Each year, Samsung rolls out a new line of smartphones. It’s something consumers and techies look forward to. Deciding to upgrade or stick with a previous model is always tricky—especially with the company’s current lineup.
While it’s not uncommon to see Samsung release a mild upgrade to the previous year’s phone, the S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra are surprisingly close in many key areas. If you’re curious which phone comes out ahead, you may be surprised by the answer.
|What is it?
|Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
|Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
|January 29, 2021
|February 25, 2022
|Android 12, One UI
|Android 12, One UI
|1,440 x 3,200, x 515 ppi
|1,440 x 3,088, 500 ppi
|Octa-Core Snapdragon 888 SM8350
|Octa-Core Snapdragon 8 SM8450
|128GB, 256GB, 512GB,
|128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
|108 MP Quad-Camera
|108 MP Quad-camera
|6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches
|6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches
|Price (Base Model)
- The Galaxy S22 Ultra is the first phone since the Note 20 to use the S Pen with a storage slot.
- On the S22 Ultra, Samsung moved the microphone hole next to the SIM tray.
- In 1988, Samsung released its first mobile phone with the SGH-100.
- The hybrid optical zoom system on the S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra is capable of 100x Space Zoom.
- Samsung’s top-selling mobile phone is the Samsung E1110, not a Galaxy series smartphone.
There are more similarities between the S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra than we’ve seen in previous generations. While each phone is certainly in the flagship category, there are some differences to consider if you’re thinking about a Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra upgrade.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Display Comparison
Both phones have 6.8-inch QHD Dynamic AMOLED displays, clocked at 120Hz with HDR10+ capabilities. The older Galaxy S22 Ultra has a slightly higher resolution at 1,440 x 3,200p with a better pixel density ratio of 515, compared to 500 ppi on the S22 Ultra.
The S22 Ultra has a slightly higher screen-to-body ratio, however, and can achieve a peak brightness score of 1,750 nits. It’s the better screen for outdoors and has a slight edge in durability thanks to Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+. Most users won’t notice a difference in resolution, but should in peak brightness outdoors.
The S22 Ultra has a scalable refresh rate like the previous model, although Samsung admitted it’s on par with the S21 Ultra at 48 to 120Hz.
There could be a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor in the Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra or an Exynos processor. That depends on your region and where the phone was purchased, although both chips provide plenty of power.
With that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has an obvious advantage with a new processor. Consumers in countries like North America, the UAE, and South Korea will find the first generation Snapdragon 8 processor inside their handsets while most Europeans receive the Exynos 2200.
Both are octa-core processors which scored lower than last year’s chips in AnTuTu and GeekBench performance tests. The Galaxy S22 Ultra also has a newer Adreno 730 GPU compared to the Adreno 660 found on the S21 Ultra. While you may think the S22 Ultra is a clear winner, it doesn’t have as much RAM.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is available with 12GB or 16GB of RAM depending on the configuration. The base Galaxy S22 Ultra comes with 8GB of RAM and the premium variant only has 12GB. That’s a downgrade, although Samsung added a 1TB storage option for their new flagship.
Average users won’t notice a difference in speed between the two initially, but you will see a dip in performance if the S22 Ultra becomes taxed with too many open pages or apps. The 4GB of RAM difference between the two base models has a significant impact.
Samsung has some of the best smartphone cameras on the market outside of Apple, and the S21 Ultra series took things to an all-new level.
Samsung redesigned the bumps on the back for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which has a total of four cameras on the back, and one on the front.
The real difference between the cameras on the S21 Ultra and the S22 Ultra comes into play with the aperture and software.
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra has improved low-light capabilities and better image stabilization. The S21Ultra is nothing to scoff at in either department, but there is a noticeable improvement with the new model. Specifications for the S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra show both phones have a powerful 108 MP main camera, but the S22 Ultra has a wider f/2.2 aperture to capture more light.
Both rear cameras are 10 MP with 3x optical and 10x optical zoom for the secondary lens. The phones also have an ultra-wide 12MP sensor on the back along with laser autofocus. Video recording is the same on these handsets which can handle 8K at 24 frames per second or 4K at 60 FPS. The Samsung Galaxy Ultra S22 has upgraded software and slightly better sensors.
The difference in cameras between these premium smartphones may seem minimal for many consumers except for photos taken in certain conditions.
Large, powerful smartphones need a big battery to keep the lights on. That often comes at a sacrifice to the design, although Samsung has found various ways to optimize its battery systems. You can’t remove the battery from either of these smartphones, but both have excellent battery life.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra have 5,000mAh batteries with wireless charging capabilities. Both phones can reverse charge other wireless devices at 4.5W, while the fast charge wireless rating is 15W. Samsung improved wired charging times for the S22 Ultra which has a rating of 45W compared to the S21 Ultra at 25W.
How much battery life you’ll get depends on usage as well as how many things you leave open and apps that draw power in the background. Early reviews have shown that users receive more power from the S21 Ultra, even if the batteries are the same size.
At a glance, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra could be from the same generation. They have the same sense of style; The displays are the same size and they have a very similar camera system. The biggest cosmetic change is the fact you can slot the S Pen inside the S22 Ultra and the camera modules on the back.
The S Pen is included with the S22 Ultra which has better latency and a faster processor. Despite that, the S22 Ultra comes with less RAM on the base model, which is a negative if you plan to hold onto the smartphone for 3 to 4 years. The Galaxy S22 Ultra sports a newer version of Android and Samsung’s One UI out of the box as well.
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The image featured at the top of this post is ©iStock.com/Seremin.