Samsung’s 2021 flagship smartphone lineup includes three models powered by the company’s new Exynos 2100 processor. On paper, the chip looks very competitive with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888 chip (which will also be used for Galaxy S21 series phones as sold in some regions). And the new Samsung Galaxy S21 5G also pack plenty of RAM, storage, camera features, and if you opt for the top of the line model, an S-Pen stylus.

That makes the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G the first Samsung Galaxy phone outside of the Galaxy Note series to feature pen support.

The S-Pen is sold separately as a $40 accessory for the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G, but if you already have a pen from a previous-gen Galaxy Note or Galaxy Tab it should work with the new phone.

But one thing the phone doesn’t have is a slot for storing the stylus in the phone when you’re not using it. Instead you can purchase an optional case for $70 that stores the pen, or just keep it in your pocket, bag, or hand I guess.

Another thing that doesn’t come in the box with any of the Galaxy S21 series phones is a charger. Samsung figures most people probably already have one lying around. You do get a USB cable that should work with many existing chargers. Or if you need a new power adapter you can pick up a 25W fast charger for $20.

Samsung has also made one other change to its 2021 smartphone lineup that’s likely to disgruntle some folks: there are no microSD card slots in any of the new phones.

Here’s a run-down of key specs for the new phones:

Samsung Galaxy S21 5GSamsung Galaxy S21 5GSamsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Display6.2 inch
2400 x 1080 pixel
421 ppi
AMOLED
120 Hz
6.7 inch
2400 x 1080 pixel
394 ppi
AMOLED
120 Hz
6.8 inch
3200 x 1400 pixel
515 ppi
120 Hz
ProcessorExynos 2100Exynos 2100Exynos 2100
RAM8GB8GB12GB
16GB
Storage128GB
256GB
128GB
256GB
128GB
256GB
512GB
Rear cameras12MP wide-angle (f/1.8)
12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2)
64MP telephoto (f/2.0)
12MP wide-angle (f/1.8)
12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2)
64MP telephoto (f/2.0)
108MP wide angle (f/1.8)
12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2)
10MP 3X telephoto (f/2.4)
10MP 10X telephoto (f/4.9)
Front camera10MP wide-angle (f/2.2)10MP wide-angle (f/2.2)40MP wide-angle (f/2.2)
Battery4,000 mAh4,800 mAh5,000 mAh
Charging25W fast (wired)
15W fast (wireless)
Wireless PowerShare
25W fast (wired)
15W fast (wireless)
Wireless PowerShare
25W fast (wired)
15W fast (wireless)
Wireless PowerShare
Connectivity5G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
5G
WiFi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
5G
WiFi 6E
Bluetooth 5.0
NFC
S-Pen support?NoNoYes
ColorsGrey
White
Pink
Violet
Silver
Black
Violet
Silver
Black
Dimensions151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm161.5 x 75.6 x 7.8 mm165.1 x 75.6 x 8.9 mm
Weight171 grams202 grams228 grams
Price$799 and up$999 and up$1199 and up

All of the new phones feature stereo speakers, in-screen fingerprint readers that use ultrasonic technology, and IP68 water and dust resistance.

The smartphones will also ship with Android 11 and the Samsung One UI 3.1 user interface.

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  1. I think I oversimplified what I liked so much about the S10e, its not just the smaller physical dimensions. I also really liked the larger side bezels, it made it easier to hold securely, and it allowed cases to protect the edges better.

    Also, it was nice that the S10e offered the same flagship SOC, but with some reasonable cost-cutting. The lower resolution screen was more than sufficient.

    I handled the S20 in person, and I didn’t care for its smaller screen bezels. It makes it more difficult to handle, because you can’t use as much grip without touching the screen. Also cases can’t safely protect the edges of the screen.

    I’m still using an S9+, because every generation since then was cutting features that I want. I really don’t think I’ll be able to buy another Samsung phone again. Their flagships are ridiculously priced, and they keep cutting features that I need, only to add new innovations that nobody asked for.

