Update: December 17, 2020 (05:45 PM ET): We’ve updated the Samsung Galaxy S21 rumor hub with new info. We have press renders showing all launch colorways of the vanilla Galaxy S21 as well as an unofficial hands-on video.
Believe it or not, we are in the final days of 2020. That means we’re only about a month away from the launch of the next entry in Samsung’s flagship smartphone line, the Galaxy S21 series.
There are now many solid rumors about the devices, including full-blown leaks revealing the specs and renders of the upcoming phones. We also can make confident assumptions about certain aspects based on the history of the line. What we know so far is chronicled in our roundup below.
As usual, be sure to bookmark this page so you’re always up-to-date on the latest info surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S21 phones!
Samsung Galaxy S21 series: Name and release date
Previously, there were conflicting rumors related to the names of the phones. We originally thought it could be the Samsung Galaxy S30 series, but new rumors support that the line will be known as the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S series: A history of the biggest name in Android
As far as a release date goes, we naturally assumed Samsung would announce the phones in mid-February 2021. That’s the timeframe in which the company has launched every iteration of the Galaxy S series since the Galaxy S9. However, we now know that Samsung will launch the phones much earlier than usual.
On December 10, Android Authority confirmed in a phone call to Samsung’s largest Indian branch — Samsung’s Opera House outlet in Bengaluru — that the series will make its global debut on January 14, 2021. However, you’ll need to wait until January 29 to get your hands on the devices. The outlet also confirmed a number of other details which we cover below.
Models and designs
In 2020, we saw the introduction of the Ultra moniker within Samsung’s flagship phone line with the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. With the successive launch of the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, it was a safe bet that Sammy would once again launch an Ultra variant in the Galaxy S21 family.
We can now confirm that there will be three models in the lineup, namely the standard Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 Plus, and Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S20 buyer’s guide
Judging by leaked renders of the Galaxy S21 lineup, the three phones look almost identical, albeit for a few minor differences. The vanilla Galaxy S21 is expected to feature a 6.2-inch screen while the S21 Plus is rumored to get a 6.7-inch display and the S21 Ultra is purported to come with a 6.9-inch screen.
We still don’t have confirmation on the devices’ dimensions, but the standard Samsung Galaxy S21 is rumored to measure 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm. It could feature a 6.2-inch flat display with a centered punch hole. There are three cameras on the back of the phone as pictured in the renders below courtesy of Evan Blass:
With the Galaxy S21 Plus, we don’t know the dimensions quite yet (although it will obviously be bigger than the vanilla variant). We can go one better than a render, though. A brief marketing loop uncovered on December 8 (via Android Police) revealed a possible two-tone design for the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. The below GIF is of the Galaxy S21 Plus, featuring a purple paint job with bronze accents. The colorway options for all three devices will be covered at the foot of this section.
As for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the most up-to-date renders suggest there could be a whole slew of lenses on the back:
Real-world shots of the Galaxy S21 Ultra also leaked on December 7 via YouTuber Sakitech, almost matching the renders above curve-for-curve.
Samsung’s Opera House outlet also confirmed the colorway availability across the Galaxy S21 line, which was later backed up by WinFuture. The vanilla S21 will be available in gray/black, pink, purple, and white. For Plus buyers, the options are silver, gray/black, and purple. Finally, the Galaxy S21 Ultra will get two colorways, namely gray/black and silver.
Samsung Galaxy S21 series: Specs and features
An extensive leak by Android Police in mid-November revealed all the key specs for the Galaxy S21 series. It suggested that the phones would run the Snapdragon 875 — now confirmed to be the Snapdragon 888 — in some regions, and Samsung’s in-house Exynos 2100 in others.
On December 10, Samsung’s Opera House outlet confirmed to Android Authority that the Indian Galaxy S21 series devices will be powered by the Exynos 2100, confirming the chip’s existence. A recent FCC listing also confirmed the Galaxy S21’s US models will sport Snapdragon 888 silicon.
Related: Samsung Exynos processor guide: Everything you need to know
All phones are rumored to get a 120Hz refresh rate. However, we’re not certain if that refresh rate will work even at the highest display resolutions. The Ultra phone is believed to support Samsung’s S Pen but may not include the stylus in the box.
