It’s a month earlier than usual, but Samsung is pushing forward with its next-generation flagship lineup, the Galaxy S21 family.
“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,” Samsung president TM Roh said. “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.”
As with previous Galaxy S-series launches, Samsung is launching several models, in this case the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra. But for the first time, a Galaxy handset, the S21 Ultra, is compatible with Samsung’s popular S Pen peripheral as well.
“Galaxy S21 Ultra is another example of how Samsung is driving meaningful innovation forward to give people personalized experiences that enrich their lives and empower them to express who they are,” Mr. Roh added. “Given how indispensable technology has been to our lives during these times, we wanted to take another leap forward and push the boundaries of what a smartphone can do.”
From a specifications perspective, there are no major surprises, but I’m happy to see that Samsung has finally dropped the curved display edges that marred previous S-series flagships. Each ships with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 chipset, at least here in the U.S., and each supports mmWave and sub-6GHz 5G networks. The camera systems on the two lower-end versions seem almost identical to those in the similar S20 products, but the S21 Ultra gets four rear-facing camera sensors: a 108 MP main sensor, like last year, a 12 MP ultrawide sensor, and two 10 MP telephoto sensors, one with 3X zoom and one with 10X zoom.
Pricing is a bit higher than hoped, given the economic situation triggered by the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. The Galaxy S21 starts at $799, while the S21+ starts at $999, and the S21 Ultra starts at $1199; oddly the S Pen is not included and costs $40 extra, and none of these phones includes a charging brick. Each is available for preorder now, and each will ship to customers starting on January 29.