Galaxy S21: Lower prices make the choice between the S21, Plus and Ultra even harder

    All three Galaxy S21 collection telephones received a $200 value drop that may put them inside the budgets of extra folks.
    Drew Evans/CNET
    This story is a part of CES, the place our editors will convey you the most recent information and the most well liked devices of the totally digital CES 2021.

    Following its 2020 recipe, albeit with a couple of ingredient substitutions, Samsung just about introduced the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra at its Galaxy Unpacked occasion Thursday. The new S21 collection brings a bunch of updates, refinements and new options, however general it is not a drastic change from the S20 collection till you get to the worth. Samsung trimmed the beginning costs on all S21-series 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 stated that it was capable of decrease costs partly as a result of the elements for the telephones value much less. You may additionally argue {that a} portion of the $200 value distinction between the S21 and S20 collection comes from the S20 and S20 Plus being priced too excessive. This was probably a results of Samsung pushing the S20 collection too far into premium territory. (The value distinction is considerably much less within the UK and Australia, the place the S21 begins at £769 and AU$1,249, £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 good trade-offs that pulled the telephones off the highest shelf and again all the way 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 will likely be a major sting to some folks. I do not suppose having 8GB of RAM will essentially trigger an apparent dip in efficiency, however it may have an effect on how lengthy you’d wait earlier than wanting to exchange both telephone as apps will finally get extra demanding.

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    Our first have 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 has a charger or wired headphones), it has both the identical or improved specs and options over final 12 months’s S20 Ultra and nonetheless received a $200 value discount. On paper, the S21 Ultra looks as if a extra refined model of the S20 Ultra. Again, maybe this says much less concerning the worth of the S21 Ultra and extra means that the earlier mannequin was grossly overpriced. However Samsung received right here, these low costs mirror the truth that the world has been in a pandemic for over a 12 months, which has triggered thousands and thousands of us to battle financially. For many individuals, simply realizing that the brand new S21 collection is extra inexpensive than the S20 household is likely to be sufficient cause to improve.A curious facet impact of all of that is that the telephones within the S21 collection have extra issues to differentiate them from one another than the S20 household. And that is good for anybody who desires a variety of selections and costs for his or her subsequent telephone. In phrases of attraction 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 most important potential viewers. If you might have a decent price range, then it is in all probability 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 have a look at the three new telephones, the S21 does not appear as advanced or intimidating as the opposite two. And there are lots of people on the market who need 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 may hold till it is time on your subsequent improve.Should you purchase the Galaxy S21 Plus?A curious facet impact of its lower cost and spec modifications is that the S21 Plus has a brand new attraction: It’s not just for individuals who need an S21 however with a bigger battery or larger display screen. It’s additionally the “Goldilocks” telephone for many who do not need a fundamental or entry-level machine and on the similar time aren’t prepared to think about a top-of-the-line mannequin as a result of the price is just 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 could possibly be a promoting level. CNET will quickly run drop and scratch checks on the brand new Galaxy telephones. I must also be aware that every one three telephones have a mud and water resistance score 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 probably 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 will likely be drawn to the S21 Ultra due to the enhancements and upgrades Samsung made to the digicam system. And with the addition of S-Pen help (it is the primary Galaxy S telephone to get it) the S21 Ultra may catch the attention of Galaxy Note customers on the lookout for a distinct possibility.

    What concerning the Galaxy S20 FE?When I first noticed the specs for the Galaxy S21, I believed, “Is this a Galaxy S21 Fan Edition?” Of course it wasn’t. But as a result of Samsung introduced the S21 down in value, it is solely $50-$100 extra, relying on the service, than the Galaxy S20 FE. (The value delta is wider within the UK and Australia.) Obviously when it comes to value, the S20 FE will prevent extra. It additionally is available in extra shade choices and has an even bigger battery and a microSD card slot for expandable storage that the S21 does 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 means 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 does not. Both will attraction to folks on the lookout for a terrific worth. But on paper, the S20 FE affords a bit extra worth for the greenback than the Galaxy S21.On the entire, I believe Samsung made a bunch of good strikes with the Galaxy S21 lineup. It offers extra folks extra choices for his or her subsequent telephone. But look, it is one factor to check specs and options. I’m excited to get my arms 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

    2.97×6.35×0.3 inches

    2.97×6.5×0.35 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


    64MP (telephoto), 12MP (wide-angle), 12MP (ultrawide)

    64MP (telephoto), 12MP (wide-angle), 12MP (ultrawide)

    108MP (wide-angle), 12MP (ultrawide), 10MP (3x telephoto), 10MP (10x telephoto)

    12MP (normal), 12MP (ultrawide), 8MP (3x telephoto)

    Front-facing digicam





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

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

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

    IP68 score, 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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