Samsung officially unveiled its latest flagship smartphone line — the Galaxy S21 series — at its Galaxy Unpacked announcement Thursday and the new phones offer a variety of updated premium features from design to functionality. If they perform as advertised, they will be highly sought-after in the coming months. Here’s a look at some of the S21 features.
Samsung first launched its Galaxy S smartphone line in 2010. The original Galaxy S had a four-inch (480×800) display, 512MB of RAM, and between 2GB and 16GB of storage. A lot has changed since then. Phones have become bigger and far more powerful. This year’s edition is the 12th generation of the Galaxy S line and it continues to offer improvements in many areas.
Like last year’s S20 line, the Samsung Galaxy S21 series launches with three different phones: the Galaxy S21 5G, the Galaxy s21+ 5G, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G. There is yet no announcement for a Fan Edition of the S21 series as there is with the S20 line, but one may still be in the pipeline as the S20 FE came out several months after the initial S20 series launch event. The S21 is available in four colors: violet, pink, gray, and white. The S21+ is available in violet, black, and silver, while the S21 Ultra is only available in the last two colors. The S21 series is the first Galaxy line to feature a 5nm application processor, which Samsung says results in a CPU that is 20 times faster than its predecessors. Its GPU is also more than 35 percent faster and the phones’ artificial intelligence (AI) processor is also twice as fast as those in previous models.
Samsung has scaled back the display specs slightly on the S21 and 21+, compared to the phones in the previous line. They are the same size as their s20 counterparts, 6.2 inches and 6.7 inches, respectively. The S21 and S21+ each have a full HD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display as opposed to the Quad HD (3,200×1,440) displays found on the S20, S20+, and S20 Ultra. But these new displays offer a dynamic refresh rate of 48Hz to 120Hz for optimized content viewing. They also come with a new eye comfort shield that automatically adjusts blue light using AI. Meanwhile, the S21 Ultra features a WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X display that can run at 120Hz at full resolution. At 6.8 inches, it’s 0.1 inches smaller than its predecessor, but it offers a variety of upgrades in other areas. It has a dynamic refresh rate of 10Hz to 120Hz. It promises a max brightness of 1,500 nits, compared to the S20 Ultra’s 1,200 nits, and also has a 50-percent-improved contrast ratio of 3,000,000: 1. Despite being a brighter screen, though, it shouldn’t strain the eyes as the comfort shield is able to reduce the blue light by up to 50 percent.
The S21 series revamped the rear camera’s look with a contour-cut design that sits flush against the camera housing, which is intended to blend into the phones’ frames. While one can’t say the camera is invisible, it is arguably more aesthetically pleasing than the S20’s camera setup. The S21 and S21+ use a triple-lens rear-camera system — 12MP wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle lenses and a 64MP telephoto. In contrast, the S21 Ultra has a quad-lens setup, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, a 108MP wide-angle, and two 10MP telephotos, one at 3x magnification, the other at 10x. Like its predecessors, the S21 series can shoot ultra-high-res pictures, 8K video, and with Space Zoom that can magnify up to 30x on the S21 and S21+ and 100x on the S21 The cameras have been refined to offer more options and better-quality results.
Samsung’s latest phones also have a more-intelligent battery setup to provide longer life. The S21 series uses a power-efficient display and AI to optimize battery life based on the phone’s usage pattern. The batteries on the S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra — 4,000mAh, 4,800mAh, and 5,000mAh, respectively — should easily last all day. The S21 Ultra also comes with its own improvements, including S Pen support and Wi-Fi 6E compatibility, which offers faster Wi-Fi connectivity than previous generations. The S21 series is available for pre-order now and can be bought in stores from January 29. The S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra start at $799.99, $999.99, and $1,199.99, respectively.
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