Samsung unveiled its new top smartphones on Thursday. Here you can find out all about the camera features, specialties and prices of the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra models.
Samsung is making an early start this year: On January 14 – coincidentally also the last day of CES – the electronics company invited to the virtual Unp68acked event to present its new top smartphones Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra. Normally, the South Koreans wait until February, when the Mobile World Congress trade show is held.
However, the unusual presentation date underlines the smartphone giant’s claim that it still wants to assert itself at the top of the global market and seems to be very convinced of its new products. “Welcome to the Everyday Epic” was the motto on Thursday. That sounds like a turning point in Samsung’s history. But what exactly makes the new flagships so “epic” and suitable for everyday use at the same time? Here you can find the most important information about the new Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
Similarities and differences
The biggest innovation concerns the inner workings of the S21 series: All three models are equipped with the new Exynos 2100 processor chip for the first time, which is supposed to provide better results especially in terms of graphics performance and image processing.
The chip also comes with an integrated 5G modem, so Samsung’s new phones are equipped for mobile Turbo Internet. At home or in the office, users can surf with the fast Wi-Fi standard Wi-fi 6 when equipped accordingly. All three devices can be used with two SIM cards, one of which has to be stored electronically (eSIM).
Just like last year, Samsung relies on three budget classes – starting with the standard model Galaxy S21, via the S21+ up to the premium device S21 Ultra. Different memory configurations are available. The S21 and S21 are each available with 128 gigabytes (GB) or 256 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM. The S21 Ultra, which has 12 GB of RAM, also has a version with 512 GB of internal storage and 16 GB of RAM. At 1,429 Euros, this is the most expensive version. The cheapest model (Samsung Galaxy S21 with 128 GB / 8 GB RAM) costs 849 Euros. The predecessors were more expensive. A complete price list can be found further down in the article.
The “Infinity-O displays” are flat again this time and fill almost the entire front. Thus, the lateral curvature of the screen of the predecessor devices has been abandoned again. The circular recess for the selfie lens has remained the same – the “O” in the display name stands for it. Samsung again makes a refresh rate of up to 120 hertz the standard for its new top models. This enables a smoother image display, for example when scrolling.
The resolution of the Amoled panels is 2,400 x 1,080 pixels, which is Full HD+ for the Galaxy S21 and S21+, and 3,200 x 1,440 pixels for the Galaxy S21 Ultra (WQHD+ quality). The top model also has the most generous dimensions with 6.8 inches. Samsung also emphasizes the brightness values of up to 1,500 nits. The 6.2 and 6.7-inch screens of the standard models shine with up to 1,300 nits – these are also exceptionally high values for smartphones.
Design and camera
The camera module on the back has been moved to the edge and integrated more finely into the overall design compared to the predecessor. The millimeter-high “hump” is still conspicuous and can probably best be concealed with an appropriate cover. It’s just a pity that the extended color palette of the standard model never comes into its own.
There are no differences in the camera equipment of the S21 and S21+: Both models have two 12-megapixel sensors that capture the ultra-wide and wide-angle, and a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor. Together, they enable up to 30x zoom. The front camera resolves at 10 megapixels.
Video recording in 8k resolution
The Ultra model goes one better: Here, recordings with up to 108 megapixels or a 100x zoom are possible. Four sensors with 108 (wide-angle), 12 (ultra-wide-angle) and two times 10 MP (telephoto) work together for this. The front camera offers a 40 MP resolution.
For the first time, all three Samsung models enable video recording in 8k quality. Samsung also highlights its Single Take feature, which was also an issue in the predecessor. Here, the smartphone automatically creates different versions of a multi-second recording and offers them to the user for selection. For example, action-packed moments and fast movements are slowed down to slow motion, or faces are recognized and automatically focused. The intelligent software is designed to help capture fleeting moments in the best way each time, without the user having to spend a long time searching for the optimal settings and filters.
The S21 series is launched with the latest Android 11 operating system and Samsung’s user interface (Samsung One UI 3.1). In addition, the security system Knox 3.7 is preinstalled for protection against malware and other threats.
Additional costs due to accessories?
The battery capacity of the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra is divided into 4,000, 4,800 and 5,000 milliampere hours (mAh) according to the device size. All devices support fast charging with 25 watts as well as inductive charging. However, the Galaxy smartphones do not come with a power adapter for the first time. Samsung follows in Apple’s footsteps here. The iPhone company’s announcement that it would do without the accessory in the future out of consideration for the environment had initially been ridiculed.
Another innovation in terms of accessories: The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is the first device in this series to support a stylus. Until now, the S Pen was considered the unique selling point of the Note series. However, the S21 Ultra does not have a slot on the casing. Instead, a special sleeve ensures that the pen does not get lost. The user has to buy this accessory. The prices are not yet known.
New True Wireless headphones
Samsung’s True Wireless headphones have also received an update. The new Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro come in a color-coordinated charging case and allow a total usage time of up to 28 hours, according to the manufacturer. With active noise cancellation (ANC), the maximum runtime drops to up to 18 hours. Afterwards, the earbuds can be recharged via USB-C or wirelessly, for example by placing them on the back of a current Galaxy smartphone with PowerShare function.
For whom are the devices worthwhile?
In terms of performance, Samsung has undoubtedly taken another step forward with the new S21 series. However, experience also shows that very few smartphone users ever exhaust the full performance of their device. Against this background, it is usually still worth taking a look at the models from the previous year, which are usually significantly reduced in price after the market launch of the successors, while the technology is still up-to-date. You can find our review of the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra here.
Tests will have to show how good the newly introduced devices really are and whether there are noticeable differences compared with the predecessor. The new Exynos 2100 chip in particular faces a test. Earlier versions of the chip series could not really convince in terms of performance and energy efficiency and earned Samsung a lot of criticism.