Samsung unveiled its Galaxy S21 flagship series, handsets the company claimed introduce a number of ground-breaking features including a range of enhancements to its camera, display, AI software and chipsets.
The company’s new top end device series comes in three variants: the Galaxy S21 5G; Galaxy S21+ 5G; and S21 Ultra 5G, with sales beginning on 29 January.
As with its, and rival flagship launches in recent years, Samsung chose to focus on developments in display technology and improvements to camera software and hardware.
Among the new elements include AI camera compatibility with third party apps and the ability to take “professional standard” stills from 8k video. Its highest-spec version also features multi-angle video software the company claims is at a high-enough grade for editing professionals.
Samsung’s top-end Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G has a 6.8-inch display, 40MP front camera, quad rear camera set-up with a 108MP wide angle main lens, and 5000mAh battery. It is also compatible with its S-Pen, which is generally used alongside its Note series and some of its tablets.
The standard S21 5G offers a 6.2-inch display, 4000mAh battery, 10MP front camera, and triple main camera set-up comprising 12MP wide and ultra-wide angle lenses, and 64MP telephoto unit.
Samsung’s S21+ 5G version carries most of the same specs as its lower-end sibling but with a 6.7-inch screen and 4800mAh battery.
The vendor’s official global spec sheet shows all three devices run its Exynos 2100 octa-core processor, announced earlier this week, which incorporates technology from Arm.
In a statement released to coincide with Samsung’s launch, Qualcomm announced its Snapdragon 888 was powering the series “in some regions”.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is expected to retail at just below $2,000, with the S21+ 5G at almost $1,000 and S21 5G at around $800. The devices supersede the S20 series, which launched alongside its foldable Galaxy Z Flip in February 2020.
Alongside the smartphones, it announced the Galaxy Smart Tag, a tracking device priced at just under $40 (available in February) and a Pro version of its ear buds for $199, available tomorrow (15 January).
CCS Insight chief of research Ben Wood pointed to the timing of the launch, three months after Apple’s latest iPhone announcement, as being key for giving Samsung something capable of quickly competing with offers from its US-based rival.
“The new Galaxy S21 range follows the formulaic approach to annual upgrades that all phone makers are now locked into,” he added. “In a cut-throat smartphone market featuring a buoyant Apple, I think the biggest differentiator is the decision to announce these products earlier than usual rather than the incremental improvements to the camera, display and design.”
“Samsung’s decision to announce its latest flagship Galaxy smartphones early is a sensible move given the market turmoil created by the global pandemic and the postponement of the annual MWC event, which usually provides a showcase for Samsung’s latest new devices.”Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back