At its virtual ‘Galaxy Unpacked” event Thursday, Samsung showed off its latest products including the new S21 series flagship phones. If there was one takeaway from Samsung’s big launch event, it’s that Samsung really wants you to buy the Galaxy S21 Ultra, which is its first non-Note device to come with the optional S-Pen support. The big question for customers is if this add-on feature would make the Galaxy S series more appealing, especially when a lot of people are cautious about spending on big-ticket items amid the Covid-19 crisis.
Samsung has launched three new smartphones in the Galaxy S21 range: A standard Galaxy S21, a Galaxy S21 Plus, and a Galaxy S21 Ultra. The latest lineup of the Galaxy S21 series adds more cameras for better photo quality, improved battery life, and appealing pricing, something that might favour Samsung in the time of crisis.
The default Galaxy S21 which has three cameras, starts at Rs 69,999, will appeal to those who want a flagship phone but don’t want a Galaxy S21 Plus or Galaxy S21 Ultra. The phone comes with a 6.2-inch screen with a 120Hz refresh rate and a 4000mAh cell under its hood. The Galaxy S21 is the answer to Apple’s iPhone 12, which is the best-selling flagship phone in its category.
The other two phones in the Galaxy S21 range include the Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra, and clearly the latter is more exciting. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is, after all, the first Galaxy S phone to boast support with the S Pen. Typically, the S Pen is reserved for the Galaxy Note series but now Samsung wants to bring some of the trademark features like the stylus to its top-end Galaxy S smartphones. Notably, though, the Galaxy S21 Ultra won’t have a built-in S Pen holder. Instead, Samsung will sell a special case that buyers can buy separately to use the S Pen.
With slowing sales of the Galaxy Note line, Samsung has been turning its attention to the Galaxy S21 Ultra and foldable devices for increased revenue.
The Galaxy S21 Ultra, in particular, is one smartphone that can replace a flagship Galaxy Note handset. It sports a large 6.8 inch AMOLED curved QHD+ panel with a 120Hz refresh rate, a 5000mAh battery and has a hulk-like build. It also boasts a quad-camera array with a 108MP wide-angle unit, a 12MP ultra-wide-angle lens, and two telephoto lenses (3x and 10x optical zoom), a first for Galaxy phones. Like the last year’s Galaxy S20 Ultra, the S21 Ultra will feature 100X zoom but with improved quality. Samsung claims the Galaxy S21 Ultra will let users take professional quality photographs and record videos at 4K at 60 fps as well as 8K videos.
All three smartphones in the Galaxy S21 series have a revamped design. One major design change is the new camera stack design. The Galaxy S21’s camera bump flush with the body of the phone. Internally, the new Galaxy S21 range will be powered by the Exynos 2100 processor, the new 5-nanometer chip features an eight-core CPU and integrated 5G modem.
These phones also come with Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology, which will precisely pinpoint your location. The iPhone 12 series too has the U1 chip inside. Neither of the smartphones come with a charger inside the box, similar to what Apple has done with the iPhone 12 range.
The Galaxy S21 Plus starts at Rs 81,999 and the Galaxy S21 Ultra will set you back by Rs 105,999 for the base variant. The Galaxy S21 series will be available to pre-order from January 15 in India.
Samsung also announced a new pair of truly wireless earbuds: the Galaxy Buds Pro. No, they don’t have a bean-shaped design like the previous generation Buds Live. Instead, they are a traditional-looking wireless earbud design that sticks in the ear, which creates a better seal to keep the sound out. The company claims the Buds Pro offers exceptional sound quality and active noise cancellation.
The South Korean giant also unveiled a new product called SmartTag. This is essentially Samsung’s version of Tile’s popular Bluetooth-enabled device trackers. The GalaxyTag can be attached to items that you might misplace, similar to Tile devices. Samsung’s GalaxyTag will work with the company’s SmartThings Find app on Galaxy devices. Interestingly, Apple is also rumoured to launch a Tile-like tracking device called AirTags. It’s suggested that Apple may launch the device by Spring this year.
Both the Galaxy Buds Pro and GalaxyTag show how Samsung is aggressively pushing hard to make an ecosystem of Galaxy products, similar to Apple. Samsung hopes these accessories will help customers get attracted to its Galaxy smartphones, a major profit driver for the company.