Samsung has refreshed its smartphone lineup with three new Android smartphones: the Galaxy S22, S22 +, and S22 Ultra. They’re now officially on sale, but should you upgrade? If so, which of the three should you buy? We break down what’s new with these models over their predecessors, what’s different between them, and which is right for you. We’ve also highlighted a few great Galaxy S22 deals and offers from carriers and retailers.
Be sure to check out our Best Samsung Galaxy S22 Cases and Accessories guide to kit your new phone, and our Best Android Phones guide if you want to see what else is out there.
Updated February 2022: We’ve added details from our review and replaced preorder language as the phones are now available.
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The New Tech in All 3 Phones
All three Galaxy S22 phones (9/10, WIRED Recommends) 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, and they’re some of the best-performing Android phones around. 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, 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) does not 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 zoom in if needed.
The S22 and S22 + employ a 50-megapixel main camera, whereas the S22 Ultra uses a 108-megapixel sensor. The big new feature — Adaptive Pixel — is available on all three despite the different main sensors (you can read about it in detail here). But as I found in my review, it’s not easy to access and the results are not dramatically better.
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, but most of the features are the same as on its siblings. The differences are small and might not even matter to you. For example, it supports Wi-Fi 6 and not Wi-Fi 6E, 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 locate them more precisely.