Samsung announced its Galaxy S22 phone lineup and Galaxy Tab S8 tablet at an Unpacked event on Wednesday, and the high-end Galaxy S22 Ultra was the star of the show. The S22 Ultra's size, design and stylus position it as a successor to the now-discontinued Galaxy Note.
"Galaxy S22 Ultra takes the beloved functionality of the Galaxy Note and the most celebrated aspects of the S series and merges them for a truly unique mobile experience," said TM Roh, president and head of Samsung Electronics Mobile Experience in a press release.
Here's everything we know about the Galaxy S22 Ultra. For a broader overview of the entire Galaxy lineup, check out our Galaxy S22 roundup. And here's how to preorder the Galaxy S22 phones.
There's good news for fans. In spite of rumors of possible delay, the Galaxy S22 Ultra will be available to purchase on Feb. 25. Preorders for the high-end Galaxy model start immediately.
As for pricing, the Galaxy S22 Ultra is the most expensive phone in Samsung's new lineup. The Galaxy S22 Ultra starts at $1,200 (£1,149, AU$1,849) without a device trade-in, similar to the base price for the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The price, however, increases as storage capacity gets larger.
Here's the prices for the Galaxy S22 line, for reference.
Read more: How to buy a new iPhone or Android phone in 2022: CNET's top shopping tips
Samsung seems to have looked to its past for the Galaxy S22 Ultra. For the first time since the Galaxy Note 20, Samsung's latest high-end phone features a physical slot on the smartphone for the S Pen stylus. Samsung also made improvements to the S Pens functionality by offering lower latency and the ability to transcribe handwritten notes to text in 88 languages. Last year's Galaxy S21 Ultra was the first Galaxy S phone to support the S Pen, but there's no place to store the stylus, and you need to buy it separately.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra also sports a Note-like angular design with sharper edges, which is significantly different from the standard Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus's softer look. The Galaxy S22 Ultra's large 6.8-inch display is reminiscent of the Note, as well.
For comparison's sake, here's a photo of the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
At a quick glance, the Galaxy S22 Ultra's camera specs look fairly similar to last year's Galaxy S21 Ultra. But, Samsung claims to have made some important improvements under-the-hood to boost overall camera quality.
The Galaxy S22 Ultra features a 108-megapixel wide, 12-megapixel ultrawide and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses, similar to the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Both Ultra models sport a 40-megapixel selfie camera, as well. But, this year, Samsung's Galaxy S line comes with internal camera upgrades that should make taking pictures in the dark (Samsung calls it Nightography) and framing subjects better. We'll know more when we test the new S22 Ultra for ourselves, but our first impression of the S22 Ultra's cameras is... not inspiring.
Read more: Best camera phones for 2022
The Galaxy S22 Ultra comes in four different colors: black, white, green and burgundy. The base Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus come in black, white, pink gold and green.
Samsung usually uses both its own Exynos chips and Qualcomm's processors in its phones, depending on the region, and it has done the same this year. That means the US version of the S22 series runs on Qualcomm's Snapdragon 8 Gen 1, which the chipmaker says should bring improvements such as the ability to capture 8K video at 30 frames per second and 30% faster graphics rendering.
Samsung's new Exynos 2200 processor was unveiled last month. The new chip is said to be a gaming powerhouse, and includes a brand-new graphics processing unit that it built in collaboration with AMD, which the company claims will bring a big boost to gaming and overall graphics performance. However, it's unclear if the Galaxy S22 has this chip.
When it comes to battery life, the S22 Ultra has a lot in common with its predecessor. The S22 Ultra has a 5,000-mAh battery, just like the Galaxy S21 Ultra, but comes with 45-watt fast wired charging.
Samsung's Ultra phones also typically include more memory and storage than their less expensive siblings, and the Galaxy S22 Ultra has followed that trend. The base version of the S22 Ultra comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Other options include a model with 12GB of RAM and 256GB, 512GB and 1TB of storage.
All told, the Galaxy S22 Ultra seems like it could be a viable successor to Samsung's popular Galaxy Note. That also makes it easier for Samsung to distinguish the Ultra from the regular Galaxy S22 and S22 Plus. For more, here's how the three Galaxy S22 phones compare to each other, the Galaxy S22 vs. S21 (and S22 Ultra vs. S21 Ultra), Galaxy S22 vs. S21 FE, and how the Galaxy S22 compares to the iPhone 13 Pro and the Pixel 6 Pro.Find the best phones, apps and accessories with our CNET Mobile newsletter. Delivered Tuesdays and Thursdays.Samsung Event PhonesAndroid 12 Rumors SamsungNotification on Notification off Mobile