Obsessed with technology?
Subscribe to the latest tech news as well as exciting promotions from us and our partners!
By subscribing, you indicate that you have read & understood the SPH's Privacy Policy and PDPA Statement.
News
News Categories

Samsung launches Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra

By Liu Hongzuo - on 28 Jan 2021, 4:36pm

Samsung launches Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra

Note: This article was originally published on 14 January 2021 and the devices now officially go on sale starting from 29th Januaury. Article brought up for relevance. 

Samsung Galaxy S21 series.

Samsung announced the official arrival of the Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung Galaxy S21+, and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra. The three models collectively represent Samsung's H1 2021's flagship offering, setting the tone in the global flagship smartphone space with its earlier-than-usual launch.

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 series

Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S21+, Galaxy S21 (left to right).

The Samsung Galaxy S21 series phones are all 5G-ready, unlike the preceding Galaxy S20 series that distinguished itself with both 4G and 5G variants. As with past Samsung Galaxy S handsets, the Galaxy S21 series brings a combination of new flagship processors, pro-grade cameras, and a host of flagship-tier features in each device.

Plenty of the upgrades cut across all three devices, so we'll quickly cover them here before discussing each model below.

Samsung Galaxy S21 series specs
  Galaxy S21 Galaxy S21+ Galaxy S21 Ultra
Display
  • 6.2-inch, flat, 2,400 x 1,080-pixel (FHD+), Dynamic AMOLED 2x, Infinity-O, (421ppi)
  • HDR10+ certified
  • Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate (48-120Hz)
  • Eye Comfort Shield
  • 6.7-inch, flat, 2,400 x 1,080-pixel (FHD+) Dynamic AMOLED 2x, Infinity-O, (394ppi)
  • HDR10+ certified
  • Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate (48-120Hz)
  • Eye Comfort Shield
  • 6.8-inch, curved, 3,200 x 1,440-pixel (WQHD+) Dynamic AMOLED 2x, Infinity-O, (515ppi)
  • HDR10+ certified
  • Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate (10-120Hz)
  • Eye Comfort Shield
Processor

5nm, 64-bit octa-core processor, 2.9GHz + 2.8GHz + 2.2GHz

Singapore: Samsung Exynos 2100

5nm, 64-bit octa-core processor, 2.9GHz + 2.8GHz + 2.2GHz

Singapore: Samsung Exynos 2100

5nm, 64-bit octa-core processor, 2.9GHz + 2.8GHz + 2.2GHz

Singapore: Samsung Exynos 2100

Memory
  • 8GB LPDDR5 RAM with 256GB internal storage
  • 8GB LPDDR5 RAM with 256GB internal storage
  • 12GB LPDDR5 RAM with 256GB internal storage
  • 16GB LPDDR5 RAM with 512GB internal storage
Camera

Rear: 12MP, fixed focus, 120° FOV, f/2.2, 1.4μm (ultra-wide)

12MP, Dual Pixel AF, FOV 79°, f/1.8, OIS, 1.8μm (main, wide-angle)

64MP, Phase Detection AF, Hybrid Optic 3X, FOV 76°, OIS f/2.0, 0.8μm (telephoto)

Front: 10MP, Dual Pixel AF, 80°, f/2.2

  • 30x Space Zoom
  • 3x Hybrid Optic Zoom

 

Rear: 12MP, fixed focus, 120° FOV, f/2.2, 1.4μm (ultra-wide)

12MP, Dual Pixel AF, FOV 79°, f/1.8, OIS, 1.8μm (main, wide-angle)

64MP, Phase Detection AF, Hybrid Optic 3X, FOV 76°, OIS f/2.0, 0.8μm (telephoto)

Front: 10MP, Dual Pixel AF, 80°, f/2.2 

  • 30x Space Zoom
  • 3x Hybrid Optic Zoom

Rear: 12MP, Dual Pixel AF, 120° FOV, f/2.2, 1.4μm (ultra-wide)

