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What to expect from Samsung's Galaxy S21, S21+ and Ultra devices

By
Zain A
 - 
Jan 5, 2021

The current rumours, surrounding Samsung, are that the company will release its next-generation phones in January 2021, while its rival, Apple, continues to work on their folding phones. Can the new Galaxy phones beat Apple's offering? Let's see what all the fuss is about.

While fall is synonymous with Apple events, revealing new iPhone models, the spring is associated with Samsung, as it reveals the new Galaxy S models. Just like the iPhone, Samsung's newest phones are often the subject of rumours and how they will compete against each other.

While Apple released its new phones, equipped with 5G, the iPhone 12, 12 mini, Pro, and Pro Max models with LiDAR, Samsung has a lot to compete for their early 2021 launches.

samsung s21

Here's what we believe Samsung will be launching, based on mostly rumours and leaks. How can they compare against the company Apple with their new A14 chip?

When they will be released

Samsung has said it's possible their new flagships will be released in January 2021. However, more recent claims say they will launch on January the 14th followed by a release in a few weeks. The timing is not exact, as we also believe as it could be in February and March. This coincides with Mobile World Congress.

If the rumours are correct, it is possible for Samsung to go for a traditional launch event at CES, and not following Apple into creating pre-recorded presentations.

What the S21, S21 plus and S21 ultra could be like

Apple's iPhone models consist of 4 models, the iPhone 12, 12 Mini, Pro and the Pro Max. Samsung often offers three different models to customers, the standard version, the Plus and the Ultra.

iphone 12

Of the three new Samsung variants, the S21 looks like the standard entry-level model, with the S21 Plus offering a larger and slightly better version. The S21 Ultra, however, serves as Samsung's 'Pro version', with the biggest size and even better features in some elements.

The display on the phones

Rumours say the S21 will have a 6.2-inch OLED display, which is a little bit bigger than the iPhone 12, which has a 6.1-inch screen. The S21 Plus, with a 6.7-inch OLED screen, is bigger than the iPhone 12 Pro, with a 6.68-inch screen. Again, it is smaller but only by a small margin. The iPhone 12 Pro Max, which has a 6.1-inch screen, is beat with Samsung's S21 Ultra having a 6.8-inch screen.

Samsung's new phones will have a flat screen, removing the annoying edges, and allowing cases to protect the phones screens better. The S21 and S21+ are expected to have an FHD+ screen. (2,220 x 1,080 pixels). This will make them have a lower resolution then the iPhone 12 Mini at 2,340 x 1080 pixels. The iPhone 12 Mini has a slightly lower quality then the iPhone 12 and 12 Pro, with a 2,532 by 1,170 pixels resolution.

On the S21 Ultra, it's expected to have a WQHD+ resolution, which is 2,960 x 1,440 pixels. That surpasses the iPhone 12 Pro Max's 2,778 x 1,284 resolution.

Unfortunately, Apple's iPhones continue to operate at 60Hz, with rumours proposing 120Hz. ProMotion refresh rates may arrive with the iPhone 13. Samsung could beat Apple as all 3 Samsung models are made to run at 120Hz, with the Ultra offering an adaptive feature that could run at lower rates to reduce battery drainage.

The Front Cameras

Let's start with the front camera. Samsung decided to go with a hole punch theme in the middle-top of the screen. This isn't a major change, as this design was also used in the Galaxy S20 range.

iphone 12

There isn't any information about the camera quality, we can only make predictions. They are most likely going to use a 10-megapixel sensor, like the 2020 phones. While the Ultra should have a 40-megapixel sensor. If they did do this, it would be a lower resolution than the 12-megapixel TrueDepth camera that Apple employs, excluding the Ultra.

The big changes are at the back, but the most interesting part is the specifications for the rear cameras.

The Rear Cameras

Leaked images show Samsung attempting to push the camera into the corner. Incorporating it with the main body makes a more smooth design for the camera bump - one that may be stronger than the S20 models.

The rear cameras for the S21 and S21+ are thought to be made up of an ultra-wide 12-megapixel sensor and a 12-megapixel wide angle version, as well as a 64-megapixel telephoto camera. While the S20+ had a Time of Flight camera on the rear, it seems like the S21+ won't have the same image device.

The rumoured ultra wide and wide sensors have a similar resolution as Apple's iPhone 12 range. There may be a 100x digital zoom for the S21 Ultra and also may be able to record 8K at 30FPS and 4K at 60FPS.

Performance

Samsung's phones for 2021 will have 1 of 2 chips, depending on the market. There is Samsung's Exynos SoC and a version from Qualcomm. All models are expected to have a Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC or Samsung's Exynos 2100.

This should be good news for Android users, as the Snapdragon 888 is said to be a very powerful chip by itself. A five core test with Qualcomm itself gave the processor a score of 1,135 for single-core and 3,794 for multi-core.

Though this seems promising, those scores aren't able to beat the A14 Apple processor, with honest scores of 1,603 and 4,187.

The news doesn't get any better for Samsung, as the serial leaker Ice Universe has said the Exynos 2100 scored a lower 1,108 for single-core, but a better 3,963 for multi-core. If this is true, it is still not as good as the A14, making the iPhone 12 models more powerful until world benchmarks are performed.

It's rumoured to include 12 gigabytes of memory in the range of smartphones, however, we are not sure which ones of the Samsung processors this is. That is double the amount in the iPhone 12 Pro models and triple the amount in the iPhone 12, which is pretty good for Samsung.

Storage

Apple's storage options start from 64 gigabytes and go up to 256GB in the iPhone 12 and Mini. While the range of storage is larger for the Pro models, (128GB up to 512GB). Both of the Pro models offer 3 storage options.

Storage for Samsung's phone are rumoured to have fewer options for the S21 and 21+, 128GB to 256GB capacities. The S21 Ultra will have a 512GB option to top it all off.

In previous Samsung smartphones, you could expand the storage capacity with a microSD card - things could be different in this year, 2021. It's rumoured there is NO microSD slot, which could mean there will be no expansion option available this year.

This would make Samsung users in "the same boat" as iPhone users, who have never had an SD slot. They may have to rely on cloud storage or other options.

There could be an S-Pen?

Samsung Note Range has always had a pen included, and a larger screen for it. Usually, there is no S-Pen for the standard S series but, there is a possibility for one.

There are several rumours that point to S-Pen support for only the S21 Ultra, allowing the stylus to be used with the display. Unfortunately, it won't be included for the S21 or S21 Plus. While support could be added, there won't be a pen-slot to put the S-Pen when not in use.

samsung s-pen

Other features

Samsung is expected to include 5G support in its new flagships, continuing from the previous generation. They should also include both sub-6GHz and mmWave support, like the iPhone 12 models.

Bluetooth 5.1 should be included making it a newer standard than Apple's Bluetooth 5.0 support in the iPhone models. With Bluetooth 5.1 comes the ability for Bluetooth devices to be able to pinpoint your location. As well as this, the newer version is obviously faster.

Wi-Fi 6 is highly expected as well, matching the iPhone models, though I personally think the Ultra would be better with Wi-Fi 6E. I predict this would allow the S21 Ultra to communicate with other supported devices and potentially have more bandwidth for Wi-Fi connections.

Battery capacities are currently thought to be 4,000mAh for the S21, 4,800mAh for the S21+ and 5,000mAh for the S21 Ultra. While this is certainly an improvement from their last models, this does not suggest how long the Samsung phones will each be able to function for, they may have a capability of surviving for a single day. It could also have extreme charging speeds starting from 25W and maybe exceeding the 45W of the S20 Ultra.

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