Samsung Galaxy S21: Everything we know so far

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The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has gotten all of the hype recently, but it’s important to remember Samsung’s other — and arguably more important — flagship. The Galaxy S series is expected to get an update in mid January, just in time for the CES 2021 show, and as happens a lot these days, very little is being left to the imagination. The entire range of Galaxy S21 phones has been leaked over and over again.

Last year, Samsung went from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20, but this year it will likely return to the previous naming scheme, with the majority of leaks suggesting the new range will be called the Galaxy S21.

Whatever the devices end up being called, here’s everything we know.

Galaxy S21 design and display

Like the Galaxy S20, the Galaxy S21 is expected to come in three different models, likely to be called the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung hasn’t yet made any official announcements, of course, but we’ve already seen renders that apparently show the design of the upcoming phones. Renders of the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra have been leaked by @OnLeaks, and seem to show that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will have a huge camera bump on the back that bleeds over the edge of the phone. Apart from that, the phone will look relatively similar to its predecessor, with a hole-punch cutout at the top.

A new leak from WinFuture.de suggests that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will only be available in two colors — “Phantom Silver” and “Phantom Black.” It remains to be seen if the other devices in the Galaxy S21 range will be available in other colors, though leaks suggest they will.

The display on the Galaxy S21 Ultra will reportedly be 6.8 inches, and while some rumors indicated it will have a 144Hz refresh rate, new rumors from WinFuture note that it will instead have a 120Hz refresh rate. That’s still awesome, and beats the majority of the competition. It should offer a Quad HD+ resolution.

The other Galaxy S21s won’t be so lucky. According to another WinFuture report, the standard Galaxy S21 and the Galaxy S21+ will both have a 2400 x 1080 display. They should still both offer a 120Hz display, but it is a little frustrating to see a step down in display resolution compared to last year, if the rumor turns out to be true.

One feature that has people surprised is that the Galaxy S21 may support Samsung’s S Pen, like the Galaxy Note series. This rumor comes from Samsung’s President of Mobile Communications TM Roh, who suggested that “we’ve also been paying attention to people’s favorite aspects of the Galaxy Note experience and are excited to add some of its most well-loved features to other devices in our lineup.” According to WinFuture, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will support the S Pen — however, unlike the Galaxy Note series, it won’t be sold with an S Pen, so you’ll have to buy it separately.

Galaxy S21 cameras

Samsung changed the aesthetic of the camera array with the Galaxy S20, moving it to the top left of the back of the phone, similar to the camera array on the iPhone 11 series. This made way for a new triple-camera setup, and we can expect that as the base level for the S21 as well.

The actual camera specs will vary a little depending on the model. According to WinFuture, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will offer a quad-lens camera, with two telephoto lenses. There’s a 108-megapixel main sensor, a 12MP ultrawide camera, a 10MP telephoto lens with 3x optical zoom, and a 10MP telephoto lens with 10x optical zoom.

The main sensor on the phone may also be a hefty 108MP camera sensor — which will reportedly be coupled with a 40MP front-facing camera. That’s pretty huge. Apart from that, one rumor notes that the front-facing camera may have optical image stabilization, or OIS, which would be a massive advancement if it comes to fruition.

According to WinFuture, the standard Galaxy S21 and S21+ will have triple-lens cameras that are, on paper, the same specs as the Galaxy S20 series. The Galaxy S21+ may also drop the time-of-flight sensor.

Galaxy S21 specs and performance

Under the hood, the Galaxy S21 series will likely get an impressive performance boost. As in previous years, it is expected that the phones will offer slightly different specs depending on where you buy one.

Some rumors suggest that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will have a yet-to-be-announced Samsung chipset, which will be a 5nm chip that will compete with the Snapdragon 888 and could be called the Exynos 2100. Speaking of the Snapdragon 888, despite the fact that Samsung didn’t really make a big appearance at the new chipset’s launch, it will still likely be featured in all three U.S. versions of the phone. Known Samsung leaker IceUniverse claims the Exynos 2100 is capable of scoring 690,000 on AnTuTu, which is pretty impressive.

According to a report from GalaxyClub, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will have a 4,885mAh battery, which more or less matches the Galaxy S20 Ultra’s battery capacity. This was confirmed by MyFixGuide, which claims to have found the battery capacity by matching the model number to 3C certification documents online. Dutch site Galaxy Club also claims the phone will have the same whopping 65-watt charging currently only available in some phones from Oppo and Xiaomi.

Galaxy S21 pricing and availability

The newest Samsung Galaxy S devices are usually launched in February, however, things could be a little different this year. According to most recent rumors, the Galaxy S21 series will launch by the end of January. One leak, from Android Authority, notes that the phones could be announced as soon as January 14, with a release date of January 22. Not only that, but if you’re planning on getting a Galaxy device no matter what the specs are, you can actually reserve a pre-order right now, if you want to.

Samsung’s Roh has hinted at big changes coming to the Galaxy lineup for 2021. He says we’ll hear more about these changes starting in January, lending more credence to the rumor of a big announcement early in the year.

When it comes to pricing, the phones will likely carry a similar price tag to the Galaxy S20 phones, with the S21 being the cheapest and the S21 Ultra being the most expensive. If they’re the same price as the Galaxy S20 series, prices will range from $1,000 to $1,600, depending on the sizes and specs.

Will it be the Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S30?

There is some debate as to what the next Galaxy S will end up being called. For the first 10 years of the Galaxy S series, Samsung simply counted up for its naming scheme — but last year it skipped from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20. For 2021, rumors indicate that Samsung will return to simple iteration, and call the new device the Galaxy S21 — though that could change as we get closer to the launch of the phones. “Galaxy S30” is certainly a possibility, although it could quickly get out of hand in just a few model generations.

It won’t come with a wall charger

Samsung was quick to mock Apple after the company ditched the power adapter in the iPhone 12 series, but it now seems that the company is changing its attitude and getting rid of the accessory for the Galaxy S21.

According to Tecnoblog, the Galaxy S21 series have all received government approval for launch in Brazil, and while their documentation doesn’t offer too much information about the phones, it does note that they will not come with a charger, nor will they come with a pair of headphones.

It’s not necessarily a surprising development, and this isn’t the first time that Samsung has shot itself in the foot by mocking Apple. Notably, the company was quick to criticize Apple for getting rid of the headphone jack, but it also no longer includes a headphone jack on many of its flagship phones.

We will continually update this story with the latest leaks, rumors, and information on the Galaxy S21 series.

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