Is the Galaxy S22 Ultra Worth the Upgrade? Let’s Compare it to 6 Older Samsung Phones


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Samsung S22 Ultra

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra.

Lisa Eadicicco/ CNET.

Samsung’s Galaxy S22 Ultra features a huge screen, a four-lens electronic camera with a superior zoom lens and an S Pen stylus that you can stow inside the phone. But at $1,200, it’s likewise among the most costly phones Samsung offers.

That’s why it is necessary to believe thoroughly about whether it’s time to update to the Galaxy S22Ultra In lots of cases, the most crucial elements to think about will be electronic camera quality and the SPen If you have a fairly current phone like the Galaxy S21 Ultra or Note 20 Ultra, you do not require to update right now. The S22 Ultra is more of an iterative upgrade to those gadgets, and you’ll get more for your cash by keeping your gadget for a longer time period.

You’re a lot more most likely to see the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s brand-new functions when originating from a phone that’s at least 3 years of ages. That stated, it’s likewise worth keeping in mind that the older your phone is, the less most likely it is to continue getting the most recent software application updates. Samsung is ensuring 4 generations of Android os updates on phones in its households of Galaxy S22, S21 and Z gadgets, along with particular Galaxy A phones. It formerly devoted to 3 years of updates, implying some older phones like the Galaxy S10 and Note 10 may be near completion of their software application upgrade cycle.

You’ll likewise wish to think about a few of the functions present on older phones that Samsung has actually removed on more recent designs. Samsung’s brand-new phones do not have expandable storage, for instance, however the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, S20 Ultra and Note 10 Plus do. Samsung likewise phased out MST assistance for Samsung Pay, the innovation that allows the payment service to deal with older terminals that do not support NFC, beginning with the Galaxy S21 line in the United States. (MST is still readily available in particular other worldwide markets.)

Read on to find out more about how the Galaxy S22 Ultra compares to Samsung’s older high-end phones.

S21 Ultra vs. Note 20 Ultra

The Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Lexy Savvides/ CNET.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy S21 Ultra

If you have a Galaxy S21 Ultra, there’s no requirement to update yet. The Galaxy S22 Ultra is an iterative upgrade to its predecessor. It features a more recent processor (Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Samsung’s newest Exynos chip depending upon the marketplace), a cam that can carry out much better in low light and an S Pen that you can save inside the gadget.

But those factors alone aren’t enough to invest in a brand-new gadget, particularly because you can acquire an S Pen for the Galaxy S21 Ultra independently. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s enhanced low-light photography works, however its electronic camera system is otherwise really comparable to the Galaxy S21Ultra’s Both gadgets have a 108- megapixel primary sensing unit, a 12- megapixel ultrawide electronic camera and 2 10- megapixel telephoto lenses that offer a 10 x optical zoom. Their screens are equivalent in size and both support refresh rates of as much as 120 Hz for smoother scrolling.

That’s a comprehensive method to state the total experience is basically the very same on the S21 Ultra and S22 Ultra, with some iterative upgrades to the electronic camera and consisted of SPen

The bottom line: There’s no significant factor to update to the S22 Ultra if you have the Galaxy S21Ultra The updates are mainly iterative and will be more visible when updating from an older phone. If you’re a Galaxy Note fan wanting to save your S Pen inside the Galaxy S21 Ultra, you’re much better off purchasing a case that consists of a storage slot for the stylus.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

Angela Lang/ CNET.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is less than 2 years of ages, which indicates it ought to have a lot of mileage left in it. There isn’t much to be gotten from the S22 Ultra besides its electronic camera enhancements, which are valued however most likely aren’t enough to validate updating for many people.

Both phones have a 108- megapixel primary electronic camera and a 12- megapixel ultrawide electronic camera, although the S22 Ultra has a more recent variation of the primary sensing unit with much better autofocus and vibrant variety. Where they actually vary, nevertheless, remains in their zoom abilities. The Galaxy S22 Ultra has 2 10- megapixel telephoto lenses, while the Note 20 Ultra just has one 12- megapixel telephoto lens. As an outcome, the Galaxy S22 Ultra can attain a better zoom both optically and digitally (10 x optical zoom and as much as 100 x digital zoom), compared to the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (5x optical zoom, as much as 50 x digital zoom).

