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  • samsung-galaxy-s22-ultra-16-9
    Source:
    Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

    The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra sports everything you'd expect in a 2022 flagship and an S Pen to boot.

    Display
    6.8-inch 1440 x 3088 AMOLED @ 120Hz (variable)
    RAM
    8GB, 12GB
    Storage
    128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
    Battery
    5,000mAh
    Operating System
    Android 12 with One UI 4.1
    Front camera
    40MP f/2.2, 26mm
    Rear cameras
    108 MP f/1.8 primary, 12 MP f/2.2 ultrawide, 10 MP f/2.4 3x telephoto, 10 MP f/4.9 10x telephoto,
    Connectivity
    5G mmWave and sub6; Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/6e; Bluetooth 5.2
    Dimensions
    163.3mm x 77.9mm x 8.9mm
    Weight
    229 grams
    IP Rating
    IP68
    Micro SD card support
    No
    Stylus type
    S Pen
  • null
    Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

    The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 was the end of the line for the Note series. With a gorgeous AMOLED display, a Snapdragon 865 mobile platform, and solid 5G connectivity, it was one of the best phones you could buy when it was released.

    Display
    6.9-inch 1440 X 3088 AMOLED @ 120Hz
    RAM
    8GB, 12GB
    Storage
    128GB, 256GB, 512GB
    Battery
    4,500mAh
    Operating System
    Android 12 with One UI 4
    Front camera
    10 MP, f/2.2
    Rear cameras
    108 MP, f/1.8 primary, 12MP f/3.0 5x telephoto, 12 MP, f/2.2 ultrawide
    Connectivity
    Wi-Fi 802.11 A/B/G/N/AC/6E; Bluetooth 5.2; 5G MmWave and Sub6
    Dimensions
    164.8 x 77.2 x 8.1 mm
    Weight
    208g
    IP Rating
    IP68
    Micro SD card support
    Yes
    Stylus type
    S Pen
ANDROIDPOLICE VIDEO OF THE DAY

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the you can buy. It's the spiritual successor to the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, sharing numerous features and design elements with the 2020 powerhouse. Each phone has a huge, fast display, plus powerful internals, versatile cameras, and a built-in S Pen. They also both cost an arm and a leg when they were first released with an MSRP of $1,200.

Should you drop the cash and upgrade from the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra to the Galaxy S22 Ultra? Let's break it down.

Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Speeds and specifications

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is a few years older, and while the phone's Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset was top of the line when it launched, it's a few generations behind the the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra packs. That means the newer S22 Ultra is the faster device.

Performance out of the older Note 20 Ultra isn't too far behind, though, and the phone can handle the vast majority of things you'd want to use it for. It also has 12GB of RAM across the board, while the S22 Ultra starts at 8GB in the base model. So, the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra may be able to hold more in memory than the S22 Ultra, giving it a potential edge in multitasking performance.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra both have 5G connectivity in the United States, but the newer S22 Ultra enjoys access to more bands thanks to its newer Snapdragon X65 modem. If it's a 5G signal in North America, the Galaxy S22 can latch on mmWave, low-band, and everything in between. The Note 20 is no slouch, but its older X55 modem doesn't support some newer frequencies, such as 3.45Ghz and C-bands that will be vital on AT&T and Verizon going forward.

A green Galaxy S22 Ultra face down on concrete

The X65 modem inside the Note 20 Ultra has a theoretical max speed of 10Gbps, while the X55 modem in the Note 20 Ultra tops out at 7.5Gbps over 5G. It's unlikely you'll ever see peak download speeds on either device, but the point is that the newer S22 Ultra can latch onto more 5G bands and can have higher download speeds than the Note 20 Ultra.

Software support on the newer phone is better, too. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 has been updated to Android 13, but that's probably the last Android version update the phone will see. Meanwhile, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is guaranteed Android version updates through what we assume will be Android 16 in early 2026 and security patches for an additional year after that.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Design and display

S22 ultra-12
Left to right: the Note20 Ultra, S22 Ultra, and S21 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra have enormous AMOLED displays, but the Note 20 Ultra is a tenth of an inch bigger at 6.9". The difference is negligible, especially given the slightly more aggressive curve on the Note. In addition, both phones provide a huge canvas for doodling with the built-in S Pen.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's display is several years more advanced, and that shows in a handful of ways. The refresh rate adjusts intelligently to save power, and you can get the full 120Hz refresh rate at full native resolution (1440p), whereas the Note 20 Ultra has to step down to 60Hz to push all its pixels. The S22 Ultra's OLED is also a little brighter — 1,750 vs. 1,500 nits.

