Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: the perfect two-year upgrade?

If you've been holding on to your S20, now's the time to upgrade: the Galaxy S22 is a big step up

Samsung Galaxy S22
(Image credit: Samsung)

The Samsung Galaxy S20 was one of the best phones when it launched, and it's still pretty good – but the brand new Samsung Galaxy S22 offers some very big improvements. If you sat out the Samsung Galaxy S21, we think this is the model that'll persuade you to upgrade. Here's what's different.

You can catch up on the Samsung Galaxy S22 launch at T3's live blog, as well as watch the Samsung Unpacked show in full, too.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: design and display

The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a clean, modern design with a choice of three colours – grey, black or pink – and a vertical camera bump in the top left corner of the rear. The display is 6.1” with rounded corners and it’s a Dynamic AMOLED 2X delivering a Quad HD+ resolution of 3,200 x 1,440. 

The S22 is clearly from the same family but it’s smarter looking, more evolved. Its display is a 6.1” FHD+ display with 10 to 120Hz refresh rate and a 240Hz sampling rate in Game Mode, and it has blue light control to reduce eye fatigue when you’re using it in low light.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: processor and storage

The S20’s processor is an octa-core Exynos 990 or Snapdragon 865, its fastest cores clocked at 2.73GHz. There’s 8GB of RAM and 128GB of on-board storage, expandable to 1TB via microSD.

The S22 is considerably faster thanks to its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 or Exynos 2200 depending on territory, backed with 8GB of RAM and 128 or 256GB of storage.

Samsung Galaxy S22

(Image credit: Future)

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: cameras

The camera array in the Galaxy S20 is a triple-lens affair with two 12MP and one 64MP cameras, with an optical zoom of 3x and a digital zoom of 30x. The front camera has 10MP. For video the main camera can shoot UHD 8K at up to 24fps and slow motion at 240fps in FHD or 960fps in HD.

The rear camera array in the S22 includes a 12MP ultrawide with f/2.2 and a wide camera with 50MP and an aperture of f/1.8. The telephoto camera is 10MP with f/2.4, and the selfie shooter is 10MP with f/2.2. What you can’t see by looking is the big leaps in AI image processing that have happened in the two generations since the S20: while the hardware specs do look similar the software is another level.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: battery and charging

With 4,000mAh the S20 battery is on the small side, with a claimed internet usage time of up to 14 hours on mobile and 15 on Wi-Fi. But the battery in the S22 is even smaller, presumably because the more efficient processor and display are less power hungry. The S22 battery is 3700mAh with 25W wired and 15W wireless along with Wireless PowerShare.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: software

The Galaxy S20 came with Android 10 and the Android 12 update has just rolled out. The Galaxy S22 has Android 12.1 with Samsung’s own One UI 4.1 to give it that familiar Samsung feel, so you'll be right at home with the new one.

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S21 started at $799 / £769 / AU$1,249 and the Samsung Galaxy S22 also starts at $799 / £769 / AU$1,249.

Samsung Galaxy S22

(Image credit: Samsung)

Samsung Galaxy S22 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: early verdict

We reckon the sweet spot for phone upgrades is every second generation: upgrading every year is expensive and doesn't deliver the dramatic differences you'd hope to have. Upgrading from the S20 to the S22 is likely to delight you: that extra year is a whole world of difference in terms of processing power, refresh rates, energy efficiencies and AI image processing. It's an excellent upgrade.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (