Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Digging into price, features and more

    This story is a part of CES, the place our editors will deliver you the most recent information and the most popular devices of the fully digital CES 2021.

    On Thursday, we acquired a primary official have a look at Samsung’s Galaxy S21 cellphone line on the firm’s Unpacked occasion, on the final day of CES. The newest model of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy cellphone is the successor to the Galaxy S20 line, launched in 2020. If you are available in the market for an improve, you might be questioning: What precisely are the variations between the 2 Galaxy telephones? And is it value it to spend $800 for an improve? Here’s every thing it’s good to know for now about how the Galaxy S21 compares with the Galaxy S20. (Psst… here is why now is perhaps the worst time to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S20.) We selected a winner for every class beneath primarily based purely on specs. We’ll have extra in-depth hands-on protection of the Galaxy S21 quickly.Read extra: Galaxy S21 vs. S20 specs in contrast: What Samsung modified in its new telephones

    Discover the most recent information and greatest evaluations in smartphones and carriers from CNET’s cellular specialists.

    Drew Evans/CNET

    The base Samsung Galaxy S21 features a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X show with a 120Hz refresh fee, a 4,000 mAh battery and three rear digital camera lenses, together with a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens. It runs on Android 11, and has a brand new Snapdragon 888 processor. The cellphone will get a significant value drop in contrast with its predecessor, beginning at $800 (£769, AU$1,249).

    Angela Lang/CNET

    CNET gave the bottom Galaxy S20 a ranking of 8.7 out of 10, naming it the perfect out of the S20 line. Our reviewer appreciated top-shelf options akin to a pointy show and superior digital camera capabilities, however famous that the beginning value of $999 (£799, AU$1,349) was a bit excessive for what you get. That value has since dropped to $800 at Best Buy — the identical as the brand new S21. While the S21 is generally comparable in options, until S20’s value drops extra, it appears value it to improve to the S21.

    Design, display measurement and weightThe Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 are extraordinarily comparable relating to shows. Both characteristic 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED screens, a 120Hz refresh fee and an in-screen fingerprint sensor. The variations are comparatively small: The S21 has a pixel density of 421 ppi, in contrast with the S20’s 563 ppi. The S21 can be barely heavier, at 6.03 oz., whereas the S20 weighs 5.75 oz. The two telephones additionally look like near equivalent in design. The solely main distinction in look is the rear digital camera module — on the S21, it has a metallic overlay. Both telephones are IP68-rated for water and dirt resistance. Neither cellphone has a headphone jack. In phrases of colours, the Galaxy S21 is available in pastels known as phantom violet, phantom grey, phantom pink and phantom white (different colours can be found for the S21 Plus and Ultra fashions). The Galaxy S20 is obtainable in cosmic grey, cloud blue, cloud pink and cosmic black. Winner: TieCamerasThe base mannequin Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21 have the very same digital camera setup: The rear digital camera modules have a 64-megapixel telephoto digital camera, a 12-megapixel wide-angle digital camera and 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera. Both telephones additionally include a 10-megapixel selfie digital camera. The cameras are the identical on each Plus fashions, too. The main digital camera upgrades include the S21 Ultra. This mannequin has 4 rear cameras: a most important 108-megapixel broad sensor and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera, plus two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses — one with 3x zoom and one with 10x zoom. It additionally boasts a quick Bright Night sensor and pixel binning expertise, which makes your photographs extra detailed. Winner: Tie (besides within the case of the S21 Ultra, which wins over the S20 Ultra)Read extra: Galaxy S21’s digital camera options are good, however are they sufficient?Processing speedTwo of the largest upgrades to the S21 are the cellphone’s processor and the software program it runs — it is now on Android 11 with a Snapdragon 888 processor, which ought to result in will increase in pace and efficiency. The S20 was initially launched with Android 10 and has a Snapdragon 875.Winner: Galaxy S21Battery lifeThe base Galaxy S20 and S21 fashions have the identical battery measurement of 4,000 mAh. The battery measurement rises to 5,000 mAh in each the S20 Ultra and S21 Ultra. The solely distinction between fashions is within the Plus variations: The S21 Plus will get a battery measurement improve to 4,800 mAh, in contrast with 4,500 mAh within the S20 Plus. Winner: Tie (besides within the case of the S21 Plus, which wins over the S20 Plus)Read extra: Samsung Galaxy S21: What to find out about battery life and battery sizes5G connectivityAll S21 and S20 fashions help 5G connectivity, so once more, no distinction there. Winner: TieStylus helpOne of the larger variations between the 2 cellphone fashions comes on the Ultra degree. The Galaxy S21 Ultra consists of help for the S Pen stylus (bought individually for $40), whereas not one of the S20 fashions do. That means S21 Ultra homeowners will quickly have the ability to use the small digital pen to jot notes, take higher screenshots, signal paperwork or draw of their favourite apps.Read extra: Galaxy S21 Ultra works with Samsung S Pen, Pro stylus: Price, options and limitationsPriceOutdoors of the processor, maybe the largest distinction between the bottom S20 and S21 is the value tag. The Galaxy S21 will go on sale on Jan. 29 (although you possibly can preorder the S21 now), beginning at $800 for the 128GB mannequin. In comparability, the Galaxy S20 began at $999. Though the value on the S20 has since dropped to $800 at Best Buy, Samsung did not say whether or not it will get an additional lower now that the S21 has been launched for $800 as properly. For worldwide pricing see the chart beneath.Winner: Galaxy S21 Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Spec comparabilityHere’s how the specs of the 2 telephones evaluate, now that the S21 particulars have been formally launched.For extra in regards to the Galaxy S21 and every thing else Samsung introduced, you possibly can take a look at our roundup. Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20 specs

    Galaxy S21

    Galaxy S20

    Display measurement, decision

    6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X; (2,400×1,080 pixels)

    6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X; (3,200×1,440 pixels)

    Pixel density

    421 ppi

    563 ppi

    Dimensions (inches)

    2.80×5.97×0.31 in

    2.72×5.97×0.31 in

    Dimensions (millimeters)

    71.2×151.7×7.9 mm

    69.1×151.7×7.9 mm

    Weight (ounces, grams)

    6.03 oz; 171g

    5.75 oz; 163g

    Mobile software program

    Android 11

    Android 10


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

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

    Front-facing digital camera



    Video seize




    Snapdragon 888

    Snapdragon 865 or 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5GHz + 2GHz)


    128GB, 256GB




    12GB (5G), 8GB (LTE)

    Expandable storage

    Up to 1TB

    Up to 1TB


    4,000 mAh

    4,000 mAh

    Fingerprint sensor



    Headphone jack



    Special options

    IP68 ranking for water and dirt resistance, 5G-enabled, 30X Space Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging, 120Hz refresh fee

    5G enabled; 120Hz refresh fee; IP68 ranking for water and dirt resistance,

    Price at launch (USD)



    Price (GBP)


    £799, £899 (5G)

    Price (AUD)


    AU$1,349 (4G), AU$1,499 (5G)

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


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