108MP, Phase Detection AF, FOV 83°, f/1.8, OIS, 0.8μm (main, wide-angle)

10MP, Dual Pixel AF, 3x Optical Zoom, FOV 35°, OIS f/2.4, 1.22μm (telephoto)

10MP, Dual Pixel AF, 10x Optical Zoom, FOV 10°, OIS f/4.9, 1.22μm (telephoto)

Front: 40MP, Phase Detection AF, 80°, f/2.2

  • 100x Space Zoom
  • Laser AF Sensor
Battery
  • 4,000mAh
  • 25W fast charging
  • 4,800mAh
  • 25W fast charging
  • 5,000mAh
  • 25W fast charging
Network + Connectivity
  • 5G NSA
  • 5G SA
  • 5G Sub6
  • LTE
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth
  • 5G NSA
  • 5G SA
  • 5G Sub6
  • LTE
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth
  • UWB
  • 5G NSA
  • 5G SA
  • 5G Sub6
  • LTE
  • NFC
  • Bluetooth
  • UWB
Dust / Water Resistance IP68 IP68 IP68
Dimensions
  • 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm
  • 169g
  • 161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8mm
  • 200g
  • 165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9mm
  • 227g

Samsung's new design for Galaxy S21 is largely carried within its rear camera housing. Called the Contour Cut Camera housing, the rear camera housing blends seamlessly into the metal frame, with the rest of the device rear adopting a Haze finish.

Singapore's Galaxy S21 series phones are packed with the newly announced Exynos 2100. According to Samsung, the 5nm chipset offers performance increments compared to previous-generation Exynos processors - 20% in CPU, 35% in GPU, and 2x AI processing. The Exynos 2100 is set to compete against fellow 5nm rivals, like Qualcomm's Snapdragon 888, Huawei's Kirin 9000, and Apple's A14 Bionic.

Photography and videography received the most improvements across all Galaxy S21 series models. Space Zoom, Samsung's compelling zoom feature, now gets Zoom Lock for better focusing and stabilising. There's also 8K Snap, where the phone lets you screengrab 32MP images from 8K footage filmed using a Galaxy S21 series device. Super Steady videos can now be recorded at 60fps. Single Take received 5x more AI processing for the few modes it has.

Director's View.

However, a new recording feature is Director's View, which offers two sub-features - Vlogger View (front-and-back real-time recording) and the cool Live Thumbnail, which allows a Galaxy S21 user to swap active lenses during a recording, with little windows to the side for previewing field-of-view through each lens. If a Galaxy S21 user has a Samsung Live Buds Pro, they can use the true wireless earbuds as a voice microphone while letting the smartphone microphone record ambient sound.

Not everything is roses, since the expandable storage option via microSD slot on the Galaxy S20 series didn't make it to the Galaxy S21 series. Also, the charging adapter is not included in the box, either.

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+

Samsung Galaxy S21.

Noticeably, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ carry FHD+ resolution displays, down from its previous QHD+ resolution Galaxy S20 panels. Samsung instead kept the same display dimensions and same panel quality, so users who liked the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ for their sizes would find the new 2021 equivalents right at home.

Samsung Galaxy S21+.

The Galaxy S21 gets a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that can go up to 120Hz refresh rate, while the Galaxy S21+ has a 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that also goes up to 120Hz refresh rate. Unlike the S21 Ultra's curved screen, the Galaxy S21 and S21+'s display is a flat screen, even if it's the same screen Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel quality across the three S21 series handsets.

Summary of Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ features.

While the Galaxy S21 battery capacity stayed on par with the previous Galaxy S20's (at 4,000mAh), the Galaxy S21+ received a slightly larger capacity going into 2021. It now sits at 4,800mAh, about 300mAh more than its S20+ predecessor.

