Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Every difference between Samsung’s flagship phones

    Editors’ notice: An earlier model of this story misstated the storage capabilities of the Galaxy S21 line. The S21 telephone line doesn’t embrace a microSD card slot.Samsung’s Galaxy S21 telephone line is the most recent model of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy telephone, launched earlier this yr (this is the place to order one.) It’s additionally the successor to the Galaxy S20 line, which got here out in 2020. If you are out there for an improve, it’s possible you’ll be questioning: What precisely are the variations between the 2 Galaxy telephones? Is it definitely worth the $800 for an improve? (Or possibly you need to go together with a Galaxy Z Fold 3 or Z Flip 3, or await the rumored Galaxy S22?)

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    Here’s the whole lot that you must know for now about how the Galaxy S21 compares with the Galaxy S20. We selected a winner for every class beneath primarily based purely on specs. For a extra in-depth have a look at Samsung’s new telephones, learn our full evaluations of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra.Read extra: Galaxy S21: What did Samsung change since final yr? Not a complete lot

    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 telephone will get a serious worth drop in contrast with its predecessor, beginning at $800 (£769, AU$1,249). Read our full Galaxy S21 assessment.

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    CNET gave the bottom Galaxy S20 a ranking of 8.7 out of 10, naming it the most effective out of the S20 line. Our reviewer appreciated top-shelf options similar to a pointy show and superior digital camera capabilities, however famous that the beginning worth of $1,000 (£799, AU$1,349) was a bit excessive for what you get. While the S21 is usually comparable in options, until S20’s worth drops extra (you will get it refurbished for round $550), it appears price it to improve to the S21. Read our full Galaxy S20 assessment.

    Design, display measurement and weightThe Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 are extraordinarily comparable in the case of shows. Both function 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 421ppi, in contrast with the S20’s 563ppi. The S21 can be barely heavier, at 6.03 ounces, whereas the S20 weighs 5.75 ounces. The two telephones additionally look like near similar in design. The solely main distinction in look is the rear digital camera module — on the S21, it has a steel overlay. Both telephones are IP68-rated for water and dirt resistance. Neither telephone has a headphone jack. In phrases of colours, the Galaxy S21 is available in pastels referred to 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: TieRead extra: Which Samsung Galaxy telephone do you have to purchase? We examine all of them

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    CamerasThe 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 primary 108-megapixel large 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 images 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?

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    Processing speedTwo of the most important upgrades to the S21 are the telephone’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 4,000mAh. The battery measurement rises to 5,000mAh 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 4,800mAh, in contrast with 4,500mAh 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 learn about battery life and battery sizes5G connectivityAll S21 and S20 fashions assist 5G connectivity, so no distinction there. Winner: TieStylus supportOne of the larger variations between the 2 telephone fashions comes on the Ultra stage. The Galaxy S21 Ultra consists of assist for the S Pen stylus (offered individually for $40), whereas not one of the S20 fashions do. That means S21 Ultra house owners will quickly be capable 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 limitationsPriceExterior of the processor, maybe the most important distinction between the bottom S20 and S21 is the worth tag. The Galaxy S21 is now on sale, beginning at $800 for the 128GB mannequin. (Buy the S21 right here.) By comparability, the Galaxy S20 began at $1,000. Though the worth on the S20 has fluctuated for the reason that Galaxy Unpacked occasion, Samsung did not say whether or not it might get an extra lower, and so far it does not appear to have carried out so. For worldwide pricing see the chart beneath.Winner: Galaxy S21 

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    Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Spec comparabilityHere’s how the specs of the 2 telephones examine, now that the S21 particulars have been formally launched.For extra in regards to the Galaxy S21 and the whole lot else Samsung introduced, you may 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)


    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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