Is Samsung Galaxy S21 Worth It? Specs, Reviews & More…

by | 29/01/2021 4:44 pm
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The Samsung Galaxy S21 range, made up of the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra is Samsung’s latest flagship release for 2021…


The latest and greatest Samsung Galaxy S21 range is here. Made up of three phones in total, there are plenty of updates and changes to cover. Here’s a complete guide to everything you need to know about Samsung’s latest phones…

Samsung Galaxy S21: Time To Upgrade? Reviews, Specs & More…
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Release Date

The Samsung Galaxy S21, including the Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra, will get a release date on January 29. The phones will be available in the US, UK Europe and Asia via a range of carriers and networks.

Out the box, you have full 5G support, though speeds will, of course, be dependent on your network/carrier (and the 5G tech they use).

Samsung is also using different CPUs for different regions; the USA gets the Snapdragon 888 while the rest of the world will use Samsung’s Exynos 2100 CPU.


Where To Buy? 

You can also pick up any of the phones in the Galaxy S20 range direct from Samsung w/ 0% Interest Finance plans.


Pre-Order Deals

Prior to the 29th, there were quite a few Galaxy S21 pre-order deals online. Verizon had some really great offers, including a Buy One Get One Free promo as well as trade-in deals whereby users could get anywhere from $600 to $750 off the price of the handset. Aspects of this offer, at least at the time of writing, are still available. Check it out HERE.

In the UK, the Galaxy S21 will be available on all major UK networks. You can see a full breakdown of deals for the phones inside our dedicated Samsung Galaxy S21 Deals page – there are some really good offers in there too, so be sure to check it out (and make sure you use the filters to customise the deals).

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Range: Galaxy S21, S21+ & S21 Ultra Overview

Samsung Galaxy S21: Time To Upgrade? Reviews, Specs & More…
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Design

Samsung has switched things up quite a bit with respect to design. Previous Galaxy S phones, the Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S20, for instance, favoured curved displays and more seamlessly integrated camera modules. This has all changed with the Galaxy S21, however…

The screen on the Galaxy S21 (ALL MODELS) is no longer curved, it is completely flat and flush to the chassis. On the back, the camera module, arguably the biggest physical change, is now housed inside a protruding unit that kind of looks like a modular clip-on. Divisive? Yes. But I really think it looks cool.

Samsung Galaxy S21: Time To Upgrade? Reviews, Specs & More…
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On the matte black model, this new cameras module is the same color as the phone’s chassis. However, on the other color options inside the Galaxy S21 one range, you have some contrast with the rest of the phone with either silver or gold colored housing for the camera module. Again, it looks really cool. Almost a little retro.

Beyond this, the overall design and finish of the Samsung Galaxy S21 range remains very similar to what came before. You have IP68 waterproofing, there is no headphone jack once again, and, annoyingly, no MicroSD slot either – even on the Galaxy S21 Ultra model.

Button placement, as well as as the speakers, remain in exactly the same position. And there is no physical button for Bixby, indicating that Samsung has finally given up on trying to force its digital assistant on its users. With the Galaxy S21 Ultra, you also get S-Pen support too, although there is no slot for it – you have to buy a special case from Samsung.

Size & Dimensions

  • Galaxy S21 – 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm
  • Galaxy S21+ – 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra – 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm

As you can see, Samsung has kept the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Galaxy S21+ the same, with respect to size. Both phones measure in at 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm. They both also use the same 6.8in Dynamic AMOLED 2X 120Hz display with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels.

The standard Galaxy S21 is the smallest phone in the range; it measures in at 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm and it features a 6.2in Dynamic AMOLED 2X 120Hz screen with the same 1080 x 2400 pixels resolution as its bigger brothers. The Galaxy S21 is positioned as the entry-level model in the range.

All three models use Corning’s Gorilla Glass Victus screen protection technology and all three models support HDR10+ for more detailed, natural looking media playback and gaming. Combine this with the phones’ 120Hz refresh rate and you’re looking at some of the best mobile displays on the market right now.

