Samsung today unveiled its new flagship smartphones from the Galaxy S21 series, as well as several other devices. Let’s take a look at what has been announced.
Samsung Galaxy Unpacked 2021
The Korean company is one of the leading manufacturers of mobile devices, so it is only logical that its new devices are at the center of attention. Especially when it comes to flagship smartphones. Rumors and leaks are constant companions of these events.
Usually, Samsung presents new Galaxy S smartphones in February or March, but not in January, and its Galaxy Unpacked 2021 event which traditionally took place in San Francisco on January 14 turned out to be very different from previous presentations. I believe that Samsung took this step in order to quickly introduce a competitor to the iPhone 12. In addition, the reason may be Samsung’s desire to exploit the gradual decline of Huawei’s share in many markets.
Be that as it may, millions of Samsung fans had the opportunity to tune in and watch Samsung Unpacked 2021 live, including on YouTube.
We also closely followed it closely in order to share with you our impressions of the event and tell you in more detail about the new products.
And there is something to tell, because we saw not only the amazing flagship smartphones of the Galaxy S21 series which include (again) three models: the base Galaxy S20, the larger Galaxy S20+ and the top-end Galaxy S20 Ultra, but also the updated Galaxy Buds Pro headphones and Galaxy SmartTag object tracker. Has Samsung managed to surprise us? There is no definite answer to this question.
Samsung Galaxy S21
Let’s start with the base model. It is the smallest of Samsung’s flagship smartphones in 2021. It measures 71.2 x 161.7 x 7.9 mm and weighs only 172 g. The smartphone seems to take over from the Galaxy S20, which was very well received when it came out in 2020. Like its predecessor, the Galaxy S21 is the cheapest of the flagship trio.
But that doesn’t mean it lacks noteworthy characteristics. As we have already seen, the Galaxy S21 comes with the same hardware components, including its own chipset, as other smartphones in this series.
The new Galaxy S21 series show Samsung’s significant changes to its flagship design formula. The smartphone has the same back plate as the base Galaxy Note 20, as well as a matte finish. It is protected from water and dust according to IP68 standards. Of course, it doesn’t have a 3.5mm headphone jack.
It is a slim, modern smartphone with an incredibly successful design and will be available in four colors: Phantom Gray, Phantom Violet, Phantom White and Phantom Pink.
Samsung uses the same chip in all three Galaxy S21 models. All over the world the Galaxy S21 series will be equipped with the new Samsung Exynos 2100 chipset, while in some markets, such as Korea and the USA, the flagship will use Snapdragon 888.
The Galaxy S21 will offer 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage for the base model, although a 256GB variant may also be available. The smartphone is equipped with a 4000mAh battery with 25W fast charging capability. Don’t forget about the support for wireless PowerShare charging technology.
The base Galaxy S21 model features a 6.2-inch FHD+ Super AMOLED Infinity-O display. It is a dynamic screen that supports 120Hz high refresh rate.
Not surprisingly, the Galaxy S21 has a built-in fingerprint sensor, and according to the manufacturer, the scanner will be twice as fast as the one used in the Galaxy S20 line. In addition, the active area of the sensor is bigger.
Samsung has always introduced new camera enhancements with its Galaxy S series, so as expected, the Galaxy S21 also has more advanced cameras than its predecessors.
The new model is equipped with a 12-megapixel main camera, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle lens and a 64-megapixel telephoto module. Of course, such a set has the ability to record video in 8K mode. The front-facing camera in the Galaxy S21 has a 10MP sensor.
The phone will receive support for the next generation of 5G communications. Among the features, it is also worth noting support for Wi-Fi 6. Samsung continues to cooperate with AKG, so this company has stereo speakers installed on all flagships of the Galaxy S21 series. There is also support for the proprietary Samsung DeX function, which will allow you to connect your smartphone to a PC and work in desktop mode.