And naturally, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is missing out on Samsung’s current enhancements to low-light photography that debuted with the Galaxy S22 series. The S22 Ultra likewise takes much better pictures than the Note 20 Ultra because it’s much better at identifying great information, my coworker Lexy Savvides composed in her current contrast of the 2 phones

The Galaxy S22 Ultra likewise has a sharper 40- megapixel front electronic camera than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra’s 10- megapixel selfie electronic camera. That may not matter to everybody, however it might be a crucial factor to consider if you invested a great deal of time on video calls.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra likewise features a more recent processor and a bigger battery, although the distinction does not appear to be game-changing. Both phones can lasting a whole day, according to CNET’s S22 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra contrast The Galaxy S22 Ultra would normally have 20% of its battery left by the end of the day, while the Note 20 Ultra would have 10% to 15% of its battery staying. Our test uses to the Qualcomm Snapdragon- powered variation of these phones, so it’s possible that the Exynos variations might vary. And both phones included Samsung’s S Pen stylus for keeping in mind, drawing and increasing files.

There are likewise a number of little compromises to be made by updating from the Note 20 Ultra to the S22Ultra Samsung’s most recent high-end phone has a somewhat smaller sized screen than the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (6.8 inches versus 6.9 inches). It likewise does not have a microSD card slot for expandable storage, unlike the Note 20 Ultra, which can support as much as 1 terabyte of extra area.

The bottom line: You can hold on to your Galaxy Note 20 Ultra for a little bit longer. Unless you actually desire a 100 x digital zoom and a little longer battery life.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20

Once once again, the greatest distinction in between the Galaxy S22 Ultra and Galaxy Note 20 remains in its electronic camera. The Galaxy S22 Ultra likewise has a bigger and sharper screen, a larger battery and a more recent processor than the Galaxy Note20 Most individuals most likely do not need to update right now. But there’s a more powerful case for updating from the Note 20 than from the Note 20 Ultra because the routine design likewise has a smaller sized screen and less capable electronic camera than its larger brother or sister.

The Galaxy Note 20 has 3 rear video cameras: a 12- megapixel primary sensing unit, a 12- megapixel ultrawide sensing unit and a 64- megapixel telephoto lens. You get a 3x optical zoom on the Galaxy Note and as much as a 30 x digital zoom. The Galaxy S22 Ultra enhances on this in numerous methods. It features 4 rear video cameras: a 108- megapixel primary sensing unit, 2 10- megapixel telephoto lenses and a 12- megapixel ultrawide lens.

Since it has 2 telephoto lenses, the S22 Ultra can zoom as much as 10 x optically and 100 x digitally. And do not forget: Samsung’s Galaxy S22 lineup likewise boasts enhanced low-light photography In basic, the Galaxy S22 lineup likewise has actually enhanced color and contrast compared to other phones, as I discovered throughout my screening.

For many people, the Galaxy Note 20’s triple-lens electronic camera will most likely suffice. In my own usage, I’ve discovered that image quality ends up being too blurred and loud when zooming past 30 x. But if photography is a primary top priority and you often utilize your phone for expert work, the S22 Ultra might be worth thinking about for its enhanced electronic camera. The selfie electronic camera is likewise sharper (40 megapixels versus the Note 20’s 10 megapixels), which might be crucial for those who take a great deal of video calls.

Otherwise, you’ll likewise get a somewhat bigger screen (6.8 inches versus 6.7 inches) that’s likewise sharper because it loads 500 pixels per inch compared to the Note 20’s 393 pixels. You likewise have the alternative to set the screen to a greater refresh rate of as much as 120 Hz on the S22 Ultra for smoother scrolling, unlike the Note20 Both phones feature Samsung’s S Pen stylus. But the Note 20 does have a less superior plastic building and construction than the more expensive Note 20Ultra So updating to the Galaxy S22 Ultra likewise indicates you’ll get a style that feels more refined and high-end.

