Galaxy S21: Lower prices, a wider array of features means more buying options

    All three Galaxy S21 sequence telephones received a $200 value drop which is able to put them into the budgets of extra folks.
    Drew Evans/CNET
    Following its 2020 recipe, albeit with just a few ingredient substitutions, Samsung nearly introduced the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra. The new S21 sequence brings a bunch of updates, refinements and new options, however total it is not a drastic change from the S20 sequence till you get to the value. Samsung trimmed the beginning costs on all S21 sequence telephones by $200. The Galaxy S21 begins at $800, the Galaxy S21 Plus at $1,000 and the Galaxy S21 Ultra at $1,200. Samsung mentioned that it was in a position to decrease costs partly as a result of the parts for the telephones price much less. You may additionally argue {that a} portion of the $200 value distinction between the S21 and S20 sequence comes from the S20 and S20 Plus being priced too excessive. This was seemingly a results of Samsung pushing the S20 sequence too far into premium territory. (The value distinction is considerably much less within the UK and Australia, the place the S21 begins at £30 and AU$100 lower than the S20 did.)

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    For the S21 and S21 Plus, Samsung reined in options and specs and made sensible tradeoffs that pulled the telephones off the highest shelf and again right down to actuality. That doesn’t suggest each change is honest. Going from 12GB of RAM on the S20 and S20 Plus to 8GB on the S21 and S21 Plus shall be a big sting to some folks. I do not suppose having 8GB of RAM will essentially trigger an apparent dip in efficiency, however it would possibly have an effect on how lengthy you’d maintain on to both telephone as apps will finally get extra demanding.

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    Our first take a look at the brand new Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus


    Then there’s the Galaxy S21 Ultra. Aside from the omission of a wall charger (not one of the Galaxy S21 telephones have chargers or wired headphones), it has both the identical or improved specs and options over final yr’s S20 Ultra and nonetheless received a $200 value discount. On paper, the S21 Ultra looks like a extra refined model of the S20 Ultra. Perhaps this says much less concerning the worth of the S21 Ultra and extra to the truth that the earlier mannequin was grossly overpriced. However Samsung received right here, these low costs replicate the truth that the world has been in a pandemic for over a yr, which has prompted thousands and thousands of us to wrestle financially. For many individuals, simply realizing that the brand new S21 sequence is extra reasonably priced than the S20 household is likely to be sufficient motive to improve.A curious aspect impact of all of that is that the telephones within the S21 sequence have extra issues to tell apart them from one another than the S20 household. And that is good for anybody who needs a spread of decisions and costs for his or her subsequent telephone. In phrases of enchantment and worth, there’s extra distance between the S21 and the S21 Ultra than there was between the S20 and S20 Ultra.The Galaxy S21 in phantom pink.
    Should you purchase the Galaxy S21?Out of the three telephones, the S21 has the largest potential viewers. If you could have a good price range, then it is most likely the one for you. On paper, it is also the no-brainer “you’re due for an upgrade” telephone out of your mobile supplier. When you take a look at the three new telephones, the S21 would not appear as advanced or intimidating as the opposite two. And there are lots of people on the market who desire a telephone that is easy and easy. Looking at its specs and options, the S21 appears to be the “good value for the money” telephone you will maintain till it is time to your subsequent improve.Should you purchase the Galaxy S21 Plus?A curious aspect impact of its cheaper price and spec modifications is that the S21 Plus has a brand new enchantment. It’s not just for individuals who need an S21 however with a bigger battery or greater display. But it is also the “Goldilocks” telephone for many who do not desire a primary or entry-level gadget and on the identical time aren’t prepared to contemplate a prime of the road telephone as a result of the price is simply too excessive.The S21 Plus must also entice individuals who fear about dropping their telephone or having it fall into the bathroom. Unlike the plastic again on the S21, the Plus and Ultra have the sturdy and scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass Victus on the again. And whereas we have not but examined whether or not the S21 Plus is extra sturdy than the S21, that may very well be a promoting level. CNET will quickly run drop and scratch exams on the brand new Galaxy telephones. I must also word that every one three telephones have a mud and water resistance ranking of IP68 and may survive being submerged in 1.5 meters of water for 30 minutes.
    Should you purchase the Galaxy S21 Ultra?The S21 Ultra has a number of various kinds of individuals who will seemingly purchase it. First are those that need the very best specs and options. Then, there are those that do not care as a lot concerning the options however simply need it as a standing image. Camera nerds like me shall be drawn to the S21 Ultra due to the enhancements and upgrades Samsung made to the digital camera system. And with the addition of S-Pen help (it is the primary Galaxy S telephone to get it) the S21 Ultra would possibly catch the attention of Galaxy Note customers searching for a unique possibility.What concerning the Galaxy S20 FE version?When I first noticed the specs for the Galaxy S21, I assumed, “Is this a Galaxy S21 FE?” Of course it wasn’t. But by bringing the S21 down in value, it is solely $50-$100 extra, relying on the provider, than the Galaxy S20 FE. (The value delta is wider within the UK and Australia.) Obviously by way of value, the S20 FE will prevent extra. It additionally is available in extra colour choices, has a much bigger battery and a microSD card slot for expandable storage that the S21 would not. On the opposite hand, the S21 has extra RAM, a more moderen processor, barely higher specced cameras and a more moderen design. In a approach the positives and negatives of the 2 cancel one another out. To break the tie, I’ll remind you the S20 FE comes with a wall charger and the S21 would not. Both will enchantment to folks searching for an awesome worth. But on paper, the S20 FE affords a bit extra worth for the greenback than the Galaxy S21.On the entire, I feel Samsung made a bunch of sensible strikes with the Galaxy S21 lineup. It provides extra folks extra choices for his or her subsequent telephone. But look, it is one factor to match specs and options. I’m excited to get my palms on the telephones and do a full assessment.Galaxy S21 specs vs. Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S20 FE

