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Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
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The new Galaxy S21 series was announced today. I'm still soaking in all the information. I dumped some specs below for comparison.

Some things that popped out to me.

* Updated Look and Colors
The new look is cool. I like the colors, but wish there was a blue option. The camera module looks cool, but wish we could have a camera that didn't make the phone wobble on a table.

* No MicroSD or Charger
I was surprised Samsung has dropped the microSD slot for all of their flagship phones. Not a deal breaker, but definitely disappointing news.
Also the power brick is removed. Samsung showed video of people rescuing sea turtles as justification. It didn't make me feel better.

* Lower prices with Sacrifices
All three phones now have a $200 cheaper starting price from last years S20 series. But the S21 and S21+ have some sacrifices from last year to lower the price tag.
- S21 and S21+ both have only 1080p displays. This might not be a noticeable sacrifice though since the S20 from last year could only run 120Hz at 1080p and most people chose that over 1440p at 60Hz. But I would have liked to see at least the S21+ get the 1440p at 120Hz display that the S21 Ultra has.
- S21 has another sacrifice, the back is plastic instead of glass. However the trade off is plastic is lighter and more durable, so I still don't think that's much of a sacrifice.
- S21+ also loses the 12GB memory option that the S20+ last year had.

* 1440p at 120Hz Finally (S21 Ultra Only)
The S21 Ultra finally gets that long awaited display that can run 1440p and 120Hz at the same time. Also it uses an adaptive refresh rate, so it'll run between 10Hz and 120Hz depending on the need.

* S21 Ultra supports S PEN
The S21 Ultra also supports the S Pen. The pen is not included and there is no storage slot for the pen (but some cases with include a pen slot). Also looks like there will be a larger pen size made available to use with this phone since the pen doesn't need to be tiny to fit inside it like the Note series. Cool feature, but for me I know if the pen doesn't store inside a device then I'll almost never use it.

I think Samsung did a great job balancing things out between the three price ranges. I don't see any duds like Samsung has had in the past. Like last year the Note 20 was a joke option compared to the Note 20 Ultra and the S20 Ultra was just way overpriced last year, while this year the S21 Ultra looks like a great option.


Galaxy S21Galaxy S21+Galaxy S21 Ultra
6.2" 1080p adaptive 120Hz AMOLED display6.7" 1080 adaptive 120 Hz AMOLED display6.8" 1440p adaptive 120Hz AMOLED display
Snapdragon 888Snapdragon 888Snapdragon 888
8GB memory8GB memory12GB or 16GB memory
128GB or 256GB storage128GB or 256GB storage128GB, 256GB, or 512GB storage
Wide angle, Ultra wide angle, telephoto camera rear cameras and front cameraWide-angle, Ultra wide-angle, telephoto camera rear cameras and front cameraWide-angle, Ultra wide-angle, 3x telephoto, 10x telephoto, Laser autofocus
4000 mAh battery4800 mAh battery5000 mAh battery
Matte polycarbonate (plastic) backMatte glass backMatte glass back
Gray, white, violet, pinkBlack, silver, violet, pink, gold, redBlack, silver, titanium, navy, brown
$800 starting price$1,000 starting price$1,200 starting price
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
Also happy all those phones finally have matte colors on the back. What they are calling Phantom this year. Last year they did a mix of glossy and matte colors. Glossy glass phones need to stop.
 

quikah

Diamond Member
Apr 7, 2003
3,475
324
126
The colors are awful.

I would be fine with the lack of charger if they offered the option of what cable you want. Give me a USB-A to USB-C cable, I can use the dozens of chargers I have. Why they give us a USB-C to USB-C? None of my chargers have this. Apple did the same thing. Does everyone just charge off their laptop these days or something?
 

Ackmed

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2003
8,364
364
126
Colors are terrible. Matte is good, but who doesnt have a case? But $700 trade in on my 20 Ultra is nice. I got $600 trade in last year on previous phone. I'm telling myself no, that I dont need it. And I dont, probably end up with it though. No internal memory sucks, this 512gb card I have in my 20 Ultra just going to waste if I get it.

I really want the new earbuds, replace last years model. Getting the Ultra gives $200 credit, and then they're free. Wife wants them too... but she has Apple and the app with the new ear buds doesnt work like in the past. Lame.