The bottom line: You most likely do not require to update, however doing so makes more sense than updating from the Note 20Ultra The Galaxy S22 Ultra brings electronic camera enhancements and a bigger battery that may make a significant distinction to those who utilize their phones for pro-grade photography. If you fulfill that requirements and can likewise score a terrific trade-in offer, the S22 Ultra would deserve it. If you mainly desire a much better electronic camera and do not mind compromising the S Pen and a little screen area, I’d likewise advise taking a look at the Galaxy S22Plus


Samsung’s Galaxy S20 Ultra.

Andrew Hoyle/ CNET.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy S20 Ultra

The Galaxy S20 Ultra is 2 years of ages, however it still has plenty to provide. The greatest distinctions in between the S20 Ultra and S22 Ultra are the latter’s addition of Samsung’s S Pen stylus, its more recent processor and some moderate electronic camera modifications. These are incremental enhancements that make the Galaxy S22 Ultra much better than its predecessors. However, there’s absolutely nothing that makes this phone feel hugely various from the Galaxy S20 Ultra

Both phones are around the very same size, however the S20 Ultra is a little bigger at 6.9 inches compared to the S22 Ultra’s 6.8-inch screen. The S20 Ultra likewise loads more pixels per inch, and each phone can improve its screen’s refresh rate as much as 120 Hz for a more fluid experience. Both gadgets likewise both have a 40- megapixel selfie electronic camera and the very same battery capability. Both phones likewise have 45- watt fast-charging, although you’ll need to acquire the needed adapter independently.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra and S20 Ultra have comparable electronic camera systems, although there are some distinctions when it pertains to their zooming abilities. Both phones have a 108- megapixel primary sensing unit and a 12- megapixel ultrawide sensing unit. But the Galaxy S22 Ultra has 2 10- megapixel telephoto lenses, while the S20 Ultra has one 48- megapixel telephoto lens and a depth sensing unit.

That double telephoto electronic camera offers the S22 Ultra some benefits when it pertains to quality and ease of usage. You get a real optical zoom at either 3x or 10 x on the Galaxy S22 Ultra, whereas the S20 Ultra has a hybrid optic zoom system that utilizes some digital cropping to attain the wanted zoom level. Zooming in ought to likewise feel consistent and more smooth on the Galaxy S22 Ultra compared to the S20Ultra The Galaxy S22- lineup phones can likewise take clearer and brighter images in the dark and are usually much better with color and contrast.

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All of these changes make the S22 Ultra feel like a step forward, but the Galaxy S20 Ultra already has an excellent camera. The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s changes improve photo quality rather than adding drastically different features and shooting modes. However, if you’ve been frustrated by the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s autofocus issues, you might find yourself in more of a hurry to upgrade.  

What you’ll really have to ask yourself is whether it’s worth upgrading for the S Pen. That’s the key distinction between the S22 Ultra and the S20 Ultra. The S Pen feels like a nice bonus rather than a necessity for the Galaxy S22 Ultra. But given the popularity that Samsung’s Galaxy Note has cultivated over the last decade, I imagine there are plenty of people who might disagree. The S Pen lets you jot down notes (even when the screen is turned off), sketch, mark up screenshots and other documents and translate text, among other tasks. The stylus can even function as a remote control for the phone’s camera.

The bottom line: Unless you really want the S Pen, there isn’t a major reason to upgrade to the Galaxy S22 Ultra from the Galaxy S20 Ultra. Both phones have a giant screen with a high refresh rate for smoother scrolling, and they have similar cameras. They also have the same battery capacity. The Galaxy S22 Ultra does get some camera improvements, particularly when zooming or taking low-light photos. But the changes aren’t drastic enough to encourage most people to upgrade just yet.


Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10 Plus.

