After all the usual leaks and rumors leading up to today's livestreamed Unpacked event, Samsung finally officially took the wraps off its Galaxy S21 lineup. There were few surprises left for TM Koh and co to reveal as the three phones were introduced alongside the Korean company's latest attempt at true wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro.

Last year's Galaxy S20 range was announced in early February, with pre-orders going live later that month and retail availability starting March 6, but Samsung's pushed its release window forward this time around. The S21 series will go on sale at the end of this month, with pre-orders opening straight away. In more good news for Samsung fans, the pricing is also much more palatable — the S21 starts at $800, the S21+ at $1000, and the S21 Ultra can be had for $1,200. That's $200 lower across the board compared with the S20 series, so at least Samsung is listening to feedback. Then again, there's no SD card support and no charger in the box, so you win some lose some.

You're probably already pretty familiar with the phones' specifications and design details if you've been keeping half an eye on the news, but let's run through what we can expect from Samsung's first 2021 flagship series.

Galaxy S21 Ultra

Following on from the disappointing S20 Ultra, Samsung's latest super-duper high-end flagship takes what we liked about the design on the Note20 and builds upon it. The camera housing is still humongous but now wraps around the side of the phone with a certain elegance to it. As rumored, the 6.8-inch display can be set to full resolution (WQHD+) and 120Hz at the same time. The S21 Ultra is the only one in the series to retain the curved display sides.

Its quad-camera system is once again the key feature Samsung hopes to woo consumers with — it includes a 108MP main sensor, 12MP ultra-wide, and two telephoto lenses. Dynamic range is said to be three times wider, colors 64 times richer, and you can now shoot 4K 60fps video with every one of the phone's sensors, even the selfie cam. It's also possible to switch lenses during recording and do simultaneous capture from the front and rear. With two telephoto lenses, Samsung is still pushing its 100x Space Zoom feature, but the proof will be in the pudding. The two lenses offer 3x and 10x optical zoom, so at least we can expect images taken at that level to be clear and sharp. What looks as though it might be a fifth camera on the rear is actually a laser autofocus module, in case you were wondering.

Galaxy S21 Ultra specs

SoC Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100 internationally)
RAM 12 or 16GB (LPDDR5)
Storage 128, 256, or 512GB
Display 6.8-inch Edge WQHD+ Dynamic AMOLED (3200x1440), 515ppi, HDR10+, Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, Eye Comfort Shield
Rear cameras 108MP wide (f/1.8, OIS, PDAF), 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 120° FoV, DPAF), 10MP telephoto 1 (f.2.4, 3x optical, OIS, DPAF), 10MP telephoto 2 (f/4.9, 10x optical, OIS, DPAF), plus laser AF sensor
Front camera 40MP (f/2.2, 80° FoV, PDAF)
Battery 5,000 mAh (with wireless and reverse wireless charging)
Software One UI 3.1 (Android 11)
Other Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, IP68, Dolby Atmos stereo speakers
Dimensions 75.6 x 165.1 x 8.9 mm
Weight 229g
Price Starts at $1,199.99 (£1,149)

As expected, this is the first Galaxy S series phone to support the S Pen, adding credence to the belief that Samsung may be planning to do away with the Note range altogether. You'll need a special case if you want somewhere to dock the stylus though. All of the latest and greatest wireless technologies are on board, such as 5G, UWB (Ultra-wideband), and support for Wi-Fi 6E.

Galaxy S21+

Galaxy plus models are usually the awkward middle children in Samsung's flagship lineups, and this year appears to be no different. Compared to the Ultra, the S21+ has a downgraded 1080p display with flat sides, less memory, no 512GB storage option, and a slightly smaller battery. The biggest changes are found in the camera department, where its triple rear cameras all have worse specs and the front camera is just 10MP versus 40MP.

