TECH REVIEW

Everything we know about the Galaxy S21 series

Everything we know about the Galaxy S21 series

The Galaxy S21 launch is just a few months out, which means it’s a great time for leaks. Today, we have exclusive information regarding the specifications and features of the upcoming phones, which we have now confirmed through multiple sources. Android Police also has seen official press renders of Samsung’s next-generation Galaxy devices, but cannot publish them, in order to protect our sources’ identities.

Specifications Galaxy S21, O1 Galaxy S21+, T2 Galaxy S21 Ultra, P3
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 875 or Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 875 or Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 875 or Exynos 2100
Battery 4,000 mAh 4,800 mAh 5,000 mAh
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

As with the Galaxy S20 series, there will be three models of the Galaxy S21: The Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra, codenamed O1, T2, and P3, respectively. As far as colorways go, the Galaxy S21 will come in Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, Phantom White, and Phantom Pink. The Galaxy S21+ will be available in Phantom Silver, Phantom Black, and Phantom Violet. The Galaxy S21 Ultra will only come in Phantom Silver and Phantom Black. Our source says that the base model Galaxy S21 will feature a plastic rear cover, while the S21 Ultra will use glass. Our source could not confirm what material the Galaxy S21+ would use, claiming this was because the consumer response to the plastic material has been more positive than Samsung expected.

We can confirm the renders from leaked CAD files are accurate. The camera bump extruding from the upper left corner will be part of the frame itself, according to our sources. The frame and camera bump will come in different colors depending on the colorway of the device. For example, the Phantom Black colorway has a black frame and camera bump while the Phantom Violet and Phantom Pink colorways have a copper body. Our sources tell us the Phantom White has a subtle blue tint with a bronze bezel, similar to the blue and gold Note 7 colorway.

Powering the devices will be two processors, and as usual, which one you’ll get depends on region. Samsung will be using both the Snapdragon 875, the yet-to-be-announced successor to the Snapdragon 865, and the Exynos 2100. We are told the Exynos 2100 could be “on-par or better than the Snapdragon 875,” though it’s unclear exactly how the chips will benchmark comparatively. We are also told the new Exynos will be a more power-efficient chip than prior generations, improving battery life. Both the Exynos 2100 and Snapdragon 875 are 5G compatible chips, and there will be 5G versions of every Galaxy S21 model, as was the case with the S20. We don’t know if Samsung is working on LTE-only models quite yet. We do know that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be the only model to receive Wi-Fi 6E support, which Samsung claims it’s about 2x faster than standard Wi-Fi 6.

Battery capacities for the phones will largely remain similar to the S20 series. The Galaxy S21 will have a 4,000 mAh battery, while the Galaxy S21+ will clock in at 4800mAh (300mAh more than the current S20+), and the Galaxy S21 Ultra at 5000mAh. Our sources couldn’t confirm maximum charging speeds quite yet, but all models will support 25W fast charging at a minimum.

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ will both feature FHD+ 120hz displays, but they will not receive the advanced adaptive refresh LTPO panels feature on the Galaxy Note20 Ultra. The Galaxy S21 will have a 6.2” display; the Galaxy S21+ is 6.7″. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has, what we are told, one of the best displays on any smartphone. It’s a 6.8” WQHD+ LTPO display with an adaptive refresh rate of 1hz to 120hz. The S20 Ultra will max out at an incredible 1600 nits peak brightness — by comparison, the Galaxy S20 Ultra has a peak brightness of 1,400 nits. On top of that, Samsung will allegedly be improving the display’s contrast ratio to 3,000,000:1, as opposed to the 2,000,000:1 on the previous generation. Our sources also say the Galaxy S21 Ultra will offer S Pen support. The stylus will not be included in the box. Instead, Samsung is planning to sell cases that will store the S Pen outside the body of the phone.

The camera arrays on the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ are reported to be the same as the Galaxy S20 series. They’ll feature a 12MP main sensor, 64MP telephoto, and 12MP ultrawide. We were not able to confirm the specifics of the sensors themselves, but it is likely Samsung is using the same or similar parts as it did on the Galaxy S20 and S20+.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra, however, does have a new camera setup. The main camera will feature an improved 108MP sensor, the second generation version of the sensor Samsung uses in the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Galaxy Note20 Ultra. The S21 Ultra will have the same 12MP ultrawide as the Galaxy S21 and S21+, but will feature two telephoto sensors: a 3x optical telephoto and a 10x optical “super” telephoto. Samsung has added 130% larger pixels and dual pixel auto focus on both the 3x and 10x optical lens. Thanks to the new 10x optical sensor, our sources say Samsung will be reviving 100X Space Zoom. Samsung will be using laser autofocus on the S21 Ultra, hopefully remedying the focus issues the S20 Ultra experienced.

Across the board, Samsung will be adding more features to the cameras. All of the cameras will support 4K/60fps recording, which was previously limited to the main sensor. Samsung’s Super Steady stabilization will also be getting 60fps recording. The camera will be able to automatically switch between 30fps and 60fps depending on the lighting conditions, just like the Google Pixel. For the three of you who actually care, Samsung is also adding an 8K 30fps option to the camera instead of the 8K 24fps that’s on the Galaxy S20 and Note20 series. Samsung’s also adding a dual recording mode, where you can record out of the front and rear camera at the same time. As of now, it appears Samsung will allow you to either have these in one video side by side, as picture in picture, or saved as two files. Samsung will also be improving night mode with more manual controls. Additionally, it will improve the moon mode that’s included in One UI 3.0, which will lock onto the moon and use EIS to make sure it’s in frame while taking the photo.

Ultra Wide Band, also known as UWB, will be supported on the Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra. It will be used to track Samsung’s yet to be released SmartThings tags. Samsung will also be adding support for digital car keys to SmartThings with the S21+ and S21 Ultra. We don’t have information on which manufacturers or countries will receive support for this feature.

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All around, the Galaxy S21 series does look like a decent improvement of the previous Galaxy S20 series. Samsung is also rumored to be lowering the prices of the upcoming phones to be more competitive and match the recession and global pandemic we are in, though we don’t yet have exact pricing for any market. As we learn more, we’ll be sure to let you know.

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