(Pocket-lint) - Samsung revealed its Galaxy S21 series at an event on 14 January, with three devices in the line up: the Galaxy S21, S21+ and the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

We've compared the Galaxy S21+ to the S20+ and S20 FE in a separate feature, as well as all three new devices against each other in another feature, but here we are looking at how the regular Galaxy S21 compares to the S20 to help you work out whether you should upgrade.

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Design

  • Galaxy S21: 151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9mm, 172g
  • Galaxy S20: 151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9mm, 163g

The Samsung Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 are almost identical in terms of measurements, with the Galaxy S21 adding a couple of millimetres to its height and a couple of grams to its weight over the 2020 model.

Rumours suggested Samsung moved to a plastic rear for the Galaxy S21 however, like it did with the Galaxy S20 FE, rather than the glass rear of the S20. This is currently unconfirmed but we will update this feature when we have official word on the materials used for the S21.

The Galaxy S20 comes with a curved display on the front and a centralised punch hole camera at the top, and the Galaxy S21 does the same, though it has a flat display instead of curved.

The main changes are on the back of the device however. The triple rear camera housing reaches round to the frame on the Galaxy S21, while on the S20, the housing is more of an island. Both sport the rear camera in the top left corner though.

Both the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21 have IP68 water and dust resistance and they both come with an Ultrasonic fingerprint sensor under the display.

Display

  • Galaxy S21: 6.2-inch, Full HD+, 120Hz, 1400nits
  • Galaxy S20: 6.2-inch, Quad HD+, 120Hz

The Samsung Galaxy S21 has a 6.2-inch AMOLED display, which is the same as the Galaxy S20, meaning no changes in screen size.

The Galaxy S21 also sports the same 120Hz variable refresh rate that the S20 also offers. There was talk of the S21 offering a brighter screen with a maximum brightness of 1400nits, but this still needs to be confirmed.

The Galaxy S20 has a resolution of Quad HD+ - though it is set to Full HD+ by default. It also has curved edges as we mentioned before. The Galaxy S21 meanwhile, has a Full HD+ display and flat edges so you'll get less detail than on last year's model, but only if you have specifically chosen to set the S20 to the Quad HD+ resolution.

Hardware and specs

  • Galaxy S21: Qualcomm SD888/Exynos 2100, 5G, 8GB RAM, 128/256GB storage, 4000mAh
  • Galaxy S20: Qualcomm SD865/Exynos 990, 4G/5G, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage, microSD, 4000mAh

The Samsung Galaxy S21 runs on a 5nm chip, this is expected to be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor or the Exynos 2100 chipset, depending on the region. All models are 5G

Storage options for the Galaxy S21 are 128GB and 256GB, both of which have 8GB of RAM. The Galaxy S21's battery capacity is 4000mAh.

The Galaxy S20 meanwhile, runs on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 or the Exynos 990, depending on the region. There are 4G and 5G variants. It comes with 128GB of storage, 8GB of RAM and it offers microSD support for storage expansion.

Its battery is 4000mAh so not much has changed in terms of hardware, except the new processors.

Camera

  • Galaxy S21: 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra wide
  • Galaxy S20: 12MP main, 64MP telephoto, 12MP ultra wide

The Samsung Galaxy S21 comes with a triple rear camera comprised of a 12-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor, which is the same as the Galaxy S20.

The Galaxy S21 is said to be bringing a couple of new features though, including 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, though this is still awaiting confirmation.

There is also a 10-megapixel front camera on the Galaxy S21, which like the rear cameras, is the same as the S20.

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Conclusion

The Samsung Galaxy S21 offers a slightly different design to the Galaxy S20 in terms of its rear camera housing, likely its finish material and display. It also looks like it will offer some new camera features, a brighter screen and a new processor.

Otherwise however, the Galaxy S20 and S21 have the same camera hardware, the same RAM, same storage and the same battery capacities. The Galaxy S20 might look more premium with its glass rear and curved display though, as well as offering a sharper screen.

We will update this feature when we have reviewed the Galaxy S21 in full. For now, you can read all about the features and specifications of the Galaxy S21 and S21+ in our separate feature.

Writing by Britta O'Boyle.