Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: What has been upgraded in a year?

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus: What has been upgraded in a year?

Samsung’s long-running Galaxy S series gets new smartphones every year, with some offering more significant improvements over others. The Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus, for instance, only offer a modest improvement over their predecessors, meaning you don’t necessarily have to rush out to grab these new phones if you already have the Galaxy S21 or the Galaxy S21 Plus. That doesn’t mean you should let these new phones fly under the radar, as Samsung has made some noteworthy improvements over the last year’s devices. Let’s take a quick look at the Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs Galaxy S21 Plus to find out which smartphone is better to buy in 2022.

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Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs Galaxy S21 Plus: Specifications

Specification Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
Build
  • Armor aluminum frame
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus+
  • IP68 dust and water resistance
  • Aluminum frame
  • Corning Gorilla Glass Victus
  • IP68 dust and water resistance
Dimensions & Weight
  • 157.4 x 75.8 x 7.6mm
  • 196g
  • 161.5×75.6×7.8 mm
  • 200g
Display
  • 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • FHD+ (1080 x 2340)
  • 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate
  • 1750 nits
  • 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X
  • FHD+ (1080 x 2400)
  • 120Hz Adaptive Refresh Rate
  • 1300 nits
SoC
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 1
  • Exynos 2200
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 888
  • Exynos 2100
RAM & Storage
  • 8GB + 128GB
  • 8GB + 256GB
  • 8GB + 128GB
    8GB + 256GB
Battery & Charging
  • 4,500mAh
  • 45W wired fast charging support
  • 15W wireless charging support
  • 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • Charger not included
  • 4,800mAh
  • 25W fast wired charging
  • 15W fast wireless charging
  • 4.5W reverse wireless charging
  • Charger not included
Security Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor Ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor
Rear Camera(s)
  • Primary: 50MP, 1.0µm, 85° FoV, 23mm, f/1.8, DPAF, OIS
  • Ultra-wide: 12MP, 1.4µm, 120° FoV, 13mm, f/2.2
  • Telephoto: 10MP, 1.0µm, 36° FoV, 69mm, f/2.4, OIS, 3x optical zoom
  • Primary: 12MP, f/1.8, OIS
  • Secondary: 12MP f/2.2 ultra-wide camera, 120-degree FOV
  • Tertiary: 64MP f/2.0, telephoto, 1.1X optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom
Front Camera(s) 10MP, 1.22µm, f/2.2, 80° FoV 10MP, 1.22µm, f/2.2
Port(s)
  • USB Type-C
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot
  • USB Type-C port
  • No headphone jack
  • No microSD card slot
Audio Stereo speakers Stereo speakers
Connectivity
  • 5G (mmWave/sub6)
  • 4G LTE
  • Wi-Fi 6E
  • Bluetooth 5.2
  • NFC
  • 5G (mmWave/sub6)
  • LTE
  • WiFi 802.11.b/g/n/ax (2.4GHz + 5GHz)
  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • NFC
Software One UI 4.1 based on Android 12 One UI 3.1 based on Android 11
Other Features
  • Promised four Android OS upgrades
  • Promised five years of security patches
  • Three years of OS updates
  • Four years of security updates

Design and Display

Galaxy S22 Plus in four colors

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Plus look like they’re cut from the same cloth. They both look nearly the same with flat screens and rounded edges. You also have the contour-cut camera at the back, housing the triple-camera setup. There’s a slight difference between the two when it comes to the back, though. The Galaxy S21 Plus has natural curves on the edges of the back panel as opposed to the completely flat edges on the Galaxy S22 Plus. This makes the former slightly easier to hold, but it probably isn’t something you’ll notice that much. We think you’ll still have a hard time telling them apart just by looking at the devices from a distance. The Galaxy S22 Plus is available in a bunch of new shades including green, blue, cream, and violet, so you can pick one of those to let people know you have the new phone.

Galaxy S21 plus

The new Galaxy S22 Plus is a hair thinner and lighter compared to the Galaxy 21 Plus, but the overall footprint of both phones remains largely the same. Both phones also use Gorilla Glass on the front and the back, but the Galaxy S22 Plus uses the slightly better Gorilla Glass Victus Plus, instead of just the Gorilla Glass Victus. Both phones also come with an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance, so no differences there in terms of durability, really. You get a massive AMOLED panel on both phones with a punch-hole camera cutout and uniform bezels on all four sides, so they look quite identical from the front too.