The S22 Ultra's display is a bit more refined, and the materials are a modest step up from the Note 20. Samsung now uses a custom aluminum alloy called "Armor Aluminum" around the phone's edges, and the front/back glass is Gorilla Glass Victus+. Both are more scratch-resistant than the materials on the Note 20 Ultra.

Samsung also opted to extend the rear glass panel on the back of the S22 Ultra all the way up to the camera sensors, so there's no island-style camera bump floating on the back to house the camera array the way there is on the Note 20 Ultra. As a result, the S22 Ultra lays a bit flatter on a table than the Note 20 Ultra.

The overall size and shape of the phones are close. The S22 is a fraction of a millimeter thicker, but the buttons and S Pen are in the same locations. The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is also 21g heavier than the Note, itself already a monstrously heavy phone.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Cameras

Left: Primary camera sample from the Note 20 Ultra. Right: Primary camera sample from the S22 Ultra.

Samsung's "Ultra" branding guarantees the best camera hardware money can buy, but even flagship cameras don't stay on top forever. The Note 20 Ultra's triple-camera array is still respectable, but the S22 has it outclassed. The primary sensors in each phone are 108MP Samsung ISOCELL units, but the one in the S22 Ultra has two additional generations of progress (HM1 vs. HM3). Samsung says you'll get brighter, sharper pictures on the S22 Ultra thanks to the refined sensor, enhanced photo processing, and re-engineered camera glass.

Left: 5x optical zoom on the Note 20 Ultra. Right: 10x optical zoom on the S22 Ultra.

The zoom levels are where the S22 Ultra really pulls ahead. The Note 20 Ultra has one 5x optical zoom level, but the S22 Ultra has two: 3x and 10x. This lets you get more photos at a distance without resorting to digital zoom, and the S22 will really let you push the zoom. The Note 20 topped out at 50x "hybrid zoom," but the S22 Ultra has 100x support. These photos won't look great, but other phones can't even hope to snag a shot from so far away.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Battery and charging

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra's battery packs in 5,000mAh of juice, a 500mAh gain over the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra's 4,500mAh cell. The added battery capacity helps support the S22's more advanced hardware and brighter screen, but both phones last about a day. Well, the Note did when it launched, anyway — after this long, your battery might be on the outs.

Samsung claims 45W charging speeds on the S22 Ultra, much higher than the 25W max charging of the Note. However, the overall charging speeds aren't very different in real life: the S22 Ultra's 45W charging only kicks in when the phone's battery is nearly empty.

Galaxy S22 Ultra vs. Galaxy Note 20 Ultra: Should you upgrade?

S22 ultra-28

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra launched at $1,200, the same MSRP as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. It's a lot of money for a phone, but if you spent big to get the S Pen back in 2020, now's your chance to do it again.

The Galaxy Note 20 is still a capable phone today, but it's nearing the end of its software update lifespan, and two generations of upgrades to display and camera tech make an appreciable difference. Don't let the name fool you: the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra really is the successor to the Galaxy Note line. If you need that sweet stylus action wrapped up in high-end components today, the S22 Ultra is the phone to buy.

Bear in mind that the Samsung Galaxy S23 Ultra should be landing in early 2023, though. The S22 Ultra won't be rendered obsolete by the S23 series, but if you want the absolute most cutting-edge Samsung phone you can get, you might benefit from waiting a couple of months. Otherwise, the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is a great upgrade from the Note 20 Ultra, just not necessarily at full price.

samsung-galaxy-s22-ultra-16-9
Source:
Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra is one of the best phones on the market today, and thanks to features like its Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 chipset and refined camera array, it makes an excellent upgrade from the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. Be aware that the S23 series is coming soon, however, meaning it's not a great time to pay full price for an S22.