Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs. Galaxy S21 Plus

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs. Galaxy S21 Plus

You can’t spell revolution without evolution, at least not if you work at Samsung. This is the philosophy the South Korean tech giant has adopted with the Galaxy S22 Plus, the successor to Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. It refines, rather than reinvents, last year’s models, adding a faster 4nm-based chip, shrinking the dimensions a little, and boosting the megapixel count of its main rear camera lens.

The question is: Are these enhancements enough to make the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus a better phone overall than the Galaxy S21 Plus? We find out in this versus article, in which we compare the specs and performance of both phones. By doing so, we should hopefully help you decide whether or not it’s worth upgrading.

Specs

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Size 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6 mm (6.20 x 2.98 x 0.30 inches) 75.6 x 161.5 x 7.8mm (3 x 6.4 x 0.31 inches)
Weight 196 grams (6.9 ounces) 202 grams (7.2 ounces)
Screen size 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
Screen resolution 2340 x 1080 pixels (390 pixels per inch) 2400 x 1080 pixels (394 ppi)
Operating system Android 12 with OneUI 4 Android 12 with OneUI 4
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB
MicroSD card slot No No
Processor Qualcomm SM8450 Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (Exynos 2200 outside the U.S.) Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (Exynos 2100 outside the U.S.)
RAM 8GB 8GB
Camera Triple lens 50-megapixel wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 10MP telephoto rear, 10MP front Triple lens 12MP wide, 12MP ultrawide, and 64MP telephoto rear, 10MP front
Video 8K at up to 24 fps, 4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps 8K at up to 24 fps, 4K at up to 60 fps, 1080p at 240 fps
Bluetooth version Bluetooth 5.2 Bluetooth 5.0
Ports USB-C USB-C
Fingerprint sensor Yes (in-display ultrasonic) Yes (in-display ultrasonic)
Water resistance IP68 IP68
Battery 4,500mAh

45W wired charging (no charger included in the box)

15W wireless charging

 

4,800mAh

25W wired charging (no charger included in the box)

15W wireless charging

App marketplace Google Play Store Google Play Store
Network support All major carriers All major carriers
Colors Phantom Black, Phantom White, Phantom Pink Gold, Phantom Green Phantom Silver, Phantom Black, Phantom Violet (Phantom Gold and Phantom Red made-to-order)
Price Starting at $1,099 Starting at $999
Buy from Samsung Samsung
Review score News 3.5 out of 5 stars

Design, display, and durability

If you’re hoping for some obvious visual hook for distinguishing between the Galaxy S22 Plus and the S21 Plus, you’re likely to be disappointed. In other words, the S22 Plus provides the same edge-to-edge display with a nearly borderless bezel around its edges and a solitary hole-punch camera in its top center. It continues to look sharp and contemporary, with the rear camera bump also (as with the S21 Plus) smoothing nicely into the phone’s shoulder. Both phones also feature satisfying glass backs.

Interestingly, the S22 Plus has a slightly smaller screen than the S21 Plus. At 6.6 — rather than 6.7 — inches, it continues to offer stunning visuals though, thanks largely to its use of Dynamic AMOLED 2X technology. It also, as with the S21 Plus, benefits from a 120Hz refresh rate, making it very smooth in practice. Both devices also offer a very similar resolution, so you will be extremely hard-pushed to spot a difference in quality when watching media or playing games.

In terms of durability, both devices are again pretty well matched. They both carry an IP68 rating, while their use of Gorilla Glass Victus on their respective screens means that they should resist moderate falls.

Winner: Tie

Performance, battery life, and charging

Galaxy S21 Plus Charger.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Performance is one area where the Galaxy S22 Plus offers a clear improvement over its predecessor. While the Galaxy S21 Plus comes with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, the S22 Plus goes one step further and houses the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which is only the second chip so far to use a 4nm manufacturing process. What this means is that, because they’re smaller, they can fit more transistors into the same amount of space, offering more power than the 5nm-based Snapdragon 888. Still, with 8GB of RAM apiece, you won’t notice a big gulf between the two, with the S21 Plus still more than capable of handling itself with the latest apps and games.

