As part of its “Samsung Unpacked” event today, Samsung announced the launch of their newest smartphone series: the Galaxy S21 5G.
The Galaxy S21 5G series is comprised of three models:
- Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S21+ 5G
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
The S21 series marks an upgrade on last year’s flagship S20 5G phones, and for the most part, the enhancements are modest. The real advancements appear in the top-tier S21 Ultra, similar to Apple’s approach to its Pro-model devices. All of the S21 phones are also 5G-compatible.
Here’s everything you need to know about Samsung’s latest and greatest devices, including our take on whether it’s worth buying a Galaxy S20 or not.
In this article:
- Preorder Dates & Pricing
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Specs Compared
- Where to Preorder
- Samsung Galaxy S21 & S21+ Features
- Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra Features
- Let’s Talk Take: Is It Worth It?
Preorder Dates & Pricing
Samsung Galaxy S21 preorders begin January 14, 2021, with phones to be shipped on January 29, 2021. You can buy one of these top-tier devices directly through Samsung or via several phone carriers, including AT&T, T-Mobile, Sprint, and Verizon.
How much does the Samsung Galaxy S21 cost?
- Samsung Galaxy S20 (128GB): $799.99
- Samsung Galaxy S20 (256GB): $849.99
- Samsung Galaxy S20+ (128GB): $999.99
- Samsung Galaxy S20+ (256GB): $1049.99
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (128GB): $1,199.99
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (256GB): $1,249.99
- Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra (512GB): $1,379.99
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G Specs Compared
|Samsung Galaxy S21||Samsung Galaxy S21+||Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra|
|Colors||Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Pink||Phantom Violet, Phantom Black, Phantom Silver||Phantom Black, Phantom Silver|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB||128GB, 256GB, 512GB|
|Operating System||Android 11||Android 11||Android 11|
|Outright pricing (128GB)||$799.99||$999.99||$1,199.99|
Where Can You Preorder Samsung Galaxy S21?
As of January 14, 2021, you can pre-order the Galaxy S21 through all major carriers—Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile.
Verizon Samsung Galaxy S21 Plans
Verizon customers can preorder a new Samsung Galaxy S21 starting on January 14 or purchase in stores on January 29. Verizon’s 24-month installment pricing includes:
- S21: starting at $33.33/month
- S21+: starting at $33.33/month
- S21 Ultra: starting at $39.99/month
Verizon S21+ Plans
Verizon S21 Ultra Plans
T-Mobile Samsung Galaxy S21 Plans
Customers on the Un-carrier’s network can get the Galaxy S21 beginning January 14 online or in stores on January 29. T-Mobile’s 24-month installment pricing includes:
- S21: starting at $33.34/month
- S21+: starting at $41.67/month
- S21 Ultra: starting at $50/month
T-Mobile S21 Plans
T-Mobile S21+ Plans
T-Mobile S21 Ultra Plans
AT&T Samsung Galaxy S21 Plans
You can preorder a Samsung Galaxy S21 via AT&T on January 14, or in-store on January 29. AT&T’s 30-month installment pricing includes:
- S21: starting at $26.67/month
- S21+: starting at $33.34/month
- S21 Ultra: starting at $40/month
AT&T S21 Plans
AT&T S21+ Plans
AT&T S21 Ultra Plans
Samsung Galaxy S21 & S21+ 5G Features
The Galaxy S21 series stays true to most of the features present in the S20 series, but for significantly cheaper. You still get the best-in-class 120Hz refresh rate, plus enhancements to the phones’ chipset—the fastest in any Galaxy to date. The S21 and S21+ also include Samsung’s tamper-resistant “Knox Vault” security to keep your data and biometrics private. And all of the major camera upgrades from the S20—including 8K video recording—have been carried over to the S21.
- 64MP high-resolution telephoto camera
- 30x Space Zoom, allowing you to zoom in without sacrificing image quality
- 12MP wide-angle and ultra-wide-angle cameras
- 10MP selfie camera
- 8K video
- Pull 33K stills from your 8K videos
- Single Take AI technology allows you to capture up to 10 seconds of action in a variety of still and video formats with just one tap
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G Features
For it’s top-tier model, the S21 Ultra, Samsung seems to have taken a page out of Apple’s book, offering significant upgrades for the higher price tag. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra ups the ante in nearly every area: a 40MP selfie camera, edge quad HD+ display, and even S-pen compatibility—the first on any S-series smartphone. (Could this mean Samsung is phasing out the Note phablet? Only time will tell!)
- 108MP high resolution wide-angle camera
- 100x Space Zoom, allowing you to zoom closer than you ever thought possible
- 12MP ultra-wide angle
- DepthVision lens
- 40MP selfie camera
- 8K video
- Pull 33K stills from your 8K videos
- Single Take AI technology
- S-pen compatibility
Let’s Talk Take: Is It Worth It?
The S21 series is an interesting introduction to the market—for the base S21 and midrange S21+ models, Samsung is essentially giving you the same amazing technology in the flagship S20, but for at least $200 cheaper per model. There aren’t a ton of enhancements on either phone over their predecessors except for the price, making them a seriously attractive option for anyone who held off on upgrading to last year’s S20.
The S21 Ultra is where Samsung puts up some real competition to Apple’s latest iPhone 12 Pro series. The camera system now has enhanced AI that can pull out details in low light at high magnification (goodbye, noise and fuzz!). For zoomed-in photos, the laser auto-focus sensor measures the distance between the lens and the subject in real time, applying the optimal maco settings for perfect contrast and depth. Not to mention, S-pen compatibility is seriously cool, and the phone also features a brand-new display material that reduces energy consumption.
If you’re already a Samsung stan and you have one of the S20 phones, the S21 may not be much of a leap for you—maybe hold out for the rumored new foldable design on the way. But if you’ve been holding out for a while on your upgrade, we think the new lower price for basically the same tech package makes the S21 series a great bargain.