The Cameras

The camera tech on all models in the Galaxy S21 range is impressive, but it is the Galaxy S21 Ultra that has the most advanced camera. Here’s a quick breakdown of the camera specs and hardware available on the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Galaxy S21 Camera Tech

  • 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 64 MP, f/2.0, 29mm (telephoto), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom
  • 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.55″ 1.4µm, Super Steady video

Galaxy S21+ Camera Tech

  • 12 MP, f/1.8, 26mm (wide), 1/1.76″, 1.8µm, Dual Pixel PDAF, OIS
  • 64 MP, f/2.0, 29mm (telephoto), 1/1.72″, 0.8µm, PDAF, OIS, 1.1x optical zoom, 3x hybrid zoom
  • 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm, 120˚ (ultrawide), 1/2.55″ 1.4µm, Super Steady video

Galaxy S21 Ultra Camera Tech

  • 108 MP, f/1.8, 24mm (wide), 1/1.33″, 0.8µm, PDAF, Laser AF, OIS
  • 10 MP, f/4.9, 240mm (periscope telephoto), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 10x optical zoom
  • 10 MP, f/2.4, 70mm (telephoto), 1/3.24″, 1.22µm, dual pixel PDAF, OIS, 3x optical zoom
  • 12 MP, f/2.2, 13mm (ultrawide), 1/2.55″, 1.4µm, dual pixel PDAF, Super Steady video

As you can see from the above spec listings, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the superior camera phone. It has a 108MP main sensor with a huge sensor that’ll let in plenty of light which will make capturing detailed shots, even in low light, at easier than on the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+

You also have support for a periscope telephoto lens on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, as well as 10x optical zoom (the Galaxy S21/S21+ only does 1.1x optical zoom). In total, you have five cameras to play with in the Galaxy S21 Ultra, insane zooming abilities, and a 40MP front facing camera for truly amazing selfies and HD video-calling.

With video, the Galaxy S21 range – meaning all models – will record 8K at 24fps, [email protected]/60fps, [email protected]/60/240fps, and [email protected] But without SD support, you might want to lay off the 8K recordings. They take up A LOT of room on your phone’s internal storage.

Specifications Overview

With specs, all the Galaxy S21 models are kitted out for performance. You have a choice of two CPUs, deepening on your region. US customers will get Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 CPU, while everybody else gets Samsung’s Exynos 2100.

Initial reviews indicate that Qualcomm’s 888 platform has Samsung’s Exynos 2100 beat when it comes to overall power and performance, however, most users – meaning 99.9% of people – probably will not notice any difference. Benchmarks are great for finding differences between chips, but they seldom reflect anything meaningful with respect to real-world performance.

CPU Specs Breakdown:

  • Exynos 2100 Specs: Octa-core (1×2.9 GHz Cortex-X1 & 3×2.80 GHz Cortex-A78 & 4×2.2 GHz Cortex-A55 + Mali-G78 MP14
  • Snapdragon 888 Specs: Octa-core (1×2.84 GHz Kryo 680 & 3×2.42 GHz Kryo 680 & 4×1.80 GHz Kryo 680 + Adreno 660

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ both run 8GB of RAM and come with either 128GB or 256GB of storage (and no SD slot). The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes with 12GB of RAM across the board and is available in three storage variants: 128GB, 256GB and 512GB.

With radios and connectivity, you get the same specs across all models with the following features:

Reviews

Chipset & CPU

As noted earlier, the Samsung Galaxy S21 range ships with two distinct CPUs: Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 and Samsung’s Exynos 2100. Initial benchmarks indicate the Snapdragon 888 is the stronger of the two chipsets, despite both being based on the CPU technology and 5nm manufacturing process. Here’s a side-by-side over of the two CPUs:

Processor Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888
Node size 5nm EUV 5nm
CPU 1 x ARM Cortex-X1 at 2.9GHz
3 x ARM Cortex-A78 at 2.8GHz
4 x ARM Cortex-A55 at 2.2GHz
1 x ARM Cortex-X1 at 2.84GHz
3 x ARM Cortex-A78 at 2.40GHz
4 x ARM Cortex-A55 at 1.8GHz
GPU Mali-G78 MP14 (14 cores) Adreno 660
ISP Name not available

Support for single camera up to 200MP
Support for Dual-camera 32MP+32MP
Maximum supported number of cameras = 6

Spectra™ 580

Support for single camera up to 200MP
Support for dual camera up to 64MP
Support for triple camera up to 28MP

AI Engine Name not available

Triple-core NPU
(up to 26 TOPS)

Hexagon 780

26 TOPS

Max On-Device Display 4K at 60Hz
QHD+ at 144Hz
4K at 60Hz
QHD+ at 144Hz
Max External Display 8K 4K at 60Hz
Modem Name not available

Peak download speed: 7.35 Gbps
Peak upload speed: 3.67 Gbps

Snapdragon X60 5G

Peak download speed: 7.5 Gbps
Peak upload speed: 3 Gbps

Connectivity No details provided Wi-Fi 6E, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2

2.4GHz, 5GHz, 6GHz

However, other sources claim the disparity between the two chipsets is being overplayed. Here’s what AnandTech had to say on the matter:

Unlike past years, the SoC situation on the Galaxy S21 series this year should be significantly more balanced as both the Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 share a lot more commonalities, featuring the same CPU IP, being manufactured on the same process node, and also quoting similar performance figures when it comes to things like NPU and GPU performance, which is good news for users out there which in the past might have seen inferior device experiences with particularly the Exynos variants of Galaxy phones.

