It’s the time of year when Samsung refreshes its smartphone lineup. Say hello to the Galaxy S22 series to mark 2022, comprised of three new Android phones: the Galaxy S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra. Just announced at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked virtual event (alongside three new tablets), these new smartphones are already available for preorder. But should you upgrade? If so, which of the three should you buy? We break down what’s new and what’s different between the models, and we highlight some of the best Galaxy S22 preorder deals.
Table of Contents
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-Year Subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
The New Tech in All Three Phones
All three Galaxy S22 phones share many features and specs. They’re all powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 processor, which is the top-end Android chip of the year, so these should be some of the best-performing Android phones. They’re made of aluminum and the strongest Gorilla Glass (Victus+), have IP68 water resistance so they can be submerged in water, an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor, and feature sub-6 and millimeter-wave 5G support. All have 120-Hz AMOLED screens, along with Vision Booster, which improves screen visibility in sunny conditions, and they share the same 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, 10-megapixel 3X optical zoom telephoto, and 40-megapixel selfie cam.
All the major improvements over the S21 series can be found on each of these devices. That includes smoother Super Steady video stabilization and Portrait mode that does a better job at making sure your hair (or your pet’s fur) doesn’t get blurred out. Portrait mode also works with Night mode. A new video feature called Auto Framing will automatically detect up to 10 people and will adjust the camera to include everyone in the frame, even zooming in if needed.
The big new feature—Adaptive Pixel—is also available on all three models. However, the S22 and S22+ employ a 50-megapixel main camera, whereas the S22 Ultra uses a 108-megapixel sensor. The process works the same on both (and you can read about it in detail here). The camera takes a high-resolution 50-MP or 108-MP picture as well as a pixel-binned image (where pixels are grouped together) and merges the two for brighter, sharper photos. But because the main camera isn’t the same, results will likely vary.
All of these phones will receive four Android OS upgrades and five years of security updates, which is the best software policy around on any Android device right now. Here’s where things start to differ:
This is the smallest of the lot, yet most of the features are the same as on its siblings. What’s different might not matter to you at all. It supports Wi-Fi 6 and not Wi-Fi 6E, for example, but unless you’re about to buy a brand-new Wi-Fi 6E router, you’re not missing much. This model does not have ultra-wideband (UWB) support, which is mostly utilized with certain tracking devices to find them more precisely.