Galaxy S21+ specs

SoC Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100 internationally)
RAM 8GB (LPDDR5)
Storage 128 or 256GB
Display 6.7-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED (2400x1080), 394ppi, HDR10+, Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, Eye Comfort Shield
Rear cameras 12MP wide (f/1.8, OIS, DPAF), 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 120° FoV, FF), 64MP telephoto (f.2.0, 3x hybrid, OIS, DPAF)
Front camera 10MP (f/2.2, 80° FoV, DPAF)
Battery 4,800 mAh (with wireless and reverse wireless charging)
Software One UI 3.1 (Android 11)
Other Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, IP68, Dolby Atmos stereo speakers
Dimensions 75.6 x 161.5 x 7.8 mm
Weight 202g
Price Starts at $999.99 (£949)

Despite the downgrades, there are still a lot of interesting features — 8K Snap lets you capture high-resolution images while recording video and Single Take is back to let you grab a variety of shots and videos from all cameras at once. Space Zoom is also a feature here, but it's capped at 30x on non-Ultra S21 models.

Galaxy S21

The standard S21 is naturally the smallest and cheapest of the siblings. There's also a material difference with the S21 being constructed from plastic rather than glass, which may or may not be important to you. Many of us here at AP don't mind this so much, since it makes the phone less susceptible to breaking. Some of you might rather not pay $800 for a plastic phone, though, which is a fair position to take given all of the marketing we've been bombarded with in recent years.

Galaxy S21 specs

SoC Snapdragon 888 (or Exynos 2100 internationally)
RAM 8GB (LPDDR5)
Storage 128 or 256GB
Display 6.2-inch Flat FHD+ Dynamic AMOLED (2400x1080), 421ppi, HDR10+, Adaptive 120Hz refresh rate, Eye Comfort Shield
Rear cameras 12MP wide (f/1.8, OIS, DPAF), 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2, 120° FoV, FF), 64MP telephoto (f.2.0, 3x hybrid, OIS, DPAF)
Front camera 10MP (f/2.2, 80° FoV, DPAF)
Battery 4,000 mAh (with wireless and reverse wireless charging)
Software One UI 3.1 (Android 11)
Other Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, IP68, Dolby Atmos stereo speakers
Dimensions 71.2 x 151.7 x 7.9 mm
Weight 171g
Price Starts at $799.99 (£769)

IP68 rated for toothpaste protection.

Specs-wise, it's largely the same phone as the plus variant except for its diminutive size, which also means it has a smaller 4,000 mAh battery. Because it has the same resolution as the S21+, it actually has a slightly sharper display at 421ppi. Considering its low price, it could once again be the S series phone most worthy of your attention — until an FE model comes along, that is.

Pre-orders for all three phones open today at 11 AM ET, with retail availability beginning January 29.

The S21 Ultra in Phantom Silver and Phantom Black will be widely available, with Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy, and Phantom Brown exclusive to Samsung.com. Pricing for each variant is below:

  • S21 Ultra (12/128GB) — $1,199.99 / £1,149 / €1,249
  • S21 Ultra (12/256GB) — $1,249 / £1,199 / €1,299 / ₹105,999
  • S21 Ultra (16/512GB) — $1,379 / £1,329 / €1,429 / ₹116,999

The S21 and S21+ will be widely available in Phantom Violet, Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, and Phantom White. Gold and Red will be exclusively available on Samsung's website. Pricing is as follows:

  • S21 (8/128GB) — $799.99 / £769 / €849 / ₹69,999
  • S21 (8/256GB) — $849.99 / £819 / €899 / ₹73,999
  • S21+ (8/128GB) — $999.99 / £949 / €1,049 / ₹81,999
  • S21+ (8/256GB) — $849.99 / £999 / €1,099 / ₹85,999

A large range of accessories will also be made available, including the brand-new Galaxy Buds Pro for $200 and the Galaxy SmartTag tracker. Among the various cases Samsung will be selling, the Galaxy S21 Ultra's S Pen case is probably the most intriguing. The Galaxy Note's most unique feature is no longer exclusive, and while you can't store a stylus in the S21 Ultra itself, this isn't the worst workaround.