Samsung’s latest launch in its Galaxy S series brings three new models: the S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra.
It’s a slimmed down line-up from 2020’s S20 launch, which offered a slightly cheaper 4G handset. This year, Samsung has solely committed to 5G.
Pre-orders start on 14 January, and Samsung is offering a free pair of Galaxy Buds Live with the S21 and S21+, and Galaxy Buds Pro with the S21 Ultra. You’ll also get a Galaxy Smart Tag, which adds an alarm to your possessions to ring if you lose them.
All phones will be available in stores from January 29, and, with new models on the way, discounts can be expected on older versions. Click through to compare all the Samsung smartphones we’ve tested and see if one takes your fancy.
Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra compared
Unsure which phone to pick? See the table below for how the specs compare.
|Galaxy S21||Galaxy S21+||Galaxy S21 Ultra|
|Display||6.2-inch AMOLED||6.7-inch AMOLED||6.8-inch AMOLED|
|Ram||8GB||8GB||12GB or 16GB|
|Internal storage||128GB or 256GB||128GB or 256GB||128GB, 256GB or 512GB|
|Rear cameras||12Mp wide, 12Mp ultra-wide, 64Mp telephoto||12Mp wide, 12Mp ultra-wide, 64Mp telephoto||108Mp wide, 12Mp ultra-wide, 10Mp telephoto, 10Mp telephoto|
|Front camera||10Mp wide||10Mp wide||40Mp wide|
|Price||£769 or £819||£949 or £999||£1,149, £1,199, £1,329|
All phones are compatible with wireless charging, and Samsung has kept last year’s IP68 rating, which means they can survive a drop in water up to 1.5 metres deep for up to 30 minutes.
It’s not all good news on the feature front though. Like last year’s iPhone 12 range, Samsung hasn’t provided a charger in the box, just a USB cable. Plus they’re all missing the micro-SD card slot found on the S20 range, so you’ll need to choose your storage options carefully.
Samsung Galaxy S21 – £769
The cheapest and smallest of the bunch, the Galaxy S21 costs less at launch than last year’s S20 5G.
The 6.2-inch screen size is the same as the S20, and makes it by far the most compact of the new models.
How does it compare to the Galaxy S20?
You won’t find any groundbreaking updates, but there are some incremental changes to the S20.
First up, it’s been kitted out with a slightly more powerful processor (the Exynos 2100). This should improve its running performance and ability to multitask. You also get a bigger fingerprint sensor under the screen.
Disappointingly, the display resolution has dropped from 1,440 x 3,200 to 1,080 x 2,400 pixels. It does have an adjustable refresh rate though, changing from 48Hz to 120Hz in a move to save battery life.
Samsung Galaxy S21+ – £949
Not much separates the S21+ from the S21, but most notably you get a glass back and an extra 0.5-inches of screen.
A bigger handset can also fit a bigger battery – this model has a 4,800mAh unit. It also has the same power-saving technology in the display as the S21, so we’d expect it to perform well in our battery test.
How does it compare to the Galaxy S20+?
It’s very similar, with the same 6.7-inch AMOLED display and triple rear-camera set-up.
It has the same updated processor as the S21 though, and the battery is bigger from last year’s 4,500mAh.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra – £1,149
The S21 Ultra is a clear step up, and not just on price. It has the largest screen, biggest battery and most cameras (four rear and one front) of the range.
It has the brightest display of any Galaxy phone yet, reaching 1,500 nits, and is the only phone in this year’s line-up to offer 12GB of Ram processing power (or 16GB if you choose the 512GB version).
It’s compatible with the S Pen, for those who like to use a stylus with a larger phone.
How does it compare with the S20 Ultra?
Its screen is a bit smaller (6.8 inches to 6.9 inches), but the S21 Ultra is the only phone of this year’s line-up to retain the 1,440 x 3,200-pixel resolution of the 2020 range’s displays.
Like the other two 2021 launches, it’s powered by the Exynos 2100 processor – a step up from last year’s phones.
Samsung has reserved its major updates to the cameras for its most expensive model. Like the S20 Ultra it has four rear cameras, but it’s upped the ante with two telephoto lenses offering 3x and 10x zoom, a 108Mp ‘bright night’ wide lens, and each camera has the ability to record in 4K.
We will test all three models once they’re available to see if they’re worth the investment. In the meantime, check the best phones we’ve tested if you’re looking to buy a new handset.