Samsung Galaxy S21 range unveiled with contour cut cameras

18 January 2021   By Dr Lucy Brown, Editor

Trio of devices introduced by Samsung focus on improved camera features with distinctive contour cut design.

These features include improved video modes including Directors View, plus the ability to capture 8K video footage at 24 frames per second (fps).

Devices start from £769 for the Samsung Galaxy S21, rising to £1,149 for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Pre-orders for the devices are available now, with the range going on general sale in the UK on 29 January 2021.

samsung s21

Camera features

Samsung have altered the camera design for their Galaxy S21 range, moving to a contour cut camera module quite distinctive from their Samsung Galaxy S20 range.

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy 21+ both have three rear camera lenses: 12MP main, 12MP and 64MP telephoto lenses. There is also a 10MP front-facing camera.

Additional modes for video in these devices including Directors View, Vlogger View and Motion View, while all lenses can capture 4K video at 60fps and 8K video at 60fps.

It's the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra that is designed for camera lovers, however. It offers two telephoto sensors of 10MP each plus an ultra wide 12MP camera and a 108MP sensor. To round off the lenses, the front-facing camera is 40MP.

Samsung are keen to emphasise the faster Night Bright sensor on the S21 Ultra, which should improve focusing speed in comparison with last year's Ultra model.

Other features

All three devices in the S21 range are 5G-ready, so Samsung fans will be able to access 5G services on the network of their choice.

The battery on the S21 is 4000mAh, while the S21+ and S21 Ultra have batteries of 4800mAh and 5000mAh respectively.

There is a definite trend for base models of devices to have batteries around the 4000mAh mark, with the Google Pixel 5 offering a 4080mAh battery and the Huawei Mate 40 coming equipped with a 4200mAh battery.

While the basic model only has Gorilla Glass protecting the front and a reinforced polycarbonate back, the two more expensive models have Gorilla Glass front and back.

Choosing the lowest RAM and storage options across the range will cost:

  • £769 for the Samsung Galaxy S21
  • £949 for the Samsung Galaxy S21+
  • £1,149 for the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra

These base prices are down on last year's model, but it's worth noting that Samsung have followed the lead of Apple and removed the charger and headphones from the box. Customers who don't already have compatible accessories will need to buy them separately.

S Pen functionality

Another important addition for the Ultra this time around is S Pen stylus functionality.

For the first time, users in the Samsung Galaxy S line of devices can use the S Pen, previously reserved for buyers of the Note series.

The caveat here is that the S Pen is sold separately and a special case is required to keep the stylus safe with the device, but it could mark a change in Samsung's strategy going forward.

While Samsung say they have yet to make a decision about the continuation of the Note range, the convergence of the main Note capabilities into the premium S model suggests there is room to slash the device range if the company wants to streamline their handset selection.

Such a decision wouldn't be unique, with Google keeping their 2020 device launch simple by unveiling one new Pixel 5 device and an upgraded Pixel 4a 5G.

Google also scrapped the idea of additional storage on the Pixel 5, something else Samsung have replicated. If a customer chooses 128GB storage on the new S21 range, that's the storage capacity they are stuck with.

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