Credit: Oliver Cragg / Android Authority
Update: November 23, 2020 (07:40 AM ET): We’ve updated the hub with leaked specs of the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra. We’ve also added details about 5G versions of the phones launching in India, and information from a report claiming that the top-of-the-line S21 series phone will come with the S Pen stylus. 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 of now, there is no concrete information proving it’s going to be one name or the other.
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, rumors are popping up 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.
As of now, we are confident that Samsung will launch the Galaxy S21 series sometime in January, marking the earliest launch in quite a while.
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 are going to go ahead and assume that Samsung intends to launch a Galaxy S21 Ultra, too.
In fact, folks over at Android Police leaked the specs of all three models using the S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra monikers (more on that later) so we can expect three variants of the flagship series in 2021.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S20 buyer’s guide
If we assume that there will be three models in the Galaxy S21 series, we can also assume that they will all look very similar to one another. In fact, leaked renders of the Galaxy S21 lineup show three phones that look almost identical, albeit for a few minor differences.
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 the following image, which shows a design very similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy S21:
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:
We’ll need to wait and see if these renders end up aligning with the final designs. However, these renders come from a quality source in Steve Hemmerstoffer, so we expect the final products to look very similar.
Samsung Galaxy S21 series: Specs and features
Credit: Robert Triggs / Android Authority
An extensive leak by Android Police revealed all the key specs for the Galaxy S21 series. If the leak is to be believed, all phones will run on the unannounced Snapdragon 875 processor in some markets, while others will get the Exynos 2100 chipset.
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.
Since we’re still early on in the release cycle, a lot of the spec rumors we’ve found seem far-fetched or contradict rumors from more reliable sources. Keep that in mind as you search the internet for news on the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
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.
Previous rumors have also suggested that Samsung would skip updating its advertised battery capacities for the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra, sticking with 4,000mAh for the former and 5,000mAh for the latter. 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.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra is rumored to have a 108MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide sensor, and two 10MP sensors, one with 3x optical zoom and another with 10x optical zoom.
The phones can apparently record videos from both the front and rear cameras simultaneously. All of them are said 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.
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!
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