Bottom line? Don’t worry about which chipset your Galaxy S21 is running. The difference, if any, is miniscule.

New Features & Abilities

What’s new about the Samsung Galaxy S21 range? Mostly, it’s all about the camera tech and the smarter-looking design. Samsung knows camera tech and performance is the hill in which all of 2021’s biggest battles are going to be fought, so it has responded accordingly by updating the camera modules across the board.

Beyond this, you have all the usual marketing spiel about “being bold” and “enabling creativity” as well as “helping you do more” but the main takeaways, or new bits, relate to the design of the phones, the internal components, and the tweaks Samsung has made to the Galaxy S21 Ultra – it now properly lives up to its name, thanks to its massively updated camera.

“We are living in a mobile-first world, and with so many of us working remotely and spending more time at home, we wanted to deliver a smartphone experience that meets the rigorous multimedia demands of our continuously changing routines,” said TM Roh, President and Head of Mobile Communications Business, Samsung Electronics. “We also recognize the importance of choice, especially now, and that’s why the Galaxy S21 series gives you the freedom to choose the best device for your style and needs.”

Importantly, the Galaxy S21 range is now divided up quite reasonably with respect to price: at the bottom of the range, you have the cheapest model, the Galaxy S21, which is aimed at the mass market, like Apple’s iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Mini, and at the top, you have the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the phone for Android users that want to absolute best when it comes to everything – from internal specs, storage, and, of course, the camera.

To be quite frank, this is actually the first time I have been actively interested in one of Samsung’s Ultra phones; the Galaxy S21 Ultra, to my eyes, looks to be a suitably more impressive phone than Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro Max. Given the choice of both phones, I would almost certainly go with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. And, for me, that is a first.

Headphone Jack

As expected, none of the Samsung Galaxy S21 models come with a headphone jack. I didn’t expect this to change this year, so anyone holding out for a Galaxy S phone with a headphone jack should probably give up now – it ain’t gonna happen.

And the reason for this is rather simple: Samsung makes a range of wireless earbuds, and they’re very good, infinitely better than Apple’s AirPods, and it wants you to buy these instead of using the cheap headphones that used to be included in the box with its phones.

On the subject of boxes, the Galaxy S21 – and this applies to all models – does not ship with a charger or headphones. Like with Apple’s iPhone 12, all you get is a phone. If you don’t have a USB Type-C charger, you’ll have to buy one. Ditto wireless headphones. Although O2 in the UK is offering a free pair of Galaxy Buds earbuds will all of its Galaxy S21 orders, so at least you have options.

I/O

With I/O on the Galaxy S21 range, you have a single port on the phone, USB Type-C. This is located on the bottom of the phone and it supports 25W fast-charging which, by 2021 standards, is pretty pathetic – the RealMe X50 Pro 5G, for instance, supports 65W wired charging. I was hoping for more from Samsung on this front.

MicroSD Support

There is also no SD card slot on ANY of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 models, including the Ultra. Last year’s Galaxy S20 Ultra, as well as the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S20+, all supported microSD cards, up to 1TB. I’m not entirely sure why Samsung removed this feature to be honest. Given its focus on photography on these phones, particularly the Galaxy S21 Ultra, there is a strong argument for SD-support.

MicroSD cards are great for quickly moving content – images and video – off you phone to a PC/Mac where they can edited. The Galaxy S21 range can also shoot in 8K too, so having the ability to store 8K video content on the SD card and not the internal storage would, of course, have been great.

Really not impressed by this aspect of the Galaxy S21; SD cards are massively useful, especially from a camera/photography perspective, and its absence on the Galaxy S21 range is an absolute travesty, in my opinion. Samsung should have at least kept the SD slot in play on the Ultra model. I literally have no idea why anyone in Samsung would have signed off on this.

Battery Size & Battery Life (ALL MODELS)

  • Galaxy S21 – 4000 mAh
  • Galaxy S21+ – 4800 mAh
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra – 5000 mAh

With battery size and performance, we once again have some pretty clear separation between the Galaxy S21, the S21+ and the S21 Ultra. The entry-level model, the Galaxy S20, has the smallest battery of the range at 4000mAh.

