Galaxy S21 vs. other S20 phones: Here’s why Samsung’s new flagship series is $200 cheaper – CNET

Samsung Galaxy S21

Drew Evans/CNET

Samsung’s much-awaited Galaxy S21 lineup has arrived — and the standout feature isn’t found on its software or hardware. It’s its price tag. The next-gen flagship lineup starts at $800 (£769, AU$1,249) for the baseline Galaxy S21, rises to $1,000 (£949, AU$1,549) for the Galaxy S21 Plus, and maxes out at $1,200 (£1,329, AU$1,849) for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, representing a $200 price cut for the trio of models from last year’s S20 family.

Samsung promises its new S21 lineup works better than its predecessors despite its cheaper price tag. But Samsung is a publicly-listed business after all, and it needed to make a bunch of calculated compromises to allow the S21 to hit that lowered price, even if component costs are trending lower.  

One of the most controversial omissions is the in-box wall adapter and earphones. Samsung is pushing its customers to reuse older accessories in the name of the environment, just like Apple did with the iPhone 12 family. The S21 line also lost expandable local storage, joining last year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Z Flip foldables in ditching the microSD card slot because “usage has markedly decreased.”


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Some of the other trade-offs getting less attention are: A RAM reduction on the base S21 (it has 4GB less RAM than the S20), the reduction of the pixels by half on the screen on the S20 and S20 Plus, and the replacement of Gorilla Glass from the back of the S21 with polycarbonate, which is also known as plastic. Unlike the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, which starts at $700, Samsung retained 8K video recording in all S21 phones

If you’re interested, the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra, are all available for pre-order now ahead of their Jan 29th shipping date. And read our Galaxy S21 review, if you need more information.

Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup vs. S20 lineup

Galaxy S21 Galaxy S20 Galaxy S21 Plus Galaxy S20 Plus Galaxy S21 Ultra Galaxy S20 Ultra
Display size, resolution 6.2-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x, (2,400×1,080 pixels) 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X; (3,200 x 1440 pixels) 6.7-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2x, (2,400×1,080 pixels) 6.7-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (3200 x 1440 pixels) 6.8-inch Edge WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, (3,200×1,440 pixels) 6.9-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X (3,200 x 1,440 pixels)
Pixel density 421 ppi 563 ppi 394 ppi 525 ppi 515 ppi 511 ppi
Dimensions (Inches) 2.80 x 5.97 x 0.31 inches 2.72 x 5.97 x 0.31 inches 2.97 x 6.35 x 0.3 inches 2.9 x 6.37 x 0.30 inches 2.97 x 6.5 x 0.35 inches 2.99 x 6.57 x 0.35 inches
Dimensions (Millimeters) 71.2 x 151.7 x 7.9mm 69.1 x 151.7 x 7.9 mm 75.6 x 161.5 x 7.8 mm 73.7 x 161.9 x 7.8 mm 75.6 x 165.1 x 8.9 mm 76.0 x 166.9 x 8.8 mm
Weight (Ounces, Grams) 6.03 oz; 171g 5.75 oz; 163g 7.12 oz; 202g 6.56 oz; 186g 8.07 oz; 229 g 7.76 oz; 220g
Mobile software Android 11 Android 10 Android 11 Android 10 Android 11 Android 10
Camera 64MP (telephoto), 12MP (wide-angle), 12MP (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide) 64MP (telephoto), 12MP (wide-angle), 12MP (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight camera 108MP (wide-angle), 12MP (ultrawide), 10MP (3x telephoto), 10MP (10x telephoto) 108-megapixel (wide-angle), 48-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultra-wide), time-of-flight camera
Front-facing camera 10-megapixel 10megapixel 10-megapixel 10-megapixel 40-megapixel 40-megapixel
Video capture 8K 8K 8K 8K 8K 8K
Processor Snapdragon 888 64-bit octa-core processor 2.8GHz (max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz) Snapdragon 888 64-bit octa-core processor 2.8GHz (max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz) Snapdragon 888 64-bit octa-core processor 2.8GHz (max 2.4GHz+1.8GHz) 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz)
Storage 128GB/256GB 128GB 128GB/256GB 128GB/512GB 128GB/256GB/512GB 128GB/512GB
RAM 8GB 12GB (5G), 8GB (LTE) 8GB 12GB (5G), 8GB (LTE) 12GB, 16GB 12GB, 16GB
Expandable storage None Up to 1TB None Up to 1TB None Up to 1TB
Battery 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh 4,800 mAh 4,500 mAh 5,000 mAh 5,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen In-screen In-screen In-screen In-screen
Headphone jack No No No No No No
Special features IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 30x Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; water resistant (IP68) IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 30x Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; water resistant (IP68) IP68 rating, 5G-enabled, 100x Space Zoom, 10W wireless charging, 10x optical zoom 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh rate; 100X zoom; water resistant (IP68)
Price off-contract (USD) $800 (128GB) $999 $1,000 (128GB) $1,199, $1,349 $1,200 (128GB) $1,399 (128GB), $1,599 (512GB)
Price (GBP) £769 £799, £899 (5G) £949 £999 (5G) £1,329 £1,199 (128GB), £1,399 (512GB)
Price (AUD) AU$1,249 AU$1349 (4G), AU$1,499 (5G), AU$1,549 AU$1,499 (4G), AU$1,649 (128GB), AU$1,899 (512GB) AU$1,849 AU$1,999 (128GB), AU$2,249 (512GB)