The Samsung Galaxy S20 has only just hit the market, but we’re already hearing rumors about its replacement, the Samsung Galaxy S21…
The Galaxy S20 might have only just arrived on the market, but that doesn’t mean that work isn’t actively underway on its successor, the Galaxy S21, which will get a release date in Q1 2021.
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)
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.
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:
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.
Samsung testing different options (not set in stone yet) for their new biggest screen, however they call it at the end,
6.911″ is the smallest version of it they are liking so far
7.076″ is the “middle ground” one
7.095″ is the “risky” one 😂
— Mauri QHD (@MauriQHD) July 11, 2020
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?
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.
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!
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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