Angela Lang/CNET

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 10 Plus

Just as with the other phones on this list, the biggest reason to upgrade from the Galaxy Note 10 Plus to the Galaxy S22 Ultra is its camera. But the upgrades are more than incremental this time. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus’ triple-lens camera has a much more limited zoom range than the Galaxy S22 Ultra’s, and it’s also missing the 108-megapixel main sensor that debuted on the Galaxy S20 Ultra. 

For the purposes of this article, we’ve decided to compare the Note 10 Plus because it has a noticeably larger screen than the regular Note 10 (6.8 inches versus the standard model’s 6.3-inch display). That makes it a more straightforward comparison against the Galaxy S22 Ultra.  

Samsung’s new top-of-the-line phone has four main camera lenses: a 108-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel ultrawide camera and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses. The Galaxy Note 10 Plus, comparatively, has a 12-megapixel wide camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera and a depth sensor. 

For casual photographers, the Note 10 Plus‘ triple camera might be adequate enough. But those who prioritize camera quality will find a lot to love about the S22 Ultra. It can zoom up to 10x optically and 100x digitally, while the Galaxy Note 10 Plus only has a 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom. That’s a big difference that will feel significant to anyone who frequently takes photos from a distance, as perhaps at sporting events or concerts.

Otherwise, the Galaxy S22 Ultra brings extras like a 120Hz refresh rate screen, a sharper 40-megapixel selfie camera, support for 8K video recording, a much newer processor and a larger battery. That said, both phones have large and vibrant 6.8-inch screens that are ideal for reading and watching video, and they both come with the S Pen. But the Galaxy S10 Plus also has more memory and storage at the base level than the Galaxy S22 Ultra, and there’s no microSD card slot on Samsung’s newest Ultra phone.

The bottom line: Yes, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is worth the upgrade if you have the Galaxy Note 10 Ultra, particularly if you can find a good trade-in deal. But the answer will depend on your needs and preferences. If photography is a huge priority, the S22 Ultra’s upgraded camera will feel like a major improvement. The drastically improved zoom, better low-light performance and overall improvements to color and contrast make it a more versatile and capable camera overall. But if you mostly just care about having an attractive phone with a big screen, you can probably get by with your Note 10 Plus for a bit longer. If you have the non-5G model, the S22 Ultra gives you even more of a reason to upgrade. 


Samsung’s Galaxy S10 5G.

Angela Lang/CNET

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy S10 5G

The Galaxy S10 5G was Samsung’s high-end flagship phone from 2019, and it has a lot in common with the Galaxy Note 10 Plus. With that in mind, similar advice applies if you have a Galaxy S10 5G. It’s worth the upgrade, particularly if you love taking photos and prioritize having a phone with top-notch zooming capabilities. But you can also probably get by with your current phone if you don’t necessarily care about having the best camera and purchased the S10 5G mostly for its giant screen.

The Galaxy S10 5G has a 12-megapixel wide camera, a 12-megapixel telephoto camera, a 16-megapixel ultrawide camera and a depth sensor, just like the Note 10 Plus. As such, all of the benefits mentioned above apply to those upgrading from the Galaxy S10 5G, too. Samsung’s newest premium phone brings significantly better zoom, improved photos in low light, a sharper selfie camera and better overall image quality compared with the S10 5G, plus 8K video recording and a larger battery. The difference in performance is also likely to be more noticeable when upgrading from a 3-year-old phone like the S10 5G. 

The Galaxy S22 Ultra’s screen is also slightly larger than the S10 5G’s (6.8 inches versus 6.7 inches). But more importantly, you can increase the refresh rate up to 120Hz to make scrolling feel more seamless. And of course, it also comes with Samsung’s S Pen stylus to make better use of that large screen.