Coming in second is the Galaxy S21+ with its much more respectable 4800mAh. And finally we have the Galaxy S21 Ultra with its massive 5000mAh battery. If you value battery life, you’ll want to go with either the Ultra or the Galaxy S21+.

4000mAh batteries and 5G DO NOT mix well. I’d be interested to know why Samsung went with such a small battery on the Galaxy S21. I guess it figured it could use a smaller unit because it reduced the display’s resolution. Still, with battery life – especially when you’re running 5G – more is always better.

Which Model is Best?

Usually, the best model in Samsung’s Galaxy S20 range is one that delivers the best value for money. Last year, that was the Galaxy S20+. However, this year, Samsung has really nailed the Galaxy S21 Ultra; it is now a proper, bonafide flagship in every sense of the word – from the cameras to the internals. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is the best phone in the range by a mile.

Samsung Galaxy S21: Time To Upgrade? Reviews, Specs & More…
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If you cannot stretch to Galaxy S21 Ultra money, I would go with the Galaxy S21+ because it has a good-sized battery, amazing internal spec, a strong camera, and it looks stunning from all angles. The standard Galaxy S20 is the cheapest, but I do have some genuine concerns about the size of its battery – 4000mAh is just not enough when you’re running 5G.

You also get S-Pen support with the Galaxy S21 Ultra and there will not be a Galaxy Note 21 launched this year, so if you were waiting for that, you needn’t bother – the Ultra is essentially replacing the Note 21.

Bottom line? Go with the Galaxy S21 Ultra if you can afford it; the Galaxy S21+ if you’re on a slightly tighter budget; failing that, avoid the Galaxy S20 model, and go with something like the iPhone 12 instead – you’ll get far better value for money and performance. Or, if you must use Android, the Pixel 5 – it is my current daily driver and it is bloody brilliant.

Software & Operating System

All the Samsung Galaxy S21 models run on Android 11, skinned with Samsung’s OneUI 3.1. As ever, Samsung’s OneUI is useful and pleasing to use on a daily basis. It packs in loads of features and, to my eyes, is perhaps the best looking Android skin on the market.

The design of the UX is pleasant and flat. Samsung has designed OneUI 3.1 to kind of just get out of the way; it is always there, but it looks so damn pretty across the board, you just don’t mind cursing through menus and settings. You also have added Android 11 features like Notification History, better access to Smart Home connections, and, of course, Chat Bubbles.

On top of all of Android 11’s goodies (you can read more about all of its new features inside our Guide To Android 11), you also have things like DEX-support built in – both wired and wireless DEX which is really cool, as you can effectively turn your Galaxy S21 into a PC, providing you have a spare monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

You also have Samsung mainstay apps like a dedicated file manager, gallery app, and the company’s very good web browser. All in all, OneUI 3.1 is a solid, useful, reliable piece of software that really helps set Samsung’s phones apart from the competition. Next to stock Android, Samsung’s OneUI 3.1 is my absolute favorite way to use Android.

Where To Buy? 


Read on below for ALL the Galaxy S21 rumors prior to its launch…

The Galaxy S21, which will get a release date in Q1 2021, picking up where Samsung’s – largely unsuccessful – Galaxy S20 left off.

So what do we know so far? Not that much; but we do have some information about the Galaxy S21’s camera and its CPU. We’ll know A LOT more in the coming weeks and months, however, as leaks become more common. In the meantime, here’s everything that is currently known about the Samsung Galaxy S21.

First, we’ll have a brief look at all the latest news.

Latest News Round-Up (Newest First) 

January 14 – ALL The Specs For Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Models Confirmed

Ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S21 launch event, the specs for all three of Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 models has leaked online, confirming there will no expandable storage on ANY of the Galaxy S21 models. Here’s a full breakdown of the specs for the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Samsung Galaxy S21 / S21 Plus / S21 Ultra Specs

Specifications Galaxy S21 Galaxy S21 Plus Galaxy S21 Ultra
Display 6.2-inch FHD+ LTPS, 120Hz 6.7-inch FHD+ LTPS, 120Hz 6.8-inch WQHD+ LTPO, 1-120Hz adaptive
Software One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 One UI 3.1 based on Android 11 One UI 3.1 based on Android 11
CPU Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100
RAM 8GB 8GB 12GB
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB 128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Rear Camera Ultra wide: 12MP Main: 12MP Telephoto: 64MP Ultra wide: 12MP Main: 12MP Telephoto: 64MP Ultra wide: 12MP Main: 108MP, Gen 2 sensor 3X Optical: 10MP 10X Optical: 10MP
Connectivity 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1
Colors Phantom Violet, Phantom Pink, Phantom Gray, and Phantom White Phantom Silver, Phantom Black, and Phantom Violet Phantom Black and Phantom Silver
Battery 4,000 mAh 4,800 mAh 5,000 mAh
S Pen support? No No Yes
Size 6 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches 6.4 x 3 x 0.31 inches 6.5 x 2.97 x 0.35 inches
Weight 6 ounces 7.2 ounces 8 ounces

January 7 – Galaxy S21 Range Pricing Confirmed…

Ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S21’s launch, a bunch of details has been confirmed about the three, incoming phones. As expected, there will be three models: 1) Samsung Galaxy S21, 2) Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus, and 3) the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

How Much Will Samsung Galaxy S21 Cost?

