As reported by Android Authority,
Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
Update: December 10, 2020 (06:40 AM ET): We’ve updated the hub with confirmation of the Galaxy S21 series’ global launch date, colorways, and key specs. Read on for all the latest.
Believe it or not, we are in the final quarter of 2020. That means we’re only a few months away from the launch of the next entry in Samsung’s flagship smartphone line, tentatively known as the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
There are now many solid rumors about the devices, including full-blown leaks revealing the specs and renders of the upcoming phones. We also can make confident assumptions about certain aspects based on the history of the line. What we know so far is chronicled in our roundup below.
As usual, be sure to bookmark this page so you’re always up-to-date on the latest info surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S21 phones!
Samsung Galaxy S21 series: Name and release date
In 2020, Samsung upended its naming scheme for the Galaxy S series in multiple ways. It jumped from 10 to 20 for its numbering and also introduced the Ultra moniker. These big changes make it tricky to deduce what the company could call the next iteration of the series.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S series: A history of the biggest name in Android
We previously believed that Samsung would use the Galaxy S30 branding in 2021. However, the spate of rumors and leaks about the phones all point to the Galaxy S21 name instead.
As far as a release date goes, we naturally assumed Samsung would announce the Galaxy S21 series in mid-February 2021. That’s the timeframe in which the company has launched every iteration of the Galaxy S series since the Galaxy S9. However, early rumors suggested that Samsung could push that date forward by a significant margin.
In October 2020, The Elec and SamMobile both claimed that the phones could launch as early as the beginning of January. This was followed by a report from Korea’s Maeil Business outlet in November, claiming that the Galaxy S21 series could be revealed in January 2021 with sales starting from late January.
Reuters then reported on November 9 that Samsung could launch the Galaxy S21 series as early as “late January,” citing three sources. The newswire claimed that the Korean brand is going for an early launch in order to take advantage of Huawei’s struggles and fend off Apple.
On December 10, we received a concrete reveal from Samsung itself. Android Authority confirmed in a phone call to Samsung’s largest Indian branch — Samsung’s Opera House outlet in Bengaluru — that the series will make its global debut on January 14. Indian residents will however have to wait until January 29 to get their hands on the devices. The outlet also confirmed a number of other details which we cover below.
Models and designs
As mentioned, this year saw the introduction of the Ultra moniker with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. With the successive launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, we assumed that the Ultra title would make an appearance once more with the firm’s latest series.
We can now confirm that there will be three models in the lineup, namely the standard Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S20 buyer’s guide
Judging by leaked renders of the Galaxy S21 lineup, the three phones look almost identical, albeit for a few minor differences.
We still don’t have confirmation on the devices’ dimensions, but the standard Samsung Galaxy S21 is rumored to measure 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm. It could feature a 6.2-inch flat display with a centered punch hole. There are three cameras on the back of the phone as pictured in the renders. See for yourself below.
The Galaxy S21 Plus hasn’t seen full CAD renders leak yet. However, we did find this image, which shows a design very similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S21. We can go one better than a render, though. A brief marketing loop uncovered on December 8 (via Android Police) revealed a possible two-tone design for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. The below GIF is of the Galaxy S21 Plus, featuring a purple paint job with bronze accents. The colorway options for all three devices will be covered at the foot of this section.
Credit: Samsung / Android Police
Finally, renders of the Galaxy S21 Ultra show a quad-camera setup fitted inside a much bigger housing. You can see the renders for the Galaxy S21 Ultra below.
Not long after those renders leaked, an updated version leaked, too. This one suggests there could be an extra lens on the back of the S21 Ultra:
Real-world shots of the Galaxy S21 Ultra also leaked on December 7 via YouTuber Sakitech, almost matching the renders curve-for-curve.
Samsung’s Opera House outlet also confirmed the colorway availability across the Galaxy S21 line. The vanilla S21 will be available in gray, pink, purple, and white. For Plus buyers, the options are pink, purple, silver, or black. Finally, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will get two colorways, namely black and silver.
Samsung Galaxy S21 series: Specs and features
Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority
An extensive leak by Android Police in mid-November revealed all the key specs for the Galaxy S21 series. It suggested that the phones would run the Snapdragon 875 — now confirmed to be the Snapdragon 888 — in some regions, and Samsung’s in-house Exynos 2100 in others.
On December 10, Samsung’s Opera House outlet confirmed to Android Authority that the Indian Galaxy S21 series devices will be powered by the Exynos 2100, confirming the chip’s existence. A recent FCC listing also confirmed the Galaxy S21’s US models will sport Snapdragon 888 silicon.
