With its Galaxy S22 Ultra release, Samsung is finally giving customers what they want. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is a true successor to the Galaxy Note, packing a giant display, integrated S Pen, and of course, Samsung’s most advanced camera technology.
But while the Galaxy S22 Ultra is a clear improvement over the aging Galaxy Note S20, it may not be the best option for all customers. It runs on the same processor as the cheaper Galaxy S22 models, and when you ignore the S Pen and Note-like design, it’s not all that different from the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
So, here’s everything you need to know about the Galaxy S22 Ultra, from the raw specs to the dirty details.
The Raw Specs
Here are all the S22 Ultra specs without any context. Read on to learn why these specs matter!
- Display: 6.8-inch AMOLED, 120Hz refresh rate, slightly curved
- Processor: Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200
- Operating System: Android 12 (One UI 4.1)
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB
- RAM: 8GB or 12GB
- Rear Cameras: 108MP (wide), 12MP(ultrawide) 10MP (3x telephoto), 10MP (10x telephoto)
- Selfie Camera: 40MP
- Battery: 5000mAh
- Charging Speed: 45w wired, 15w wireless, 4.5w reverse wireless
- Fingerprint Sensor: Ultrasonic in-display
- Networking: mmWave 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.2, NFC, GPS
- Headphone Jack: Nope
- Protection: Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+, Armor Aluminum frame
- Starting Price: $1,200
These specs may look familiar if you’re a big Samsung fan. That’s because they’re not all that different from last year’s S21 Ultra specs—minus some of the Note-like changes, of course.
Broad Details: Release Date, Colors, and Pricing
Samsung announced the Galaxy S22 lineup during its 2022 Unpacked event on February 9th. Along with the Galaxy S22 devices, the company also showed off a new line of Galaxy Tab S8 tablets.
All of these devices ship on February 25th, despite rumors that the phones would be delayed in some regions due to Exynos 2200 manufacturing problems.
As with the S22 and S22+, Samsung’s new Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at the same price as its predecessor. That means you’ll spend at least $1,200 on the S22 Ultra if you can’t find a good trade-in deal or discount. (We’re surprised that Samsung got away without a price increase, given that the S22 Ultra features an integrated S Pen and an all-new design.)
You can buy the S22 and S22+ in four colors; Phantom Black, Phantom White, Burgundy, and the excitingly-named Green. Samsung’s website also carries exclusive Red, Graphite, and Sky Blue color options.
The Design: A Note By Another Name
In terms of design and functionality, the Galaxy S22 Ultra really just picks up where the Note series left off. But technically speaking, this phone is a successor to the S21 Ultra, not a Note device. Let’s get the Note comparisons out of the way now so we can actually compare the S22 Ultra to its predecessor.
Like a Galaxy Note device, the S22 Ultra features an integrated S Pen slot, though its S Pen no longer matches the phone’s body and features new AI software for increased accuracy. It also has the tight, rectangular edges of a Note device and a slightly curved screen.
The S22 Ultra’s camera array is very different from what we saw in the S21 Ultra. Samsung got rid of the big hump, leaving a few camera lenses flush with the back of the phone. It’s a design that feels distinctly “Note,” although many customers say they want the camera hump to return, as it looks better when you use a phone case. (I disagree on this point, but I thought it was worth mentioning.)
Oddly enough, though, the S22 Ultra uses the same 6.8-inch 120Hz AMOLED display as the S21 Ultra. The only notable difference with the display is that it can actually run at the full 1440p resolution in 120Hz mode.
The Processor: No Different From the Basic S22
One thing that I like to point out with high-end phones is that they don’t necessarily run any faster than their cheaper siblings. Both the basic S22 and the S22 Ultra use a Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip in the U.S. and China, but the Ultra model costs an extra $400.
The same applies if you’re outside the U.S. or China. Samsung’s “international” customers get an Exynos 2200 chip whether they buy the S22, S22+, or S22 Ultra. (I should note that the Exynos 2200 is practically identical to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, minus the fact that it’s the first mobile chip with AMD graphics for ray-tracing.)
That said, the S22 Ultra comes with 12GB of RAM when you buy a model with at least 256GB of storage. This extra RAM could offer a smoother multi-tasking experience than the S22 or S22+, which both cap out at 8GB of RAM.
Compared to the Snapdragon 888 chipset we saw in last year’s S21 lineup, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 isn’t a massive upgrade. Benchmarks indicate that it’s about 20% faster than the Snapdragon 888. That sounds good on paper, but it probably won’t translate to noticeable performance boosts during your day-to-day. (We’re in the process of reviewing the S22 Ultra, so we’ll know soon!)
All About Cameras: A Minor Upgrade
As I mentioned earlier, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s $1,200 price tag is a bit surprising. That’s the same price Samsung asked for its Galaxy S21 Ultra, a phone that didn’t have an integrated S Pen. Well, maybe the camera array can help explain the pricing situation a bit.
On paper, the Galaxy S22 Ultra packs the same rear camera array as its predecessor. There’s a 108MP main lens, a 12MP ultrawide camera, a 10MP telephoto with 3X optical zoom, and a 10MP telephoto with 10X optical zoom. Recordings are still capped at 8K 24FPS, unfortunately.
But Samsung made some small changes to help you pull better photos and videos from this phone. For one, there’s new Super Clear Glass lenses to reduce glare and lens flare—how exciting! Samsung also improved optical image stabilization using new hardware and claims that its photography AI now shoots better Portrait and Nightography shots. (Night Mode is now called Nightography to highlight this generation’s improvements.)
Yeah, these are pretty small upgrades. The only big change is that the S22 Ultra features a 40MP selfie lens, which is a huge improvement over the S21 Ultra’s pithy 10MP front-facing camera.
We’ll know more about the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s camera quality when we finish reviewing the phone. But I’ll tell you this; if you own a Galaxy S21 Ultra and want to upgrade to the S22 Ultra, don’t do it for the cameras. (If you own an older phone, the S22 Ultra’s cameras are absolutely a selling point.)
Charging and Other Features
One of the big disappointments of the S21 Ultra was its 25-watt charging speed, a downgrade from previous models. Samsung set things straight with the S22 Ultra, which now charges at 45 watts. And yes, the necessary charging accessories come in the box.
But the S22 Ultra still uses the same 5000mAh battery, wirelessly charges at 15 watts, and reverse wireless charges at 4.5 watts. And while it supports Wi-Fi 6E, so does the S21 Ultra. There aren’t a lot of upgrades when you really look at this phone’s small details.
The dedicated S Pen is probably the big stand-out feature here. While the old S21 Ultra does offer S Pen support, it requires an expensive and wonky carrying case for the stylus.
You can pre-order the Galaxy S22 Ultra from Samsung, Best Buy, or your carrier. Most retailers are offering pre-order deals that could save you hundreds, so be sure to get in before the phone launches on February 25th.
We’re currently working on reviews for the S22 lineup. Once we have some hands-on experience with the phones, we’ll update this article with any information that may be important to you.