Front of smartphone screen with camera cutout

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus sports a 6.6-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel while the Galaxy S21 Plus comes with a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display. Both are FHD+ panels with support for up to 120Hz adaptive refresh rate. You’re not going to notice a lot of difference when it comes to the overall image quality as both devices have an AMOLED panel for punchy colors and a great contrast ratio. The display on the Galaxy S22 Plus, however, gets a lot brighter compared to the one of the Galaxy S21 Plus. Both devices, however, get bright enough to be used outdoor, so you’re not going to notice a major difference. They also support up to 120Hz adaptive refresh rate that paves the way for smooth animations and a great gaming experience.

Internal Hardware and Cameras

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus will get you the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 Soc instead of the Snapdragon 888 in the US. Most international markets will get Samsung’s Exynos 2200 instead of the Exynos 2100. You’re not going to notice a lot of difference between the Snapdragon and Exynos variants in day-to-day usage but the Snapdragon variants are known to be more stable and reliable for almost all use-cases. Both phones have 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of internal storage, with no microSD card support for additional space. You get 128GB storage on the base variants of both phones, but you may want to upgrade to the 256G model if you are a heavy user.

Camera viewfinder on Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus

Samsung has packed the Galaxy S22 Plus with a slightly smaller 4,500 mAh battery as opposed to the 4,800 mAh unit inside the older model. The Galaxy S22 Plus, however, has faster-charging speeds in comparison. The Galaxy S21 Plus from last year tops out at 25W wired charging whereas the Galaxy S22 Plus supports up to 45W charging. You don’t get a charger inside the box with either phone, so you’ll have to purchase one separately. Both the Galaxy S22 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Plus support 15W wireless charging and 4.5W reverse wireless charging, so no differences there.

Samsung has made some solid improvements in the camera department for the Galaxy S22 Plus. Comparing it with the Galaxy S21 Plus’ optics, you now get a 50MP main sensor as opposed to a 12MP unit. The telephoto lens has also seen an improvement as it can now do 3X optical zoom instead of 3x hybrid. The 12MP ultrawide camera remains the same, but the entire system on the Galaxy S22 Plus can capture highly detailed shots with good colors. You also get better portrait shots with much better details thanks to the new telephoto lens. Both smartphones can record 8K videos at 24fps or 4K videos at up to 60fps. We don’t have any camera samples captured on the Galaxy S21 Plus, but you can check out the shots captured using the Galaxy S22 Plus below to get a better understanding of what to expect from this new phone.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus camera samples:


Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus vs Galaxy S21 Plus: Which one should you buy?

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus is very similar to the Galaxy S21 Plus that came out a year before. Both devices have a lot in common but we think you are better off buying the newer phone, especially because both phones carry the same $999 price tag. The Galaxy S22 Plus is going to perform better thanks to the new chipset. It also has better cameras, faster-charging speeds, and more. Another important thing to note is that the Galaxy S22 Plus ships with One UI 4.2 out of the box which is based on Android 12. Yes, the Galaxy S21 Plus is also running on the new software now, but the newer phone offers an additional year of software support, meaning you’ll be able to use it for longer. Samsung has promised four years of major OS updates and up to five years of security updates for the Galaxy S22 Plus. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Plus will only get two more major OS updates and up to three years of security updates in the future.

The Galaxy S21 Plus is also a great phone, so we don’t think it’s worth upgrading to the Galaxy S22 Plus. But If you’re looking to purchase one right now, then it’s hard to argue against the Galaxy S22 Plus considering the asking price. The Galaxy S21 Plus makes more sense over the new phone if you can snag a good deal or pick up a refurbished unit which Samsung itself is selling on its web store for $850.

    The Samsung Galaxy S22 Plus and Galaxy S21 Plus have a lot in common, but the newer phones come out as the ultimate winner for offering a slightly better experience overall.

The only time it makes sense to pick up the Galaxy S21 Plus is when you spot it at an insane deal and you do not have the larger budget for the Galaxy S22 Plus. Alternatively, a refurbished unit at price levels of ~$600-$700 will make the Galaxy S21 Plus a better value over the Galaxy S22 Plus. Hence, if you see a lower price tag and are chasing higher value, you should go for the Galaxy S21 Plus in such scenarios.

    The Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus is the middle child in the new 2021 flagship series, packing in a flagship SoC and a premium build, along with a decent display and camera setup.

If you’ve decided to purchase the Galaxy S22 Plus, then be sure to take a look at our collection of the best Galaxy S22 deals to see if you can save some money. We’ve also rounded up some of the best Galaxy S22 Plus cases that you can buy on the market for your new phone. Alternatively, you can also read our Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra review before making a purchase decision to see if you want to splurge more and get the best Galaxy experience right now.

About author

Karthik Iyer
Karthik Iyer

Karthik covers PC hardware for XDA Computing. When not at work, you will find him yelling at his monitors while playing video games.

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