At Samsung’s Unpacked event on January 14, the South Korean phone maker unveiled its three new flagships, the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 + and Galaxy S21 Ultra. While there is a lot to be excited about with these new devices, it’s also worth taking a moment to compare them to their predecessors, the Galaxy S20, S20 +, and S20 Ultra.
There are many different things this time, and the most important is the price. The base Galaxy S21 is cheaper than last year’s S20, the S21 + $ 179 cheaper than the S20 +, and the S21 Ultra is $ 200 cheaper than the S20 Ultra. Considering that many felt the S20 line was too expensive, a drop in price is welcome. However, some may feel that the corresponding compensations are not worth it.
Starting with the S21 and S21 +, both devices have displays with lower resolutions of 1080 x 2400 pixels compared to the resolutions of 3200 x 1440 pixels on the S20 and S20 +. While the resolution degradation is certainly annoying, in the long run I don’t think it’s that bad. Last year’s Galaxy phones couldn’t run their highest 120Hz refresh rate at native resolution, so users had to choose between using a lower resolution and a higher refresh rate.
In MobileSyrup’s In testing, we all found the 120Hz upgrade more noticeable than the resolution, and for the most part, we all preferred using the phone that way. With that in mind, the low-resolution screen here probably won’t be a problem for many people.
However, these devices have a few other “downgrades” such as 8GB of RAM instead of 12GB, and the S21 has a polycarbonate (plastic) back panel instead of glass.
However, not all the differences between the Galaxy 2021 and 2020 phones are bad. Those who want more storage on the S21 can go for the 256GB version instead of the 128GB one. Unfortunately, the S21 + only offers 128GB or 256GB options, and not 512GB like the S20 +.
The S21 and S21 + should also perform better when it comes to battery life, partly thanks to the lower resolution display and partly thanks to the S21 + having a larger 4,800 mAh cell (the S20 + it had 4,500 mAh while the S21 and S20 both have 4000 mAh).
And of course, all three S21 devices sport the new Snapdragon 888 processor, which should bring a significant increase in performance over last year’s devices.
Aside from the Snapdragon 888 processor, the S21 Ultra doesn’t differ much from the S20 Ultra. Perhaps the most significant change is the slightly smaller screen (6.8 versus 6.9 inches on the S20 Ultra), a new 256GB storage option between the 128GB and 512GB options. The S21 Ultra also drops the 48-megapixel telephoto camera in favor of two 10-megapixels. And the S21 Ultra offers the ability to run the 120Hz refresh at the highest WQHD + resolution.
Another interesting note is that the three S21 devices are slightly heavier than their S20 counterparts.