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Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worth the Upgrade?


Samsung revealed the Galaxy S22 series at its virtual Unpacked event today, putting an end to the deluge of rumors and suspicions. While Samsung unveiled three smartphones, the Galaxy S22, S22 Plus, and Galaxy S22 Ultra, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the center of attention.

And there’s a good explanation for that. Samsung has completed the shift to Note features in the S-series with the S22 Ultra, after completing the initial step with the S21 Ultra last year.

Now, if you’re curious about the differences between the S22 Ultra and its predecessor, we’ve got you covered. We’ll compare the Galaxy S22 Ultra to the Galaxy S21 Ultra in terms of the overall build, display, Note-specific features, internals, camera, and more in this post. So, without further ado, let’s compare the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

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In-Depth Specs Comparison of the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S21 Ultra (2022)

Design differences between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra

To begin with, the new Galaxy S22 Ultra’s design is more akin to a Note smartphone than an S-series device from Samsung. The curved display and dedicated S Pen slot, as well as the squared-off corners that give the smartphone a chunkier design, will undoubtedly remind you of the most recent Note device, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. You can see how the S22 Ultra stacks up against the Note 20 Ultra here:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

Also, yes, you read that correctly. The Galaxy S22 Ultra, like the Galaxy Note series, has an S Pen slot as one of its main features. This feature was omitted from the Galaxy S21 Ultra, possibly because Samsung was still deciding how to approach its flagship lineups. It may have planned to release a new Note device at the time, but the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s debut seems to confirm the speculations, and our beloved Note series is officially dead. In a separate section below, we go over the S Pen slot and other Note-specific features in greater detail.

When it comes to the back, Samsung has ditched the huge camera module that was integrated with the frame on the S21 Ultra. Instead, the business has decided to remove the rectangular camera island, taking cues from its budget and mid-range lines. Instead, the rear glass panel now has four discrete camera lenses projecting from it. Because aesthetics are subjective, we’ll leave it up to you to decide which design is better.

The S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra also have an ultrasonic under-display fingerprint sensor, a USB Type-C port, IP68 dust, water-resistant rating, and other features.

Display Comparison: Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra

While Samsung is experimenting with the back panel design for the S22 Ultra, there have been no significant changes to the display. Except for minor modifications, the display specs of the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra are identical. As a result, I’ll only provide the S22 Ultra display characteristics here, and you can compare them in the roundup table below.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

The Galaxy S22 Ultra has an Infinity-O display with a 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. The panel has a resolution of QHD+ (1440 x 3080p), a refresh rate of 120Hz, and a touch sampling rate of 240Hz. There’s also HDR10+ support, a new Vision Booster feature, and a higher peak brightness of 1750 nits (up from 1500 nits on the S21 Ultra). This gadget, like its predecessor, is protected with Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.

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Internals of the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung has updated its S-series phones, so there will almost certainly be internal hardware updates. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor and Samsung’s Exynos 2100 processor powered the Galaxy S21 Ultra (depending on the region). The Galaxy S22 Ultra, on the other hand, is powered by the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2200, which are successors to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

While this is common knowledge, Samsung appears to be aiming the Galaxy S22 Ultra at professionals, reintroducing the 1TB storage model this year. The top-of-the-line model has 12GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. The S21 Ultra, on the other hand, had a maximum storage capacity of 512GB. For additional information on the CPU, GPU, and other aspects of which chipset type will provide a better performance, see our in-depth Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 vs Exynos 2200 chipset comparison.

Furthermore, we will update this post later with a list of regions where the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 and Exynos 2200 models will be available. So keep an eye out for more information. Not to be overlooked is the software side of things. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra includes One UI 4.0 and runs Android 12. The S21 Ultra, on the other hand, debuted with Android 11-based One UI 3.1, which can be upgraded to One UI 4.0.

Cameras on the Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. the Galaxy S21 Ultra

Apart from the display, the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra have a lot in common when it comes to the camera. The sensor placement on both phones is identical, as you can see in the image above. And, well, the specifications are essentially the same. To increase performance, some minor tweaks have been done here and there.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

Both phones include a 108-megapixel quad-camera array on the back, as well as a 40-megapixel punch-hole selfie camera on the front. You can compare the camera specs of the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra right here:

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

While the specifications are nearly identical, the Galaxy S22 Ultra includes a number of unique photography functions. The 100x Space Zoom and other fancy features are still onboard, but low-light photography has been improved. Thanks to the improved Super Clear Glass lens, you can now easily take night mode portraits and high-resolution night images. It “assists you in taking smoother and clearer nighttime footage without flares,” according to the official blog post. Video Auto Framing is now supported, ensuring that your S22 Ultra camera always captures exactly who you want.

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Note the differences between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

As you may have guessed, the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s hefty design is inspired by the Note look. The special S Pen slot, however, distinguishes the S22 Ultra from its predecessor. The S Pen was also supported by the Galaxy S21 Ultra, although the stylus had to be purchased separately. To avoid losing the stylus, you had to purchase a carrying case with an S Pen holder. And, well, it was thick and clearly inconvenient. This is no longer the case with Samsung’s latest flagship, which also signals the end of the Note series.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

That’s not everything. The Galaxy S21 Ultra, as you may recall, did not include complete S Pen functionality. The S21 Ultra’s regular S Pen lacks Bluetooth connectivity. That meant you could only use the normal S Pen to jot down notes, flip through menus, and sketch. With this model, you couldn’t use the fancy air gestures or the S Pen alarm feature. To use all of those capabilities, you needed to purchase the S Pen Pro ($82.95 on Amazon), which Samsung also unveiled with the debut of the S21 series.

You won’t have to worry about that now that the Galaxy S22 Ultra has been released. On the bottom left of the phone is an S Pen slot, which houses a Bluetooth-enabled S Pen. The stylus also improves two performance. The latency of the S Pen has been lowered from 9 milliseconds to 2.8 milliseconds, making it extremely responsive. You can now use gestures to switch the camera, click photos, and browse through settings without touching the screen now that it supports Bluetooth.

Battery & Charging Comparison: Galaxy S22 Ultra vs Galaxy S21 Ultra

Except for the fact that Samsung now offers faster cable charging with the S22 Ultra, not much has changed in the battery sector. A huge 5,000mAh battery is included in both the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Galaxy S22 Ultra. While the S21 Ultra only supported 25W fast charging, the S22 Ultra now supports 45W charging. This is a good update, as it allows users to charge the 5,000mAh battery up to 50% in just 30 minutes.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

Apart from the quicker wired charging speeds, Samsung continues to provide 15W Qi wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging for Galaxy Watch 4 (see review) and Galaxy Buds.

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The Note-Licious S-Series Smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

So, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is more closely associated with the Note series than with the S-series. The Galaxy 21 Ultra had S Pen functionality as well but lacked the Note’s allure. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s boxier appearance, dedicated S Pen slot, enormous battery, and reintroduction of the 1TB storage model suggest that Samsung is serious about providing eager users with a Note alternative.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra vs Galaxy S22 Ultra: Is it Worthy to Upgrade?

So, if you have a Note 10 or a Note 20 Ultra, you might want to consider upgrading to the S22 Ultra to receive a Note-like experience without any compromises. So, how do you feel about the new Galaxy S22 series? Please let us know in the comments section below.

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