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 UltraSamsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
ManufacturerSamsungSamsung
Release DateJanuary 29, 2021February 25, 2022
PlatformAndroid 12, One UIAndroid 12, One UI
Display Size6.8 inches6.8 inches
Screen-to-Body Ratio89.8%90.2%
Resolution1,440 x 3,200, x 515 ppi1,440 x 3,088, 500 ppi
ProcessorOcta-Core Snapdragon 888 SM8350Octa-Core Snapdragon 8 SM8450
GPUAdreno 660Adreno 730
Memory12GB, 16GB8GB, 12GB
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB,128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Rear Camera108 MP Quad-Camera108 MP Quad-camera
Front Camera40 MP40 MP
Battery5,000mAh5,000mAh
Dimensions6.5 x 2.98 x 0.35 inches6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches
Weight229 grams229 grams
Price (Base Model)$971$1,118

S21 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: 4 Must-Know Facts

  • 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.

S21 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: What’s the Difference?

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
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has some key differences from the S22 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Display Comparison

On paper, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra appear to have identical displays.

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.

Performance

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.

S21 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra Camera Specifications

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.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is better suited for those moments you can’t see your phone screen because the sun is too bright.

Battery Life

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.  

S21 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: Which One is Better? 

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.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: How Do They Compare? FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Is the Galaxy S22 Ultra more durable than the S21 Ultra?

Both phones have a sturdy aluminum frame with protection from Corning Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back, although the Galaxy S22 Ultra uses an upgraded version called Victus+.

Does the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra have a SD card slot?

No. While you can find tablets and budget-friendly Samsung phones with a micro SD card slot, Samsung doesn’t include one on the S21 or S22 Ultra.

Can you use the S21 or S22 Ultra underwater?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra have IP68 certification. They are resistant to dust and water, but aren’t completely waterproof. The phones can withstand submersion in fresh water up to 1.5 meters deep for 30 minutes.

What colors are the Galaxy S21 Ultra available in?

The basic color options on the S22 Ultra are Phantom Black, Phantom White, Green, or Burgundy. The handset is also available in Red, Sky Blue, or Graphite as a Samsung exclusive.

Does the S21 Ultra come with an S Pen like the S22 Ultra?

No. You can purchase one as part of a bundle that includes the S Pen, although it doesn’t have a slot for the stylus like the S22 Ultra.

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