According to @chunvn8888 (a tipster who doesn't have much of a track record compared to others) the Galaxy S22 lineup will be priced higher than the Galaxy S21 series. It's said the standard Galaxy S22 will cost $899, while the Galaxy S22 Plus and S22 Ultra will be priced at $1,099 and $1,299, respectively. That's a $100 price hike compared to the Galaxy S21 series.

Design: Galaxy S22 may be thinner than the S21, with a smaller display

The Galaxy S22 lineup could be slightly smaller and thinner than the S21, according to leaker Mauri QHD. 

The Galaxy S22 is speculated to come in three sizes: 6.06, 6.55 and 6.81 inches. In comparison, the standard Galaxy S21 is 6.2 inches, the S21 Plus is 6.7 inches and the S21 Ultra is 6.8 inches.

Mauri QHD also theorizes the thinner design may result in a smaller battery for the Galaxy S22. The Galaxy S21 houses a 4,000- to 4,500-mAh battery. The anticipated shrinkage of the Galaxy S22 is abnormal when looking at Samsung's previous phone models. The South Korean electronics giant's S series has been steadily growing in size over time from the Galaxy S10 (150x70x7.8mm) to the Galaxy S20 (152x69x7.9mm) and then Galaxy S21 (152x71x7.9mm). 

We don't know exactly what each Galaxy S22 model will look like but, renders from blog LetsGoDigital and digital artist Giuseppe Spinelli show that Samsung's new phone could have a similar design to the Galaxy S21 lineup with a metal camera block on the top left corner and a punch-hole camera in the top center of the display. LetsGoDigital and Super Roader, a former South Korean Samsung employee, made the renders by obtaining information about the Galaxy S22 lineup's design and then commissioning Spinelli to make images of the phone based on that information.

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The Samsung Galaxy S22 could have a metal camera block and a punch-hole camera.

LetsGoDigital and Giuseppe Spinelli

Colors: The Galaxy S22 could come in new colors that the S21 didn't offer

The Galaxy S21 came in six colors. This included black, silver, gray and white as well as a chrome-like purple and pink. According to gossip from Dutch blog Galaxy Club, the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus could be available in four colors: white, black, rose gold and green. The new green option is said to be similar to the Phantom Green of the Galaxy Z Fold 3. The Galaxy S22 Ultra could be offered in white, black and a burgundy, the blog says. 

Earlier buzz from LetsGoDigital said the Galaxy S22 could come in light pink and green color options. The blog speculated that during Samsung's August 2021 Unpacked event the company may have hinted at the possible new colors. At one point in Samsung's Unpacked presentation (about 46 minutes in), the company showed off the S Pen stylus's compatibility with the Galaxy Z Fold 3. At that moment, the words "SS22 colors" are written on the foldable phone. The text appears next to a separate window showing a light green plaid pair of pants and a baby pink blazer that pointed to the words "Pistachio Green" and "Flamingo Pink." It's possible we could see these new colors for the Galaxy S22, but we won't know for sure until the phone makes its debut. 

Read more: My top 5 wishes for the Samsung Galaxy S22

Camera: Galaxy S22 may get the camera upgrades the S21 missed

After keeping the camera options stagnant for the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21, Samsung may upgrade its selection for the Galaxy S22. Early rumors say the Galaxy S22 Ultra will come with a 200-megapixel main camera. If the speculation proves to be true, this would be the highest pixel count available for a Samsung phone. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a 108-megapixel wide-angle camera, for comparison. 

The camera gossip came after a teaser tweet shared by Samsung Exynos, the electronic company's division for chipmaking, in March flaunting a 200-megapixel phone camera. The upgrade could be coming as a result of a potential partnership with Olympus.

Ice Universe, however, speculates the upcoming Galaxy S22 Ultra could feature a more polished version of Samsung's third-generation 108-megapixel camera sensor (the Isocell HM3). A leaked spec sheet for the Galaxy S22, reported on by 91Mobiles, also shows the phone to have a 108-megapixel camera, but with a SuperClear lens. 

Read more: Best camera phones for 2022

The Galaxy S22 Ultra may have an under-display selfie camera as well, but rumors regarding this feature currently contradict each other. Some speculate that Samsung has filed a patent for a punch hole camera with a sub-display that moves out of the way when the camera is needed, while others claim the hidden front camera won't be a part of the upcoming Galaxy S22 because the camera quality isn't high enough.

The camera selection for the upcoming Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus may not be that exciting, as the models are speculated to have a 50-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide and a 12-megapixel telephoto with a 3x zoom. The regular and plus models of both the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 featured a 12-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide and a 64-megapixel telephoto, in comparison.

Read more: Galaxy S21 Ultra camera tricks

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The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra could sport a 200-megapixel camera, as shown in this render.

Technizo Concept/LetsGoDigital

Processor: Will the Galaxy S22 come with a Snapdragon 895 chip?

The Galaxy S22 could be getting a speed boost. Ice Universe speculates the new flagship phone could be equipped with an improved Qualcomm chip, the Snapdragon 895. In comparison, the Galaxy S21 comes equipped with the Snapdragon 888.

The rumor comes after Qualcomm unveiled its Snapdragon 888 Plus last year. Ice Universe also speculates Samsung could be the company to manufacture the new smartphone processor. 

Read more: Best gaming phones for 2022

The bump in processing power is rumored to be paired with a boost in graphics. The Galaxy S22 could come with an AMD GPU as a result of a partnership between Samsung and the chip giant. 

The Galaxy S22 may also come with an active fan mode to cool down the phone during gaming or other times of intensive usage, according to Dutch blog LetsGoDigital.

Charging: The Galaxy S22 could support 65-watt charging, offering faster power up times than the S21 

Samsung could be upgrading the Galaxy S22 lineup with 65-watt charging support, according to leaker FrontTron. The tipster posted to Twitter that 65-watt charging support is in the testing phase for Rainbow RGB, a rumored codename for the S22 series. If the speculation becomes reality, the S22 would offer significantly faster charging times than the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Note 20 lineup, which both have 25-watt charging.

Ice Universe speculates the Galaxy S22 Ultra will also come with 45-watt fast charging support. This is enough to power the phone up to 70% in 35 minutes, according to the tipster.

What's in the box: Still no charger included with the S22 or S21

Although the battery power of the upcoming Galaxy S22 line is uncertain, Samsung confirmed last year that, starting with the Galaxy S21 line, future smartphones won't include chargers or headphones in the box. 

For more, take a look at how to choose the best Galaxy S21 model for you and CNET's review of the Galaxy S21 FE

Rumored Samsung Galaxy S22 vs. Galaxy S21 Specs


Galaxy S22 Galaxy S21
Display size 6.06-, 6.55- and 6.81-inch options 6.2-, 6.7- and 6.8-inch options
Processor Snapdragon 895 Snapdragon 888 or 64-bit octa-core processor
Cameras 50MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide, 12MP telephoto 12MP main camera, 12MP ultrawide, 64MP telephoto
Battery Unknown 4,000 to 4,500 mAh
Charging support 65W 25W
Starting price (US) $899 $799
Starting price (GBP) £715 £769
Starting price (AUD) AU$1,850 $1,249