Samsung Broadcasts Galaxy S21, S21+ & S21 Extremely: Cheaper Baseline, Increased Excessive-Finish

Immediately, Samsung is taking the digital stage to launch the brand new Galaxy S21 collection of gadgets, together with the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Extremely. In a time the place smartphones develop into increasingly more costly, Samsung is making an attempt a special strategy this yr, and as a substitute of accelerating machine costs, really reduces them – no less than for the baseline S21 and S21+ fashions. The transfer is an fascinating one, nonetheless very a lot dilutes the Galaxy S collection as a flagship line-up of gadgets, with Samsung performing some function compromises that wouldn’t had been thinkable in previous iterations of the collection.

In the meantime, the Galaxy S21 Extremely continues to be Samsung’s focus level in delivering true no-compromises flagship experiences and options, with this yr’s iteration aiming for extra capabilities than ever earlier than, together with a brand new quad-camera setup, the one machine within the line-up now that includes a 1440p display at 120Hz, and for the primary time now additionally providing S-Pen help as an exterior accent. Naturally, this continues to return at a really excessive(er) finish price level, creating a bigger discrepancy inside the line-up than ever earlier than.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Collection
  Galaxy S21 Galaxy S21+ Galaxy S21 Extremely
SoC Qualcomm Snapdragon 888

1x Cortex-X1 

@ 2.84GHz 1x1024KB pL2
3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.42GHz 3x512KB pL2
4x Cortex-A55 @ 1.80GHz 4x128KB pL2

4MB sL3

Samsung LSI Exynos 2100

1x Cortex-X1 @ 2.9GHz ? pL2
3x Cortex-A78 @ 2.8GHz ? pL2
4x Cortex A55 @ 2.2GHz ? pL2

?MB sL3

Show 6.2-inch
2400 x 1080 (20:9)


2400 x 1080 (20:9)


3200 x 1440 (20:9)


?nits peak brightness

120Hz Refresh Charge

Dimensions 151.7 x 71.2 x  7.9mm

171g (mmWave),
169g (sub6)

161.5 x 75.6 x  7.8mm

 202g (mmWave),
200g (sub6)

165.1 x 75.6 x  8.9mm

229g (mmWave),
227g (sub6)

RAM 8GB 8GB 12 / 16GB
128 GB 128, 256 GB 128, 256, 512 GB
Battery 4000mAh (15.4Wh) typ.

?mAh (14.93Wh) rated

4800mAh (18.57Wh) typ.

?mAh (?Wh) rated

5000mAh (19.25Wh) typ.

?mAh (?Wh) rated

15W Wi-fi Charging
Quick Charging
Tremendous Quick Charging
Entrance Digicam 10MP
4K video recording
F/2.2, 80-degree
4K video recording
F/2.2, 80-degree
Main Rear Digicam 79° Huge Angle
12MP 1.8µm Twin Pixel PDAF


79° Huge Angle
108MP 0.8µm DP-PDAF

3×3 Pixel Binning to 12MP
8K24 Video Recording

mounted f/1.8 optics
OIS, auto HDR, LED flash
4K60, 1080p240, 720p960 high-speed recording
Rear Digicam
76° Huge Angle
(Cropping / digital zooming telephoto)
64MP 0.8µm

f/2.0 optics, OIS

8K24 Video Recording

12° Telephoto
(10x optical)

f/4.9 prism optics, OIS

Rear Digicam
3x optical


Rear Digicam
120° Extremely-Huge Angle
12MP 1.4µm f/2.2
Time of Flight (ToF) 3D Sensor
4G / 5G
Snapdragon 5G
Exynos 5G
SIM Dimension NanoSIM + eSIM
Wi-fi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax 2×2 MU-MIMO,
BT 5.1 LE, NFC, GPS/Glonass/Galileo/BDS
+ WiFi 6E
Connectivity USB Kind-C
no 3.5mm headset
Particular Options Beneath-screen ultrasonic fingerprint sensor
(Qualcomm QC 2.0, Adaptive Quick Charging, USB-PD PPS),
reverse wi-fi charging (WPC & PMA),

IP68 water resistance

Launch OS Android 11 with Samsung OneUI 3.1
Launch Costs 128GB 5G:
$ / € / £
128GB 5G:
$ / € / £