Here’s a breakdown of the pricing for the Samsung Galaxy S21 range:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 – $999 / £899 / AU$1,499
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus – $1,199 / £999 / AU$1,649
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra – $1,399 / £1,199 / AU$1,999

The Samsung Galaxy S21 range will get official on January 14th. A release date is expected to follow shortly after, with pre-orders beginning immediately.

November 4 – Samsung Galaxy S21 Launch Date Set For “Early January”

If you’re looking forward to the advent of the Samsung Galaxy S21, you don’t have long to wait. According to Jon Prosser, Samsung will announce the Galaxy S21 – including all models inside the range – during “early January”.

Prosser tends to be pretty hit and miss with his information, and Samsung does usually launch its new Galaxy S models inside Q1. The Galaxy S20 launched on February 11, 2020. But given the strength of Apple’s iPhone 12 releases – there are four models – it’s not surprising that Samsung would want to hit the ground running early in January with its Galaxy S21.

Pre-orders for the Samsung Galaxy S21 will go live on launch day, but the Galaxy S21 will get a release date on the 29th of January. If this is true, it would mean all networks and carriers, as well as retailers, will be selling the Galaxy S21 before the close of January. And that will include all models too, of which there is said to be at least three, including the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

October 27 – Galaxy S21 To Borrow Specific iPhone 12 Design Feature

Apple’s iPhone 12 range didn’t do much in the design department. Apple did alter the side profile slightly, however, making it more squared off and angular – kind of like the iPhone 4.

Well, it now looks as if Samsung might be doing something similar with its incoming Galaxy S21 range of phones. Dubbed “Blade Bezel”, reports suggest that Samsung is looking to alter the side profile of the Galaxy S21 to make it squarer and more solid, just like the iPhone 12.

This new design tweak, if it turns out to be true, would pick up where Samsung’s Galaxy Note 20 left off. That phone features a squared-off top and bottom. Therefore, adding in a similar design tweak to the Galaxy S21, only this time on the sides, makes sense.

Similarly, the recently launched Galaxy Tab A7 has a much more boxy design compared to previous iterations. With all this in mind, and the fact Samsung hasn’t altered the design of its Galaxy S models all that much in recent years, a switch to a squarer, boxier profile could well be just what we’ve been waiting for.


October 8 – Galaxy S21 Ultra Battery Confirmed as “Beefy”

What size battery will the Samsung Galaxy S21 feature? It’s not a sexy question, but it is one that MANY people ask. And the reason for this is simple: despite all the changes we’ve seen to phones over the years, most people still really care quite a lot about battery life.

If you’re thinking of getting the Galaxy S21, and you’re interested in what kind of battery life it will have, we have some good news for you: it looks as if Samsung is heavily updating the Galaxy S21’s battery. And this should translate into longer battery life and better overall power management.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Battery Sizes:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Battery Size: 4885mAh Battery
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Battery Size: 5000mAh Battery

If true, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be the one to go for. Both phones will have 120Hz displays and, if you want to run the display at 120Hz all the time, you’re going to need a battery that can handle it. And 5000mAh would obviously be the better option of the two Galaxy S21 options.

Or, Galaxy S30. They might be called Galaxy S30, although I don’t expect this to happen; smaller increments tend to look and sound better. They’re also easier to manage with respect to how they relate to other non-Galaxy S brand products made by Samsung like its Galaxy A and Galaxy M series phones.


September 8  – Samsung Galaxy S21 Battery Life: Why It’ll Be Better Than The iPhone 12’s…

Battery life, despite all the bells and whistles modern phones possess, is still one of the most important aspects of a phone. You can have the best specs in the world, but if your battery life sucks it ruins everything.

Samsung’s phones have always had decent battery life, but the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus model will be even better – it’ll have a 4660mAh battery inside it; that’s an extra 160mAh on what the Galaxy S20 Plus had.

