Samsung reveals the Galaxy S21 series, $200 cheaper this time

Samsung today unveiled the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra. While we knew there were some significant changes to the lineup coming perhaps the biggest surprise is the price: The S21 starts at $799, the S21+at $999, and the Ultra at $1,199. Each is a full $200 less than last year’s base models, and while not exactly cheap, it’s a welcome course correction from the flagship price tags that have been climbing every year.

There are some concessions to get to that price point on the cheaper models, as we expected from the leaks. First, the screen resolution has dropped from 3200 x 1440 to 2400 x 1080 — but that’s a minor thing considering the phones defaulted to a lower resolution in order to save battery life.

Second, the two lower-end models drop the curved edges Samsung’s flagships have been famous for, giving them a bit more of a generic appearance — although some would argue this move is for the best.

Lastly, the S21+ only has 8GB of RAM rather than the 12GB of RAM on last year’s model. It’s a downgrade in the memory department, but it also means that now the S21 and S21+ nearly have feature and performance parity. When it comes to performance, you can just choose the size you prefer.

There are still a couple of differences between the smaller S21 and the S21+ though: the S21 lacks an ultra-wideband radio and has a plastic back rather than glass. The UWB radio is meant to help you more accurately pinpoint the location of Samsung’s new SmartTag, a tile-like tracker.

Otherwise, the specs are about what you’d expect for a yearly refresh. They have the latest Snapdragon 888 chipset and 128GB or 256 GB of storage. The larger phone has 6.7-inch panel, while the smaller model has a 6.2-inch one. They offer 120Hz panels, ensuring a smooth scrolling and navigation, assuming the processor keeps up. To save battery, the displays can bring that refresh rate as low as 48Hz.

The bigger phone gets a 4,800 mAh battery, while the smaller model weighs in at 4,000 mAh. Both models offer reverse wireless charging.

In the camera department, the non-Ultra models opt for a three-sensor rear camera array: a 12MP primary camera, a 12MP ultrawide, and a 64MP telephoto. The selfie camera has a 40MP sensor.

I dig the way the camera bump is highlighted in the design too.