256GB 5G:
$ / € / n/a £

256GB 5G:
$ / € / £

512GB 5G:
$ / € / £

Beginning off with the guts of the brand new telephones, that’s one space the place the brand new S21 collection don’t differ – the trio of gadgets are both powered by Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888, or Samsung LSI’s Exynos 2100. Each chipsets are characterised by being among the many first Samsung 5nm manufactured SoCs out there, and each function Arm’s latest Cortex-X1 efficiency core at both 2.84GHz or 2.9GHz. The Exynos chip has barely greater frequencies on its center and little cores, and will give it a small multi-threaded efficiency benefit. Each promise giant GPU efficiency upgrades over the S20 SoC generations, and each chips at the moment are built-in with an inner 5G modem as a substitute of an exterior discrete one.

Not like previous years, the SoC scenario on the Galaxy S21 collection this yr needs to be considerably extra balanced as each the Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 share much more commonalities, that includes the identical CPU IP, being manufactured on the identical course of node, and in addition quoting comparable efficiency figures in terms of issues like NPU and GPU efficiency, which is sweet information for customers on the market which up to now may need seen inferior machine experiences with significantly the Exynos variants of Galaxy telephones.

By way of DRAM, the S21 and S21+ include 8GB. That is really a downgrade in comparison with the S20 collection because the 5G variants there had been configured with 12GB. The S21 Extremely stays an possibility of both 12 or 16GB variants, relying on the storage dimension, with the 16GB possibility solely accessible for the 512GB variant.

Galaxy S21 Extremely – The brand new “True” Flagship

Beginning off with the Galaxy S21 Extremely, Samsung right here is equipping the brand new mega-flagship machine with its greatest show ever, basing off on the work of the model new panel expertise that was launched within the Galaxy Note20 Extremely which makes use of a brand new hybrid oxide backplane. The brand new show is on the anticipated 3200 x 1440 decision, nonetheless in contrast to final yr’s gadgets, Samsung has now lastly enabled the complete 120Hz operation at this native software program rendering decision as properly – becoming a member of within the uncommon few gadgets able to this, such because the OnePlus 8 Professional. The utilization of the brand new panel expertise and VRR ought to permit the S21 Extremely to supply this decision and refresh charge with out too many compromises in battery life. Final yr we noticed that the Note20 Extremely’s display VRR function relied on ambient brightness, with it not working in dim conditions – it’s to be seen if the S21 Extremely has the same limitation or if Samsung’s engineers have been in a position to optimise this limitation away.

Design-wise, the entrance of the Galaxy S21 Extremely seems to be to be fairly just like that of the S20 Extremely, nonetheless Samsung has really barely lowered the footprint of the telephone because the display is now 6.8” as a substitute of 6.9”.

I don’t have the precise dimensions of the telephone on the time of scripting this forward of the launch occasion, however lowering the dimensions and footprint of the Extremely could be a necessary step for Samsung to make in making an attempt to make sense of this new machine line-up and the function variations we’re seeing regarding the baseline S21 and S21+.

On the again of the telephone, we’re seeing a extra vital redesign of the gadgets, significantly across the cameras. The Galaxy S20 Extremely’s digital camera bump actually wasn’t considered one of fairly aesthetics, with extra of a really feel in direction of performance – making it really feel misplaced and stand out in context of the remainder of the telephone design. The Note20 Extremely had barely improved upon this with a considerably rearranged design, nonetheless the brand new S21 collection and the brand new S21 Extremely actually showcase a big design shift within the digital camera bump.

The “bump” is definitely now a flowing with the body of the telephone (although it’s nonetheless a separate piece), beginning off on the edges and nook of the telephone, as a substitute it being a standalone design component raised inside the again glass panel. With this design, Samsung eliminates two sharper edges on the a part of the digital camera bump. As a substitute of a bigger glass cowl over the digital camera meeting, the person cameras appear to have their very own smaller glass covers, recessed in opposition to the steel body bump.  

It’s to be famous that this digital camera body seems to be to be flat, in distinction to previous era gadgets which have a really small steel lip upon which the telephone rests on. I don’t know the way this may play out by way of scratches – often the lip itself would get broken whereas right here it could possibly be that the entire floor could be extra susceptible to scratches.

