Samsung has a way with phones. They look good, they feel good, and they’re damn expensive. And it’s official! The new Galaxy S21 lineup is here. And as you might expect. They’ve revealed a Galaxy S 21, a S 21+, and a S 21 Ultra. This was done virtually of course. And was jam packed with a buttload of information. However, the one question they didn’t really answer is: starting at $799.00 and moving all the way up to $1200 plus, if the Galaxy S 21 line up is worth the cost to upgrade? Especially during a pandemic. Let’s find out.
So first let’s talk about specs. The US versions of the phone come with Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 888 processor and 5G ready . The Galaxy S 21 has a 4000 mAh battery, the 21+ a 4800 mAh battery, and the S 21 Ultra gets a whopping 5000 mAH battery. So we’re looking at what should be some pretty solid battery life all around. Additionally S 21s are also shipping with the second generation of its 3D Sonic Sensor that's supposedly 50% faster and 77% bigger than the previous generation (Note 20 users cry every time).
Now we all know the most important part about a cellular device isn’t if it makes phone calls. It’s those sweet, sweet cameras. "When designing the Galaxy S21, we thought about how people use their cameras today," director of product management for Samsung Electronics America, Stephen Hawke, said during a briefing before the Unpacked event. And let Samsung tell it, these phones have got the best cameras on any cell phone current or past! First you’ve got the Galaxy S 21 Ultra which comes with 4 cameras. Yeah. if you thought 2020 was killing the camera game with 3. 2021 is here to say hold my beer. So yeah, 4 cameras, consisting of an upgraded version of their 108 megapixel sensor, a Wide, an Ultra Wide (because ULTRA), and dual (thats 2) Telephoto lenses of 10x & 3x?
There is no denying that those are some significant specs. The new sensor alone allows you to capture 12-bit HDR photos. And according to Samsung (Sammy moving forward) these photos will be better, sharper, and more vibrant than we could imagine. Now I’m paraphrasing here. But you get the picture. (No pun intended)
The S20 Ultra features the infamous 100x Space Zoom. Yay! (He said Sarcastically) If you don’t get your creepy self outta here with that. But it’s there. And it comes with something Sammy is calling “Zoom Lock” (because names) that keeps the camera focused on an object for a much clearer picture. Something the S 20 had LOTS of issues with if I remember correctly.
The Ultra also allows for capturing video in 4K at 60fps across all lenses. This is MASSIVE, I think for many reasons. One of which being that most phones don’t allow for this kind of recording. However, one would imagine that 2021 will showcase a lot of dope ass changes like this. But I digress, Sammy also introduced a new feature called Director's View. This is supposed to let you see a scene from multiple perspectives at the same time. This is sounding pretty similar to what the iPhone announced with their phones when they released the 12 Pro Max. And what's more, I feel like these are features I swear never get utilized, but hey. During a press event titles like Director’s View and Vlogger View sound sexy. Because all Vlogger V does is lets you shoot with the front and rear cameras at the same time. And there’s already an App for that.
Then we have the Galaxy S 21 and S 21+ whose camera’s shine a little less brightly than that of the Ultra. For one they have a 2020 camera design with three rear cameras. Sure they get a Wide, Ultra Wide (because ULTRA), and a single pedestrian tele-lens. And sure they can hit up to a 30X Space Zoom. But can it take some of the best pictures the world has ever seen? Well, yes. Because it’s freaking Samsung. What do you expect? These also get the newly touted Director's and Vlogger View. And everything else you’d expect a phone starting at $799 to have. So it’s a pretty safe bet that these cameras whether Ultra or Plus or “Budget” will impress, dazzle, and amuse. At least until day 2 and the honeymoon phase wears off.
The next thing, at least I, care about is how the phone looks and feels. And according to those who’ve set eyes and hands on it. It’s pretty freaky saucy. We’re talking A1! They all feature a matte finish to help minimize fingerprints. S 21+ and S 21 have some eye catching color options, which range from a Thanos phantom violet to a phantom pink. Both have two storage options for either 128 or 256 gigs. And both come with 8 gigs of RAM. Pretty mellow stuff.
But then we have the Galaxy S21 Ultra will be coming in a sick, Batman phantom black. And if brooding Bruce Wayne isn’t your cup of joe. You can also get this phone is a star blazing Silver Surfer phantom silver. And let me tell you. The silver is looking sexy as all hell!
Now the silver only comes with 128 gigs of storage and 12 gigs of RAM, while Batman has 128 to 256 gigs of storage with 12 gigs of RAM, with an option to go BIG and get 512 gigs of storage (half a terabyte) with 16 gigs of RAM! GOT DAMN! Further proving that black is always better. HA!
When it comes to the screen, all three use Samsung's Infinity-O Displays, HDR 10+, and have an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate. However, the S21 Ultra has the advantage of a resolution of 3200 x 1440 and a Quad HD+ display, while tweedle 21 & tweedle 21+ have 2400 x 1080 and a timid Full HD+ display.
The most exciting part of this announcement is also the most bizarre. See this year, Samsung has brought its S Pen, to its non note line up for the first time ever. However, the odd part is that of the three new phones, only the S21 Ultra works with the S Pen, and even more bizarre is that it comes as a separate accessory that costs $40. FOR THE PEN! With nowhere to put it other than your pocket. Unless of course you get the $70 bundled which comes with a specially designed case that stores the stylus. The new accessory also doesn't work with gestures or many of the other features found in the Note's S Pen. Why would anyone want this? It’s so silly. That turns your $1200 dollar phone to nearly $1300. And for that much I can just get a Note 20 Ultra, have money left over, and call it a day.
So are all of these bells and whistles worth it? I dunno. Not for me. At the low end you’re paying $800 dollars for an okay phone. And at the high end you’re paying $1200 for an extra camera, 100x zoom and what else? The problem with Samsung is that their phones are really good. I have a Note 20 Ultra, and I don’t see any reason to jump up here. Sure the 21s look nice. But so do some prostitutes. Doesn’t mean I should throw away what I have, and spend my hard earned cash on em. That’s what the S 21 line feels like to me. For those who can afford it and switch phones every year. Sure. Go for the Ultra at the very least as I don’t know why I would ever get not that. And for those LOOKING to upgrade but are on a budget. I’d look toward OnePlus. Better looking phones. Beautiful screens. 120 Hertz Refresh. Solid Cameras. And most importantly magnificently priced.
The S21 will go for $800, the S 21+ for $1,000 and the Ultra will start at $1,200. Pre-orders for the phones began today, Thursday at 8 a.m. PT, and the phones will be dropping on Jan. 29. It’s worth noting that people who pre-order the phones get up to $200 in Samsung credit and also get a free Galaxy SmartTag. Which is a thing you can use to find your keys, wallet, or even remote. Whatever you attach it to really. But what do you think? Are you stoked for this phone to drop? If you are, which one are you getting? Let us know in the comments section below.