There is one thing you can't blame Samsung for: the global smartphone market leader doesn't waste time.

The South Korean company usually presents the flagship models of its important Galaxy S series in February.

But this time it should already be two weeks after the turn of the year.

"Welcome to the Everyday Epic" was the title Samsung had given the invitation to its digital Galaxy Unpacked event - and promised epic innovations.

In fact, Samsung managed to surprise them.

However, this does not apply to the design or features of the three new S21 models.

On the contrary: the manufacturer even goes a step back with the Galaxy S21, S21 + and S21 Ultra.

In comparison to the previous year's models, users sometimes have to live with downgrades.

The S21 flagships have got a new and faster processor.

But in other places the devices reveal some disappointments.

This year, Samsung is foregoing the option of being able to expand the internal memory of smartphones with an SD card.


That should particularly annoy Samsung fans.

Because that put the Galaxy smartphones ahead of their iPhone competitors.

Instead of buying devices with more built-in memory and high upgrade prices, users could simply insert an inexpensive SD card into their device, for example to store videos there.

This is no longer possible with the S21 models.

Anyone who wants a larger memory now has to pay more for their device.

Users will also miss some accessories that were previously included.

For the first time, the Galaxy S models are sold without a charger and without earphones.

With this, Samsung follows its competitor Apple, which also does without it with its iPhones.

35 euros for charger

The companies cite here as a reason to protect the environment, since less electronic waste is generated.

Most users already have chargers and earphones or headphones.

In the end, however, the companies earn money with the accessories that are offered as options.

Samsung charges just under 35 euros for its 25 watt charger.


The screen resolution even takes a step back in two out of three models of the new S21 devices.

The AMOLED displays of the Galaxy S21 with 6.2-inch and S21 + with 6.7-inch only resolve in FHD +, i.e. with 2400 by 1080 pixels.

The previous displays still had 3200 times 1440 pixels (Quad-HD +).

It is questionable whether users can really tell the difference.

The pixels are very close together even with the Full HD resolution.

However, the higher the resolution, the more the display tugs on the battery.

Here every manufacturer has to weigh up what is more important to them.

Samsung decided on battery life.

Samsung also seems to be saving on material, at least with the S21 entry-level device.

The back of the device is made of plastic, while hard glass is used on the other models.

Nevertheless, the new models have become a few grams heavier.

However, the prices are falling: The smallest memory version of the S21 should only cost 849 euros, 50 euros less than the entry-level price of the previous model.

S21 Ultra breaks new ground


Samsung is taking a new approach with the camera of the most expensive model, the S21 Ultra, with its 6.8-inch display.

There are four cameras on the back, two of which are telephoto lenses.

One of them is able to optically enlarge ten times.

As in the previous year, a 100x space zoom is also possible here.

However, since a large part of this is enlarged digitally, the results are hardly usable with such a high magnification, which a WELT test had already shown with the S20 Ultra.

A function in the camera software now allows a zoom lock for the first time, in which the camera keeps the object to be photographed still in an extreme magnification so that the user can even hit it.

So far, users have had difficulty holding the camera so still that the object does not move out of the viewfinder.

The Galaxy S21 and S21 + can enlarge objects up to 30 times.

There are three cameras on the back of these devices.

Videos in high 4K resolution

Another new feature of the camera software is the stage view, in which the user can see in small preview images during a video recording what the object will look like through the other camera lenses.

If desired, the camera lens can even be changed while recording.

It is now also possible to start a video recording that uses the rear and front cameras at the same time.

The film result is then a split screen or a picture-in-picture recording.

Photos in night mode should now be able to handle the new models better than last year.

All three models are able to shoot videos in high 4K resolution.

On all models, the front cameras are housed in a tiny round recess directly in the display.

The ultrasonic fingerprint scanner, which has grown by a factor of 1.7, is still behind the display, which is only rounded on the sides in the top model S21 Ultra.

S21 and S21 + without curved display

With the S21 and S21 +, Samsung does without a curved display, in which the screen curves a little backwards on the sides.

These displays divide Samsung users.

Some of them like the design, others are bothered by the fact that the screen reacts too often to accidental touches.


A maximum refresh rate of 120 Hertz is now possible for all S21 models.

Depending on the content, the refresh rate adapts automatically.

This conserves the battery.

The higher the refresh rate, the smoother you can scroll through a website, for example.

A high rate is also noticeable in games.

The S21 Ultra is the first model in a Galaxy S series that can be operated with an S-Pen, for example to make handwritten notes or drawings.

However, the pen is not included, it must be purchased separately.

So far, the S-Pen could only operate the devices of the Note series from Samsung.

The pen for S21 Ultra is passive, it can neither be housed in the housing nor does it have to be charged.

Because it lacks Bluetooth functionality, it cannot be used as a remote control, for example to take a photo.

Samsung also unveiled a new version of its Galaxy Buds Pro wireless earbuds

Source: Samsung

All S21 models that are sold in Germany now support the networks of the new and thus fifth generation of 5G mobile communications.

Two SIM cards can be used in the devices, but only one of them can log into the 5G network.

Depending on the memory size, the S21 is sold from 849 euros, the S21 + from 1049 euros and the S21 Ultra from 1249 euros.

At the Unpacked Event, Samsung also presented a new version of its wireless earphones.

The Galaxy Buds Pro with active noise cancellation can automatically switch between a Galaxy smartphone and a Galaxy tablet and cost 229 euros.