Looking to buy a high-end phone? Then the inevitable Samsung Galaxy S22 series – three new smartphones expected to be released in the first quarter of next year – may well be in your sights.
With reportedly disappointing sales for the S21 series, including the mighty Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (opens in new tab), we're expecting the Korean manufacturer to throw everything at its successors, the Samsung Galaxy S22, S22+, and S22 Ultra. However, we've been starved of details so far.
• Read more: Best camera phones (opens in new tab)
Finally, though, we've got our first glimpse of what the the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra may look like, thanks to a series of renders shared by usually reliable tipster OnLeaks (opens in new tab) and the blog Digit (opens in new tab).
And we have to admit, these images took us a little by surprise:
Firstly, the phone's design overall looks a lot like a Samsung Galaxy Note. Specifically, the body and back are very reminiscent of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (opens in new tab), and come with a hole-punch style selfie camera, plus what looks like a slot for the S-Pen stylus. The dimensions of the phone are said to be 163.2 x 77.9 x 8.9mm.
Secondly, the camera setup… well, it's a little weird to be frank. The five lenses have been arranged within a raised (1.6mm) camera bump that clearly spells the letter 'P'.
Is it just an aesthetic choice? Or does 'P' stand for 'photo', 'picture', 'pixels' or some brand new photography tech that Samsung is introducing? We've no idea, but we're looking forward to finding out.
It certainly doesn't seem to be a functional issue, because the lenses themselves are positioned pretty much as they were on the S21 Ultra (shown below) – for reference, that phone includes a main 108MP wide-angle sensor, two 10MP telephoto sensors, and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor.
In short, we're not sure what it all means – but two things are certain.
Firstly, the new design fits in nicely with the recent trend for camera bumps, most recently spotted on the iPhone 13 Pro (opens in new tab). And secondly, the raised 'P' housing design seen here is nonetheless quite unique. So if you want people to clock you've got the latest Samsung Ultra, it should certainly serve that purpose.
Pinch of salt
We should add, of course, that even though OnLeaks has a good track record, these renders are in no way official – and may well turn out not to be accurate.
There's always the possibility, too, that Samsung has leaked them 'accidentally-on-purpose', in order to gauge public reaction to the new look. If that is the case, then the lack of any public howls of derision – well, on the social accounts that we follow, at least – suggests it's been a success so far.
What sensors the S22 will feature, we can't tell you – though our fingers are crossed that it will posses the new 200MP Samsung sensor (opens in new tab). We can at least rule out the idea that they might include Olympus camera tech, though.
It was suggested by rumors back in April that Olympus and Samsung were in talks about collaborating on future smartphones. However, that's since been flatly denied by Olympus (opens in new tab) – so we know what not to expect from the new Samsung cameras.