July 26, 2021

Samsung presents little surprising Galaxy S21 – News

Electronics giant Samsung presented its new top range of smartphones on Thursday. The Galaxy S21 comes in three versions and includes improved camera functions. But the major innovation is yet to come.

Just like the S20, there will be three versions of the device: the S21 Ultra, the S21+ and the ‘normal’ S21. As usual, they are quite expensive. The S21+ costs 1,049 to 1,099 euros and the basic S21 costs 849 to 899 euros, depending on whether it is equipped with 128GB or 256GB memory.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes in three price points: $1,249 for 128GB storage and 12GB RAM, $1,429 for 256 GB storage and 12GB RAM or $1,429 for 512 GB storage and 16 GB RAM. The new Buds Pro earphones cost 229 euros.

The phones will be on sale from January 29. Do you get a unique and innovative device for that money? No. Although the processor and a number of gadgets have been adjusted, the major innovation is not forthcoming. To such an extent that the pure specifications of the device hardly receive any attention during the press briefing that Samsung organized. Almost all attention goes to the camera.

The ‘regular’ Galaxy S21. © Samsung

Better view

The Galaxy S21 Ultra has four rear cameras: Ultra wide (12 megapixel, f2.2, 120 degrees), Wide (108 megapixel, f1.8 with image stabilization), Tele1 (10 megapixel Dual Pixel, f2.4, 3x optical zoom and image stabilization), Tele2 (10 megapixel Dual Pixel, f4.9 with 10x optical zoom and image stabilization) and laser autofocus. At the front is a 40 megapixel camera.

The other two models have three rear cameras. Ultra wide (12MP), Wide (12MP) and Tele (64MP). The front is a 10 megapixel camera.

That is impressive, but is largely what we already saw in the S20. The same goes for the ability to film in 8K. Samsung emphasizes that you can also take photos from those videos, but that is not really revolutionary either. It is a function that HTC already unpacked with four years ago.

The camera is equipped with better image stabilization that should provide clear images at 30x zoom. As with the S20, the S21 has 10x optical zoom, but that is digitally extended to 30x and 100x. Although we must warn that in practice this is a marketing farce. Our review of the S20 showed that you can barely take clear photos in that mode.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra now also works with the S Pen (optional)., Samsung
The Galaxy S21 Ultra now also works with the S Pen (optional). © Samsung

It is interesting that Samsung is renewing the Single Take function. That’s a photo mode that we really appreciated on the Galaxy S20. It generates several photos and fragments (accelerated, black and white, etc.) from one video. That mode now also has Dynamic Slow-Mo where parts of your video are automatically slowed down.

Find keys

The manufacturer seems to emphasize the cooperation with other Samsung devices. With SmartThings Find you can find the location (or last detected location) of your smartphone, earphones or the newly launched Galaxy Smart Tag via bluetooth. That is a small tracker that you hang on your luggage, keys or pet.

Simultaneously with the Galaxy S21, Samsung also presents the new Buds Pro, the third generation of wireless earphones in just one year. Like the Buds Live, they are equipped with noise reduction and are IPx7 waterproof. This means that they can withstand rain and sweat, but just to be clear, they are not suitable for swimming.

Faster

The three devices house two 5nm 64bit octacore processors. The first of which has a speed of 2.9GHz + 2.8GHz + 2.2GHz. The second clocks in at 2.8GHz + 2.4GHz + 1.8GHz. Possibly the latter two clock speeds hit the GPU or the AI ​​processor; that is not immediately clear. Samsung speaks of a ’20 percent faster CPU, 35 percent faster GPU and a 2x faster AI processor’. Whether that is compared to the S20, an older Samsung or compared to a Nokia 3310, the company does not say.

The fingerprint scanner of the smartphone is 1.7 times larger than its predecessor and the screen is an AMOLED 2X with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The devices are also waterproof to IP68, which means that they can be used up to a depth of one meter for up to half an hour.

Galaxy S21 Plus., Samsung
Galaxy S21 Plus. © Samsung

The differences

The S21 and S21+ are virtually identical with the main differences being that the S21 has a 6.2-inch screen and 4,000mAh battery and the S21+ has a 6.7-inch screen and 4,800mAh battery. That battery is optimized with the help of AI based on your behavior, but that too is not new and has also been done by other manufacturers for several years.

Furthermore, the two devices have 8 gigabytes of RAM and 128 or 256 gigabytes of storage. The rear camera consists of three lenses: Ultra wide (12MP), Wide (12MP) and Tele (64MP). The front is a 10 megapixel camera.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra has an even larger 6.8-inch screen, a 5,000mAh battery and features 12 or 16 gigabytes of RAM and 128, 256 or 512 gigabytes of storage.

A lot of show, little innovation

Samsung launched its latest flagship with a lot of show. Journalists had to sign a nondisclosure document at the end of December. An empty video cassette was sent as a gimmick to emphasize how we film with our smartphone today.

Even during the press briefing, it was emphasized that we should definitely listen to the information with headphones. Just in case you were living with an Apple or Huawei corporate spy. Even logging into Samsung’s portal to get product photos was done via a unique login that would only work on one IP address. A lot of effort for a device whose details have been leaked for weeks.

