Samsung officially unveiled the new Samsung Galaxy S21 at the Galaxy Unpacked 2021 virtual event last night, confirming all the leaks that surfaced before the launch. Arriving much earlier in the year than the preceding Samsung Galaxy S20, it appears that Samsung has been keeping busy amidst the pandemic to kick off 2021 with its latest flagship smartphone.
Launched together with the Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy SmartTag, the smartphone lineup includes the Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy S21+ and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. Wondering if it’s worth the upgrade? Here are 10 key points to weigh in, broken down into what’s new, what’s improved and what’s missing.
Contour Cut Camera Design: Probably the first thing you’ll notice right off the bat is the new camera layout on the back of the phone. Samsung calls this the “contour cut”, referencing how it blends into the rear metal finish on the top left corner for a bold look.
S Pen Pro support: One of the most exciting features that is exclusive to the range-topping Galaxy S21 Ultra is its ability to support the S Pen (and S Pen Pro) – thus bridging the gap between the Galaxy Note and Galaxy S series. However, unlike its bigger Note counterparts, the phone does not have a dedicated slot for the stylus. As such, users will have to buy a separate case to house the S Pen, which would make it slightly bulkier.
Faster processor: Depending on which part of the world you’re in, the Galaxy S21 will arrive with either the Exynos 2100 chip or Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. The Malaysian market will be getting the former, which claims to offer a 30% faster GPU and 40% faster graphics. Samsung says that the switch from a 7nm to 5nm chip will provide a 10% boost in power and 20% reduction in power consumption. In other words, this is a phone that’s geared towards productivity and gaming.
Higher resolution cameras: The design isn’t the only thing that’s changed for the cameras. The two lower models feature a triple-camera setup including a 12MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens and a 64MP telephoto lens. With the Ultra, users get a higher-resolution 108MP main camera, 12MP ultra-wide angle lens and two 10MP telephoto lenses to support the new 100x Space Zoom with enhanced Super Resolution (for your stalking needs).
8K video: Also exclusive to the premium model is 8K video resolution at 24 frames per second. According to Samsung, it’s the highest resolution video available on a smartphone yet. Meanwhile, all phones in the series are capable of shooting 4K video at 60 frames per second.
Improved display: Thanks to the new processor, the S21 lineup comes with superior Dynamic AMOLED 2x displays with a 120Hz refresh rate. Samsung promises 25% more brightness and double the contrast of the S20 to boast “the most vivid and brightest display in a smartphone”. In terms of size, the S21 comes at 6.2 inches, the S21+ at 6.7 inches and the S21 Ultra topping at 6.8 inches.
Tougher screen: Butterfingers can (somewhat) rest assured as the S21 series is equipped with the Corning Gorilla Glass Victus, the toughest Gorilla Glass yet. This comes as standard across all front screens in the series, but only the S21+ and Ultra models get the Victus for the glass backs as well. The S21, on the other hand, comes with polycarbonate backing.
Bigger battery: Well, only for the S21+ at least, which gained an extra 300mAh to sport 4,800mAh worth of juice. The S21 and S21 Ultra get 4000mAh and 5000mAh battery packs respectively, like their predecessors.
MicroSD card slot: Contrary to the S20 and those before it, the S21 series will not have the option of microSD expansion. The phones start at 128GB of internal storage and can go up to 256GB on the S21 and S21+, maxing out at 512GB on the S21 Ultra. It’s a shame, but not altogether surprising as the Galaxy ZFold2 had also ditched additional storage space.
No charger in the box: Following in the footsteps of Apple, Samsung has also opted to be “kinder to the environment” by leaving out the charger and headphones in the box. It still comes with a USB-C cable and you probably won’t be missing much if you were a Samsung user before, but perhaps the lack of the latter may interest you in the new Galaxy Buds Pro…
The Galaxy S21 is priced at RM3,699 and is available in Phantom Violet, Phantom Grey, Phantom Pink and Phantom White finishes. The Galaxy S21+ is priced at RM4,299 and comes in Phantom Violet, Phantom Silver and Phantom Black. Lastly, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is priced at RM5,299 and is available in Phantom Black and Phantom Silver, coated in a ‘frosted haze’ matte finish.
Pre-order in Malaysia starts today, 15th January, 2021. Samsung is bundling in a free Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy SmartTag for pre-order customers, on top of a pair of Samsung USB-C ANC headphones (worth RM299) when you pre-order the Galaxy S21 series on the Samsung online store with the promo code SCS21VIP.
For more information, log on to the official website at samsung.com.