The Galaxy S21 series smartphones will be among the first from Samsung to ship with Android 11 and its own One UI 3.1 shell. The new iteration of One UI has brought some new interesting features.
As for the prices, they will depend on the amount of storage. So for the 8/128 GB version you will have to pay €850 in Europe, and the version with 8/256 GB will cost €900.
Samsung Galaxy S21+
When comparing the Samsung Galaxy S21+ to the base model, there are not many differences. Measuring 75.6 x 161.5 x 7.8 mm, it weighs 202 g. Yes, it is somewhat larger and heavier, but that doesn’t change much.
The Galaxy S21+ is like a cross between the Galaxy S21 and the Galaxy S21 Ultra. It shares many features and functions with the base Galaxy S21, but has enough differences to justify the higher price.
Customers who prefer the best of what Samsung has to offer will obviously go with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. But the Galaxy S21+ is a great alternative for those who might be looking for a middle ground and don’t want to overpay.
Don’t expect the Galaxy S21+ to look tangibly different from other smartphones in the lineup, especially the base model Galaxy S21. It uses the same Infinity-O display and the screen is completely flat.
The Galaxy S21+ has a glass back, just like the Ultra model. Regardless, the camera looks pretty much the same on both the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+.
Galaxy S21+ will take advantage of the latest mobile technologies. For example, Samsung’s own Exynos 2100 chip that will power the phone, as well as the Snapdragon 888 in some markets. The base model can have 8GB of RAM and 128GB of flash storage, and there’s also a 256GB option. The phone received a 4800 mAh battery, slightly larger than the 4500 mAh battery on the Galaxy S20+.
The Galaxy S21+ boasts a 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 120Hz refresh rate (non-adaptive).
The display features an Infinity-O notch in the center and a fingerprint sensor. The accuracy of the sensor, according to the manufacturer, should be higher due to its larger size and improved authentication speed.
The Galaxy S21+ has the same camera as the base model, meaning we have a 12MP ultra wide-angle main lens, a 12MP wide-angle lens and a 64MP telephoto camera. The selfie camera is also 10 megapixels. Time will tell how the combo camera performs in real life scenarios, but at least the new camera looks much better than last year.
All this runs on Android 11 with the proprietary One UI 3.1 shell. It will be interesting to see what advantages One UI 3.1 has over One UI 3.0. Prices for the Galaxy S21+ are slightly higher than the base model. Here, for the 8/128 GB version, you will have to pay €1050, and for larger amount of internal memory, 8/256 GB, Samsung asks €1100.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
As of 2019, the “Ultra” branding is reserved for the top-tier Samsung flagship. It started with the Galaxy S20 Ultra and continued with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra. The Korean company did not make an exception in early 2021, as Samsung introduced three Galaxy S21 models, including the Ultra variant. We are used to the fact that this version contains all the best elements that Samsung has to offer.
It should be noted that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be the first Galaxy S to support the S Pen. But the stylus will have to be purchased separately. In addition, support for remote control of a smartphone, as in the Note series, is not provided.
Samsung has made the Galaxy S21 Ultra larger and wider than other devices in its lineup. The front is dominated by its dynamic AMOLED display with WQHD+ resolution, which has a much more subdued curvature thanks to its 2.5D glass. The screen supports a 120Hz refresh rate, 1600 nits peak brightness and an impressive 3,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The front and back panels are protected by Corning Gorilla Glass Victus.
The smartphone is made of high quality materials and is also protected from water and dust according to the IP68 standard. It features a USB Type-C port at the bottom next to the AKG speakers. But don’t expect a 3.5mm headphone jack. It seems to be completely gone.