Tagging seems like a huge potential nightmare, spying on people very easily. Great concept, but I havent lost my keys in over a decade.
 
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Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
I just realized the S21 and S21+ both have flat screens. The S21 Ultra still is curved.

I was leaning towards the Ultra because of the 1440p 120Hz display, but now because the Plus is a flat screen and has a smaller camera bump, I'm thinking about going that way instead.
 

quikah

Diamond Member
Apr 7, 2003
3,475
324
126
BTW: Does anyone have experience with the plastic back on the FE? I honestly prefer the plastic backs of the old Nokia phones compared to the glass backs popular today. Is it similar?
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
6,591
507
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I can get a pretty generous trade in with the S10+ and along with the $200 credit the ultra looks a pretty nice deal. Tempted.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
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81
I've mostly heard the "glastic" back, as it's called sometimes, does feel nearly identical to the glass back. However it's noticeably lighter and that light weight does cause it to feel less premium for a lot of people.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
I totally forget these phones are also getting the new generation of the Qualcomm in display fingerprint scanner. It has a 70% larger scanning area and suppose to be 50% faster. That will be very welcome.

I didn't mention it before, guess I didn't think of it as that big of a deal. But the removal of MST probably is a big deal to people that use Samsung Pay regularly. MST is a feature in Samsung phones that tricks standard magnetic card readers into thinking the Samsung phone is a physical card being swiped. Very cool trick when many card readers don't support NFC payments. Maybe the thinking is now it's 2021 and most places should accept NFC payments by now. Mmmm, but I don't think that's true in the US still. I wonder if there are some other reasons. Walmart and Kroger, the biggest retailers in the US still don't accept NFC payments at all. Walmart has even gone so far as to start blocking the MST feature from Samsung phones. Both of them seem to be pushing their own contactless payment system based on QR codes (ugh, so stupid).

I don't use Samsung Pay, Google Pay, or Apple Pay, or any other contactless payment system because it still remains an unpredictable mess in the US.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
I pre-ordered the S21 Plus 256GB Phantom Black. Hopefully I don't have any regrets not going with the S21 Ultra.

It really came down to the 1440p display vs camera bump for me. I have an irrational hatred for large camera bumps on phones. :rage: Does my hate of large camera bumps outweigh my love of having a 1440p 120Hz display? I sat down and stared hard at two similar phones one at 1080p and one at 1440p. I've been running my phone at 1080 120Hz for the past year since that was generally accepted as much better than 1440p at 60Hz. So do I really need 1440p at 120Hz? After much scrutinizing I came to the decision I really don't need 1440p on a phone. The only time I saw 1440p becomingly only slightly noticeable is if I view webpages in desktop mode and they were using very small fonts. The tiny phones were more visible at 1440p than 1080p. However I'm 45 years old and I don't plan to spend much time reading tiny fonts. So at the end of the day as a tech enthusiast, I'll be sad not to have 1440p at 120Hz on my new phone, but I know I really don't need it if I have to suffer a huge camera bump to get it.

The S21 Plus was a form factor I much prefer. Lighter, thinner, much smaller camera bump, nearly same size screen. And I don't hate curved screens, I do have a preference to flat screens. So feeling confident. I might need to read this to myself once in a while to remind myself why I don't want the Ultra, haha.

As for the color. This might have been an even harder choice. Haha. I've bought white phones the last few years. I really like the white back with silver trim. Black just seems basic and boring. I've had too many boring black phones in the past. Also I've never bough the "new" hyped color Samsung or Apple seems to come up each year. Didn't get the green iPhone, no bronze Note phone, no Aura Glow. But I finally got tricked into the hyped color this year. Even as bad as the marketing video was for it. I'm curious though. Someone speculated Samsung was trying to make a Vanta black phone then realized that was too expensive and when with Phantom (kinda sounds like Vanta) black knock off instead. Hopefully it looks amazing in person and not just another boring black. I kind of liked the violet phone with gold trim. The two color tones stand out from each other and it looks distinctive. But I worried it might look too pink and feminine.
 

StinkyPinky

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2002
6,591
507
126
I wear pink t-shirts all the time, I don't see it as feminine. It's actually a nice color.

