Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra rumours, features, leaks and specs
Samsung typically announces two flagship smartphone series every year – the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note – with the former launching in the first half of the year and the latter in the second half.
With the Galaxy Note 20 set to be officially unveiled on 5 August, all heads will then be turning to the next Galaxy S, which could be called the Galaxy S21 or the Galaxy S30.
This is everything we have heard so far about what we can expect for the next Samsung Galaxy S smartphones.
What will the next Samsung Galaxy S be called?
- Likely Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra
- Galaxy S30 is possible
Before the Samsung Galaxy S20 arrived, the naming strategy for Samsung’s Galaxy S devices was easy to predict as the company followed sequential numbers.
After Samsung jumped from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20 in 2020 however, it’s now harder to determine what the next Galaxy S will be called going forward. We would put our money on the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra as this would tie in with the year too, but the company could also use Galaxy S30.
For now, Samsung has not confirmed the name for the next Galaxy S device but as most rumours call it the Galaxy S21, that’s what we will refer to it in this feature until there is any substantiating evidence suggesting otherwise.
Release date and price
- Expected to be announced Febraury 2021
- Likely on sale from March 2021
Samsung usually announces the Galaxy S range of smartphones in February, followed by a March release so we would expect the same for 2021.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 was announced on 25 February and on sale from 16 March. The Galaxy S10 was announced on 20 February and on sale from 8 March and the Galaxy S20 was announced on 11 February and on sale from 6 March.
We’d expect to see the Galaxy S21 series go on sale either on 5 March or 12 March, but we’re just taking an educated guess for now.
In terms of price, we’d expect the devices to be in a similar ballpark to their predecessors, with the Galaxy S21 the cheapest and the Galaxy S21 Ultra – if there is one – the flagship device.
- Glass and metal premium design
- Drastic redesign unlikely
The Samsung Galaxy S20 series made a few changes on the design front compared to the S10 series (ignoring the S10 Lite), moving the camera housing on the rear from the centre to the left corner.
The front remained largely unchanged however with a punch hole camera in the centre of the display at the top. It’s not yet clear if Samsung will change the design drastically from the Galaxy S20 – we expect to see some changes but we don’t expect to see an entire redesign.
A waterproof body with a glass rear and metal frame are likely to remain for the Galaxy S21 with new colour options.
The biggest change might come if Samsung succeeds in offering an under-display front camera but there’s only one rumour to say this is a possibility so far. If things stay mainly the same, expect the Galaxy S21 Ultra to look like the flagship again, like the S20 Ultra does.
- Three sizes again?
- 120Hz refresh rates
- Curved edges
The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a 6.2-inch display, the S20+ has a 6.7-inch display and the S20 Ultra has a 6.9-inch display. All have curved edges and all have a Quad HD+ resolution with a 120Hz refresh rate.
We’d expect similar display sizes in the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra – if there are three devices again – and we’d expect to see the 120Hz refresh rate again too. We’d also expect curved displays, at least on the S21+ and S21 Ultra.
Hardware and specs
- Exynos 991/992 or 1000/Qualcomm Snapdragon 875
- 128GB/256GB storage options
It’s been suggested the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will run on the unannounced Exynos 1000 – a 5nm chipset said to compete with the unannounced Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 – which the US version of the device will likely offer.
As for the standard Galaxy S21 and S21+, it is currently unclear what chipsets will power them but the Exynos 991/992 (name still unconfirmed) has been suggested. It’s also been claimed there will be 5G variants of all three devices and they will be offered in 128GB and 256GB storage options.
In terms of battery capacities, the S21 Ultra is likely to have the largest, followed by the S21+ and then S21.
- Under-display front camera?
- 150MP main camera rumoured
- OIS on front camera?
Samsung will undoubtedly offer a big focus on the camera for the Galaxy S21 range, especially in the case of the S21 Ultra. There’s been talk of an under-display selfie camera, as well as talk of OIS on the front camera and there has also been talk of a 150-megapixel sensor in the making too.
At the moment, the rumours about what camera setup each of the Galaxy S21 devices will offer are scarce, but this will change in the coming months so watch this space.
Samsung Galaxy S21 rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here are all the rumours surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S21, or Galaxy S30.
27 July 2020: Details leak about Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 875
Qualcomm’s next-generation Snapdragon chipset won’t be unveiled until the end of 2020, but Roland Quandt of WinFuture claimed on Twitter it’s called Snapdragon 875 SoC with the codename SM8350.
The new mobile device processor is expected to be built on a 5nm process, with Qualcomm using a Cortex X1 and Cortex A78 large-core architectural combination. It’s expected it will be used in the US models of the Galaxy S21, at least the Ultra model.
25 July 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra might use 5nm Exynos 1000
A leaker called Mauri QHD claimed on Twitter that the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra might use an unannounced 5mn Exynos 1000 chipset, while the Galaxy S21 will opt for the Exynos 991 or 992 without AMD GPU. The leaker put a question mark next to the Galaxy S21+.
24 July 2020: Samsung making three Galaxy 21 models
Sammobile reported that its sources claimed Samsung is making three models for the Galaxy S21 series, likely to be called the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra – though the names could change.
The site also said the model numbers for the 5G variants are SM-G991, SM-G996, and SM-G998 and they are in development with 128GB and 256GB storage options.
7 May 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 could have selfie camera with OIS
Sammobile reported that Samsung was apparently testing two Galaxy 21 prototypes – one with a 1/2-inch front sensor it thinks likely has a 48MP resolution and the other featuring a 1/2.55-inch sensor with 12MP resolution and OIS.
9 April 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 could have under-screen camera
Leaker Ice Universe tweeted saying Samsung was considering using under-screen camera technology on the Galaxy S21 first and is testing the technology.
16 March 2020: Samsung developing 150MP sensor
A report appeared on Clien claiming Samsung was developing a 150-megapixel 1-inch sensor using the same Nonacell technology as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra. The rumour doesn’t say the sensor will be used in the Galaxy S21 but it’s possible a version of it could be.