As for the chipset, it is the same as in all Galaxy S21 models, Samsung Exynos 2100, based on 5nm process. Only the US and Korea will be able to buy the Galaxy S21 Ultra with Snapdragon 888. 12/16 GB and 128/256/512 GB models will be available. The phone will support 25W charging, but in Europe there will be no charger or headphones included. Samsung is currently developing an additional 30W charger for the entire line. This means that the 5000 mAh battery can be charged up to 50% in just half an hour.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features a quad camera that includes an improved second-generation 108MP main sensor and an ultra-wide 12MP sensor. The device will also have two 10MP telephoto lenses with 3x and 10x optical zoom. Laser autofocus will be used. It is a truly advanced professional grade camera that will delight you with quality photos in any conditions. It is capable of shooting video in 8K, has super stabilization of video, a director’s shooting mode, including vlog mode and live miniatures, and it is possible to record sound with several microphones. Samsung also did not forget to improve the portrait mode and multi-frame mode. The phone has an improved space 30x zoom. Incredible!
Of course, the modern flagship from Samsung has all the necessary connectivity and communication interfaces. There is support for 5G, proximity sensors, Hall and UWB, there are NFC and Bluetooth modules, and most importantly, support for Wi-Fi 6E, a standard that is only gaining momentum. All this works under the control of the new version of Android 11, supplemented by its own One UI 3.1 shell.
A few words about prices. Here, of course, prices are much higher than in the previous two models.:
- Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G 128 GB storage, 12 GB RAM – €1249
- Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G 256 GB storage, 12 GB RAM – €1299
- Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G 512 GB storage, 16 GB RAM – €1429.
In Europe, all Galaxy S21 smartphones will be available for pre-order starting January 14, and will go on sale at the end of January.
Galaxy Buds Pro
Samsung’s wireless earbuds, a successor to Galaxy Buds Live, are called Galaxy Buds Pro. This suggests that the company is aiming for a higher level. Galaxy Buds Pro may be the most functional wireless earbuds Samsung has ever made.
However, the Galaxy Buds Pro will not necessarily replace the Buds Live six months after release. They will coexist in the marketplace and are likely to appeal to different audiences.
Although Samsung has changed the design formula for wireless earbuds in the Galaxy Buds Live, the updated earbuds have returned to their roots. The Galaxy Buds Pro resembles Galaxy Buds/Buds+ series more than the latest model with the Live label.
The Galaxy Buds Pro look very similar to the Galaxy Buds+.
The Galaxy Buds Pro charging case has a square shape with rounded corners, similar to the Galaxy Buds Live case, and it also houses a 472 mAh battery.
Galaxy Buds Pro support active noise control. They are the second pair of buds from the company to boast this technology after the Galaxy Buds Live. However, the new headphones will provide improvements to both ANC and Ambient mode.
Don’t forget the triple microphone system, high SNR (signal to noise ratio) and wind noise protection technology. This will allow you to talk comfortably in any environment. It is already clear that Samsung has done a huge amount of work, and has been improving its wireless headphones from year to year.
The new Galaxy Buds Pro are priced at $170, and in some countries will come as a bonus when purchasing Galaxy S21 smartphones.
At the current Galaxy Unpacked 2021 event, Samsung introduced a very interesting object tracker called the Galaxy SmartTag. Essentially, the Galaxy SmartTag tracks objects via Bluetooth. It will work just like the popular Tile trackers and Apple AirTags.
It is a small object that with a square shape with rounded edges. It can be attached to a key ring or strap, put in a wallet or purse so that if you ever lose these valuables, you can find them with your phone using the Bluetooth SmartTag function.
The tracker will have Bluetooth 5.1 support, end-to-end encryption, and Privacy ID for increased security. It’s priced at just $15, and if you pre-order the new Galaxy S21, you’ll get it as a nice gift.
The event itself and the new devices give us the opportunity to better understand how Samsung sees the future of the smartphone market. Yes, a revolution did not happen, but an evolution certainly did. There were enough interesting innovations, like the S Pen in the Galaxy S21 Ultra. The cameras are just as eye-catching as the design, which is also worth mentioning. It will be very interesting to test new devices from Samsung.