The leaked information comes via a battery certification listing which lists the new batteries for Samsung’s Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus.

galaxy-s21-battery-specifications
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The only odd thing about the listing, however, is that the Galaxy S21 model appears to have a smaller battery than the outgoing Galaxy S20 – it is listed as having 120mAh less for some reason.

And the reason for this? Unclear right now. But it will almost certainly have something to do with the design of the Galaxy S21; Samsung might have reduced its size compared to the Galaxy S20 or made it thinner.

Either would require space-saving and the quickest way to do this is by reducing the size of the battery inside the phone.

Will a drop of 120mAh make much of a difference? Probably, yes; especially if you’re coming from the Galaxy S20. Although it will only be minor – perhaps an hour or so less uptime in between charges.

Having said that, the battery itself, despite being smaller, still has more than enough capacity to get you through a full day of moderate to heavy usage.


September 2 – Samsung Confirms 10-Nanometer 16GB LPDDR5 RAM Break-Through

RAM is very important. It’s what makes your phone fly at unprecedented speeds when coupled with a powerful SoC. Ahead of the Galaxy S21 launch, Samsung is now hyping up a major breakthrough with respect to RAM. And those that buy the Galaxy S21 will get first dibs on it…

Samsung has now begun mass production of its new 10-nanometer 16GB LPDDR5 RAM chips which it built using a brand new process called extreme ultra-violet technology. Sounds complicated, right? It is. But the net result is that Samsung’s new memory chips are 30% thinner and 16% faster than current-generation memory chips.

When you’re talking about chips, be they SoCs or memory chips, smaller is always better. Smaller chips are more power-efficient, which means improved battery life, but, importantly, they deliver more performance. Samsung’s latest 10-nanometer 16GB LPDDR5 RAM chips represent a huge breakthrough in how RAM is produced.

Even compared to the newly released Galaxy Note 20, the difference will be noticeable – 16% speed improvements, at this level of performance, is extremely noticeable. If you like F1, it’s basically like having DRS activated – it’ll give you a clear edge over your competition in any given setting.

How fast will these new memory chips from Samsung be? According to Samsung, the new 10-nanometer 16GB LPDDR5 RAM chips will be able to transfer 51GB of data in ONE SECOND.

This new 10-nanometer 16GB LPDDR5 RAM technology will eventually filter down to other, non-Samsung phones though; Samsung is a major supplier of RAM to the entire phone industry. Samsung also confirmed that this new RAM will also be coming to the automotive industry too which means snappier in-car infotainment systems.


August 21 – Samsung Galaxy S21 Battery Life Update (It’s A Big One)…

Samsung has committed to using ultra-high-resolution displays in its last few Galaxy S and Galaxy Note releases. 1440p displays are great, especially when they’re OLED, but they sure do eat up a lot of battery life. This is why the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 5000mAh battery. You really do need it!

With the incoming Galaxy S21 range, Samsung will once again look to expand the size of the batteries used inside the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra. According to our sources, the base model Galaxy S21 will carry a 4600mAh battery, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra will pack in a 5000mAh battery – just like Samsung’s recently release Galaxy Note 20 range.

This slight bump in battery life will power the Galaxy S21’s 120Hz 1440p Super AMOLED displays. It will ensure that they can run all day without requiring a top-up and, if you go with the Ultra model, you’ll get even more battery performance – though you will have to pay a lot more for this model.

There will be three Galaxy S21 models launched, apparently, with the following battery sizes:

  • Samsung Galaxy S21: 4600mAh
  • Samsung Galaxy S21+: 4800mAh
  • Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra: 5000mAh

August 17 – Galaxy S21 WILL NOT Feature ToF Sensor…

The Galaxy Note 20 range launched without a ToF sensor and it looks like the Galaxy S21 range could follow in its steps. According to reports, Samsung has dropped the ToF sensor from the Galaxy S21 (on all models) because it does not see enough use cases for it at the moment.

Another reason behind the ToF sensor’s omission on the Galaxy S21 is because Apple has locked down an exclusive deal with Sony for its market-leading ToF sensor on its iPhones. Samsung does not want to use an inferior sensor, so rather than doing this, the company decided to nix the feature for good.

Still, Samsung isn’t writing-off ToF sensors just yet. Reports suggest Samsung is actively working on its own image sensor that would feature ToF capabilities, though it isn’t likely we’ll see this technology anytime soon – there’s no way it’ll be ready in time for the Galaxy S21. Maybe the Galaxy S22, but no way it’ll happen next year.


