(Pocket-lint) - Samsung typically announces two flagship smartphone series every year - the Galaxy S and the Galaxy Note - with the former launching in the first half of the year and the latter in the second half.
With the Galaxy Note 20 officially unveiled on 5 August, all heads have now turned to the next Galaxy S, which could be called the Galaxy S21 or the Galaxy S30.
This is everything we have heard so far about what we can expect for the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ smartphones. We've covered the Galaxy S21 Ultra in a separate feature.
What will the next Samsung Galaxy S be called?
- Likely Galaxy S21, S21+
- Galaxy S30 is possible
Before the Samsung Galaxy S20 arrived, the naming strategy for Samsung's Galaxy S devices was easy to predict as the company followed sequential numbers.
After Samsung jumped from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20 in 2020 however, it's now harder to determine what the next Galaxy S will be called going forward. We would put our money on the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra as this would tie in with the year too, but the company could also use Galaxy S30.
For now, Samsung has not confirmed the name for the next Galaxy S device but as most rumours call it the Galaxy S21, that's what we will refer to it in this feature until there is any substantial evidence suggesting otherwise.
Release date and price
- Early 2021 launch
- Likely on sale from March 2021
Samsung usually announces the Galaxy S range of smartphones in February, followed by a March release so we would expect the same for 2021, though there have been reports suggesting the devices might arrive in January 2021.
The Samsung Galaxy S9 was announced on 25 February and on sale from 16 March. The Galaxy S10 was announced on 20 February and on sale from 8 March and the Galaxy S20 was announced on 11 February and on sale from 6 March.
If the company doesn't break with tradition, we'd expect to see the Galaxy S21 series go on sale either on 5 March or 12 March, but we're just taking an educated guess for now.
In terms of price, we'd expect the devices to be in a similar ballpark to their predecessors, with the Galaxy S21 the cheapest and the Galaxy S21 Ultra - if there is one - the flagship device.
- Glass or plastic and metal premium design
- Drastic redesign unlikely
The front remained largely unchanged however with a punch hole camera in the centre of the display at the top. It's not yet clear if Samsung will change the design drastically from the Galaxy S20 - we expect to see some changes but we don't expect to see an entire redesign.
A waterproof body with a glass rear and metal frame are likely to remain for the Galaxy S21 with new colour options, though a plastic body has also been mentioned for the S21. The colours are reported to be grey, pink, violet and white for the Galaxy S21, and black, silver, and violet with pink for the Galaxy S21+. Not all regions will get all colours - it's likely that some of these colours will only be available in Korea.
The biggest change might come if Samsung succeeds in offering an under-display front camera but there's only one rumour to say this is a possibility so far.
- Three sizes again?
- 120Hz refresh rates
- Curved edges
- 1400nits peak brightness
It's said the display sizes will remain the same for the Galaxy S21 and S21+, though a drop to a Full HD+ resolution has been claimed. The 120Hz refresh rate is expected again however, and both displays are reported to come with a peak brightness of 1400nits.
We'd also expect curved displays, at least on the S21+.
Hardware and specs
- Exynos 991/992 or 1000/Qualcomm Snapdragon 875, 5G
- 128GB/256GB storage options
- S21 Plus: 4800mAh battery
- S21 Ultra: 5000mAh battery
It is currently unclear what chipsets will power the standard Galaxy S21 and S21+ but the Exynos 2100 has been suggested, along with the unannounced Qualcomm Snapdragon 875. Samsung's Exynos 2100 should be the successor to the Exynos 990.
It's also been claimed there will be 5G variants of both devices and they will be offered in 128GB and 256GB storage options.
In terms of battery capacities, the S21 Ultra is likely to have the largest, followed by the S21+ and then S21. Early leaks suggest that the Galaxy S21+ will have a bump to 4800mAh, while the S21 is said to come with a 4000mAh capacity.
- Under-display front camera?
- 108MP main camera rumoured
- OIS on front camera?
Samsung will be looking to boost the offering of the cameras for the S20 models.
It's been claimed that both the S21 and S21+ will come with a triple rear camera made up of a 12-megapixel main sensor, 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor and a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor.
Additional camera features have also been claimed for the S21 models, 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.
Samsung Galaxy S21 rumours: What's happened so far?
Here are all the rumours surrounding the Samsung Galaxy S21, or Galaxy S30.
16 November 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 with Snapdragon 875 appears on benchmark
Sammobile reported that a Samsung Galaxy S21 with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 chipset appeared on Geekbench with a score that beat the Galaxy S21 with Exynos.
16 November 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 series features revealed in huge spec leak
A report on Android Police detailed a number of specifications, as well as features expected for the S21 and S21+.
5 November 2020: Galaxy S21 colours leak
Reports on the colours for the forthcoming devices have appeared from a reliable source.
Small correction/update in upcoming S21 models. S21+ and 21 Ultra are basically reversed.November 6, 2020
S21 is still Gray, Pink, Violet and White.
S21+ is Black, Silver and Violet with Pink in Korea.
S21 Ultra is Black and Silver.
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 would be available on 29 January.
27 October 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 could come without charger and headphones
Sammobile reported that Korean media has claimed the Samsung Galaxy S21 could come without a charger and headphones, like Apple's iPhone 12 range.
23 October 2020: Colours of Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ revealed
Twitter user Ross Young tweeted the colours expected for the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21+.
S21 Leak, 100%— Ross Young (@DSCCRoss) October 23, 2020
S21 - Gray, Pink, Violet and White
S21+ - Black and Silver
S21 Ultra - Black, Silver, Violet
Production in Brazil, Indonesia, Korea and Vietnam
19 October 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 could arrive early and here it is...
The Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra are said to be coming in January 2021, rather than the series' usual spring release window. And "early January" at that.
And, on top of that, renders of the S21 and S21 Ultra have already appeared online - adding further weight to the idea of an early release.
16 October 2020: Samsung Galaxy S21 will reportedly come with 25W fast charger in the box
A report has claimed the Samsung Galaxy S21 will come with a 25W fast charger in the box.
8 October 2020: Tipster indicates Samsung will introduce Galaxy S21 chipset soon
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 might use 5nm Exynos 991 or 992
A leaker called Mauri QHD claimed on Twitter that the Samsung Galaxy S21 will opt for the Exynos 991 or 992 without AMD GPU. The leaker put a question mark next to the Galaxy S21+.
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.