(Pocket-lint) – Samsung’s next flagship smartphones are expected to be the Galaxy S21 family of devices, succeeding the Galaxy S20 range that launched in the first half of 2020.
Of this family, we’re expecting to see the Galaxy S21 Ultra leading the pack, with the S21 and S21+ sitting slightly lower – with an S21 FE following later in the year.
We’ve covered the S21 and S21+ in a separate feature but here we are focusing on the Galaxy S21 Ultra. This is everything we have heard so far.
What will the next Samsung Galaxy S be called?
- Likely Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra
- Galaxy S30 is possible
Samsung followed sequential numbers when it came to naming its Galaxy S devices until 2020 when the company jumped from Galaxy S10 to Galaxy S20. Early speculation suggested that we might see a continuation of the 10 increment jump, resulting the Galaxy S30. However, it’s widely believed that Samsung will move to the Galaxy S21 in 2021, allowing it to incrementally name its models in line with the year.
This is confidently suggested in a detailed report from LetsGoDigital and the general trend seems to all be pointing to Samsung’s next phone being called the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Release date and price
- 14 January Galaxy Unpacked suggested
- Early 2021 launch
- Likely on sale by March 2021
The Galaxy S range of smartphones is typically announced in February, followed by a March release, but there has been numerous suggestions that the devices might appear in January 2021, specifically at a Galaxy Unpacked event on 14 January and available from 29 January.
We’re expecting the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra to maintain its premium price point, with a $1250-1299 price suggested. The Galaxy S20 Ultra launched at $1399, so there might be a slight reduction in price. It’s expected that the Galaxy S21 and S21+ will be priced lower than the 2020 counterparts.
- Pronounced camera housing
- Metal and glass likely
Leaked renders suggest the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will have an even more pronounced camera housing in the top left corner of its rear compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. This will see the camera surround reaching right to the edges of the frame, rather than being an island on the back. The S21 Ultra has a wider camera unit than the S21 and S21+, because it has more lenses.
We’d expect a combination of metal and glass and a very premium finish. Colours have been reported as black and silver options for the S21 Ultra – but we’d expect more colours to be launched later in 2021. The measurements are currently unknown, but we’re expecting a slightly smaller size than the S20 Ultra, because the display is a little smaller.
- 6.8-inches expected
- Quad HD+ likely
- Adaptive 120Hz
- S Pen support
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will have a 6.8-inch display. The Galaxy S20 Ultra has a 6.9-inch display, with the move to a smaller panel thought to be to make it a slightly smaller device and improve single-handed use. Importantly, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is the only model in the family thought to have a curved display; the S21 and S21+ are expected to be flat, like the S20 FE. That will set the S21 Ultra aside from the other models as the more premium device.
It’s said the Galaxy S21 Ultra will have a Quad HD+ resolution, an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate and it will apparently offer a peak brightness of 1600 nits. It’s also claimed to have a 300,000,000:1 contrast ratio. The adaptive refresh rate is also thought to be only on the S21 Ultra, with the lower tier models missing out on the adaptive option, which ca potentailly save battery life, but reducing the refresh rate when not needed.
It’s also said that the Galaxy S21 Ultra will support the S Pen, although it won’t come with an S Pen. That will mean is has a digitiser layer, which will support other stylus inputs compatible with Samsung devices.
- Quad rear camera:
- Main: 108MP, 0.8µm
- Ultra-wide: 12MP, 1.4µm
- Telephoto 3x: 10MP, 1.22µm
- Telephoto 10x: 10MP, 1.22µm
- Selfie camera: 40MP, 0.7µm, f/2.2
- Laser AF
Early reports suggested that the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s main camera might move to 150-megapixels, but it seems that Samsung will stick to the 108-megapixels of the S20 Ultra, but a second generation of the sensor. The sensor for the new model is expected to be a slight evolution of the 108-megapixel unit used previously.
We’re expecting the DepthVision sensor to be removed from the Ultra though and replaced with laser autofocus, as seen on the Note 20 Ultra, although it’s also suggested that it could be a time of flight focusing system instead.
What we might see 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 lenses. There’s some debate over whether it will be a native 5x or 10x zoom on the periscope lens. The change is likely to see higher quality mid and long-range zoom, using a hybrid system to deliver those longer Space Zoom lengths. Whether that’s 50X (like the Note 20 Ultra) or 100X (like the S20 Ultra) remains to be seen.
A 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor is also expected to be on board and camera features are said to include the cameras automatically switching between 30fps and 60fps depending on the lighting conditions, a dual recording mode, improved night mode, more manual controls and improved moon mode.
