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Samsung Galaxy S22: What the leaks got wrong

You can get a Galaxy S22, S22 Plus or S22 Ultra in your hands in about two weeks. Here's every spec you need to know before you buy.

At its Unpacked event on Wednesday, Samsung unveiled the long-rumored Galaxy S22 series (and the Galaxy Tab S8, too). Preorders for the new flagship line are available now. But before you choose between the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra, there's key information you should know, from the price of each model to their colors and camera specs. 

Samsung S22

The Galaxy S22, announced at Samsung's Unpacked event.

Richard Peterson/CNET

Last year's Galaxy S21 impressed us with its solid all-round performance and a better balance of features and price than the S20. The Galaxy S21 Ultra blew us away with its incredible camera setup and its ability to take superb zoomed-in shots. So what about the follow-up series? Now that the Galaxy S22 has made its debut, here's everything you need to know about Samsung's latest phones.

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All the new Galaxy S22 models available

Samsung offers three variations of the Galaxy S22, with different specs at a variety of prices. There's the base Galaxy S22, along with an S22 Plus and the S22 Ultra model, which has the best specs -- and the highest price to match. It's a recipe Samsung has followed for the last few generations, and as a strategy it's working. (Here's how the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra variants compare.) 

If you're on a more modest budget, it's possible the company will also release a more affordable Galaxy S22 FE, or Fan Edition, but it didn't launch one with the S22 range. The Galaxy S20 FE launched in October 2020, eight months after the flagship S20 lineup, and the Galaxy S21 FE launched earlier in January. The Fan Edition phone made a few smart features and specs sacrifices to achieve a more budget-friendly price.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S22 vs. S22 Plus vs. S22 Ultra: How the specs compare

The Galaxy S22 is coming Feb. 25 and you can preorder now

Each model in the Galaxy S22 line is available for preorder today. Despite rumors of possible delay, the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra will launch and be available to buy on Feb. 25. 

Samsung typically launches its S-series phones in March, but it bucked that trend in 2021 by launching the Galaxy S21 line in January. Although Samsung typically follows a 12-month update cycle, the company unwrapped its new Galaxy S22 series on Feb. 9. 

Read more: Where to buy Galaxy S22: Preorder deals for Samsung's newest phones

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How much does the Galaxy S22 cost? The price depends on the model

For 128GB of storage, the Galaxy S22 ranges in price from $799 to $1,199 depending on the model. The base Galaxy S22 costs $800 (£769, approximately AU$1,249), the S22 Plus costs $1,000 (£949, AU$1,549) and the S22 Ultra costs $1,200 (£1,149, AU$1,849). The price, however, increases as storage capacity gets larger. 

Sales of the Galaxy S20 line didn't impress, likely because of the generally high prices, coupled with widespread financial uncertainty caused by the pandemic. The S21 offered more affordable handsets by swapping glass back panels for toughened plastic. (Here are all the differences between the Galaxy S21 and S20.) 

At launch, the base S20 came in at $1,000, while the base S21 undercut that at $800. Instead of raising prices back to S20 levels, Samsung's has mirrored the Galaxy S21's pricing for the Galaxy S22 series.

Here are the Galaxy S22's US pricing, for reference.

Samsung Galaxy S22 prices


128GB 256GB 512GB 1TB
Galaxy S22 $799 $849 N/A N/A
Galaxy S22 Plus $999 $1,049 N/A N/A
Galaxy S22 Ultra $1,199 $1,299 $1,399 $1,599

What colors does the Galaxy S22 come in? 

Alongside the three new Galaxy phones, Samsung introduced a few new color options. The Galaxy S22 Ultra comes in black, white, green and burgundy, while the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus come in black, white, pink gold and green. 

The Galaxy S22's green and pink colors were teased during Samsung's August 2021 Unpacked event. At one point in the presentation (about 46 minutes in), when Samsung mentioned the S Pen stylus's compatibility with the Galaxy Z Fold 3, the words "S22 colors" were visible on the foldable phone. The text appeared 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," but those didn't turn out to be the official names for the new Galaxy S22 color choices.

Read more: It's about time Samsung phased out the Galaxy Note

The Galaxy S22 will ship with Android 12

The Galaxy S22 line runs on Android 12 -- announced in June last year at Google's I/O event and is now available to download -- with Samsung's own user interface tweaks over the top, including additions like Samsung Health, Samsung Pay and its Bixby virtual assistant software.

