The new Samsung Galaxy S21 comes in three models, multiple colors, and a lower price tag
The S21 Ultra also supports Samsung’s S-Pen, the first non-Note handset to do so.
The latest generation of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy S handsets was just announced – the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra. They’re stuffed with all the latest technology you could want, with one kicker – Samsung has removed the microSD card slot from all models.
The upside to that removal is that the starting price of each handset is $200 less than last year’s MSRP, with the S21 starting at $799.99, the S21 Plus starting at 999.99, and the S21 Ultra starting at $1,199.99. All three models start with 128GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, 120Hz (dynamically adjusted) refresh rate OLED screens at 2400 x 1080 resolution, and are powered by the Snapdragon 888 chipset.
They’re all 5G enabled, for both mmWave and sub-6GHz networks, all have Qualcomm’s new 3D Sonic Sensor Gen 2 fingerprint sensor, and the S21 and S21 Plus have the same camera array that mercifully is seamlessly flat with the back of the phone now, instead of protruding out.
The S21 and S21 Plus do have some minor differences, mainly the battery size at 4,000 mAh and 4,800 mAh, respectively, and the screen size which is 6.2-inch on the S21, and 6.7-inch on the S21 Plus. Oh, and the back panel of the S21 is polycarbonate now, not aluminum, and the base phone doesn’t have the ultra-wideband radio used for Samsung’s new Galaxy SmartTag tracker.
It’s not until you get to the ultra-premium Galaxy S21 Ultra that the handsets really differentiate. The 6.8-inch, 3200 x 1440 OLED display has a max refresh rate of 120Hz, 12GB of RAM, 5,000 mAH in the battery, up to 512GB of storage, and the same Snapdragon 888 that’s in the other two models.
The S21 Ultra also supports Samsung’s S-Pen, the first non-Note handset to do so. Is that the final nail (or should that be S-Nail?) in the coffin for the Note line? The S21 Ultra also adds a 108-megapixel camera to the back, with a new wider focal length, a new laser autofocus system, support for 12-bit color, and a promise by Samsung to let users have more control over the AI-based photo enhancements. Then there is the normal 12-MP ultrawide, two 10-MP telephoto cameras, one at 3x and one at 10x zoom, making the camera bump take up nearly half of the width of the phone.
With Samsung having years of chasing the best phones it could possibly make, and the eventual cost climbing because of that, it feels like they’ve finally learned something by the success of the cheaper S20 FE last year. The S21 range this year feels like an attempt to make the best phones for its customers, instead of just the best phones on paper.
Preorders are up already, with availability coming on January 29.
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