August 10 – Exynos 1000 Benchmarks Look Pretty Good…

Samsung has been prepping the Exynos 1000 for a good long while now. The Exynos 1000 will be the follow up to the company’s current, and much-loathed, Exynos 990 CPU. But unlike the 990, the 1000 is starting to look like one hell of an SoC…

According to leaked benchmarks performed on a prototype Exynos 1000 CPU, the data is pretty startling. The Exynos 1000 got 50% better performance than Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865 in the Manhattan 3.1 benchmarking tool. In Aztech, the Exynos 1000 came out 2.5 times higher than the SD 865.

Those numbers are pretty incredible, especially when you consider that Qualcomm’s current 865 CPU literally wiped the floor with Samsung’s Exynos 990. How has Samsung done this? As of right now, no one is 100% sure. A lot of the performance uplift could be down to the Exynos 1000’s new GPU technology which was co-developed with AMD.

Either way, Qualcomm could have some stiff competition on its hands come Q1 2021. The next big question will be how well Qualcomm’s new silicon, usually launched inside Q4, stacks up against Samsung’s incoming Exynos 1000…


July 29 – Samsung’s Exynos 1000 w/ AMD Radeon GPU Coming To Galaxy S21

Samsung is apparently all set on bringing its Exynos 1000 CPU to the Galaxy S21. According to leaked information, as well as some recent benchmarks, the Exynos 1000 will feature a custom AMD Radeon GPU that will deliver 2.5x the performance of the Snapdragon 865.

That is a HUGE uplift, especially when you consider the age of the Snapdragon 865 and the fact that Samsung’s last Exynos chip really failed to hit the mark. If the leaked benchmarks are true, Samsung’s new Exynos 100 chip with its custom AMD Radeon GPU might even out-class Apple’s A13.

The interesting thing here, though, is how the Galaxy S21 will affect sales of the Galaxy Note 20. The Note 20 will apparently run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 865+ CPU, a slightly updated version of the 865, or a new, ever-so-slightly updated Exynos CPU (possibly the Exynos 992). The Exynos 1000 has the potential to drum both the Exynos 992 and Qualcomm’s 865+ into the ground.

This means any savvy shopper, that follows the news closely online, will almost certainly hold out for the Galaxy S21 to launch inside Q1 2021. Yes, the Galaxy S21 will probably be expensive. But at least this time you’re actually getting some proper performance uplift and not a sub-par re-issue of an already shameful CPU like the Exynos 992 which is believed to be coming to the entry-level Note 20 models.

July 16 – Three Potential Screen Sizes Being Tested For Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung is apparently testing three different screen sizes for its incoming Galaxy S21 Ultra. According to reports, the sizes being tested right now are as follows:

  • 6.9in
  • 7.076in
  • 7.095in

Why the testing? Apparently Samsung is unsure how big to go with the Galaxy S21 Ultra; the fact that a proper 7in screen is being tested, however, indicates that Samsung is ruminating on the possibility of bringing a true phablet device to market in 2021.

In a bid to lower the cost of its Galaxy S21 phones, Samsung first attempted to outsource its display production to BOE, though this did not go well; BOE’s panels failed to meet Samsung’s standards, meaning Samsung will once again make its own panels for the S21 range. And this is probably a good thing; Samsung OLED is the best OLED, after all.

A workaround hinted at by leakers is that Samsung will lock the Galaxy S21 handsets’ screen resolution to FHD+, though this limit is not expected to apply to Galaxy S21 Ultra. On top of this, the Galaxy S21 Ultra may launch with a 150MP camera and Samsung’s Exynos 1000 CPU. Apparently, there will be no Snapdragon 21 Ultra model.


June 10 – Samsung Will Use Samsung Display (Not BOE) For Galaxy S21 Panels

Back in April, word broke online that Samsung might be switching to BOE as its display supplier for its Galaxy S21 range. And this seemed a little odd because Samsung has its very own display arm, known as Samsung Display. So why did it flirt with moving to BOE? Simple: to cut costs. However, things didn’t play out quite as well as Samsung planned.

According to reports, a deal between Samsung and BOE was meant to have been inked by June. That didn’t happen, obviously, as BOE apparently did not pass Samsung’s quality tests. The latest information available claims that Samsung Display will manufacture and supply all panels for the Galaxy S21 range.


June 8 – Only Galaxy S21 Ultra Will Have 150MP Camera

If you’re after the best of the best, with respect to cameras aboard the incoming Galaxy S21 range, you’ll have to pony up for the top of the line model. According to reports, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will feature the most potent camera ever used inside a Samsung phone.

The report claims that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will feature a 150MP camera backed up by a 64MP telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide-angle, 12MP macro, and 3D ToF sensor. One thing the Galaxy S21 will not feature, however, is Samsung’s oft-ridiculed 100x Space Zoom feature. Guess that one died with the S20.


