Samsung Galaxy S21: Early release date once again leaked

The smartphone season of 2020 may be ending but that just means 2021 rumours have already begun to ramp up. The Samsung Galaxy S21 (Galaxy S30) is first on the agenda, with a ton of information surrounding its design, processor and more floating around the web. Here’s everything you need to know about Samsung’s next flagship.

Samsung has an extraordinary amount of phones on sale now, from the budget to the mid-range and ultra-premium flagships, and the next step appears to be in the form of a Galaxy S21 (with the name still being up in the air). While Samsung sells a lot of phones, much of its acclaim has come in via the upper mid-range Galaxy S20 FE and Galaxy Z Fold 2 it’s produced this year.

The new Galaxy flagship looks set to get a raft of interesting changes for 2021. Galaxy S21 is expected to get a new design on the back, with the camera sensor getting a big shakeup, as well as a welcome bump to the models of the phone previously saddled with the Exynos processor range.

For everything you should know about the incoming S21, we’ve created this simple guide. Read on for all the key details on price, release date, design, camera and specs.

Related: Best Android phones 2020 – the 16 best phones running Android today

Samsung Galaxy S21 release date

According to Android Authority, the Samsung Galaxy S21 series will indeed launch on January 14, with the phone available purchase starting January 29 – at least in India. This matches up with information leaked by Jon Prosser which you can see below. The same report also reveals the India model, and likely the one that comes to the UK, will be powered by the Exynos 2100.

As part of his recent posts, leaker OnLeaks pointed towards a January 2021 release date for the S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra. A January release would be earlier than what we’ve come to expect from Samsung but it has also been corroborated by Android Central.

Samsung unveiled the S20 at their Samsung Unpacked event back in February, with the phones going on sale in early March. So, if the Korean tech giant follows a similar schedule in the coming year, we could expect to see a Samsung Unpacked event in February 2021 – and possibly a release in March.

However, it remains to be seen how harshly coronavirus has impacted upon Samsung’s operations. It’s possible we may see a release slightly later in the year to account for working from home and other troubles the pandemic has wrought.

Samsung Galaxy S21 specs

Qualcomm has just unveiled its brand new chipset that’ll power a whole host of big flagship phones come 2021. We’ve already heard confirmation from the likes of Motorola, Xiaomi, Realme and Oppo that they will be shipping phones with the Snapdragon 888 early in 2021.

Qualcomm didn’t mention Samsung during its Tech Summit, however if recent years are to be followed at least one version of the Samsung Galaxy S21 will use the flagship Qualcomm chip, Usually, this is the US version, with the European editions running an in-house Exynos chipset built to Samsung’s design which we delve into below.

Specs for the Snapdragon 888 are supremely impressive, with a focus on the built-in 5G modem that can support dual 5G SIMs, VRS for gaming and the ability to shoot 3 streams of 4K HDR video at once.

Early findings on the 5nm Exynos 1000 chip suggest it could be a force to be reckoned with – a leaked benchmarking score found it to be around three times faster than a Snapdragon 865 (via GizChina).

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Leaked benchmarks show the Snapdragon vs Exynos tussle could be even more fierce than we first thought. Leaker @yabhishekhd revealed Antutu score for the upcoming flagship Snapdragon 888 (previously rumoured to be called the 875) chip that put Samsung to the sword.

The benchmarks put the new Snapdragon well ahead of a rumoured Exynos 1080 chip, which scores less than 700,000 in the same benchmark. However, the 1080 is a far more mid-range Samsung-produced chip – meaning the previous flagship vs flagship benchmarks still show Exynos having a clear lead.

Another fairly substantial leak has given us a glimpse at the entire spec-sheet for the trio of expected S21 phones. This comes by way of Prolific leaker Max Weinbach (via Android Police) and seems fairly substantial. Of course we now know the 875 is actually the 888.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Display 6.2-inch 120Hz FHD+ 6.7-inch 120Hz FHD+ 6.8-inch 120Hz (adaptive) WQHD+
CPU Snapdragon 875/Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 875/Exynos 2100 Snapdragon 875/Exynos 2100
Battery 4000mAh 4800mAh 5000mAh
Camera 12-megapixel main, 12-megapixel ultra wide and 64-megapixel telephoto 12-megapixel main, 12-megapixel ultra wide and 64-megapixel telephoto 108-megapixel main, 12-megapixel ultra wide, 10-megapixel telephoto (3x optical) and 10-megapixel telephoto (10x optical)
Connectivity 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 5G, Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.1 5G, Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.1

Samsung Galaxy S21 camera

The specs of the Galaxy S30 camera look like they could be changed up for Samsung’s 2021 phone. Samsung already took a step back with 100x Space Zoom for the Galaxy S20, reducing it for the Note 20 lineup. According to Korean outlet The Elec, The change for S30 appears to be the ditching of the time-of-flight (ToF) sensor. The ToF sensor allows for enhanced depth sensing and it would be a strange omission given an industry move towards augmented reality support.

Another camera sensor rumour comes courtesy of prominent leaker IceUniverse:

The HM1 sensor is part of Samsung’s current flagship main camera and, sticking to the same megapixel count, would appear to indicate an ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ approach to Samsung’s next marquee phone.

Samsung Galaxy S21 design

The Galaxy S21 rumours have been kicked into high gear courtesy of OnLeaks. The prolific leaker showed off images of the upcoming device and the Galaxy S21 Ultra, revealing an interesting new take on the camera bump:

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Beyond the unique and much larger camera modules, the new Galaxy S device looks to remain much the same as the current Galaxy S20 in terms of overall design.

Galaxy S30 looks set to miss out on some interesting new “under display camera” technology, after previous reports indicated it could come to the new device.

The new setup would allow for the front-facing portion of the phone to be almost completely screen, with a portion of the screen going transparent to allow for the taking of those all-important selfies when needed.

However, the new camera appears to be leapfrogging Samsung Galaxy S30 and heading straight for the next iteration of the company’s flagship foldable – Galaxy Z Fold 3 – a bit of a disappointment for those not wanting to shell out on a £1500-plus device.

The previous reports regarding the under display camera came courtesy of often reliable leaker Ice Universe. However, the tipster did note that it was “under consideration”, rather than fully nailing their colour’s to the mast.

Samsung Galaxy S21 price

We’re expecting the next generation of Galaxy phones to come in with a similar price tag to their predecessors, the S20 range.

The S20 Ultra cost £1199, the S20 Plus cost £999 and the standard Galaxy S20 cost £799.

That said, we did see a significant price-hike between the S10 range and the S20 range. So it’s not impossible that Samsung put prices up, rather than sticking to a similar pricing strategy.

Related: Best Android phones 2020 – the 16 best phones running Android today

The Galaxy S20 series

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