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 February 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. 

Design

  • 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.

Display

  • 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, 5G
  • 128GB/256GB storage options
  • S21 Plus: 4800mAh battery
  • S21 Ultra: 5000mAh battery

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. As first reported by PhoneArena, a tweet from known tipster @MauriQHD says that the next Exynos chipset could imminently debut. Samsung’s Exynos 2100 should be the successor to the Exynos 990.

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. Early leaks suggest that the Galaxy S21+ will have a bump to 4800mAh, while it’s suggested that the S21 Ultra will stick to 5000mAh. It’s believed that the Ultra’s battery has passed through 3C certification in China, suggesting that 5000mAh is accurate.

Cameras

  • Under-display front camera?
  • 108MP main camera rumoured
  • OIS on front camera?

Samsung will be looking to boost the offering of the cameras for the S20 models. Early reports suggested that the main camera might move to 150-megapixels, but we’ve seen a reliable source more recently say that it will stick to the 108-megapixels of the S20 Ultra. We’re also expecting the DepthVision sensor to be removed from the Ultra.

What we might see instead, is two telephoto lenses instead. It’s thought that to increase the zoom performance, there will be a mid and long range telephoto offering, with a 3x and 5x lens offered. That could mean that zoom up to 3x is higher quality before it swtiches to the 5x optical for the longer ranges.

Little has been said so far about what we might see on the Galaxy S21/21+ models.

Samsung Galaxy S21 rumours: What’s happened so far?

Here are all the rumours surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S21, or Galaxy S30.

8 October 2020: Tipster indicates Samsung will introduce Galaxy S21 chipset soon

As first reported by PhoneArena, a tweet from known tipster @MauriQHD says that the next Exynos chipset could imminently debut. Samsung’s Exynos 2100 should be the successor to the Exynos 990.

30 September 2020: Galaxy S21 Ultra battery confirmation via Chinese certification

What’s thought to be the battery for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has been registered with the Chinese certification authority 3C, confirming previous leaks that the S21 Ultra will have a 5000mAh battery.

17 September 2020: Samsung Galaxy 21 Ultra could have two zoom cameras

According to sources in Korea, the next-gen Ultra from Samsung could use two zoom lenses, to create a camera system to rival Huawei.

16 September 2020: Galaxy S21 Ultra battery details leak

It looks like there won’t be a big boost in battery for the S21 Ultra, with 5000mAh being reported.

21 August 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will keep the 108-megapixel main camera

According to a Twitter leaker with a good reputation, the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will keep the 108-megapixel main camera.

20 August 2020: S21/S30+ battery might get a bump in capacity

The 2020 Samsung Galaxy S21/S30 devices might get an increase in battery capacity compared to the S20 models.

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.

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