Was all that secrecy to surprise us with a stunning device? No. It is a decent update of the S20, but in practice Samsung mainly emphasizes software updates. This may be Samsung’s top-of-the-line device, but it’s not a revolution or significant innovation from last year’s or even two years ago.

Just like the S20, there will be three versions of the device: the S21 Ultra, the S21+ and the ‘normal’ S21. As usual, they are quite expensive. The S21+ costs 1,049 to 1,099 euros and the basic S21 costs 849 to 899 euros, depending on whether it is equipped with 128GB or 256GB memory. The Galaxy S21 Ultra comes in three price points: 1,249 euros for 128GB storage and 12GB RAM, 1,429 euros for 256 gigabytes of storage and 12GB of RAM or 1,429 euros for 512 gigabytes of storage and 16 gigabytes of RAM. The new Buds Pro earphones cost 229 euros. The phones will be on sale from January 29. Do you get a unique and innovative device for that money? No. Although the processor and a number of gadgets have been adjusted, the major innovation is not forthcoming. To such an extent that the pure specifications of the device hardly receive any attention during the press briefing that Samsung organized. The Galaxy S21 Ultra has four rear cameras: Ultra wide (12 megapixel, f2.2, 120 degrees), Wide (108 megapixel, f1.8 with image stabilization), Tele1 (10 megapixel Dual Pixel , f2.4, 3x optical zoom and image stabilization), Tele2 (10 megapixel Dual Pixel, f4.9 with 10x optical zoom and image stabilization) and laser autofocus. The front camera is 40 megapixels. The other two models have three rear cameras. Ultra wide (12MP), Wide (12MP) and Tele (64MP). At the front it is a 10 megapixel camera. That is impressive, but is largely what we already saw in the S20. The same goes for the ability to film in 8K. Samsung emphasizes that you can also take photos from those videos, but that is not really revolutionary either. It is a function that HTC already unpacked four years ago. The camera is equipped with better image stabilization that should provide clear images at 30x zoom. As with the S20, the S21 has 10x optical zoom, but that is digitally extended to 30x and 100x. Although we must warn that in practice this is a marketing farce. Our review of the S20 showed that you can barely take clear photos in that mode. It is interesting that Samsung is renewing the Single Take function. That’s a photo mode that we really appreciated on the Galaxy S20. It generates several photos and fragments (accelerated, black and white, etc.) from one video. That mode now also has Dynamic Slow-Mo where parts of your video are automatically slowed down. The manufacturer seems to emphasize the cooperation with other Samsung devices. For example, with SmartThings Find you can find the location (or last detected location) of your smartphone, earphones or the newly launched Galaxy Smart Tag via bluetooth. That is a small tracker that you hang on your luggage, keys or pet. Simultaneously with the Galaxy S21, Samsung also presents the new Buds Pro, the third generation of wireless earphones in just one year. Like the Buds Live, they are equipped with noise reduction and are IPx7 waterproof. This means that they can withstand rain and sweat, but just to be clear, they are not suitable for swimming. The three devices house two 5nm 64bit octacore processors. The first of which has a speed of 2.9GHz + 2.8GHz + 2.2GHz. The second clocks in at 2.8GHz + 2.4GHz + 1.8GHz. Possibly the latter two clock speeds hit the GPU or the AI ​​processor; that is not immediately clear. Samsung speaks of a ’20 percent faster CPU, 35 percent faster GPU and a 2x faster AI processor’. Whether that is compared to the S20, an older Samsung or compared to a Nokia 3310, the company does not say. The fingerprint scanner of the smartphone is 1.7 times larger than its predecessor and the screen is an AMOLED 2X with a refresh rate of 120Hz. The devices are also waterproof to IP68, which means that they can be used up to a depth of one meter for up to half an hour. The S21 and S21+ are almost identical with the main differences being that the S21 has a 6.2-inch screen and 4,000 mAh battery and the S21+ has a 6.7-inch screen and a 4,800mAh battery. That battery is optimized using AI based on your behavior, but that is not new and has also been done by other manufacturers for several years. The two devices also have 8 gigabytes of RAM and 128 or 256 gigabytes of storage. The rear camera consists of three lenses: Ultra wide (12MP), Wide (12MP) and Tele (64MP). The Galaxy S21 Ultra has an even larger 6.8-inch screen, a 5,000mAh battery and has 12 or 16 gigabytes of RAM and 128, 256 or 512 gigabytes of storage. Samsung launched its newest flagship with a lot of show. Journalists had to sign a nondisclosure document at the end of December. An empty video cassette was sent as a gimmick to emphasize how we film with our smartphone today. Even during the press briefing, it was emphasized that we should definitely listen to the information with headphones. Just in case you were living with an Apple or Huawei corporate spy. Even logging into Samsung’s portal to get product photos was done via a unique login that would only work on one IP address. A lot of effort for a device whose details have been leaked for weeks. Was all that secrecy to surprise us with a stunning device? No. It is a decent update of the S20, but in practice Samsung mainly emphasizes software updates. This may be Samsung’s top-of-the-line device, but it’s not a revolution or significant upgrade from last year’s or even two years ago.

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