Read more: Android 12 hidden features you'll want to try

Everything you need to know about the Galaxy S22 cameras

The Galaxy S22's camera specs look similar to that of the previous generation, aside from the S22 and S22 Plus' bump up to a 50-megapixel main camera. But the company claims to have made some important under-the-hood tweaks. Looking at the high-end model, the Galaxy S22 Ultra features a 108-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultrawide and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a similar camera set-up. Both Ultra models also sport a 40-megapixel selfie camera. 

For the Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus, both phones have a 50-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultrawide and a 10-megapixel telephoto lens. 

All three phones also come with internal camera upgrades that should make them better at taking photos in the dark and automatically framing subjects. 

Before the Galaxy S22 line's reveal, it was speculated that the S22 Ultra could come with a 200-megapixel main camera. This would have been the highest pixel count available for a Samsung phone. Samsung Exynos, the electronic company's division for chipmaking, even flaunted a 200-megapixel phone camera in a March teaser tweet. However, it could mean bigger camera updates are coming in the future. 

Read more: The Galaxy S22 Ultra fails to excite this pro photographer. And that's a problem

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The Galaxy S22 compared with the S21

Since the Galaxy S21 debuted last year, Samsung updated its Galaxy S line and delivered a collection of processor, design, charging and storage upgrades in the form of the Galaxy S22. 

When compared to its predecessor, the Galaxy S22 features the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, support for 45-watt fast wired charging and new color options (as mentioned above). The Galaxy S22 Ultra also comes with an S Pen and an 1TB storage option, which wasn't available for the Galaxy S21 series. 

In terms of display size, the standard Galaxy S22 is smaller than that of the S21. The S22's display is 6.1 inches, while the S21's is 6.2 inches. The Galaxy S22 also sports a smaller battery to match. The Galaxy S21 Plus (6.7 inches) is also slightly larger than the S22 Plus (6.6 inches). The display size of the Galaxy S22 Ultra, however, remained the same at 6.8 inches. 

For a more in-depth look at how the Galaxy S22 measures up against other Galaxy models, check out CNET's comparisons of the Galaxy S22 and S21, as well as the Galaxy S22 and S21 FE

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra: Specs compared

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Other notable Galaxy S22 features: 45-watt charging, 5G, Wi-Fi 6E and 1TB storage

Samsung upgraded the Galaxy S22 lineup with up to 45-watt wired charging support, meaning it offers faster charging times than last year's Galaxy S series. The option of 45-watt wired charging has been available in other galaxy devices in the past, but skipped the Galaxy S21 series. 

According to tipster Ice Universe, 45-watt fast charging is enough to power the phone up to 70% in 35 minutes. But, we won't know the accuracy of the leaker's claims until CNET puts the Galaxy S22 to the test. 

The Galaxy S22, S22 Plus and S22 Ultra also each come with 5G connectivity, while the S22 Plus and S22 Ultra support Wi-Fi 6E. (The base S22 supports Wi-Fi 6.) 

Although Samsung didn't add expandable storage or the option to add a microSD card to the Galaxy S22 series, the S22 Ultra offers a 1TB storage option for those who need the extra space, especially for those high-resolution images and 8K videos. 

For more, check out CNET's Galaxy S21 FE review, as well as how the Galaxy S22 compares to the iPhone 13 and Pixel 6

Richard Peterson/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S22 returns to the flat screens of of the Galaxy S7. The regular Galaxy S22 is the smallest of the bunch, with a 6.1 inch screen but is powered by the the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1. It's a proper beast even if it is diminutive compared to its bigger brothers.

Richard Peterson/CNET

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is very similar to the smaller S22, but features 6.6 inch screen and can host up to 12GB of RAM. It does, however, use the same three camera set-up as the smaller S22. The S22 Plus is also missing the Note-esque stylus that comes with the S22 Ultra.

Samsung

Samsung's latest flagship superphone, the Galaxy S22 Ultra has an impressive lineup of specs, including a quadruple rear camera, a big, vibrant display and the S Pen stylus you might remember from the Galaxy Note series. It comes with a high price, but those of you looking for one of the best Android phones around should have this on your short list.