Both Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+ kept the same combination of triple-rear lenses as their predecessors (12MP main, 12MP ultra-wide-angle, 64MP telephoto with 3x hybrid optical zoom), but that's because a massive amount of imaging upgrades are in the software side of things, as seen above.

One UI 3.

The phones also come with Android 11 out of the box, so it's already packed with Google's latest mobile operating system cloaked under Samsung's One UI 3 reskin and user interface.

 

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

The rumours proved to be somewhat true. Yes, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra supports an S Pen, thanks to a Wacom partnership. However, the phone doesn't come with a Galaxy S21 S Pen out of the box, nor does it have a built-in S Pen slot like the Galaxy Note20 handsets. According to Samsung, the Galaxy S21 S Pen (sold either on its own or with its official phone cover) and all past S Pens (including and beyond the Note20 or Galaxy Tab S7/S7+ ones) would work with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Take note if you're upgrading from an older Galaxy Note phone!

S Pen supported, but sold separately.

That aside, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra carries over the same form factor as its predecessor while implementing the dual-tone Contour Cut Camera housing design that cuts across the new phones. The battery capacity remained unchanged too, at 5,000mAh.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra now has a slightly smaller 6.8-inch, curved Dynamic AMOLED 2X display rated at WQHD+ resolution ( pixels resolution). The panel is now capable of going up to 120Hz refresh rate even at maximum resolution, and its Dynamic Refresh Rate now varies between 10Hz to 120Hz, depending on the content displayed on the phone. What's also exciting is the greatly increased maximum brightness for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, at 1,500nits (S20 Ultra capped out at 1,200nits).

The rear camera configuration received slight changes, going from a triple-rear on the S20 Ultra to a quad-rear combo on the S21 Ultra. The upgraded main lens' sensor and the ultra-wide-angle lens kept the same megapixels (108MP and 12MP respectively), but Samsung has now two telephoto lenses instead of one.

The first is a 10MP telephoto lens offering 3x optical zoom, while the second is a 10MP telephoto camera with 10x optical zoom. Both zoom lenses pack Samsung's proprietary Dual Pixel technology, enabling fast, accurate autofocusing even at long range. They are also jointly responsible for the 100x Space Zoom on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

The biggest upgrade in Samsung's imaging capabilities is its 4K resolution recording in 60fps across all lenses - any Galaxy S21 Ultra user wouldn't need to compromise on video resolution or framerate, and freely select the preferred lens. Finally, the Galaxy S21 Ultra has both 12-bit HDR and 12-bit RAW photo capturing, bringing the HDR and RAW photo compatibility on par with the iPhone 12 Pro Max.

An imaging feature that received improvements is the Bright Night mode, where it uses 12MP nona-binning technology to make 'larger' pixels and capture more light.

Summary of Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra features.

Like the Galaxy S21+ and Note20 Ultra, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will also support ultra-wideband (UWB) technology. UWB is necessary for certain near-field uses, like digitally unlocking car doors, and file sharing. Besides Digital Car Key and Android Auto support, the Galaxy S21 Ultra also has SmartThings integrated into Android Auto, allowing you to use a compatible Galaxy S21 phone control your smart home from your Android Auto car.

Come 29 January 2021, the Galaxy S21 series will be available in Singapore at the following prices, configurations, and colours:

  • Galaxy S21 - S$1,248 (8GB RAM, 256GB storage) | Phantom Pink, Phantom Violet, Phantom Grey, Phantom White
  • Galaxy S21+ - S$1,498 (8GB RAM, 256GB storage) | Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra - S$1,798 (12GB RAM, 256GB storage) or S$1,998 (16GB RAM, 512GB storage) | Phantom Black, Phantom Silver

Pre-order begins on 14 January 2021 (right after the livestream), more details on where to buy them are available here.

Read Next: Our verdict and full review of the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra.

Join HWZ's Telegram channel here and catch all the latest tech news!
Our articles may contain affiliate links. If you buy through these links, we may earn a small commission.