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Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: Should you upgrade?

Renders of the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and Galaxy S22 Ultra next to each other.
Digital Trends

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra is one of the best Android smartphones on the market. But back in 2022, that honorable title went to the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. Even though the latter came out over two years ago, it’s still an incredible mobile device that’s jam-packed with features, including an awesome camera system. How much better is the S24 Ultra though? Fortunately, we know a thing or two about both Samsung phones, so we thought we’d compare both models for you.

As you can probably guess, the S24 Ultra does come out on top in terms of the latest and greatest tech. When you start considering performance though, the S22 Ultra doesn’t really lag behind the newest Galaxy phone too much. Let’s break things down into multiple categories to get a better idea of the pros and cons. 

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: specs

Galaxy S24 Ultra Galaxy S22 Ultra
Weight 8.18 oz (232 g) 8.04 oz (228-229 g)
Dimensions 6.39 x 3.11 x 0.34 inches (162.3 x 79 x 8.6 mm) 6.43 x 3.07 x 0.35 inches (163.3 x 77.9 x 8.9 mm)
Screen size, specs 6.8-inch Dynamic LTPO AMOLED 2X

Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Armor)

6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X Display

Scratch-resistant glass (Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+)

Screen resolution 1440 x 3120 pixels, 19.5:9 ratio, 505 ppi

120Hz refresh rate

2,600 nits peak brightness

1440 x 3088 pixels, 19:3:9 ratio, 500 ppi

120Hz refresh rate

1,750 nits peak brightness

Operating system Android 14 Shipped with Android 12, upgradeable to Android 14
Storage 256GB or 512GB or 1TB 128GB or 256GB or 512GB or 1TB
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy (4 nm) Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 (4 nm)
RAM 12GB 8GB (128GB) or 12GB (256GB, 512GB, 1TB)
Camera 200MP main,ƒ/1.7 aperture, OIS
12 ultrawide, ƒ/2.2 aperture
50MP periscope telephoto, ƒ/3.4 aperture, 5x optical zoom
10MP telephoto, ƒ/2.4 aperture, 3x optical zoom

108 main, ƒ/1.8 aperture, OIS
12MP ultrawide, ƒ/2.2 aperture
10MP periscope telephoto, ƒ/4.9 aperture, 10x optical zoom
10MP telephoto, ƒ/2.4 aperture

Front camera 12MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture

40MP, ƒ/2.2 aperture

Video Up to 8K at 24/30 frames per second (fps)

4K at 30/60/120 fps

1080p at 30/60/240 fps

Up to 8K at 24 fps

4K at 30/ 60 fps

1080p at 30/60/240 fps

720p at 960 fps

Galaxy AI Yes No
Authentication Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint Ultrasonic in-screen fingerprint
Resistance Water, Dust; IP68 Water, Dust; IP68

5,000 mAh

45W wired charging

15W wireless charging

4.5W reverse wireless charging

45W wired charging

15W wireless charging

4.5W reverse wireless charging

Network support 5G (sub-6, mmWave) 5G (sub-6, mmWave)
Colors Standard: Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet, Titanium Yellow

Samsung exclusive: Titanium Green,  Titanium Blue, Titanium Orange

Phantom Black, White, Burgundy, Green, Graphite, Red, Sky Blue, Bora Purple
Price From $1,300 Originally $1,200

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: design and display

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra in Phantom Black with S Pen.
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Though the S22 Ultra and S24 Ultra have the same overall look, there are some minor differences between the two.

For one, the S22 Ultra has more curved edges, whereas the S24 Ultra has straightened out those edges. There is still a slight curvature along the front and back edges to help with grip. The buttons are also slightly thicker with the S24 Ultra, and the S Pen is more of a square than a squircle.

The Galaxy S22 Ultra also has an aluminum frame, while the Galaxy S24 Ultra goes with an all-new titanium frame, similar to what Apple did with the iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max. However, the titanium design did not make the S24 Ultra more lightweight, as it’s actually heavier than the S22 Ultra.

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra in Titanium Orange and in Titanium Silver.
Galaxy S24 Ultra Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The camera modules on both are still housed separately, so unless you know the other differences, the two phones look very similar from the back.

