It’s been a few months since the company’s last major release, which means that Samsung is gearing up for a new smartphone launch. This time around, we’re looking at the 2021 flagship lineup with the Galaxy S21, which is slated to arrive in three different flavors, just like the Galaxy S20.
2020 saw a lot of ups and downs for Samsung with a lukewarm response to the S20 and standard Note 20, while the S20 Ultra left more than a few folks scratching their heads. Although Samsung got a few things right with the likes of the Galaxy S20 FE, Galaxy Z Fold 2, and Note 20 Ultra, the company could be in for another awkward year of devices.
Samsung needs to go back to the drawing board with pricing
From all of the rumors we’ve seen, the signs point to Samsung not increasing the pricing for its next flagship device. The Galaxy S21 is likely to start at the same $1000 price point as its predecessor, and that’s rather disappointing. Outside of the rumored (and often-leaked) new design, the only other “additions” to the S21 will be the inclusion of the new Snapdragon 888 chipset.
While the final pricing has yet to be confirmed, we are really hoping that Samsung learned from the popularity of the Galaxy S20 FE. This device was priced at just $700, but also saw plenty of discounts for its first month or so, which helped garner the popularity it saw. Another flagship at $1000, while being the “most basic of the bunch” is definitely a Samsung move, but it’s one we wish that the company would move away from.
Its all-new design isn’t perfect
It’s clear that smartphones have largely reached the point of “boring” when it comes to the design. But Samsung may be looking in the wrong direction with the Galaxy S21. From the leaked renders and other rumors, it appears that the S21 will see an “extended” camera bump, reaching all the way up to the top left-hand corner.
Instead of trying to approach this design with something less-flashy, the Galaxy S21 will likely stand out from the crowd in all the wrong ways when it’s in the hands of the masses. The camera bump is already frustrating enough, as you can’t even lay your phone flat on a desk or table without it wobbling around. But perhaps that’s just the way Samsung wants it, as it means we are more likely to spend a few extra bucks on a case.
We still have to deal with the selfie cutout
It’s no secret that Samsung makes some of the best displays that you can find on a smartphone today. The company’s display department has really nailed these OLED panels, and while it’s likely that we’ll see the end of curved displays, there is another gripe.
Selfie cameras are a necessity and it can be a pain to try and figure out other ways for companies to implement the camera without sacrificing the design. But we’ve started to see other phone makers like Xiaomi and ZTE release devices that have the all-new in-display selfie cameras. This not only provides a little bit more screen real estate but also makes your status bar a little less awkward.
Saying goodbye to the included charger
As soon as it was announced the Apple would not be including its wall charger in the box with the iPhone 12 lineup, other phone makers jumped on the hype train. That’s to say that we saw the likes of Samsung and Xiaomi make fun of Apple and its users, while claiming that their devices still shipped with wall chargers.
Fast forward a few months and not both Samsung and Xiaomi have a little bit of self-inflicted egg on their faces. Xiaomi’s recently-announced Mi 11 does not include a charger, and neither with the Galaxy S21. Regulatory filings for Samsung’s 2021 flagship reveal that there is no wall charger included in the box, leaving you to try and find the best charger to keep your Galaxy S21 juiced up.
Three versions means more confusion
After seeing the flop that was the S20 Ultra with its “almost Galaxy Note” mentality and useless Space Zoom camera, there were many that thought Samsung would ditch the third model. Not only was this the largest non-Galaxy Note device available, but it was also priced at an outrageous $1,400 and launched near the beginning of the 2020 pandemic.
However, it seems that Samsung is stuck in its ways and again will be launching three different versions of the Galaxy S21 in January. The standard Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus will be the same when it comes to the specs, with the only difference being in screen size. Then, the S21 Ultra will provide a larger display, larger battery, potentially better camera system, and support for an S Pen (although you’ll need to buy it separately). Samsung releases so many phones on a yearly basis that it can be tiresome and frustrating to keep up with them all. It’s time for the company to step back and simplify its lineup.