The bottom line: Yes, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is worth upgrading if you own a Galaxy S10 5G. The Galaxy S22 Ultra brings features that are legitimately new rather than incremental upgrades, such as an included S Pen and an overhauled camera with significantly better zoom. If you don’t care about these features, you can get by with your Galaxy S10 5G for a little while longer. But for those who prioritize photography in a camera and are ready for something new, the S22 Ultra won’t disappoint.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. older Samsung phones

Galaxy S22 Ultra Galaxy S21 Ultra Galaxy Note 20 Ultra Galaxy Note 20 Galaxy S20 Ultra Galaxy Note 10 Plus Galaxy S10 5G
Display size, resolution 6.8-inch AMOLED, 3,088×1,440 pixels 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3,200×1,440 pixels 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3,088×1,440 pixels 6.7-inch Super AMOLED Plus, 2,400×1,080 pixels 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3,200×1,440 pixels 6.8-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED; 3,040×1,440 pixels 6.7-inch Quad HD+ Dynamic AMOLED; 3,040×1,440 pixels
Pixel density (per inch) 500ppi 515ppi 496ppi 393ppi 511ppi 498 ppi 505 ppi
Dimensions (millimeters) 77.9×163.3×8.9mm 75.6×165.1×8.9mm 164.8×77.2×8.1mm 161.6×75.2×8.3mm 76×166.9×8.8mm 162.3×77.2×7.9mm 162.6×77.1×7.94mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 8.07 oz; 229g 8.07 oz; 229g 7.33 oz, 208g 6.84 oz, 194g 7.76 oz; 220g 6.91 oz; 196g 6.98 oz; 198g
Mobile software (shipped at launch) Android 12 Android 11 Android 10 Android 10 Android 10 Android 9 Android 9
Camera 108MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide) 10MP (3x telephoto) 10MP (10x telephoto) 108MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide), 10MP (3x telephoto), 10MP (10x telephoto) 12MP (ultrawide), 108MP (wide-angle), 12MP (telephoto) 12MP (ultrawide), 12MP (wide-angle), 64MP (telephoto) 108MP (wide-angle), 48MP (telephoto), 12MP (ultrawide), time-of-flight camera 12MP (wide-angle), 16MP (ultrawide-angle), 12MP (telephoto), 3D depth (HQVGA) 12MP (wide-angle), 16MP (ultrawide-angle), 12MP (telephoto), 3D depth (HQVGA)
Front-facing camera 40MP 40MP 10MP 10MP 40MP 10MP 10MP, 3D depth (HQVGA)
Video capture 8K, 4K 8K, 4K 8K, 4K 8K, 4K 8K, 4K 4K 4K
Processor Snapdragon 8 gen 1 Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ Qualcomm Snapdragon 865+ Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Qualcomm Snapdragon 855 Qualcomm Snapdragon 855
RAM/storage 8GB + 128GB ; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB+512GB; 12GB+ 1TB 16GB + 512GB; 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 128GB 12GB + 128GB; 12GB + 512GB 8GB + 128GB 12GB + 128GB; 12GB + 256GB; 16GB + 512GB 12GB + 256GB; 12GB + 512GB 8GB + 256GB; 8GB + 512GB
Expandable storage None None Up to 1TB None Up to 1TB Up to 1TB None
Battery/charger 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,500 mAh 4,300 mAh 5,000 mAh 4,300 mAh 4,500 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-display In-display In-display In-display In-display In-display In-display
Headphone jack No No No No No No Yes
Special features 5G (mmw/Sub6), bundled S Pen, IP68 rating, 120Hz display, UWB, Wireless Power Share, 100x Space Zoom (digital), 10x optical zoom, 45W charging support (sold separately) 5G (mmw/Sub6), S Pen support (not included), IP68 rating, 120Hz display, UWB, Wireless Power Share, 100x Space Zoom (digital), 10x optical zoom 5G (mmw/Sub6), 5x optical zoom, 120Hz display; UWB sharing, S Pen included, Wireless PowerShare, IP68 rating 5G (mmw/Sub6); S Pen included; Wireless PowerShare; water-resistant (IP68) 5G (mmw/Sub6); 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom (digital); Wireless PowerShare; IP68 rating 5G (mmw/Sub6 on 5G model); S Pen included; Wireless PowerShare; IP68 rating 5G (mmw/Sub6); Wireless PowerShare; 3D depth cameras (not for face unlock); IP68 rating