Samsung Unveils Galaxy S21 Line of 5G Smartphones

Todd Spangler
·3-min read

Samsung took the wraps off its next-generation Galaxy S21 smartphones, as the powerhouse maker of Android devices continues to train its sites on battling chief rival Apple.

The trio of 5G phones, announced at the Korean consumer-electronics giant’s Galaxy Unpacked event Thursday, are the Galaxy S21 (with a 6.2-inch screen), S21 Plus (6.7 inches) and S21 Ultra (6.8 inches).

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The phones are set to ship Jan. 29. The S21 is priced starting at $800 and the S21 Plus starts at $1,000 — some of the most affordable price points for Samsung’s phones in recent years — while the S21 Ultra starts at $1,200.

The baseline Galaxy S21 is designed “for those who want a light design and compact 6.2-inch display,” while the S21 Plus, with its bigger battery and screen, is “perfect for marathon gamers and binge-watchers,” the company said. Both feature 12-megapixel rear-facing triple camera arrays and a 10-megapixel front-facing camera.

The S21 Ultra is for power and pro users — including filmmakers, Samsung said, noting that it includes 108-megapixel sensor and is the first Galaxy smartphone that supports capture of 4K video at 60 frames per second across all lenses including the rear four lenses.

“We are living in a mobile-first world, and with so many of us working remotely and spending more time at home, we wanted to deliver a smartphone experience that meets the rigorous multimedia demands of our continuously changing routines,” TM Roh, president and head of mobile communications business for Samsung Electronics, said at the event.

The Galaxy S21 series introduces an all-new “contour cut” camera housing that blends into each device’s metal frame. The smartphones feature edge-to-edge Dynamic AMOLED 2X Infinity-O displays with adaptive 120-Hz refresh rate. The phones will include a USB-C-to-USB-C cable in the box, but not a charging adapter (Samsung sells those separately for $20).

On the high end, the Galaxy S21 Ultra “pulls out all the stops for those who want Samsung’s best-of-the-best,” the company said. The phone features what the company says is its most advanced pro-grade camera system and its brightest, most intelligent display. In addition, the S21 Ultra includes the S Pen stylus that Samsung introduced for its Note tablets.

Galaxy S21 Ultra

The S21 Ultra has a quad rear camera (ultra-wide, wide and dual tele-lenses) that features a upgraded 108-megapixel pro sensor, from which you can capture 12-bit HDR photos with 64 times richer color data and more than three times wider dynamic range, according to Samsung. In addition, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is one of the first smartphones to support the Wi-Fi 6E spec.

The Galaxy S21 is available in four colors: “phantom gray,” “phantom white,” “phantom pink” and the new “phantom violet”; S21 Plus comes in violet, silver and black; and the S21 Ultra comes in black, silver, titanium, navy and brown.

Also at the Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung announced the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro, the next generation of its noise-canceling wireless ear buds with two-way speakers, and SmartTag, a $30 wireless device that attaches to objects to let you track them (a la Tile).

Pictured above (l. to r.): Galaxy S21 Ultra, S21 Plus and S21

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