  2. Skipping this generation. Again… The S9 dropped the keyboard case support. The S10 introduced the hole-punch. The S20 dropped the jack. The S21 dropped the microSD and got a lower resolution screen. So, for 4 years straight we got less and less for more money, except the marginally better SoC, but the S8 is still pretty fast today. All of these devices belong in the A series, the S series is dead and so is Samsung for me.

    1. Agreed, I’m using an S9+, and I’ve refused every generation since then (the only model that has appealed to me was the S10e, but my phone was still very new then).

      The incremental increases in flagship phone prices is leaving me behind. I’m not going to keep paying an extra $100-200 every time I buy a new phone.

  3. What an incredibly confusing selection of cameras on the Ultra model. 40mp front camera? Why? 10mp telephoto cameras? Why offer two different telephoto cameras? Just offer one with a higher resolution sensor, and you can use software to crop the picture and achieve better results. Looks like they’re trying to make it look better by offering more options, not better options. This all seems like they’re trying to impress people who don’t know how cameras work.

    It’s really cool to see a 10x zoom telephoto camera, but giving it a 10mp sensor and a max aperture of f4.9 doesn’t sound like a very useful formula. That small of an aperture will let less light in, requiring longer shutter speeds to get a reasonable amount of light. Longer shutter speeds mean more shakiness from your hands. A higher zoom lens also means more shakiness from your hands. Doesn’t sound useful for a phone.

    Honestly, the lower-end models sound more appealing with their 64mp telephoto camera with an f2.0 aperture. I don’t even care how much less focal length it has than the Ultra’s 10x zoom, with 64mp I can crop my pictures to get the same effect, and the wider f1.8 aperture will help me take far better pictures.

    1. Also, I’m disappointed to see once again Samsung isn’t offering a flagship mini-size option. The S10e was one of the best offerings Samsung has made in years, and it is a real shame to see that they’re not interested in continuing the trend.

      1. Here I compare the S10e with the S20 for you:

        https://www.gsmarena.com/compare.php3?idPhone1=9537&idPhone2=10081

        I’m not exactly sure which dimension of the S20 do you consider too big compared to the S10e. The two most important dimensions are, in my opinion:

        Width: the S20 is 0.8 mm narrower
        Weight: yes, the S20 is 10 grams heavier (but so it has more and better cameras, also its weight is comparable to the mainstream iPhone 12, which is about the maximum weight for me, maybe it’s already 10 grams too heavy for you, I don’t know)

        Yes, the S20 is 1 cm taller, but it’s still quite a pocketable size overall. As I consider width and weight the two key dimensions, I don’t mind it being a bit taller while still being pocketable.

        Perhaps do you miss the smaller screen (read: worse screen to body ratio) of the S10e? πŸ˜‰

        Yes, I deliberately compared the S20 to the S10e, not the brand new S21, which is yet again 10 grams heavier (which is actually 10 grams too heavy for me, but overall its a fuglier design than the old S20, anyway, I never buy the latest flagship considering the prices of yesteryears’ models).

  4. My galaxy s5 sport actually supports s-pens. Which made me imagine that the other flagships from 2014 to now did too, it was only the Notes that let you put them in the phone.
    Under that assumption, this looks like another example of underused features being cut.

    I hadn’t heard of UWB tracking until now, it sounds like it’ll benefit spyware more than it’ll benefit the average person.

    1. Whoops, I wrote that under the assumption that the Note series was for sure to be discontinued. Apparently that’s not certain.
      Neither is the S-Pen setting. I know I had it, but I can’t seem to find it. Maybe it got removed in the update from android 4.whatever to android 5 since it actually didn’t have hardware support.

  5. I guess my next phone will be a midrange, then. Damn Apple for coming up with anti consumer trends. First it was the headphone jack and now the charger. What’s next? Are we going to have to purchase the screen as an addon? Or maybe it will be the camera?

    1. If you’re picking a different phone based lacking a $10 charger, you must have not been very interested in the phone to begin with.

      1. It’s not just the charger, it’s the combination of the curved screen and lack of headphone jack, charger and Micro SD. I Currently have an S10+ and I previously had S2, S4, S6 and skipped S8 because I received a Mate 9 as a gift. Samsung just doesn’t want me as customer anymore.

        1. Oh, I forgot the lack of IR blaster too but I don’t recall seeing any midrange phone with one.