Overnight Samsung announced their latest round of phones, the Galaxy S21 range. Naturally in 2021, 5G networks are now here and ready for prime time, so all 3 models support 5G connectivity.
Naturally the new models are a pretty big improvement over the S20 range last year. Let’s start with the design. This is already proving to be controversial with mixed reactions online. This mostly stems from comments around the camera system and how it contrasts with the back of the device.
Samsung have chosen to go with a very distinct camera section that grips the top-left corner of the device, rather than a camera module that looks stuck on the back of the phone. If you pick the new Phantom Violet colour, the camera module is finished in a copper/rose gold finish that contrasts the body. Pick the Phantom Silver or Phantom Black colours and the colour of the camera module integrates and is much more seamless to the design.
When it comes to the screen, the flagship S21 Ultra 5G starts at a massive 6.8″, while the S21+ 5G is just shy of that at 6.7″, followed by the S21 5G with a still big, 6.2″ display. All 3 models now come with a 120Hz panel, making for really slick gaming, but it’s the camera that is again going to steal the show.
From here I’ll detail the specs of the S21 Ultra 5G, and you can head to Samsung for the rest. the Let’s start with the front.. a 40MP Selfie camera. This addresses one of my biggest complaints from the S20+. While the camera on the rear was amazing, the front facing camera was really lacking in sharpness and given how common social apps like TikTok, Snapchat, WhatsApp are, combined with an increased need to video conference on Microsoft Teams, or Zoom, then it’s definitely a critical component of a new phone purchase.
On the back, Samsung have taken their multi-camera system and turned it up to 11. There’s a 12MP Ultra-wide angle, 108MP wide-angle, 10MP 2 Telephoto cameras and 100X space zoom. I’ll have to get hands-on to really test it out, but those numbers certainly indicate we’re on for an amazing photography experience here.
When it comes to video, the S21 Ultra 5G is now capable of recording in 8K at 24fps. The S20+ was also capable of this, although I’d expect improved performance due to that updated lens system.
Samsung are now leveraging AI to stabilise video at 60fps. From the comparison video provided, this looks incredible, similar to GoPro’s Hypersmooth technology.
The flagship also gets a massive 5,000mAh battery, which should get even power users through a whole day of use. When you do need to charge, there’s Super Fast Charging, providing hours of use from just minutes of charge. While not as fast, the convenient wireless charging also gets a boost with Fast wireless charging 2.0.
Samsung have followed Apple’s lead and shrunk the box the phone comes in, made possible by removing the included charger. This means you’ll get a USB-C cable, but if you want to connect it to a standard 240v wall outlet, you’ll need to get you’re own adapter. Personally I have plenty, but this may frustrate some users.
The S21 models also lose the ability to expand the storage via a MicroSD card, something that’s been a staple of Samsung devices for years. Instead you have storage options between 128GB and 512GB, with the suggestion to use cloud storage when the on-device storage runs out.
If you’re fast, you’ll get a pre-order gift of all-new Galaxy Buds Pro (Silver) with the Galaxy S21 Ultra or Galaxy Buds Live (White) with the Galaxy S21 and S21+.
Pre-orders are open now and available from January 29th.
The top of the line Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G will set you back A$2,149 for the 512GB model, but you can get into a S21 5G model with 128GB of storage for A$1,249.
Samsung have a trade-in system built into their website and while you may not get top dollar for your old device, it does make the process super simple.
If you’d like all the detail as a single image, then Samsung has provided a nice infographic.
More information at Samsung.