New Quad-Digicam Setup

On the digital camera aspect of the S21 Extremely, we’re now seeing a transfer in direction of a quad-camera setup, with Samsung altering up the telephoto digital camera components but once more.

Initially, the brand new important digital camera appears to be of comparable specs as on the S20 Extremely and Note20 Extremely: a 108MP sensor inside an f/1.8 optics system with OIS. It’s not clear if this is identical era sensor as final yr of if Samsung has been in a position to improve it.

Samsung right here nonetheless guarantees 8K video recording and even now provides 12-bit RAW video recording capabilities – nonetheless if this nonetheless makes use of a sensor crop mode, it’ll nonetheless end in a not very optimum ensuing focal-length in comparison with the native optics of the module.

On the ultra-wide, we’re seeing the identical 12MP f/1.4 f/2.2 120° module as on the Galaxy S20 collection – which we actually can’t complain about because it was an amazing module and amongst the perfect performers of the yr.

The place Samsung has made bigger adjustments now could be within the telephoto division. I actually was not a giant fan of the S20 Extremely’s telephoto module right here which had provided a 4x optical magnification. On the S21 Extremely, Samsung really elevated this magnification capability to 10x by means of a redesigned prism optics module. The longer focal size comes at a price of a lower in aperture from f/3.5 to f/4.9, in addition to a transfer from a 48MP sensor to a more moderen smaller 10MP unit. Which means that though the S21 Extremely could have better optical telephoto capabilities, it’ll come at a price of sunshine seize capability.

Not like the S20 Extremely and the Note20 Extremely nonetheless, Samsung now makes up for the compromises within the new prism telephoto module by including an extra secondary 3x optical module with f/2.4 aperture and a 10MP sensor. Basically, this solves the good hole in optical magnification between the principle module and the brand new additional reaching telephoto module, and in addition hopefully solves the standard hole on this frequent focal vary that I take into account to be extra necessary for every-day images.

Galaxy S21 & S21+ – Cheaper, however Ugly Compromises

Whereas the Galaxy S21 Extremely seems to be to be an amazing machine, checking off each single function you’d anticipate in a 2021 flagship telephone, the brand new Galaxy S21 and S21+ are extra controversial gadgets, actually questioning Samsung’s product line-up as a complete.

Initially, the most important function disparity of the brand new S21 “baseline” fashions is that they aren’t getting the identical top-of-the-line shows as the brand new S21 Extremely. In reality, the brand new shows are seemingly considerably of a downgrade in comparison with even final yr’s Galaxy S20 collection. Samsung right here has determined to downgrade the panels to 2400 x 1080 decision, nonetheless sustaining a 120Hz refresh charge.

I discover this selection really extraordinarily adverse, and I see it as Samsung capturing themselves within the foot by way of their machine line-up and basically discarding a vital side of what a Galaxy S-series machine is. For the previous decade, it doesn’t matter what era Galaxy S-phone you have a look at, the one factor that was all the time the important thing differentiator in comparison with different machine fashions and competitor fashions is that the S-line telephones all the time had no-compromise shows. Samsung used to really take satisfaction on this reality, and shoppers may all the time depend that every era could be the in a position to obtain the perfect of what’s technically attainable in a telephone show.

Beginning final yr with the Note20, and sadly continued this yr with the S21 and S21+, this doesn’t appear to be the case anymore, and basically Samsung is diluting a key side of what their flagship gadgets have been all the time recognized for.

I perceive that Samsung is making an attempt to cost the gadgets decrease, nevertheless it’s simply not attainable that an S21+ comes with a 1080p display when for instance a less expensive new Xiaomi Mi 11 is ready to function a 1440p 120Hz show.

Beginning final yr with the Note20, and sadly continued this yr with the S21 and S21+, this doesn’t appear to be the case anymore, and basically Samsung is diluting a key side of what their flagship gadgets have been all the time recognized for.

I perceive that Samsung is making an attempt to cost the gadgets decrease, nevertheless it’s simply not attainable that an S21+ comes with a 1080p display when for instance a less expensive new Xiaomi Mi 11 is ready to function a 1440p 120Hz show.

