After teasing fans with a 30-second sizzle reel highlighting the tech chops of its Galaxy 2021 line-up, Samsung Electronics has finally released its new crop of flagship devices that offer top-of-the-line features with bold new designs.
Samsung kicks off the new year with a triumvirate of pocket-sized marvels: the eponymous Galaxy S21, the larger Galaxy S21 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Ultra, one of the world’s first smartphones to tap into HyperFast Wi-Fi 6E. Although the Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus offers the perfect flagship experience, the Galaxy S21 Ultra marks a historic milestone for the South Korean phonemaker — its super-sized 6.8in display, enabled by Wacom’s technology, brings the S Pen experience to the Galaxy S series for the first time.
Users can either utilise the existing compatible S Pen from their Tab S7 or get the new version with a Galaxy S21 Ultra case. Unlike the Samsung Note series, which has a dedicated silo to house the stylus, the S Pen will be stored on the side of the case, which could make the phone slightly bulkier and less pocketable.
From the get-go, the most salient facelift of the Galaxy S21 family is the new flush camera housing, which showcases the new Contour Cut Camera Design that blends into the devices’ metal frame for a striking aesthetic. Known for its pro-grade, AI-assisted cameras, Samsung now allows you to shoot in 8K and capture ultra hi-res photos while playing back your footage with 8K Video Snap. The brand-new Director’s View in the Galaxy S21 series, which lets you shift lenses and preview shots, might just lend you that cinematic edge to turn your videography project from amateur to award-winning material.
Photography-wise, the lower models come with a triple-camera setup featuring a 12MP main and 12MP ultra-wide-angle camera, as well as a 64MP telephoto unit. The Ultra model is souped up with a quad-camera setup instead, boasting a higher-resolution 108MP main camera, a 12MP ultra-wide angle lens and two 10MP telephoto shooters alongside a Laser AF ToF module. Moreover, the premium model also sports the new 100x Space Zoom, powered by Samsung’s first ever Dual-tele zoom lenses. The improved Bright Night sensor, coupled with Night mode and 12MP Nona-binning technology, overcomes the challenges of low-light photography.
Powered by 5nm 64-bit Octa-Core processor, the series also introduces some of the brand’s most intelligent screens yet, with a Dynamic AMOLED 2X adaptive 120Hz display for smoother scrolling and viewing. To ensure an immersive viewing setup while fitting snugly in your hand, the Galaxy S21 display measures at 6.2in while the S21 Plus at 6.7in, perfect for hours of uninterrupted viewing and marathon gaming. To avoid eye fatigue and strain on your mobile devices, each Galaxy S21 device is equipped with a new Eye Comfort Shield that automatically adjusts blue light levels.
Although smartphone makers have made leaps forward in creating crisper screens and faster chips, batteries have only made sluggish progress. Not with Samsung’s latest series though — the S21 Plus battery capacity stretches to 4,800mAh, while the S21 and Ultra maintain at 4,000mAh and 5,000mAh as their predecessors. All models now support fast wireless charging up to 15W and fast wired charging up to 25W. The only niggling problem is the lack of a charger. Following the footsteps of its competitor Apple, Samsung is aiming to be “kinder to the environment” too by not including a charging device.
While Samsung continues to ensure you stay connected to the world, it also keeps you insulated from it when you need a quiet repose. The newly launched Galaxy Buds Pro riffs off the iconic bean-shaped of the Buds Live to produce a refreshed model that looks less protrusive when lodged in your ears. Embedded with an 11mm woofer and 6.5mm tweeter, the Buds Pro yield sound with a balanced treble and full bass so audiophiles can finally experience the full sonic thrills of a live band or orchestra.
However, the efficacy of its Active Noise Cancellation, which claims to block up to 99% outside noise, remains to be seen since the Buds Live — also equipped with the same technology — only managed to reduce low frequency hums of a fan or passing vehicle. Samsung has deemed the Buds Pro, whose battery now lasts up to 18 hours, a game-changer as it switches between the Active Noise Cancellation and Ambient sound setting automatically. For instance, the earbuds turn down the music when it detects you are speaking, allowing you to listen in and out of conversations with ease.
Samsung has always prided itself on seamless connectivity within its ecosystem. To make sure you will never lose another pair of wireless earbuds or smartphone, the existing SmartThingsFind function easily locates misplaced Galaxy devices using Bluetooth Low Energy and Ultra-Wideband. Now, you can even locate non-connected gadgets with the new Galaxy SmartTag when you attach it to your keys, bags or even your family pet’s collar.
The Galaxy S21 is available in Phantom Pink, Phantom Grey, Phantom White and the new signature colour Phantom Violet; while the S21 Plus comes in Phantom Violet, Phantom Black and Phantom Silver. The luxe Ultra version will only sport Phantom Black and Phantom Silver.
The Galaxy S21 5G is retailing from RM3,699 while the S21 Plus 5G from RM4,299. Both come with free Galaxy Buds Live and SmartTag. Customers who pre-order the S21 Ultra 5G, priced from RM5,299, will receive the complimentary Galaxy Buds Pro and SmartTag.