With most of 2020’s major smartphone releases already done and dusted, we’re already looking ahead to 2021. And the first big release could be right after the calendar page falls.
We might’ve seen some phones launch later than usual in 2020 due to the pandemic, but rumour has it that Samsung will actually debut its Galaxy S21 (or perhaps Galaxy S30) line earlier than normal. Talk about kicking off the year with a bang.
Better yet, there are already concept renders from a reliable source and plenty of other chatter around what we’ll see from Samsung’s next big flagships. Here’s what we’ve heard so far.
(Concept renders courtesy of OnLeaks)
When will the Samsung Galaxy S21 be out?
We usually see the Galaxy S phones launch in February and release by March, but sources suggest that Samsung isn’t waiting around this time.
SamMobile was the first to report that Samsung plans to launch its Galaxy S21 phones come January 2021, and OnLeaks has echoed that sentiment. Perhaps slowing sales due in part to the pandemic have Samsung eager to move on to the next thing, but whatever the case, that’s what the rumour mill is pointing towards right now.
We haven’t heard any solid word otherwise, so for now, January seems possible.
How much will the Samsung Galaxy S21 cost?
Samsung’s core flagships haven’t been getting any cheaper, so while we haven’t heard any solid leaks as of this writing, we doubt it’ll cost less than the Galaxy S20.
As a reminder, the Galaxy S20 cost £799 for the LTE version and £899 for 5G, while the Galaxy S20+ 5G went for £999 at launch and the Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G sold for £1,199. We’d expect the new phones to cost around the same, if not a bit more.
Just recently, Samsung released the Galaxy S20 FE 5G at £699 with plastic backing and a couple of other small trade-offs, so if you’re looking for a cheaper Galaxy S21, you might have to wait deeper into 2021 for a similar budget-minded revision.
Most likely, the Galaxy S21 phones will be just as lavish… and at least as expensive.
What will the Samsung Galaxy S21 look like?
These concept renders above and below come from noted and very reliable leaker OnLeaks, who has been leaking major phones for years now. Years.
Given that, we expect that the Galaxy S21 (above) and Galaxy S21 Ultra (below) renders, based on the leaked specs and details and he obtained, will be pretty close to the real deal. From the front, at a glance, nothing much has changed.
But on the back, the camera module in the upper left corner runs all the way to the corner instead of being a little pop-up glass panel. It still seems to rise above the surface of the rest of the glass, but it definitely results in a different kind of effect. OnLeaks also cites near-identical dimensions for both compared to their respective predecessors
If true, those are the Galaxy S20 models we know, albeit with larger and slightly different-looking camera modules.
What about the Samsung Galaxy S21’s screen?
OnLeaks points to a 6.2in flat screen on the Galaxy S21, just like its predecessor, with the S21 Ultra expected to have a curvier screen in the 6.7-6.9in range. The S20 Ultra is at 6.9in.
We expect that both will be high-res QHD+ OLED panels again, but the one key question has to do with the refresh rate. The S20 phones could hit a silky-smooth 120Hz but only with the screen resolution dropped to 1080p. At QHD+, you were stuck with 60Hz. We’re hoping to see Samsung offer 120Hz at QHD+, or at least 90Hz at that resolution. Either/or is a bummer.
Similar sizes seem likely, but we’ll see about that refresh rate.
How much power will the Samsung Galaxy S21 pack?
As usual, we expect to see a new Samsung Exynos processor in the new Galaxy S phones in Europe and some other parts of the world.
Meanwhile, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 will likely be the chip of choice in North America and certain other territories. In the last couple of years, there’s been a slight power advantage to the Snapdragon models, so hopefully Samsung can close the gap. Whatever the case, the Galaxy S21 will surely be super-powered and capable of running all kinds of games and apps with ease, no matter where you are.
You needn’t worry about the Galaxy S21 being well equipped.
What kind of cameras will the Samsung Galaxy S21 have?
If the OnLeaks renders are any indication, we may see three main cameras on the back of the Galaxy S21 and four on the back of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
What’s the fourth camera on the Galaxy S21 Ultra? OnLeaks points to rumours suggesting a second telephoto/periscope sensor for some reason, but it’s not yet clear. We’re wondering whether Samsung will bring back the 100x Space Zoom feature from the S20 Ultra, which was ultimately skipped for the Note 20 later in the year.
Could we see a new and improved Space Zoom or something else compelling in its place?
Is there anything else I should know about the Samsung Galaxy S21?
No doubt, all of the Galaxy S21 models will support 5G. Whether or not there will be a cheaper LTE version remains to be seen, but we wouldn’t be surprised to see it gone.
Early rumours pointed to the Galaxy S21 Ultra supporting the Note line’s S Pen stylus, perhaps as a way to unify the models and/or provide additional functionality to power users. However, OnLeaks’ concept renders don’t show an S Pen slot, so for now we’re not counting on such functionality being in the mix.
Definitely on 5G, highly unlikely on S Pen support. If the leaks prove true, then it won’t be long before we actually see the Galaxy S21 (or S30) in action. Stay tuned for further updates in the coming weeks.