Another week, and plenty more leaks surrounding the next bunch of flagship phones in Samsung’s Galaxy line. Look closely at the rumoured models coming over the next 12 (or so) months and there’s stalwart device missing.
Yep, if these leaks are to be believed, Samsung won’t release a new version of its Galaxy Note device in 2021. The original phablet, the phone that made the stylus cool again and, well, caught fire might finally be laid to rest.
Even as a massive fan of the series, I think the decision actually makes a lot of sense – especially if a number of other leaks revolving around the Galaxy S21 come to fruition.
The biggest reason to kill off the Note is that there are plenty rumours suggesting one or more of the Samsung Galaxy S21 models will actually pack support for the Note’s killer feature – the S Pen.
While it’s not clear whether or not these phones would have a little silo to hold the stylus built into the body, some reports are suggesting you’ll be able to use the pen on the S21 models just like they were, say, a Note 20 Ultra.
Adding S Pen support to the S series makes the Note almost instantly redundant, especially as Samsung’s secondary flagship device isn’t quite the platform for new tech it once was.
There was a time when Samsung would debut big new tech with its Note phone, whether it be a curved screen or newer chipset, that’s not consistently the case anymore. Instead, it all too often feels like the Note update for the year is simply a rebadged S series phone with a boxier design and, of course, that all-important S Pen.
The Note 20 Ultra bucked this trend slightly, adding in the Snapdragon 865+ chipset for the US audience (us UK lot had the underwhelming Exynos), and an adaptive 120Hz display. But it still just felt it was taking the S20 Ultra and fixing the camera issues many people had with that phone.
Related: Best Android phone
It’s also worth mentioning that this was the ‘Ultra’ model – a pricier, high-end flagship that sits above the regular Note 20. That cheaper, but still £1000 Note 20, was something of a miss. Ditching many of the Note series’ staples like a metal body and high-res display for plastic and 1080p. We were also less than impressed with its battery life – something the Note line is known for.
So, simply taking the S Pen and adding to the already very commercially successful S series makes a lot of sense, and hopefully frees up a slot in Samsung’s release calendar for something different.
Of course, that ‘something different’ is likely to be foldables. If Samsung was to ditch a Note 21, I would very much anticipate a Z Fold 3 taking its place and becoming the big second launch of the year after the Galaxy S21. Samsung has been pushing its foldable phones a lot, and after a weak first attempt they’ve improved a lot the second time around.
Whatever happens, it looks like we won’t have to wait too long to find out. It seems like we might be seeing an early, possibly January 14, release for the S21 series, comfortably putting it as one of the first flagship phones we expect to see in 2021. If they do come with S Pen support, it certainly seems like the days of the Note are over.