Samsung has unveiled the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra, the latest iterations in its premium Galaxy S range.
The Korean vendor announced the devices alongside a new pair of wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, at a virtual Unpacked show on January 14.
This unveiling distinguished itself from previous S series phone announcements by taking place in January. Previous Galaxy Unpacked shows announcing new S series phones have usually taken place in February.
Additionally, the S21 Ultra is the first Galaxy S phone to come with an S-Pen. At the end of 2020, Samsung’s head of mobile TM Roh said that the company was looking to add some of its Note series’ “most well-loved features to other devices in our lineup”.
This announcement comes in the wake of Korean news outlets reporting that Samsung is looking to end the Note series, with a potential iteration this year likely to be the last in the line.
The S21 Ultra is the highest-end device in the range, with a 6.8-inch WQHD+ AMOLED screen and a quad-camera setup.
It has 12GB and 16GB RAM variants, either of which come in 128GB, 256GB or 512GB internal memory.
It runs Android 11 on the Snapdragon 888 chipset, with a 5,000mAh battery.
In camera terms, it has a 108MP wide sensor, a 12MP ultra-wide lens, a 10MP telephoto and 10MP periscope telephoto lens, while the front camera is 40MP.
The S21 Ultra can shoot 8K video at both 24fps and 30fps, as well as 4K at 60fps. Users can also grab photo snap from 8K video.
The S21+ also runs Android 11 on a Snapdragon 888 with a 4,800mAh battery.
It has a 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen, and a triple-camera setup that features a 12MP ultra-wide lens, a 12MP wide lens, and a 64MP telephoto lens. The front camera is 10MP.
It comes with 8GB RAM and 128GB or 256GB internal storage.
The S21 is the cheapest of the three devices, with a 6.2-inch FHD+ AMOLED screen and a 4,000mAh battery. It also runs on the Snapdragon 888 chipset.
Like the S21+, it comes in 8GB and 12GB RAM variants, with either 128GB or 256GB internal storage.
Additionally, all three devices have stereo speakers designed with AKG, are IP68 rated for water and dust resistance, and are protected by Samsung Knox security software.
They all are Samsung DeX compatible, have fast wireless and super fast charging, and can share powered wirelessly.
All three devices are available to preorder from January 14, before a January 29 release date.
The S21 starts at £769, the S21+ at £949, and the S21 Ultra at £1,149.
The Galaxy S21+ is available in three colour variants: Phantom Silver, Phantom Black and Phantom Violet while the regular S21 is available in four variants: Phantom Violet, Phantom Pink, Phantom Gray and Phantom White.
Samsung also unveiled the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, a new pair of earbuds that are the successor to last year’s Galaxy Buds Live.
The smartphone vendor says they will feature Active Noise Cancellation which will filter out up to 99 per cent of background noise.
The buds will feature custom built two-way speakers and are IPX7 rated for water and sweat resistance, with an 11mm woofer and a 6.5mm tweeter.
The buds will launch on January 29 at £219 in white, bronze, and purple.
Samsung also announced the launch of the SmartTag and SmartTag plus which uses ultra-wide band (UWB) technology for tags which can fit on all sorts of devices and track them from your smartphone.
The SmartTag can be located via SmartThings Find and Samsung is offering the SmartTag as a pre-order incentive alongside its S21 devices. The SmartTag will cost £29.99 and is available from January 29.
CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood commented on the launch of the S21 series:
“The new Galaxy S21 range follows the formulaic approach to annual upgrades that all phone makers are now locked into.
“In a cutthroat smartphone market featuring a buoyant Apple, I think the biggest differentiator is the decision to announce these products earlier than usual rather than the incremental improvements to the camera, display and design.
“Samsung’s decision to announce its latest flagship Galaxy smartphones early is a sensible move given the market turmoil created by the global pandemic and the postponement of the annual MWC event, which usually provides a showcase for Samsung’s latest new devices.
“It also narrows the gap since Apple’s announcements in October 2020 offering Samsung something new to compete with the iPhone 12 portfolio.”