As far as displays go, both the Galaxy S22 Ultra and S24 Ultra have a 6.8-inch AMOLED display, but the S24 Ultra takes it a step further with LTPO technology, which is more power efficient. Both screens can reach up to a 120Hz refresh rate, but the S24 Ultra can go all the way down to 1Hz when it’s not in use to save power.

On the S22 Ultra, the resolution is 1440 x 3088 pixels with 500 pixels per inch (ppi) density and a maximum brightness of 1,750 nits. Meanwhile, the S24 Ultra has a 1440 x 3120 resolution and 505 ppi, plus up to 2,600 nits peak brightness. If you like a sharper, crisper, and brighter display (great when outdoors in bright sunlight), then the S24 Ultra is definitely better. Plus, the bezels on the S24 Ultra are thinner, giving you even more screen to work with.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: performance and battery

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra and S Pen stylus on its screen.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Depending on your region, the processor for the Galaxy S22 Ultra would either be the Exynos 2200 for the European market or the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 elsewhere. For the sake of simplifying things, let’s stick with Qualcomm here.

While the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is not a bad chip, it is a bit dated, considering it debuted in 2022. Meanwhile, the S24 Ultra uses the new Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chipset. Qualcomm has partnered with Samsung to create a version of the Snapdragon chip that is specially optimized for Galaxy devices, a practice that started with the Galaxy S23. This means that the chip is slightly overclocked and is more power efficient.

Again, while the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 is not a bad chip, you will definitely see and feel a difference with the newer Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 processor. Using the phone will feel faster and smoother, especially if there are more graphically intensive apps and games involved. Samsung will also provide up to seven years of major software updates for the S24 lineup, whereas the S22 Ultra came out when Samsung only offered four years of updates.

Running an app in window view on Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
Nadeem Sarwar / Digital Trends

Both the S22 Ultra and S24 Ultra have 5,000mAh batteries. In our original S22 Ultra review, we would get about one whole day with heavy use and two days with moderate use.

However, thanks to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 for Galaxy chipset, the S24 Ultra represents a massive upgrade for battery life. Despite having the same battery capacity as the S22 Ultra, the S24 Ultra can easily get two whole days with moderate to heavy use, depending on what you’re doing, and can even be stretched out further. If you want a phone that has incredible battery life, then the S24 Ultra is a must.

Despite having better battery life, the S24 Ultra doesn’t improve the charging speed. The S22 Ultra and S24 Ultra both have maximum charging speeds of 45W wired, 15W wireless, and 4.5W reverse wireless.

Regardless, the Galaxy S24 Ultra significantly improves overall performance and battery life, making it worthy of an upgrade already.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra's camera lenses.
Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Though the S22 Ultra and S24 Ultra look like they have the same quad camera system, there is a significant difference in their capabilities.

On the Galaxy S22 Ultra, you have a 108MP main camera with f/1.8 aperture, a 10MP periscope telephoto camera with f/4.9 aperture and 10x optical zoom, another 10MP telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree field of view (FOV). The selfie camera is an impressive 40MP with f/2.2 aperture.

While the 108MP may seem impressive, Samsung takes things a step further on the Galaxy S24 Ultra. You’ll get a whopping 200MP main camera with f/1.7 aperture, a 50MP periscope telephoto camera with f/3.4 aperture and 5x optical zoom, a 10MP telephoto camera with f/2.4 aperture and 3x optical zoom, and a 12MP ultrawide camera with f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree FOV.

Samsung also claims that it improved the color balance of photos with the S24 lineup so that images appear more realistic and accurate in terms of color profiles. Previously, images could appear too bright or oversaturated, which may not appeal to everyone’s personal tastes.

Though it sounds like the Galaxy S24 Ultra has a downgrade with the lack of 10x optical zoom, that’s simply not the case. The 200MP main camera means higher-resolution photos with more detail and colors, and the 50MP periscope telephoto still takes incredible shots. And though the 10x zoom photos with the S24 Ultra are just “optical quality,” it still takes pretty good close-ups. Our camera test between the S24 Ultra and S23 Ultra shows just how good its zoom capabilities really are.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: Galaxy AI

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra using the Circle to Search feature.
Circle to Search Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

One of the big selling points of the Galaxy S24 line is Galaxy AI. This is Samsung’s suite of AI-powered features to enhance the overall S24 experience, and you won’t find any of them on the Galaxy S22 Ultra.

