Samsung has put a lot of effort into improving its software reputation, and a big aspect of that change has been a renewed focus on issuing regular security updates. Over the last couple years, Samsung has frequently managed to beat Google to the punch, and that continues even now as the Galaxy Note10, Z Fold2, and S21 have all received the April security patch, more recently followed by the Galaxy A52, S20 FE, and the S10 line.
The Galaxy S21 series debuted with One UI 3.1, an updated version of Samsung's software skin that contained several new features, such as Google Home controls in the notification panel. Shortly after the S21 started to ship, Samsung began to update older devices with One 3.1.
Like most markets outside North America, India got the Exynos variant of Samsung’s fantastic upper-mid-range Galaxy S20 FE. This model simply isn’t on par with its Snapdragon-powered sibling on several fronts, including 5G connectivity. Now, Samsung is bringing the S20 FE 5G to the Indian market right around the time OnePlus is set to drop its 9-series flagships in a similar price bracket.
Last year's Samsung Galaxy S20 Fan Edition blew us away: for $599 (it's hardly ever sold for its $699 MSRP), it offered performance nearly identical to that of phones that cost twice as much thanks to its Snapdragon 865 chipset. It was also among the first phones to offer a 120Hz display at a mid-range price. But it was released in October, which means it's coming up on six months old. So, is it still worth buying in 2021? Let's discuss.
Samsung kickstarted its February 2021 patch rollout a bit early this time, with the European Galaxy S20 line being the first recipient. Now, these latest Android security updates are spreading to the US, starting with the unlocked Galaxy S20 models and the Note20 Ultra, and more recently followed by a couple of older and budget devices on AT&T and Verizon.
Since older Galaxy flagships received One UI 3.0 only recently, we weren't exactly expecting Samsung to also push the Galaxy S21’s newer 3.1 build to those phones anytime soon. However, the company decided to give its existing customers a pleasant surprise by giving the rollout an early kick-start. Right now the Galaxy S20 FE is already getting its One UI 3.1 update, leaving behind its more premium siblings from last year.
Samsung has just announced that it's officially bringing its Android 11-based One UI 3.1 software to older devices. Initially exclusive to the S21 series, this wider rollout includes the Galaxy S20 series, S10, Note10, Note20 series, Z Fold2, and Z Flip series, as well as some A-series phones. Better, that also means some features from the Galaxy S21 are trickling down to older devices with it, and the rollout starts tonight.
The Galaxy S20 Fan Edition was one of the best smartphones of 2020, as it included most of the features of Samsung's more expensive phones at a lower $700 (or $600, or $550) price point. It clearly served as inspiration for the newer Galaxy S21 series, as the phone has the same plastic casing and flat display as the Fan Edition.
Android 11 is slowly starting to make its way to Samsung phones on US carriers, with the Verizon Galaxy S20 FE being the latest recipient. The update started hitting global S20 FE variants around a month ago, making its way stateside last week on the AT&T model. Now, it's Big Red's turn to send the OTA out.
A bunch of Galaxy phone users got a bit of a head start on the December 2020 security patch when Samsung released the update two weeks ahead of schedule. While that update was meant for some international beta users testing out One UI 3.0, Samsung kick-started the stable rollout of the latest patch in the US at the beginning of the month. The first device to get bumped to the December 2020 level was Verizon’s Galaxy S20 FE, most recently followed by the Tab S6, Tab S4, and the S8 Active.