After months of multiple leaks and heated speculation, Samsung officially announced its newest series of Galaxy S21 phones! For the record, I did my homework and came up with an extensive list of rumours that I'm glad have proven to be more or less accurate 🙌 But there were some welcome surprises too!
If you've already made up your mind, the first units of the Galaxy S21 are set to go on ship on 29 January. Circles.Life is also offering a pre-order right now and we're giving away 3 months of Unlimited Data when you sign up too so hurry and sign up here!
If you missed the reveal last night, here's a quick recap of Samsung's 2021 Galaxy Unpacked Event.
3 Phones 1 New Galaxy
Samsung's latest flagship phone will launch with 3 variants, the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 Plus and of course their crowning jewel, the S21 Ultra. The entire series is an iterative improvement over last years Galaxy S2o, packing in both the latest hardware as well noticeable software improvements.
All 3 of these variants are 5G only and will come with the latest Android 11, One UI 3.1 which features an entire host of shortcuts and UI improvements that Samsung has been known for. Samsung also claims that its latest processor that ties it all together, is the most advanced ever to be put into a Galaxy device (FYI they didn't name it in the announcement but it's pretty much confirmed to be a Snapdragon 888 or Exynos 2100). To ensure your device can withstand any drops and spills, Samsung has also included the hardiest Gorilla Glass Victus as well as IP68 dust/water resistance on all 3 devices.
But for every new addition, there are some features that have also been removed from this years line up. It turns out the rumours were true and Samsung has discontinued the inclusion of a charger head in the box. All 3 phones also no longer feature expandable MicroSD storage, opting instead for a in-built storage of 128GB or 265GB on the S21 and S21 Plus or 512GB on the S21 Ultra.
Now let's take a look at each of the models in a little more detail:
Samsung Galaxy S21
As you can see, the Galaxy S21 comes in some bold new colours: Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, Phantom Violet and Phantom White. I especially like the new halftone housing they used for the camera to give each device that extra character.
It is by far the most compact of the phones with at 6.2-inches with a full AMOLED display featuring a crisp 120hz refresh rate which has been confirmed to be adaptive to better preserve your phone's battery life.
In terms of cameras, there hasn't been any massive changes in terms of hardware since it features the same 12MP wide-angle, 64MP telephoto and 12MP ultra-wide lenses as the S20 but has made considerable effort to improve its computational photography to boost overall photo quality.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus
The Galaxy S21 Plus is almost identical to its S21 counterpart save some minor improvements. It comes with a slightly different line of colours (Phantom Black, Phantom Silver and Phantom Violet) but also boasts an expanded 6.7-inch display as well as a larger 4800 mAh battery.
Given these specs, I'd highly recommend picking up this phone for all you gamers out there since you'll want a bigger screen and more juice in your device so you can go round after round after round without needing to recharge. It also pairs very nicely with UI 3.1s Game Boost which not only optimises games but also temporarily pauses your notifications and calls so you always have your head in the game 💪
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
The S21 Ultra is often hailed as "Samsung’s best-of-the-best" and for good reason. It features an exceptional 6.8-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X intelligent display and a quad rear camera that features an upgraded 108MP pro sensor. This allows users to capture stunning 12 bit HDR photos with unprecedented vibrance since it features 64 times richer colour data. This is also the first time you can also shoot in 4K at 60fps across all lenses including the one in front.
The 100X space zoom also makes a return with Samsung’s first-ever Dual-tele lens system that combines a Dual Pixel optical 3x lens with an optical 10x to allow users to capture subjects clearly even when shooting from a distance away. The S21 Ultra also features its own version of Apple's Night Mode, with its Bright Night sensor so you and your subject stays lit even in the dimmest of settings.
Oh and remember those S-Pen compatibility rumours? Turns out they were true but we're not getting one right out of the box and it will only work on the S21 Ultra variant in this series. Heck there's even a Pro version of the S-Pen now set to release later this year.
That's about it for the phones announcement but Samsung did also add a number of related products to its ecosystem:
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro & SmartTags
With its very own suite of active noise cancelling and audio boosting tech, the S$308 Galaxy Buds Pro is set to be the Airpods killer with its better tech and cheaper price point. They've got a sleek design and come in the 3 colours you see above - Phantom Violet, Phantom Black and Phantom Silver. Best of all, they go on sale FROM TODAY so you can grab them right now from Samsung here.
NFC trackers aren't anything new but it's nice to see Samsung integrating it with it's SmartThings Find technology so we can keep track of our things outside the Samsung tech sphere. Go watch the full demo on top to see their example of finding a lost dog! There's even a The SmartTags Plus variant that makes use of ultra wide-band (UWB) so you can find precisely where an item is through an AR overlay on your phone. I wonder if this tech can help me find myself 😂
That's about it for the 2021 Galaxy Unpacked event and you can be sure there will be more S21 content headed your way in the coming days. Do let us know what tests you'd like us to try or any questions you may have for unboxing coming soon!