Different design variations to final yr’s fashions is the truth that the shows now are “flatter”, with nearly no side-curvature in any respect. That is really largely a optimistic for a majority of customers, as after a number of years of aspect curvature experiments, it appears that evidently most individuals want performance. Personally, I favored the subdued curvature of the S20 collection telephones – I’ll must see how the S21 really feel in hand earlier than arrive to a correct opinion on the brand new gadgets.

On the again of the telephones, the brand new digital camera setup seems to be fairly good and follows the identical design parts we described earlier for the S21 Extremely. Though at first look it seems to be just like the digital camera bump flows with the body right here as properly, it’s really constructed in another way to the S21 Extremely, and there’s an additional in-between component between the body and the digital camera cowl component. Undoubtedly this could be a part of a cost-cutting measure to cut back the manufacturing price of the piece.

Regarding the digital camera modules themselves, it’s comparatively easy: They’re the identical as on the Galaxy S20 collection. This features a important 12MP digital camera sensor with giant 1.8µm pixels with f/1.8 aperture and OIS, a secondary wide-angle module with a 64MP digital camera sensor which serves each because the 8K seize module in addition to a “telephoto” module that is ready to crop-magnify fairly properly due to its huge native decision, in addition to the identical 12MP f/2.4 120° ultra-wide-angle module as on the S20 collection and the S21 Extremely.

I’m really fairly proud of this digital camera setup and I feel it was among the finest and most well-balanced configurations in 2020, so reusing it on the S21 collection is a basic optimistic for my part.

One change within the new design is the transfer of the flash to the telephone again panel, in addition to the elimination of the ToF sensor on the S21+ (The S20 by no means had it).

Too Many Compromises?

Whereas the S21 Extremely looks like a correct follow-up to final yr’s fashions, the brand new S21 and S21+ really feel like they’re doing numerous compromises for the value drop that they’re providing.

Significantly the Note20’s “glasstic” again was a degree of competition alongside the 1080p show panel – and Samsung right here is doing the exact same decisions for the S21, partly additionally to the S21+. Moreover, there’s different function compromises this era such because the elimination of the microSD slot, and in addition long-term element function discrepancies comparable to the truth that new WiFi 6E connectivity is solely reserved for the Galaxy S21 Extremely.

Whereas we’ll must see how the S21 collection are being obtained, I’ve made a ballot at this time on Twitter concerning the Note20, and the way customers perceived that machine, whether or not it was a great compromise, or not fulfilling customers’ expectations:

Sadly, even many months after the discharge of the Note20, the final response to the machine is massively one-side and really a lot adverse, which just about traces up with my preliminary impressions of the telephone.

Samsung’s selection to use the identical design and have compromises to the S21 collection is I really feel like an enormous mistake, and Samsung crippling its personal machine line-up. I don’t know what they’re making an attempt right here – possibly they’re making an attempt to redirect customers in direction of the extra full and costly Extremely fashions.

If that’s certainly what they’re making an attempt to do, I really feel like they’re going about it the unsuitable approach. The S21 and S21+ appear like superb gadgets, however nonetheless too costly for what they’re, particularly since there’s now very main function overlap with the cheaper telephones, even inside Samsung’s personal collection, such because the Galaxy S20 FE. In addition to the SoC, I really really feel just like the S21 and S21+ are precise downgrades this yr in comparison with the S20 and S20+.

Apple’s line-up of iPhone 12 mini, iPhone 12, iPhone 12 Professional, and iPhone 12 Professional Max makes extra sense to me to cater to the broader vary of customers. For the S21 collection, I really feel just like the S21 Extremely ought to have been referred to as the “S21 Extremely+” and we’re lacking a smaller, barely cheaper, possibly with out the 10x telephoto, however in any other case function an identical S21 Extremely machine.

There aren’t any such factor as unhealthy gadgets, solely unhealthy costs. I’m scripting this forward of the official Unpacked occasion and the official costs, so we’ll must see precisely the place the S21 costs find yourself at – however I’ve a sense they’re not going to be low sufficient to make up for all of the misplaced options this era.

This text was written forward of the Unpacked occasion – additional updates and particular lacking specs and particulars to be added promptly.

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