Samsung Galaxy S21 phones and Buds Pro for pre-order
Samsung’s next gen smartphones and earbuds could be its best ever.
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The annual refresh of Samsung’s flagship smartphones and earbuds comes a little earlier than usual this year, in concert with CES 2021. There’s a fresh trio of Galaxy S21 smartphones with large screens, impressive cameras, and 5G support. The flagship S21 Ultra is the first Galaxy S that can be used with an S Pen (sold separately) and it boasts a cutting edge spec sheet with a price to match.
Samsung also unveiled the Galaxy Buds Pro, its most feature-packed wireless earbuds to date that include active noise cancellation to go up against the AirPods Pro, Jabra Elite 85t, and others. While the S21 line is only available to pre-order, the Buds Pro go on sale today.
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra
Embodying Samsung’s mission to turn out the most powerful smartphone on the market, the aptly named Galaxy S21 Ultra turns everything up to eleven. This behemoth sports a 6.8-inch AMOLED screen with a 3200 x 1440-pixel resolution, support for HDR10+, and a 120Hz refresh rate.
The S21 Ultra is also packing an incredibly versatile camera suite with a quad lens main camera that combines a 108-megapixel main lens with a 12-megapixel ultra-wide angle lens, and not one, but two 10-megapixel telephotos lenses. The second telephoto lens, which is exclusive to the Ultra, allows for a 10x optical zoom and a ridiculous 100x digital zoom. There’s also a 40-megapixel front-facing camera.
Inside the S21 Ultra you’ll find a Snapdragon 888 processor, and you have a choice of 12GB RAM paired with 128GB or 256GB of storage, or you can jump up to 16GB of RAM with 512GB of storage. The battery is rated at 5,000mAh and there’s support for fast wireless or wired charging.
The feature list goes on and on, but perhaps most notable is support for the S Pen, a first for the Galaxy lineup (though, as noted above, it does not come with the phone). Samsung’s stylus is a hallmark of the Note series and it allows you to sketch, take notes, and remotely control your phone. The S21 Ultra also scores an IP68 rating, which means it can be submerged in water for short periods without worry.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra is available for pre-order on Samsung’s website starting on January 14, and it will start shipping and land in stores from January 28. Prices for the S21 Ultra start at $1,199.99. Samsung is offering $200 credit for pre-orders and up to $700 trade-in on your old smartphone via the Samsung website.
Samsung Galaxy S21+
The middle child in Samsung’s S21 family is the S21+ and it may prove to be just right. There’s a vibrant 6.7-inch AMOLED display with a 2400 x 1080 -pixel resolution, HDR10+ support, and that buttery smooth 120Hz refresh rate.
A very capable triple-lens camera that includes a 12-megapixel main lens, an ultra-wide 12-megapixel lens, and a 64-megapixel telephotos lens will be more than enough for most people. There’s also a 10-megapixel selfie camera on the front.
While the same Snapdragon 888 processor is the heart of this phone, the S21+ comes with 8GB of RAM and a choice of 128GB or 256GB of storage. The battery is rated at 4,800mAh and offers the same Fast Wireless Charging 2.0 and USB PD 3.0 charging options as the Ultra. There’s no S Pen support for the S21+, but it is also water-resistant with an IP68 rating.
The Samsung Galaxy S21+ is available for pre-order on Samsung’s website from January 14 and will hit carriers and stores from January 29. The Samsung Galaxy S21+ starts from $999.99 and Samsung is offering $150 credit for pre-orders.
Samsung Galaxy S21
With a 6.2-inch screen, the Galaxy S21 is the smallest of Samsung’s new smartphones. It matches its larger siblings in display quality with HDR10+ support and a 120Hz refresh rate. It also has exactly the same triple lens camera as the S21+, with the same 10-megapixel front-facing camera.
The S21 will also match the S21+ on performance with the same Snapdragon 888 processor inside backed by 8GB of RAM, with either 128GB or 256GB of storage. The battery is a bit smaller at 4,000mAh but it can be charged wirelessly and supports the same fast-charging standards as the S21+.
Just like the larger phones, the S21 scores an IP68 rating which means it can be submerged in fresh water to a depth of 1.5 meters for up to 30 minutes without damage. All three of Samsung’s S21 phones support 5G (both Sub6 and mmWave technologies) and also WiFi 6 for lightning-fast connectivity wherever you happen to be.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
Wireless earbuds have been a big seller over the last few years and Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds Pro promise to be its best yet. To improve sound quality Samsung has packed in an 11-millimeter woofer for deeper bass and a 6.5-millimeter tweeter for richer treble.
There are three microphones on board and a special Voice Pickup Unit (VPU) designed to cancel background noise to achieve crystal clear call quality and to ensure you are always heard. Intelligent active noise cancellation (ANC) works to tune out unwanted sounds in your vicinity, but Samsung’s Ambient Sound feature enables you to amplify specific sounds that you don’t want to miss for safety reasons, such as a baby crying or traffic noise.
Battery life is pegged at eight hours of playback (five if you use ANC), with up to 20 hours of reserve power in the wireless charging case. They're also IPX7 rated, giving them best-in-class water resistance among comparable noise-cancelling rivals. Needless to say, the Galaxy Buds Pro work seamlessly with the S21 smartphone range, including features like auto-switching between Galaxy devices and Bixby Wakeup. They offer a mirrored metallic finish and come in black, silver, or violet.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are available from today, January 14, at Samsung’s website for $199.99. You’ll see them at retailers and carriers from January 15.