We can also go ahead and assume that none of the specs of the Galaxy S20 series will see a downgrade. That means no phone should have less than 12GB of RAM or less than 128GB of internal storage. Here are the rumored storage sizes as leaked by WinFuture:
- Samsung Galaxy S21 — 128 GB, 256 GB
- Galaxy S21 Plus — 128 GB, 256 GB
- Galaxy S21 Ultra — 128 GB, 256 GB, 512GB
Battery and power
According to the Android Police leak, the Galaxy S21 is set to house a 4,000mAh battery. The S21 Plus could have a 4,800mAh battery. The S21 Ultra will probably have the same 5,000mAh battery as its predecessor.
Somewhat related to the battery, we also have rumors that ultra-fast wired charging could be on-hand for the series. It’s possible Samsung could introduce 65W charging speeds to the Galaxy S line. This makes sense as OnePlus just launched the OnePlus 8T, which has this feature. However, there is evidence to suggest that not all variants of the line will have it. If that’s true, it’s likely the Galaxy S21 Ultra would get it exclusively. It’s also possible, though, that all the phones will have the option, but only the Ultra will have the in-box charger capable of delivering those speeds.
There is a rumor, too, that Samsung could drop the in-box chargers for all the phones in the line, just like Apple did with the iPhone 12 lineup. This is unsubstantiated for now, though.
Samsung Galaxy S21 camera systems
We also have rumors concerning the camera systems of the Galaxy S21 series. The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus will reportedly have matching rear camera setups. That allegedly would include a 12MP main sensor, a 64MP telephoto camera, and a 12MP ultra-wide sensor.
Per details from Samsung’s Opera House store, we can confirm some of the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra’s cameras. Allegedly, it will employ a second-generation 108MP main camera and two 10MP sensors. One of those telephoto lenses will sport 10x optical zoom. Earlier rumors also point to a fourth sensor on the Ultra, namely a 12MP wide-angle snapper. The system will also sport laser autofocus.
Related: The best Android smartphone camera systems on the market
The phones can apparently record videos from both the front and rear cameras simultaneously. All of them are rumored to support 4K video recording at 60fps and 8K recording at 30fps.
Finally, we have a rumor related to a feature that likely won’t be in the Galaxy S21 series: in-display selfie cameras. Allegedly, Samsung wasn’t able to meet the production demands necessary to include this new technology in the Galaxy S phones. Instead, Samsung could push that feature to the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3.
S Pen support?
Most recently, rumors have been mounting that the Galaxy S21 series could support the famous S Pen stylus that comes with Galaxy Note phones. The rumors suggest that the phone won’t store the S Pen as we’ve seen on Note phones, but it will work with it. There could also be official cases available for the Galaxy S21 series that will store the S Pen for you.
Word also has it that Samsung will shutter the Note line and S Pen will remain an optional accessory for the S21 Ultra and so-called Galaxy Z Fold 3.
Although it’s probably not going to make-or-break anyone’s buying decisions, there is a rumor that Samsung could allow you to use Google Discover in place of Bixby’s home screen. This would be a nice move as most people prefer Discover to other attempts at duplicating it. We’ll need to wait and see how this pans out.
Pricing and availability
Every year since the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S9, the company has raised the introductory pricing of its phones. One would expect that trend to continue in 2021 with the Samsung Galaxy S21 series.
However, recent reports suggest that pricing could actually go down in 2021 as compared to 2020. According to rumors, these could be the lowest starting prices for each phone in the line:
- $849 — Galaxy S21
- $1,049 — Galaxy S21 Plus
- $1,249 — Galaxy S21 Ultra
Please note that those prices are not confirmed. According to our sources, even Samsung is still trying to pin down what to charge for the phones. It’s considering the competition, market trends, and the COVID-19 pandemic’s effect on people’s wallets as major factors.
As far as availability goes, we should see Samsung open pre-orders around most of the world on launch day, January 14. Usually, devices would then be available for general purchase on a Friday two weeks later, or January 29.
Finally, in 2020, Samsung released some 4G-only variants of its flagships in various parts of the world. Popular tipsters Ishan Agarwal and 91Mobiles claim that Samsung will launch 5G versions of the S21 phones in India. Currently, India doesn’t have a 5G network. This suggests the trend of 4G-only variants might not happen in 2021.
That’s all we know so far about the Samsung Galaxy S21 series. Be sure to bookmark this page so you are always up-to-date on the latest rumors!