David Imel / Android Authority
Earlier this year, Samsung confirmed some bad news for fans of its ultra-premium flagships: there will be no Samsung Galaxy Note phone in 2021. Additionally, of course, the company made no commitments, which left hope that the Note line could return in 2022.
However, last week we took a first look at the likely design of the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. If I didn’t know better I would say it would be the next Note phone as it has the Note shape and even an S-Pen slot. In fact, it bears almost no resemblance to the vanilla Galaxy S22 and Galaxy S22 Plus (which look like clones of the Galaxy S21 range).
The first thing I thought when I saw the design of the Galaxy S22 Ultra was, “Well, that’s it for the Note family.” Samsung may not have confirmed that much, but the existence of the Galaxy S22 Ultra is basically that last nail in the coffin of note. Why should the company release a Note clone in early 2022, only to have a new Note released in the second half of the same year?
It’s clear that Samsung intends for the Galaxy S22 to be the bar hit for the would-be Samsung Galaxy Note. And you know what? I agree. I would even say that I am more than fine.
A Samsung Galaxy Note with a different name
The leaked images above will give you an idea of what to expect from the Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra. These renderings are from serial leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer – a reliable source that has almost always been accurate in the past. While nothing is set in stone, wagering big bucks that the Galaxy S22 Ultra will look similar would be wise.
It’s clear that Samsung is taking a ton of design elements out of the Galaxy Note line for this phone. The box-shaped chassis and curved edges are direct holdovers from the Galaxy Note 20 line. The flat bottom and top are also note staples. The rear camera design – which, as you can see above, is still a little in the air – appears to be an evolution of the camera system on the back of the Galaxy Note 10 series. And there’s no doubt that the S Pen, stored in the bottom left of the phone, is purely note-taking through and through.
If this is the Galaxy S22 Ultra then the idea of a Galaxy Note 22 is certainly out of place.
If this ends up being the Galaxy S22 Ultra, it seems inevitable that there won’t be a new Samsung Galaxy Note phone in 2022. It seems that Samsung intends to make this phone the phone for buyers who still want a touch.
Now there is a possibility that Samsung could start this with the note branding. For example, it could start the Galaxy S22 and the Galaxy S22 Plus under these names and then start them as the Galaxy Note 22 on the same day. It might even do something crazy, as the Samsung Galaxy S22 Note call it. We have no idea what Samsung has planned. Other than that, I wouldn’t be holding my breath. I’m almost sure this will end up as the Galaxy S22 device.
Adam Molina / Android Authority
Let’s say Samsung is going to release the leaked phone pictured in the previous section, and that phone will end up as the Galaxy S22 Ultra. There are three reasons this is great news for Samsung Galaxy Note fans.
The first and best reason is that this phone is likely to land in January 2022 (the Galaxy S21 line launched on January 14, 2021). That means Note fans don’t have to wait until late summer 2022 to get the next Note. It’s basically just around the corner! That should be amazing news for anyone disappointed that there is currently no Note 21 on store shelves.
See also: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the Galaxy Note 2021
The second reason concerns software development. Despite the fact that the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines have grown closer and closer together over the years, the software in the two lines is still a little different. However, if there is no Note-specific software, the Samsung will take a lot of the load off. It’s a win-win for everyone: Note-like hardware with Galaxy S software including the features buyers have come to expect but without the added burden on Samsung’s software teams.
Finally, the third reason this is great news is because of the ongoing global chip scarcity. If Samsung is pouring all its energy into the Galaxy S22 line and not having to worry about the Samsung Galaxy Note line, it should help ensure that the chip shortage doesn’t delay shipments. All evidence suggests that chip shortages will bleed well into 2022, so this is another win-win: Customers get what they want and Samsung doesn’t have to give in to pressure to ship it.
As far as I can tell, Note fans should celebrate this news. Non-Note fans might be a little upset, however.
Galaxy S Ultra series fans might not be so happy
Robert Triggs / Android Authority
In my opinion, the idea of the Galaxy S22 Ultra looking like a new Samsung Galaxy Note is great news for Note fans. But what about the folks who don’t care about the Note aesthetics and who really liked the Galaxy S21 Ultra?
Unfortunately, it seems that these people are being left up here and dry. The introduction of an S Pen slot, for example, is probably the biggest downside to this new phone. There are a lot of people out there who have absolutely no use for a pen, let alone one that lives in their phone all the time.
Cash: Is it still worth buying the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra a year later?
That S Pen slot will likely require the phone to be bigger, have a smaller battery, or both. Those are two things that people who loved the Galaxy S21 Ultra probably won’t be too happy about. It is possible that it will increase the price as well.
There’s also the idea of the design itself. If you really liked the design of the Galaxy S21 Ultra and you don’t care about the boxiness of a Note, you seem out of luck.
Samsung seems to be taking a huge risk here. It seems to believe that the appeasement of the Galaxy Note fans will outweigh the alienation of the Galaxy S Ultra fans. This makes sense in a way, as the Note line has been around much longer than all Ultra phones and thus has a more established fan base. Still, the company will alienate some buyers no matter what it does in this situation.
Granted, we may not have seen it all yet. Perhaps Samsung has a phone in the works that will act more as a direct sequel to the Galaxy S21 Ultra. We will see.
The Samsung Galaxy Note is dead; Long live the Galaxy Note!
Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
No matter what I say, if my theories presented here are correct, this is likely bittersweet news for Note fans. Even if Samsung pushed the basic core of a Note experience onto the Galaxy S line, the fact that it wasn’t a “pure” Note would likely be disappointing for many.
However, I sincerely hope Note fans don’t see it that way. I think this is Samsung’s way of responding to the backlash for missing a grade this year. If Samsung brings out the Galaxy S22 Ultra as a love letter to Note fans and Note fans don’t support it, well … let’s just say that would be the end.
The best we can do is view this changing of the guard as a blessing, so to speak. Another phone named Note may not hit the market, but at least Samsung will try to keep the legacy alive.