Hardware and specs
- Exynos 2100/Qualcomm Snapdragon 888, 5G
- 12/16GB, 128/512GB, no microSD?
- 5000mAh, 45W charging
It’s been suggested the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will run on the Exynos 2100 – a 5nm chipset said to compete with the recently-announced Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 – which the US version of the device will likely offer. Rumours suggest the Exynos 2100 will deliver on performance to address previous criticism of Exynos devices.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra will be a 5G device and reports claim it will come in 128GB and 512GB storage options. We’ve also see the suggestion that the microSD might be removed, which would be a change of direction for Samsung an a major loss to hte family.
The battery capacity is said to be 5000mAh, supporting up to 45W charging, but with a 25W charger in the box.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra rumours: What’s happened so far?
9 December 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 passes through FCC, Snapdragon 888 in tow
A document appeared as a result of FCC testing, which goes some way to confirm that the Snapdragon 888 – recently announced by Qualcomm – will be powering at least some models of the Galaxy S21. If in the S21, then the S21 Ultra will no doubt get this chipset.
8 December 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 teaser leaks include close-ups of cameras, violet colour
Renders and promotional videos – said to be from Samsung – appeared on Android Poilce. The images show the Galaxy S21 Ultra with a curved display and quad camera setup.
8 December 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 may not come with a charger or earbuds after all
A report claimed the Samsung Galaxy S21 range might not come with a charger or earbuds.
The news was first reported by Brazilian site, Tecnoblog, which uncovered a report at Anatel (Brazil’s equivalent to FCC), which states (roughly translated) that “the cell phone will not be sold with a power supply” and also “the cell phone will not be sold with headphones”.
7 December 2020: Claimed real-life photos reveal S21 Ultra and S21 side-by-side
A photo has been shared on Twitter, claimed to be from an unnamed source, showing the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the Galaxy S21 side-by-side.
Here is the the real world photo of the Galaxy S21 Ultra and S21 Plus, side by side.
— sakitech (@sakitechonline) December 7, 2020
7 December 2020: Established leaker shares camera details on Twitter.
The renowned Ice Universe has tweeted details of the camera layout on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
This is the real camera parameter of Galaxy S21 Ultra, the only thing that is incorrect is that 5X is changed to 10X pic.twitter.com/IoaOB3eQdA
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) December 7, 2020
7 December 2020: Fresh Samsung Galaxy S21 renders and specs dump reveals everything about Samsung’s future phones
A detailed set of specs and renders have been published revealing a lot about the forthcoming phone.
2 December 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 renders appear online, along with alleged pricing
Leaks revealing the S20 design also hint at the price of the Galaxy S21 Ultra.
14 November 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 series features revealed in huge spec leak
A report from Android Police revealed a number of specifications and features said to be coming to the Samsing Galaxy S21 Ultra.
6 November 2020: S21 Ultra camera reported to be a minor tweak on the S20 Ultra
A reliable leaker has said that the S21 Ultra will only be a minor update on the S20 Ultra.
Galaxy S21 Ultra is a small improved version of S20 Ultra. Using HM3 sensor, single pixel is still 0.8um, 108MP, laser focus, no ToF.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) November 6, 2020
5 November 2020: Colours reported for Galaxy S21 models
Small correction/update in upcoming S21 models. S21+ and 21 Ultra are basically reversed.
S21 is still Gray, Pink, Violet and White.
S21+ is Black, Silver and Violet with Pink in Korea.
S21 Ultra is Black and Silver.
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) November 6, 2020
4 November 2020: Is Samsung going break with tradition to launch the Samsung Galaxy S21 in January?
Leaker Jon Prosser claimed on Twitter that Samsung will announce the Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra on 14 January 2021, with pre-orders starting immediately. He claimed the devices will then be available on 29 January.
27 October 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra might not come with charger or headphones
Sammobile reported that Korean media have suggested that Samsung is considering ditching the charger and headphones in the box for the Galaxy S21 series.
23 October 2020: Colours of Galaxy S21 Ultra revealed
Twitter user Ross Young has claimed he knows what colour options the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will be available in.
S21 Leak, 100%
S21 – Gray, Pink, Violet and White
S21+ – Black and Silver
S21 Ultra – Black, Silver, Violet
Production in Brazil, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam
— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) October 23, 2020
19 October 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra could arrive early and here it is…
A report has claimed the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra could come in “early January” 2021.
Renders of the S21 Ultra have already appeared online too – adding further weight to the idea of an early release.
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.
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.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.