Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Galaxy S21: what to expect


The Samsung Galaxy S22 delivers more performance and improved cameras in the most compact form factor available in the flagship Galaxy series. But how does it compare against last year’s Galaxy S21?

In this article we take a deeper look at all the differences between the two. The big highlight of the newer S22 is that it is actually more compact than its predecessor, with a 6.1″ screen that is less tall, compared to the bigger 6.2″ screen on the S21. However, with this reduction in size also comes a reduction in battery size, which sounds a bit troubling. 

Galaxy S22 vs S21 differences in a nutshell:

  • Galaxy S22 is more compact
  • S22 has a brighter display
  • Faster chips in the S22, same 8GB RAM on both
  • Similar triple camera system with upgraded sensors on S22
  • Better night video, portrait mode photos on S22
  • 128GB base storage on both, no microSD card support
  • New color options on S22: black, white, green and pink gold

The Galaxy S22 takes the idea of a compact phone and truly lives up to it. While the Galaxy S21 featured a 6.2-inch display and did not quite feel like a true “mini” phone, the newer Galaxy S22 embraces that idea with a 6.1″ screen that is considerably less tall.

Samsung has been making increasingly larger phones over the past few years, and for the first time with the S22 it’s reversing course towards a more pocketable and compact handset. In fact, the S22 is only slightly taller than the miniature Galaxy S10e that launched in 2019!
Here’s how the Galaxy S22 dimensions compare to recent Samsung flagships: Galaxy S22 — 146 x 70.5 x 7.6mm
Galaxy S21 — 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm
Galaxy S20 — 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm
Galaxy S10 — 149.9 x 70.4 x 7.8mm
Galaxy S10e — 142.2 x 69.9 x 7.9mm

And the new Galaxy S22 also weighs a tiny bit less at 167g versus 171g on the S21.

The rest of the phone looks quite familiar: you get a flat screen, punch hole design on the front and, for the first time ever on a Samsung, completely uniform bezels. Previous Galaxy phones used to have a bit of a “chin”, or a wider bottom border, but no more. That might seem like a small thing, but it is something only Apple and Google have actually made, and it just looks cool.

We also have the latest Dynamic AMOLED screen tech with more vibrant colors and higher peak brightness of 1,500 nits compared to the 1,300 nits maximum on the S21. Of course both phones support a 10-120Hz adaptive refresh rate for buttery smooth scrolling in apps.

Security on both phones is handled via an in-screen fingerprint scanner of the ultrasonic type. We did not notice any difference in performance, both are quite accurate and fast enough (even if not quite the fastest in the industry). Both phones will also support 2D image-based face recognition via the front camera.

Performance

The Galaxy S22 comes with all new processors powering the show, and just like in previous years, the US model will be equipped with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chip, while international models will get the Exynos 2200.

The Galaxy S21, on its part, has the Snapdragon 888 in the US, while international models feature the Exynos 2100 processor.

Below, you can find benchmarks of the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and how its performance compares to the previous, Snapdragon 888:
While CPU performance testing does not seem to show a gigantic improvement in performance, the GPU does, and that means that gamers will be in for a treat.

In the GFXBench 5 Aztec Ruins offscreen test, the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 scored 45 frames per second. Other phones were far behind, and for example, the Galaxy S21 Ultra only showed up with 19fps on the same test, which means the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 deliver more than twice as much.

We are yet to hear more about the performance differences and will update this section as more information becomes available.

There is not much of a change in RAM or storage. The S22 comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage in the base model for $800, and just $50 on top buys you an 8GB/256GB model, which seems like a no-brainer upgrade. Don’t forget that Samsung no longer supports microSD cards on either one of these.

Cameras

Just looking at the camera setup on the back, it’s hard to tell the S22 apart from the S21, as both have similar-looking triple camera systems. But it’s what inside those cameras that undergoes some changes.

So, we have triple cameras on both: wide, ultra-wide, and telephoto zoom cameras. Check out the table below with the detailed camera specifications:

The biggest change is the new 50MP main sensor on the S22, bigger than the previous model. This larger sensor will allow the S22 to do quad-binning, aka combining four pixels into one for improved light gathering ability.

The telephoto camera which used to be a 64MP sensor that cropped in to zoom on the S21 is replaced with a native 3X zoom lens, a change that gives you cleaner shots for long range zoom. There seem to be no changes in the hardware for the ultra-wide and the front cameras.

We will be updating this section with more details and sample photos soon.

On the video front, Samsung is still one of few companies to support 8K video, and of course, you can record at lower resolutions like 4K60, 4K30, and 1080p on both phones as well.

Samsung also promises improved night time video recording and enhanced video stabilization that will work even at night.

Battery life and Charging

The biggest compromise Samsung had to make with this compact S22 is the smaller battery: you have a 3,700mAh battery vs 4,000mAh on the S21, which is a nearly 8% reduction in size. Not a small change for a phone that did not have a great battery life to begin with.

We are yet to see whether Samsung can offset this smaller battery size with more power efficient chips and display technology, and achieve the same battery life that it has on the S21, stay tuned for our battery test results coming soon.

On the charging front, both phones charge at up to 25W speeds, and don’t forget that you don’t get a charging brick in the box with either one. 

Both also support wireless charging with max speeds of up to 15W, as well as reverse wireless charging where your phone is able to act as a wireless power bank.

Specs Comparison

Good news is that Samsung has not changed prices and the Galaxy S22 still starts at $800 for the base model, while only $50 more buys you a 256GB storage model, which sounds like a no-brainer upgrade for heavier users.

Despite the smaller battery, we think that the more compact size and the improved cameras and faster performance make for an exciting S22 launch. Should you upgrade if you already own the Galaxy S21? You don’t need to, the differences are not that huge, but for those rocking older phones, the S22 shapes up as a great option.





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