In this article, Comparing the Samsung Galaxy S22 flagship smartphone vs the S21 from last year, to see how the camera tech, gaming chops, battery and other specs have been upgraded (or otherwise).
The Samsung Galaxy S21 was one of the more compact flagship smartphones. With its charm and 6.2-inch design, it’s positively miniature compared to the 6.7-inch mega beasts of 2021.
Samsung hasn’t messed around with the formula. The Galaxy S22 is a bit smaller, measuring 6.1 inches. Unfortunately, this also means a smaller battery. But on the flip side, you get more power with the upgraded Exynos 2200 chipset, an upgraded camera setup, sexier display tech, and a few other little tweaks.
I was fortunate enough to have some proper hands-on action time with the Galaxy S22. I Samsung Galaxy S21 vs S22 compared it side by side to see exactly what has changed and if it has actually improved the overall experience. So, here are of my in-depth Galaxy S21 vs S22 Comparison.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra Review
Galaxy S22 vs S21 Design
The Galaxy S22 has shrunk in size compared to Galaxy S21, down from 6.2 to 6.1 inches. And there is a clear difference when you stick them side by side. The Galaxy S22 is definitely more hand-friendly despite sporting slightly flatter edges. Galaxy S22 just really nice to grip.
But despite more shrunken finish, the Galaxy S22 effectively weighs the exact same as the S21 before it, which is down to the actual materials used to construct them. The old S21’s frame was made from Samsung’s lightweight glastic material, which is thankfully surprisingly durable but also feels kind of cheap for a flagship device. Meanwhile, up front, you’ve got a Gorilla Glass Victus display, which is shatter-resistant but also scratches up rather easily.
Now, for the Galaxy S22, Samsung has kicked that glastic square in the crotch, and instead, it’s packed on a Gorilla Glass Victus coat on both the front and back. While the frame has been upgraded to Samsung’s fresh new armor aluminum design. So, overall, the new Galaxy S22 is definitely a tougher customer than the older S21. That’s something that’s been further verified by the fact that I dropped mine during the hands-on session. But it may still scratch up rather easily. However, just like the Gorilla Glass Victus screen on the S21, now both the S21 and S22 come in the standard Phantom White and Phantom Black colors.
Meanwhile, the S21 was also available in Phantom Pink and Phantom Violet, while the S22 comes in rather fetching dark green effort and also the good old reliable pink gold. So, overall, with the design, I really like the S22. I prefer it to the older S21. It feels like a more premium flagship smartphone. I really like the comfortable one-handed use of it all as well. it’s slightly more compact, but in terms of the actual aesthetics, it does look very similar to the S21 as well. That’s why some people might get slightly upset by that.
Galaxy S22 vs S21 OneUI
The software on the S22 isn’t really any different from the S21, It has been updated to One UI 4, which is sitting on top of Android 12. Flicking through the settings menus and diving into those sub-menus, I struggle to see any differences whatsoever between the S22 and my old S21. And that’s absolutely fine because I love the software side of things on the S21. That One UI 4 launcher is absolutely lovely. It takes the best bits from Android 12, including the greater customization and the excellent privacy features.The likes of the Knox security suite, the Dex shenanigans if you want to hook up your phone to a monitor and use it like a computer, and of course, as always, a bug ton of Samsung’s own apps, including Samsung Health and the little Bixby assistant. Just so much. And most of it is just duplicating Android features, which is slightly annoying, but yeah, there you go. The S22 does it just as the S21 did it before.
And no changing up really in the security side of things because the S22, like the S21 before it, sports an ultrasonic fingerprint sensor backed up by face unlock as well. Nice and tight. And for the storage, you can bag yourself up to 256 gigs of internal space. So, sadly, no microSD memory card support on the S21 or the S22.
Galaxy S22 vs S21 Display
The Galaxy S22 support the exact same display tech as the galaxy S21. So, you’ve got a Dynamic AMOLED screen, albeit one that’s a teeny bit smaller than the previous flagship. But it’s still Full HD+ resolution, and with this compact design, that means supremely sharp visuals. You’ll get plenty of detail packed into every frame of any video you’re watching. Photos look absolutely fantastic, and the color saturation is completely customizable through the display settings.
But on the Galaxy S22, you also have the added benefit of Samsung’s new Vision Booster feature. This actually tweaks the screen color and contrast to match the environmental light, so dark images are easier to see in brighter conditions. And on top of that, the S22 also boasts a higher maximum brightness compared to the older S21, so no worries whatsoever with outdoor visibility.
Both the S21 and the S22 can dynamically adjust the refresh rate of their displays to match whatever content you are watching, all the way up to 120Hz, to make your games and other supported apps look smooth. However, while the original S21 could only drop the refresh rate down to 48Hz minimum, the S22 can actually drop it further, all the way down to just 10Hz. So, that means if you’re just looking at a static image on your smartphone screen, very little power is being consumed indeed, which will hopefully boost the battery life.