What’s In A Name – Galaxy S20 or Galaxy S30?

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The first thing we need to consider is the name, however, because Samsung really switched things up in 2020, jumping from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20, a move no one really saw coming.

We have to assume that Samsung will keep this naming convention in place, as switching back to the Galaxy S12 wouldn’t make any sense. Also, the new number scheme matches the year of its release too, which is a nice touch that I think was probably the main motivation behind the switch.

For this reason, I’m going to go out on a limb and assume the Galaxy S20’s successor will be called the Galaxy S21 and not the Galaxy S30, as some media outlets are reporting. Now we’ve got the name out of the way, let’s take a look at some of the rumored updates for the Galaxy S21…

Display Tech – “Seamless Display”

Whenever a new piece of technology is developed, be it a new Bluetooth standard or a new type of display, it has to be certified before it can be released on the consumer market. The upshot of this process, however, is that it tells us about incoming developments way before they’re officially announced.

Recently, Samsung Display got itself a new certification, one that relates to its new “Seamless Display” – AKA the new OLED panels that’ll be used inside the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy Note 20. The new panels have passed through SGS certification, indicating they’re now being primed for mass production.

Samsung Galaxy S21 SEAMLESS DISPLAY OLED TECH
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This is what an OLED panel looks like close up. Samsung’s new Seamless Display will support higher refresh rates like 120Hz as standard, improving on current technology standards by as much as 50%

The Seamless Display panels are OLED with refresh rates of 90Hz and 120Hz, according to the SGS filing. According to reports, Samsung’s new Seamless Display tech will improve on current high refresh rate displays by as much as 20-50%; the panels will be smoother and more power-efficient which, in turn, will aid battery performance and overall usability.

Interestingly, Samsung’s new Seamless Display will feature both 90Hz and 120Hz as standard. The first new Samsung phone to use Seamless Display will be the Galaxy Note 20 which is expected to land inside the next couple of months. In 2021, the Galaxy S21 will launch inside Q1 and it too will use this new kind of OLED panel.

Under Screen Cameras (USC) Could Debut on Galaxy S21

Samsung Display is now working on developing and manufacturing under-screen camera (USC) panels. The first USC from Samsung Display is rumored to be debuting aboard the Galaxy Note 20 later on this year, but more conservative projections claim it will be saved for the release of the Galaxy S21 in 2021.

The point of a USC camera is that it negates the need for a notch or punch-hole on the front of the device. The front-facing camera, when not in use, is hidden away under the display. This is done via a mechanism that is activated as soon as the phone detects the camera is no longer needed.

Not too much is known about the mechanics of how this will work, or how well it functions in practice, but Samsung Display is now tooling up to produce these types of panel, so if Samsung’s USC doesn’t come to the Galaxy Note 20, you can bet your bottom dollar it’ll be present on the Galaxy S21.

150MP Rear Camera Aboard Galaxy S21

Samsung is apparently hard at work on a brand new 150MP “Nonacell” camera that it plans on launching aboard the Galaxy S21.

This camera unit, at almost 1in in size, is truly enormous and its inclusion on the rear of the Galaxy S21 would certainly require some design tinkering to ensure it doesn’t look, well… too bulbous!

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OPPO, OnePlus, Xiaomi, and VIVO are all said to be leveraging Samsung’s new 150MP in 2021 as well. In addition to this, Xiaomi could actually beat Samsung to market with this new tech as well, as it is rumored to be releasing a phone that will use it inside Q4 2020.

“Since the sensor is said to rely on Nonacell technology,” notes SamMobile, “it should combine nine pixels into one to achieve higher light absorption. And because the sensor is said to have a resolution of 150-megapixels, the final shots should technically have a pixel count of around 16MP, as opposed to the ISOCELL Bright HM1 sensor which delivers 12MP shots.”

Galaxy S21 Will Use Snapdragon 875 Chipset

The Snapdragon 865 is 2020’s CPU of choice for high-performance Android flagships. In 2021, or very late 2020, Qualcomm will usher in an update to this platform called the Snapdragon 875. Like the 865, it will support 5G and support for advanced gaming and graphics. But there should be some big updates to its image signal processor (ISP) too in order to handle 150MP cameras that will become common in 2021.

TSMC will be making the Snapdragon 875. But unlike the 865, the 875 will be manufactured using TSMC’s 5nm process (the 865 was done using 7nm). If true, this would mean the Snapdragon 875 will feature 171.3 million transistors per square millimeter and this, in turn, will bring significant improvements to overall performance and efficiency.

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