My S10+ is good but the fingerprint reader is the worst part of the phone. Slow and inaccurate compared to ones I'm used to using.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
Android 11 or One UI 3 seems to be helping the Samsung in-display fingerprint scanners on the older phones. My S20 definitely is much better now with One UI 3. And my Note 10 just got One UI 3 and the fingerprint scanner seems to be working much smoother.
 

Oyeve

Lifer
Oct 18, 1999
21,157
401
126
No SD killed it for me. I have a 512gb card in my note 20 ultra filled with music and video.
 
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undertaker101

Banned
Apr 9, 2006
301
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116
Got a S21U and tab s7+ basically free after the insights program. The Tab S7+ is massive but the screen is gorgeous and the lift is worth it over my Tab S6 💪The S21U I am torn on from my S20 plus, basically the zoom camera is the only major upgrade, the lack of mSD and MST for Samsung Pay are major negatives and it is heavy too (got both today).Ah well, may be a good early bday present for my bro who is on the S10.🙂
 

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Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
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Enjoying my S21+ that arrived today. Matte black feels nice, though the color isn't as special as Samsung made it out to be, it's just regular matte black.

I'm liking the flat screen, the weight and size feel just right. I heard more than one reviewer say people should only buy the S21 or S21 Ultra. But I feel like the S21+ is a real good balance and middle ground if you don't care about extreme camera specs but still want a bigger screen.
 

Oyeve

Lifer
Oct 18, 1999
21,157
401
126
I hope the Note 21+/Ultra brings back the MSD slot. I stopped buying the S series after the S10+ (I used to swap every 6 months from the S to the next Note) and may just keep using the Note 20 and S10 until they get their act together. Looking at Sony's coming line-up.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
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If there is a Note 21 coming. Rumors are back and forth about whether it's been discontinued because the S21 Ultra now has pen support. Though I hope it continues.
 

Ravynmagi

Diamond Member
Jun 16, 2007
3,092
16
81
I bought the Tab S6. Really wish I waited a year. The keyboard is a piece of crap, the kickstand attachments semi-permanently via adhesives (WTF Samsung). Both of these major issues the Tab S7 series fixed. Maybe I'll get motivated and sell my S6 and get the S7+.
 

undertaker101

Banned
Apr 9, 2006
301
195
116
I bought the Tab S6. Really wish I waited a year. The keyboard is a piece of crap, the kickstand attachments semi-permanently via adhesives (WTF Samsung). Both of these major issues the Tab S7 series fixed. Maybe I'll get motivated and sell my S6 and get the S7+.
Trade is in 500 for the S6 last time I checked , get on it quick. Only regret is that they were bundling the Tab S7+ 128 Gb with the S21U (for free basically without a trade-in) so had to get that instead of the 256 gb one I wanted..had a Tab S6 256 gb I sold on crappa for just under 400 after all was said and done, well atleast the Tab S7+ still has the mSD card for now though only 6 gb of RAM is anemic these days.
 

killster1

Diamond Member
Mar 15, 2007
5,916
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lulz only 512gb for the ultra version? How does the no charger work? i love charging my phone for 40 mins and having it at 90%. i do love better cameras so i will have to check out the comparison agains the 20+ 512gb im using now.
 

bigboxes

Lifer
Apr 6, 2002
33,209
11,404
146
I have the S20 5G. I don't want a bigger size. The S20 is front pocketable. You are right. I'd rather use the 120Hz. i was hoping that they'd extend the usage of 120Hz with the higher resolutions. The lack of an SD expansion is disturbing. I'll wait another year to see what is being offered.
 

undertaker101

Banned
Apr 9, 2006
301
195
116
I have the S20 5G. I don't want a bigger size. The S20 is front pocketable. You are right. I'd rather use the 120Hz. i was hoping that they'd extend the usage of 120Hz with the higher resolutions. The lack of an SD expansion is disturbing. I'll wait another year to see what is being offered.
And MST for samsung pay even more so...I remember seeing the look on cashiers' faces back on a trip to NZ few years ago in old school shops...no way Apple Pay is gonna work here...till they get paid :)
 
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CP5670

Diamond Member
Jun 24, 2004
4,917
253
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I have a S10+ and it's great, but the newer ones honestly seem like a downgrade, with the lack of micro SD, MST and headphone jack. I don't care much about the new features except for the improved cameras, and will just hold on to mine.
 

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