Galaxy S22 vs S21 Audio
And yes, like the S21 before it, the S22 sports a stereo speaker setup with decent output as well. Boost the volume all the way up to max, and you’ve got reasonably loud output and pretty clear sound. There’s still no subtle headphone jack action on the S22, unfortunately, just like s21 model. But the Bluetooth 5.0 support on the S21 has been upgraded to Bluetooth 5.2. if you want to get your wireless streaming on the go.
Galaxy S22 vs S21 Performance
One of the biggest upgrades of the S22 versus the old S21 is the Exynos chipset. You’ve got the 2200 packed inside S22, versus the 2100 that was running the show on the S21. Although the eight gigs of RAM stuffed inside remains unchanged, the four-nanometer Exynos 2200, which was crafted in partnership with AMD, serves up Samsung’s awkwardly titled but swaggerific X-Clips GPU. This GPU supports all kinds of clever console-style graphical shenanigans like ray tracing, which you won’t even find on some rivals like the Snapdragon 8 Gen1. So, you can expect absolutely stunning graphics from supported titles. we’ll get smoother gameplay and performance as well, courtesy of the Exynos 2200’s variable rate shading smarts.
I gotta say, gaming on the Samsung Galaxy S21 flagship phone was a bit of a disappointment. Games like Genshin Impact really struggled at times. It got me still somewhat disappointed, as much as my delivery in this article. weirdly, I saw some serious frame rate drops on that Galaxy S21 when I boosted up the detail settings to higher levels in games like Genshin Impact, for instance, which most rivals could cope with absolutely fine. The only good thing about the Exynos 2100 chipset was that it remained quite cool while gaming, so the S21 stayed cool under pressure.
You’ve got full 5G and Wi-Fi 6 support on the S21 and the S22 as well, so super future-proof, as you would kind of expect from flagship devices.
Galaxy S22 vs S21 Battery life
Now, you had a 4,000 milliamp capacity battery stuffed inside the S21. And even though the dimensions have only shrunk a little bit, the Galaxy S22 supports a significantly smaller 3,700 milliamp capacity battery. This is probably the part that worries me the most about the fresh Galaxy S22 because the S21’s battery life was not great. In fact, I barely made it through a full day ever with that thing. And if the S22 supports a smaller battery, then chances are we might see similar battery woes. It all depends on the Exynos 2200 and if it is massively more energy-efficient to make amends.
Now, let’s talk about the actual recharging support. Well, no change there whatsoever. It’s once again 25-watt wiredcharging on the S22. It seems even more lethargic than samsung did last year because lots of rivals are coming out with like 66-watt wired charging and even 80 to 100 watts in some cases. At least you do have 15-watt wireless charging with full Qi support, as usual, on the S22, just like S21. And it comes with the wireless power share feature as well, so you can slap your Galaxy Buds on the back or whatever and power them up on the go.
Galaxy S22 vs S21 Camera Comparison
So, let’s finish up this S21 vs S22 comparison with a look at the camera tech. The 12-megapixel primary sensor on the Galaxy S21 has been upgraded to a 50-megapixel, on the S22, once again with optical image stabilization on board. This is a similar kind of upgrade we saw in the recent Pixel 6 smartphone compared to the older Pixel 5, and it definitely made a difference in the overall photo quality. You get really nice, natural-looking skin tones, even in lower light. For in-depth read review. But the S22 certainly seems to capture some really crisp, gorgeous-looking photos with very natural colors and does a good job in low light as well.
If you’re trying to shoot a moving subject, then yes, you may get some motion blur, especially with a fast-moving drinks receptacle. But if you can convince your subject to actually stand still, you should get some nice-looking night shots, that’s for sure. And the video capabilities are solid, even in low light. The S22 once again supports a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle shoot, just like the Galaxy S21. There doesn’t seem to be much difference in the camera hardware tech.
However, the 64-megapixel telephoto lens of the S21 has been replaced with a 10-megapixel actual telephoto lens on the S22. So, rather than shooting an image and then simply cropping into it to get a telephoto-style zoom effect, the S22 is actually capable of zooming into a subject before taking the photo. It offers a three-times optical zoom and certainly, from my hands-on time, it looked to be an improvement over the S21, with sharper detail and a lot less grain and fuzz.
For your video, you can shoot up to 8K resolution footage on the Galaxy S22, just like the S21. And you’ll find basically the same camera modes as well, including the night mode, food mode (if you actually have to shoot your burger or whatever before you eat it), and good old single take where you can capture lots of random pics and video clips all at the same time.
For selfies, you’ve got a 10-megapixel front Camera on the Galaxy S22, like the Galaxy S21. And from my hands-on time, there didn’t seem any difference.
This is how the Galaxy S22 takeover up against the Galaxy S21. In the meantime, you can check out review of the Galaxy S21 to see what I thought of that device. I’d love to hear from you as well. If you have the S21, are you tempted to upgrade to the S22?