Samsung Launches New S21 Range, Featuring Three New Models
Samsung has unveiled its latest flagship smartphone series, the Galaxy S21 line, and launched three new models – the S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra – during a live-streamed event.
Debuting a brand-new design, the S21 series sees the arrival of Samsung’s curvy new Contour Cut Camera, a recessed rear module that blend into the phone’s metal frame. This unique new style has been brought to all three models, which – aside from their display sizes and the S21 Ultra’s slightly larger quad-cam module – all look more or less the same.
That said, with a total of nine different colour-ways and exclusive rear-panel options available for each model, there’s plenty of room for variation. On the front, Samsung has stuck with the flat-panel edge-to-edge display and a central punch-hole selfie-camera familiar to S20 users.
As with the S20 launch last year, this year’s line-up is all about the camera. Samsung wowed audiences when it debuted Space Zoom on the S20 Ultra almost 12 months ago, and despite the pretty comprehensive leaks that have emerged over the past few weeks, when it comes to photography it’s kept a few tricks up its sleeve.
One of the most interesting features debuting on the S21 range is ‘Vlogger View,’ a camera setup that will let users record video on the front and rear cameras simultaneously. In the age of the reaction video, it’s a smart trick; think of being able to share your baby taking their first steps as well as your reaction in real-time. There are some iOS apps out there that allow simultaneous shooting, but Vlogger View is set to come ready-to-use on all S21 models, along with a new ‘Director’s View’ that lets you switch between shots.
As well as Vlogger Video, S21 and S21+ users can record video at 60fps and grab 8K snapshots from footage shot in 8K, while the S21 Ultra boasts a ‘best-in-class’ pro-grade setup, featuring a 108MP pro sensor, 4K 60fps shooting on all lenses, and a brand-new dual-tele lens system for an improved 100x Space Zoom.
In terms of what’s on offer storage-wise, there’s no major upgrade on the S20 line. The S21 and S21+ both come with the same 8GB of ram and 128/256GB storage, with S21 Ultra buyers getting the beefed-up storage options as you’d expect. All three phones offer the same Dynamic AMOLED 2x display and adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, with the Ultra also boasting a Galaxy-leading peak brightness of 1,500 nits.
Today’s launch also saw official confirmation of the long-rumoured addition of S-Pen compatibility to the S21 Ultra, and Samsung says the top-end flagship model will also be its first to support WiFi 6E. All models now come 5G ready as standard, with other new features across the line including a ‘Private Share’ function allowing the user to limit access to shared content, and ‘SmartThings Find’, which tracks down paired devices even when they’re out of range.
Which brings us neatly onto Samsung’s other new announcements: the Galaxy Buds Pro and Galaxy SmartTag. Following on from the launch of the Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy Buds Plus, the Galaxy Buds Pro (£249/free with S21 and S21+ pre-orders) offer a range of new features including improved 18-hour battery life, intelligent active noise cancellation, and a new ‘Switch’ function that automatically turns off noise cancellation when you’re talking to someone.
Meanwhile, Galaxy SmartTag, Samsung’s widely anticipated Tile competitor, is designed to help users keep track of unconnected items like car keys, and will come free with all S21 line pre-orders. And in one final surprise that didn’t get leaked, Samsung is also launching its first 5G-connected laptop, the Galaxy Book Flex2 5G (£1,649.)
The Samsung S21 range is available to pre-order from today, with an official release date of January 28. Pricing starts at £769 for the S21, £949 for the S21+ and £1149 for the S21 Ultra.
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