One of the best Galaxy AI features is Circle to Search. This lets you search for anything in any app just by doing a simple on-screen gesture. With the S24 Ultra S Pen, this is even more intuitive to use. There is also Live Translate, which provides real-time translations and transcriptions when you converse with someone in a different language.

Notes Assist is another handy feature that can help you properly format your notes and even provide summaries. Galaxy AI also extends into photo-editing tools like edit suggestions and generative edit, which let you move objects around in your photos or erase them completely.

Though Samsung has confirmed that some Galaxy AI features will be coming to older Galaxy devices, it’s a small list that only goes back to the Galaxy S23 series and the Galaxy S23 FE, as well as the Galaxy Z Flip 5, Galaxy Z Fold 5, and the Galaxy Tab S9.

So, if you’re still using the S22 Ultra and want to get in on the cool AI features, then you’ll have to upgrade.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: price and availability

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
The Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra’s color options Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

When the Galaxy S22 Ultra came out, it had a retail price of $1,200. But Samsung has bumped up the price of the S24 Ultra slightly, as it now starts at $1,300 for the 256GB model, $1,420 for 512GB, or $1,700 for 1TB. You can buy the S24 Ultra directly from Samsung, big-box retailers like Best Buy and Amazon, and carrier stores like AT&T and Verizon.

Though that looks like a hefty price tag, there are usually always some trade-in deals going on or even sales. Trading in your S22 Ultra would definitely help knock the price down a bit, too.

The S24 Ultra comes in four standard colors: Titanium Gray, Titanium Black, Titanium Violet, and Titanium Yellow. But if you buy directly from Samsung, you have three more exclusive colors to choose from: Titanium Green, Titanium Blue, and Titanium Orange.

Galaxy S24 Ultra vs. S22 Ultra: should you upgrade?

A person holding the Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra.
Samsung Galaxy S24 Ultra Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

For the average person, the time to start considering a smartphone upgrade is around two to three years. Since the Galaxy S22 Ultra came out in 2022, it’s already hit the two-year mark, and the Galaxy S24 Ultra would be a great upgrade.

Though the overall aesthetic of the devices is similar, the S24 Ultra is more modern with its straightened edges, titanium body, and overall feel. The Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 chip will give you the fastest performance on the market, and the battery life will last around two full days on a single charge. The display itself is also absolutely gorgeous, with higher resolution and brightness, while also going all the way down to 1Hz from 120Hz to be more power efficient.

And if you like to take photos and videos with your smartphone, the S24 Ultra is simply one of the best options available right now. The 200MP main camera and 50MP periscope telephoto camera are absolute beasts, and Samsung has also improved color accuracy. The Galaxy AI features are also quite nifty to have, especially Circle to Search.

While the price tag is a bit higher than before, you can knock a good chunk of change off that sticker price by trading in your S22 Ultra. If you wait longer, the value of your S22 Ultra will depreciate more, which means less trade-in value. Plus, the S22 Ultra will hit the four-year update mark soon, while the S24 Ultra will last through 2031 with Android 21.

If you’re still reading, what are you waiting for? It’s a great time to upgrade to the Galaxy S24 Ultra.

What if you own the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra? 

The Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra and Galaxy S24 Ultra's screens in bright sunlight, showing differences in reflection.
Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra (left) and Galaxy S24 Ultra Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

As you can imagine, the S23 Ultra represents the perfect middle-ground between the S24 and S22 Ultra smartphones. Is it worth hanging onto though, or should you upgrade to the S24 model? We have a detailed side-by-side comparison of both Galaxy phones, but we’ll tell you right now that we’d recommend the S24 Ultra any day. 

It’s a faster and more powerful phone with a better screen, an excellent camera system, and comes with years of Samsung software support.

Should you wait to upgrade to the Samsung Galaxy S25 Ultra?

The Galaxy S25 Ultra won’t be available for some time, but exactly how long we’ll be waiting hasn’t been determined yet. For now, all we can do is speculate as to what the latest Galaxy generation will bring. We also wouldn’t recommend a blind upgrade to Samsung’s new peripheral when it finally becomes announced and available for pre-order. 

Depending on your wants and needs, you may find that the S25 Ultra doesn’t line up with your most important smartphone criteria. Speaking of which: it may be worth brushing up on what all the best smartphones have to offer. After all, the more you know, the better, right?

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