Samsung on Thursday officially revealed its Galaxy S21 family of phones, offering up three variants of its flagship experience for 2021. And while they generally move things forward in terms of hardware and software, each is $200 cheaper than their predecessors at launch.

All three versions, the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21+, and Galaxy S21 Ultra, feature a distinctive, if not radically different “Contour Cut” design.  In short, the metal frame extends around one corner of the phone to surround the rear cameras. And not only do that have an immediately recognizable design, they have fun and interesting colors, too.

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Cheaper? How?

How does Samsung manage to introduce the new models with cheaper price points? The Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ have reduced RAM from 12GB to 8 GB and moved from curved QHD-resolution displays to flat FHD displays. Will the average consumer notice or care? We suspect not.

Additionally, none of the Galaxy S21 phones comes with a memory card slot or ToD depth camera. Also, while the phones come with a charging cable, they do not include the charger. They also do not come with a pair of wired headphones.

There is plenty, however, that the phones do come with or dial up for the 2021 line. All models come with Samsung’s new flagship processor, the Snapdragon 888, and have the second-generation in-display ultrasonic fingerprint reader.

The Galaxy S21 phones ship with Android 11 and have a host of software improvements in the camera. For instance, they have Director’s View, Vlogger View, and multi-mic recording as well as AI improvements for a variety of shooting modes.

Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between the three Galaxy S21 phones.

Samsung Galaxy S21

  • 6.2-inch FHD+ AMOLED display (2400 x 1080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate)
  • 64-megapixel, 12-megapixel, 12-megapixel rear cameras
  • 10-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 8GB memory
  • 128GB/256GB storage
  • 4,000mAh battery
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Fast wireless charging, Wireless PowerShare
  • 5G connectivity (mmWave and sub-6GHz)

Samsung Galaxy S21+

  • 6.7-inch FHD+ AMOLED display (2400 x 1080 pixels, 120Hz refresh rate)
  • 64-megapixel, 12-megapixel, 12-megapixel rear cameras
  • 10-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 8GB memory
  • 128GB/256GB storage
  • 4,800mAh battery
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Fast wireless charging, Wireless PowerShare
  • 5G connectivity (mmWave and sub-6GHz)

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

  • 6.8-inch FHD+ AMOLED curved edge display (3200 x 1440 pixels)
  • 108-megapixel, 12-megapixel, 10-megapixel, 10-megapixel rear cameras
  • 40-megapixel front-facing camera
  • 12GB/16GB memory
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB storage
  • 5,000mAh battery
  • IP68 water resistance
  • Fast wireless charging, Wireless PowerShare
  • 5G connectivity (mmWave and sub-6GHz)
  • S Pen support (sold separately)

Details Matter

As easy as it is to compare phones by looking at bullet points and specs, it doesn’t tell the full story. There are plenty of features that can’t be summed up in a few short words.

Camera specs, for instance, don’t tell you what shooting modes are offered nor does it indicate what quality of video can be captured. Build materials and colors also differ across the three phones, employing plastic or glass backs as well.

Availability

The Samsung Galaxy threesome will launch on major US carriers on January 29 with pre-orders starting immediately. An unlocked variant will also be sold through Samsung.com.  All pre-orders come with a free Galaxy SmartTag, and those who pre-order the Galaxy S21 Ultra receive a $200 credit to use on Samsung.com or in the Shop Samsung mobile app.

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