Both phones also ship with 128GB of internal memory as standard, and can be had with 256GB of storage for extra money. Neither has a microSD card slot, so don’t go too crazy with the camera.

With battery life, things get a little complicated. The S22 Plus has a smaller, 4,500mAh battery, yet it also has a smaller screen, implying that it leads less energy to keep going. So even though the S21 Plus carries a 4,800mAh cell, the two will last roughly the same amount of time, which in the S21 Plus’ case was about a day of heavy use.

A full review may potentially show that the S22 Plus can’t last as long as the S21 Plus, given its smaller battery. However, this is unlikely, and with the newer model offering a zippier chip, we’re giving this round to it.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

Cameras

Galaxy S21 Plus Back.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The Galaxy S21 Plus came with a main 12-megapixel camera, a 12MP ultrawide camera, a 64MP telephoto lens with a 3x optical zoom, and a 10MP selfie lens around the front. The S22 Plus has the same basic triple-lens rear setup, although its main wide lens offers now 50MP, whereas its telephoto lens ditches 64 megapixels for 12.

In theory, the use of a 50MP wide lens should result in the S22 Plus providing more detailed, livelier photographs than its older counterpart. However, superior hardware specs don’t always equate to superior performance, especially when software plays such a large role in getting the best out of hardware. Regardless, we expect the S22 Plus to take decent all-around photos, and as with the S21 Plus, there’s a chance it may be let down a little (in comparison to its Ultra version) by inconsistency, especially in low-light scenarios.

Of course, without a full review, we can’t say for sure either way, so this round will remain as a tie for now.

Winner: Tie

Software and updates

Galaxy S21 Plus Notifications.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

While the Galaxy S21 Plus is a year old, it can now upgrade to Android 12 with OneUI 4 running over the top. This is what you get with the S22 Plus right out of the box, with Samsung’s Android skin offering a bolder redesign of the stock Android, with bigger icons, more customizability, and greater intuitiveness in many areas.

Updates aren’t always Samsung’s strong point, but it did commit to providing the S21 Plus with four years of software and security updates. This means it will more or less keep up with the newer S22 Plus, even if the latter may end up being supported for one year after the older model stops being supported.

Winner: Tie

Special features

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus in hand being held up so you can see the display.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

It may no longer be quite as novel as it was a couple of years ago, but it’s important to note that both the Galaxy S22 Plus and the S21 Plus support 5G. This means that, if you happen to live in an area with the right networks in place, you’ll be able to use either model to surf the Web at record speeds.

Being Samsung devices, both phones also offer a range of other helpful features: there’s the Bixby digital assistant, which can directly alter settings on your Samsung phone; there’s also the DeX desktop mode, which is great for productivity.

Other than that, there’s not much to add, although both devices use an in-screen fingerprint scanner to unlock themselves.

Winner: Tie

Price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus starts from $1,099 and can be pre-ordered from Samsung. It will be supported by all major phone networks and sold widely by third-party retailers.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus officially started from $999, and should now be findable online for smaller sums of money, given that it has been superseded. It’s also supported by all major networks and sold widely online.

Overall winner: Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is the winner, although not by a substantial margin. It certainly has the superior processor and — by extension — performance, yet it’s pretty close to the Galaxy S21 Plus in most other respects. Its design is much the same, it provides comparable battery life, a similarly attractive display, and the same software and special features. While a full review will be needed to decide how its camera compares to the older model’s, we suspect that at the very least it will be just as good, so we don’t think this overall verdict is going to change in the near future.

That said, now that the S21 Plus is last year’s model, you may be able to find it at a discount via various third-party retailers. Assuming that the discount is large enough, it could be worth going for instead of the S22 Plus.

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