On Thursday, Samsung took the wraps off its first set of flagship telephones for the brand new yr: the Galaxy S21, S21+, and the S21 Extremely.
Whereas the brand new lineup would not carry with it any revolutionary options as in comparison with predecessors, it does include needed enhancements, together with a extra sturdy design, upgraded digital camera options, and the newest Snapdragon processor.
All three Galaxy telephones differ in worth, relying on mannequin and configuration, with the S21 beginning at $799.99 and the S21+ at $999.99. The S21 Extremely will go on sale with a base worth of $1,199.99. All the S21 lineup is presently out there for pre-order with full retail availability set for January 29.
This time, it is all about sturdiness
Final yr’s Galaxy S20 marked the beginning of a totally redesigned Galaxy lineup. Samsung retired the road’s outdated look in favor of a softer, extra trendy aesthetic, full with a curvier body, distinguished digital camera module, and shimmery colours.
Since 2020’s lineup was the primary time Samsung had revamped the S-series’ design in years, I figured it was secure to imagine the corporate could be sticking to this construct for a really very long time. However after seeing the S21 lineup, I used to be clearly improper.
The S21 might not look all that totally different from the S20 — it nonetheless retains the identical curvy edges, pronounced digital camera, and enjoyable pastel colours (relying on the mannequin) — however this time, there is a clear concentrate on sturdiness.
Now, moderately than a glass digital camera module that sits on high of the machine’s rear, the digital camera lenses are built-in into the metallic body on all three telephones. Which means you do not have to fret about simply scratching these lenses when putting the telephone down on a floor or unintentionally cracking the module if you happen to drop the telephone. It additionally reduces the scale of the ridiculous digital camera bump as seen on the S20 line.
Whereas your complete S21 lineup options the identical digital camera design, every mannequin barely varies in materials. The physique of the S21 is made from plastic with a metallic body, whereas each the S21+ and S21 Extremely have a glass sandwich design (i.e., glass on the back and front with metallic on the edges). However since all three units have a matte-finish, it’s kind of robust to inform the distinction at a look.
On the entrance, the S21 encompasses a 2400 x 1080 6.2-inch show (421 ppi) whereas the S21+ has a bigger 2400 x 1080 6.7-inch show (394 ppi). The S21 Extremely has the most important show of all of them, with a 6.8-inch show with 3200 x 1440 decision (515ppi).
Every S21 variant comes geared up with Samsung’s signature Infinity-O show, which implies there are minimal bezels throughout, together with HDR10+ certification for elevated distinction in images and video, and a 120Hz refresh charge for quicker and smoother scrolling. Each the S21 and S21+ additionally pack a 10-megapixel hole-punch selfie digital camera, whereas the S21 Extremely boasts a 40-megapixel front-facing sensor.
As for colours choices, the S21 will probably be out there in phantom violet, phantom white, phantom grey, and phantom pink. The S21+ will probably be provided in phantom violet, phantom silver, and phantom black. Lastly, the S21 Extremely will solely be out there in two colours: phantom black and phantom silver.
Similar cameras with some needed modifications
Since Samsung went somewhat overboard with camera upgrades final yr on the S20, it is not stunning the corporate selected to implement related sensors on the S21 lineup.
Each the S21 and S21+ have a triple-camera setup that features a 12-megapixel wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture, 120-degree 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens with f/2.2 aperture, and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens with f/2.0 aperture.
The S21 Extremely has a quad-camera module, which features a 108-megapixel wide-angle lens with f/1.8 aperture, a 120-degree 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens with f/2.2 aperture. However moderately than the 48-megapixel telephoto lens featured on its predecessor, the newest Extremely mannequin has two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses.
The one notable change to the digital camera module is that the corporate included the identical laser autofocus (AF) sensor as seen on the Note 20 Ultra. That is possible in response to the S20 Ultra, which had a buggy autofocus that required an over-the-air software program replace to repair. However moderately than reserving it for the Extremely, it has been included into all the brand new S21 fashions.
The S21 Extremely additionally comes with an improved Vibrant Night time sensor that is purported to seize higher images in low gentle and scale back noise when in Night time Mode. And, there’s now an choice to shoot utilizing a 12-bit RAW mode for many who need extra freedom when enhancing images.
