Samsung is announcing their next major smartphone a little earlier than usual.
Some might recall that the Galaxy S series usually gets refreshed in February and launched a few weeks later. This year, the timeline is being moved forward by a whole month with the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra set to arrive on January 29th.
Here’s a breakdown of all the important details:
In recent years, Samsung’s Galaxy S lineup has consisted of three discrete devices. This year looks to continue that trend with the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra differing in a number of ways, the most obvious of which is the screens involved.
The Galaxy S21 boasts a 6.2-inch FullHD+ Infinity-O Dynamic AMOLED display with an adaptive refresh rate that revs between 48 and 120Hz as needed. The Galaxy S21+ is slightly larger at 6.7-inches but touts the same convoluted-slash-comprehensive list of features. Since the baseline S21 is smaller, it actually boasts a greater number of pixels-per-inch than the plus-sized model.
As you might expect, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the largest of the bunch at 6.8-inches. It’s also the nicest in terms of display quality with a Dynamic 2X AMOLED screen and 1440p+ resolution.
This time around all three models are moving away from the curved edges found in last year’s S20 series, ending up in line with the flat-edge design recently popularized by Apple’s latest iPhone 12 line-up.
When it comes to specs, it’s the same old story. In the US and China, the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra will run on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor. In markets like Australia, the device will instead rely on Samsung’s latest house-brand alternative, the Exynos 2100.
In terms of RAM, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 are equipped with 8GB while the high-end S21 Ultra gets up to 16GB to play with. As for storage, the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ are available in a number of storage sizes that range from 128GB to 256GB. However, neither device can be expanded via MicroSD since they lack the support for it. In contrast, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with up to 512GB of on-board storage and up to 16GB of RAM.
Last but not least: battery life. As you’d expect, the larger the Galaxy device, the bigger the battery inside it. The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a 4000mAh battery. The Galaxy S21+ has a 4800mAh battery. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery.
In terms of hardware features, the jump from last year’s Galaxy S20 to this year’s Galaxy S21 is pretty iterative. Both devices support wireless and reverse charging. Both devices come with water resistance. Both devices opt for an ultrasonic in-display fingerprint sensor. For the most part, the formula here hasn’t changed. All three devices boast Bluetooth 5.1, Wi-Fi 6E, Ultra Wide Band and 5G connectivity.
The one exception to this can be found in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which brings with it support for a Galaxy Note-style S-Pen.
As with last year’s Galaxy S line-up, there’s a clear divide here when it comes to camera capabilities. If you want the device with the best photography hardware, you’re gonna want the Galaxy S21 Ultra - which is armed with a quad-lens rear camera built around a 108-megapixel wide angle lens. That primary sensor comes complemented by an additional 10-megapixel periscope lens, a 10-megapixel telephoto lens and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens.
Meanwhile, the standard Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ are hardly pushovers. They’re equipped with a 10-megapixel (f/2.2) front-facing camera plus a triple-lens rear camera that combines a 12-megapixel primary sensor (f/1.8), a 12-megapixel ultrawide sensor (f/2.2) and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens.
The Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy S21+ and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will be available for preorder via Samsung’s usual Australian retail and ecommerce partners ahead of a January 29th launch.
In Australia, the Samsung Galaxy S21 comes with a starting recommended retail price of AU$1249 - about $100 less than the launch price of last year’s S20. There are two storage options available here: 128GB (AU$1249) and 256GB (AU$1349).
If you’d prefer the larger handset, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ starts at AU$1549 for the 128GB model. Bumping the storage up to 256GB brings the price to AU$1649.
Finally, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra starts at AU$1849 for 128GB of storage. The 256GB version of the device costs AU$1949 and the largest 512GB model lands at AU$2149.