    Galaxy S21

    Galaxy S21 Plus

    Galaxy S21 Ultra

    Samsung Galaxy S20 FE

    Display measurement, decision

    6.2-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 2,400×1,080 pixels

    6.7-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x, 2,400×1,080 pixels

    6.8-inch Edge WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 3,200×1,440 pixels

    6.5-inch tremendous AMOLED; 2,400×1,080 pixels

    Pixel density

    421 ppi

    394 ppi

    515 ppi


    Dimensions (Inches)

    2.80×5.97×0.31 inches

    2.97×6.35×0.30 inches

    2.97×6.50×0.35 inches

    6.29×2.97×0.33 inches

    Dimensions (Millimeters)





    Weight (Ounces, Grams)

    6.03 oz; 171g

    7.12 oz; 202g

    8.07 oz; 229 g

    6.7 oz; 190g

    Mobile software program

    Android 11

    Android 11

    Android 11

    Android 10


    64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)

    64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide)

    108-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 10-megapixel (3x telephoto), 10-megapixel (10x telephoto)

    12-megapixel (normal), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), 8-megapixel (3x telephoto)

    Front-facing digital camera





    Video seize






    Snapdragon 888 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz)

    Snapdragon 888 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz)

    Snapdragon 888 64-bit Octa-Core Processor 2.8GHz (Max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz)

    Snapdragon 865 (5G) Samsung Exynos 990 (4G)




    128GB/256GB, 512GB





    12GB, 16GB


    Expandable storage

    Up to 1TB

    Up to 1TB

    Up to 1TB

    Up to 1TB


    4,000 mAh

    4,800 mAh

    5,000 mAh

    4,500 mAh

    Fingerprint sensor





    Headphone jack





    Special options

    IP68 ranking, 5G-enabled, 30x Space Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging

    IP68 ranking, 5G-enabled, 30x Space Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging

    IP68 ranking, 5G-enabled, 100x Space Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging, 10x optical zoom

    IP68 ranking, 5G-enabled, 30W quick charging, 15W quick wi-fi charging

    Price off-contract (USD)

    $800 (128GB)

    $1,000 (128GB)

    $1,200 (128GB)


    Price (GBP)




    £599 (4G) £699 (5G)

    Price (AUD)





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