The principle upgrades could be discovered within the digital camera software program — particularly with House Zoom. In case you are unfamiliar, Samsung launched the function final yr. It combines optic zoom know-how with AI-powered digital zoom.
Which means you’ll be able to zoom in as much as 30x with the S21 and S21+, whereas the S21 Extremely permits you to zoom in as much as 100x on a topic. To keep away from the shakiness that comes with zooming in to a topic that intently, Samsung added a function known as Zoom Lock. It is meant to make sure a clearer picture by locking within the topic that shut up.
Moreover, Samsung added just a few updates to Portrait Mode, together with an improved 3D evaluation to raised separate the topic from the background, together with the choice to filter by means of totally different digital studio lighting.
All three telephones can movie video in 8K, however the S21 Extremely can additionally file in 4K (at 60fps) on all lenses, together with the rear and front-facing digital camera. There’s additionally a brand new Director’s View function which lets you preview and swap between every lens when capturing footage, in addition to a Vlogger View the place you’ll be able to concurrently shoot video utilizing each the back and front cameras.
Beneath the hood
As regular, all three telephones function Qualcomm’s newest Snapdragon 888 processor together with help for 5G. Each can also be suitable with sub-6 5G (the slower version) and mmWave for quicker speeds. However it’s actually not a promoting level for this machine, particularly if 5G is not out there in your space proper now.
In relation to battery life, the one telephone to obtain an improve in dimension is the S21+, with a 4,800mAh battery versus the 4,500mAh on the S20+. Each the S21 and S21 Extremely have the identical battery as final yr’s fashions at 4,000mAh and 5,000mAh, respectively.
Every telephone additionally comes with totally different storage and reminiscence choices.
Galaxy S21 and S21+:
Galaxy S21 Extremely:
12GB of RAM / 128GB of inner storage
12GB of RAM / 256GB of inner storage
16GB of RAM / 512GB of inner storage
However this time round, Samsung has nixed the microSD card slot on all of its S21 fashions — not like final yr’s units which allowed for expandable storage as much as 1TB. So if you happen to’re the kind who tends to retailer a variety of content material and apps in your telephone, you would possibly need to go for the S21 Extremely.
A number of extra equipment, too
For those who’re loyal to the Galaxy S-series however have at all times needed to make use of an S-Pen, you then’re in luck. The S21 Extremely is suitable with Samsung’s stylus for the primary time ever, however it is going to price you an additional $39.99 along with the telephone.
It is also not the flowery one you’d discover on the Note 20 that permits you to wave it round and set off totally different actions (like seize selfies or take screenshots). You are actually solely in a position to make use of it to take notes, signal paperwork, and edit images. For those who’re prepared to attend, Samsung is launching the S Pen Professional later this yr, so you will have all entry to these aforementioned Bluetooth linked options and extra.
However since there isn’t any compartment for it on the S21 Extremely, Samsung is providing two equipment — a silicone case ($49.99) and a case with a flip cowl ($69.99) — each of which include the S-Pen and slots to retailer it in.
Samsung can also be introducing its new Bluetooth tracker known as Sensible Tag, which is analogous to the likes of Tile and Chiplo. It is designed for use with different Galaxy telephones and the corporate’s SmartThings app. So you’ll be able to connect it to your luggage, keys, or different units and pinpoint them simply. There’s additionally the Sensible Tag+, which incorporates ultra-wide band know-how for higher vary and might help you find your units utilizing synthetic intelligence.
By way of pricing, the Sensible Tag will price you $29.99, however Samsung may also bundle it without cost if you happen to pre-order any of the S21 fashions. The Sensible Tag+ will price you somewhat further, at $39.99, and will probably be out there later this yr.
Okay, I am truly excited for these
Once I reviewed the Galaxy S20 and S20 Extremely final yr, I gave each telephones excessive scores as a result of every one provided pleasurable experiences. However, as with all telephone, there have been some points when it got here to issues like sturdiness, design, and digital camera options.
I can simply say, nevertheless, that it looks like Samsung was truly listening to those criticisms. The S21 line seems to repair what was damaged on final yr’s fashions — a stronger construct, much less intrusive digital camera module, and improved House Zoom performance — whereas nonetheless retaining what labored simply advantageous … on paper, anyway.
That stated, I could change my tune as soon as I begin to take a look at these telephones out. So be sure you test again quickly for my full evaluation of each the Galaxy S21 and S21 Extremely.