Related: Samsung Exynos processor guide: Everything you need to know
The vanilla Galaxy S21 is expected to feature a 6.2-inch screen while the S21 Plus is rumored to get a 6.7-inch display and the S21 Ultra is purported to come with a 6.9-inch screen. All phones are rumored to get a 120Hz refresh rate. The Ultra phone is believed to support Samsung’s S Pen but may not include the stylus in the box.
We can also go ahead and assume that none of the specs of the Galaxy S20 series will see a downgrade. That means no phone should have less than 12GB of RAM or less than 128GB of internal storage.
Battery and power
According to the Android Police leak, the Galaxy S21 is set to house a 4,000mAh battery, the S21 Plus a 4,800mAh battery, and the S21 Ultra a 5,000mAh battery. The aforementioned FCC listing confirms that the Galaxy S21 will sport a 4,000mAh power cell, but the capacities of its two siblings have not been confirmed just yet.
Previous rumors have also suggested that Samsung would skip updating its advertised battery capacity for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, sticking with a 5,000mAh unit. The Galaxy S20 Plus was also previously rumored to get a 4,800mAh battery up from the advertised 4,500mAh capacity of the Galaxy S20 Plus.
Somewhat related to the battery, we also have rumors that ultra-fast wired charging could be on-hand for the series. It’s possible Samsung could introduce 65W charging speeds to the Galaxy S line. This makes sense as OnePlus just launched the OnePlus 8T, which has this feature. However, there is evidence to suggest that not all variants of the line will have it. If that’s true, it’s likely the Galaxy S21 Ultra would get it exclusively. It’s also possible, though, that all the phones will have the option, but only the Ultra will have the in-box charger capable of delivering those speeds.
There is a rumor, too, that Samsung could drop the in-box chargers for all the phones in the line, just like Apple did with the iPhone 12 lineup. This is unsubstantiated for now, though.
Samsung Galaxy S21 camera systems
We also have rumors concerning the camera system of the Galaxy S21 series. The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus will reportedly have matching rear camera setups, namely a 12MP main sensor, a 64MP telephoto camera, and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor.
Per details from Samsung’s Opera House store, we can confirmed that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will employ a 108MP main camera and two 10MP sensors — one of which will sport 10x optical zoom. Earlier rumors also point to a fourth sensor on the Ultra, namely a 12MP wide-angle snapper. The system will also sport laser autofocus.
The phones can apparently record videos from both the front and rear cameras simultaneously. All of them are rumored to support 4K video recording at 60fps and 8K recording at 30fps.
Finally, we have a rumor related to a feature that likely won’t be in the Galaxy S21 series: in-display selfie cameras. Allegedly, Samsung wasn’t able to meet the production demands necessary to include this new technology in the Galaxy S phones. Instead, it’s rumored Samsung could push that feature to the third-gen Galaxy Z Fold, likely known as the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
S Pen support?
Most recently, rumors have been mounting that the Galaxy S21 series could support the famous S Pen stylus that comes with Galaxy Note phones. The rumors suggest that the phone won’t store the S Pen as we’ve seen on Note phones, but it will work with it. Word also has it that Samsung will shutter the Note line and S Pen will remain an optional accessory for the S21 Ultra and so-called Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Pricing and availability
Every year since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9, the company has raised the introductory pricing of its phones. One would expect that trend to continue in 2021 with the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
However, we’re not sure that will be the case. There are three major factors that make us think so:
- Rumored sales figures for the Galaxy S20 series suggest Samsung was deeply unhappy with the numbers.
- Samsung has seen more global success with its mid-range line of Galaxy A devices, which are priced to move. The Galaxy S20 FE has also proven to be incredibly popular with fans, which suggests a lower-priced phone would be the better decision.
- All credible scientific data suggests the COVID-19 pandemic will continue deep into 2021.
When you combine these three bits of info, they strongly suggest that Samsung needs to lower or keep the same pricing for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series, not raise it.
One possible way around this is for Samsung to make the vanilla Galaxy S21 the same price or cheaper than the $999 price tag of the Galaxy S20. This could make the Galaxy S21 series more accessible. Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra could be priced higher for those who can afford all the best specs and features. This is a similar approach to what Samsung did with the Galaxy Note 20 phones.
As for availability, Korea’s Maeil Business reported that the phones could go on sale from late January, with some regions getting it in early February. Judging by the info we’ve now garnered from Samsung, this seems highly likely.
Popular tipsters Ishan Agarwal and 91Mobiles also claim that Samsung will launch 5G versions of the S21 phones in India, which currently doesn’t have a 5G network and only received 4G versions of the S20 phones.
Regardless, it is very likely the Samsung Galaxy S21 series could be available to buy in early 2021 all around the world.
That’s all we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Be sure to bookmark this page so you are always up-to-date on the latest rumors!