Samsung announced their latest flagship devices yesterday. The Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21+, and the Galaxy S21 Ultra were released at Samsung’s signature Galaxy Unpacked 2021 event. These are also effectively the first flagship or major devices to be released in 2021.
The phones come in distinctive colours, and with a unique extruded camera setup which is pushed all the way into the corner. The new design, to be honest, did not look appealing to me yesterday but it grows on you the more you look at it (of course, you could’ve just loved it from the start).
All three of the Galaxy S21’s have all the basic upgrades that you would expect in an incremental update. The S21 Ultra does also come with S Pen support, which means that you can buy the pen for an additional $40 and use it with the device.
Although the devices look appealing and most of their specifications are great, there are still flaws that we can nit-pick. So, before you start emptying out your bank accounts, here are five reasons why you may not want to buy the Samsung Galaxy S21, the S21+, or the S21 Ultra:
No charging brick in the box (After they mocked Apple for getting rid of it)
Now, Samsung may be able to justify this decision a lot more than Apple seeing as they lowered the price of their devices, but not having a charging brick inside the box is quite a noticeable difference.
If you’re upgrading from an S20, then your old brick will work just fine but if not, you might need to buy a new one to make full use of the fast-charging capabilities your device comes with.
For many looking to upgrade to a wireless charger anyway, this exclusion could also be a good thing; they can purchase the device at a lower price. There’s also store credit of various amounts that Samsung is throwing in with every pre-order you place so you might be able to purchase a traditional or wireless charger at no additional cost.
No QHD+ display (on the S21 and S21+)
The display on the S21 and the S21+ are Dynamic AMOLED FHD+ panels at 1080p resolution. The Galaxy S20 Series featured Quad HD+, 1440p displays when you lowered the refresh rate down from 120 Hz.
For some, this might not be a problem because the S20 line also required the phone to be in FHD+ mode when the refresh rate was at 120 Hz but having the option of Quad HD+ was always a bonus.
Samsung has also flattened the curved edges on their phones completely. The once popular, and possibly preferred feature has now completely disappeared and the S21s have fully flat displays. The curved edges were also one of the ways Samsung phones had such high screen-to-body ratios.
No Glass back (on the S21)
The lower starting price on the smallest of the three phones has apparently come at a price of its own. The Galaxy S21 has a poly-carbonate (plastic) back; the S21+ still has a glass back.
Many say it looks and feels a little more like an upgrade to Samsung’s S20 FE rather than the actual flagship S20.
The phone does, however, come with wireless charging as well as reverse wireless charging, so the plastic hasn’t stopped the phone from performing the same. The only difference is that it feels more like a regular Samsung and not a standard flagship device.
You could just buy the S21+ instead of the S21 and get that glass back panel but that also comes with a $200 price increase.
No RAM Upgrade
The Galaxy S20 Ultra last year featured a 12 GB RAM, the S20 and the S20+ both featured 8 GB RAMs. This year, unlike most other years, Samsung has not gone with an upgrade to their Internal memory storage capacity which means that the S21 Ultra comes with 12 GBs, and the S21 and S21+ come with 8 GBs of internal memory.
Now, this might not be a huge disappointment to most people, but some were expecting the significantly low background app switching times of the S20 Ultra to be brought to all the phones in this year’s line-up.
No Expandable storage (if you still own memory cards)
One of the main advantages that Samsung flagships have had over the iPhones was that they always had expandable storage. Whatever storage you bought the phone with, you could always purchase a relatively inexpensive SD card and expand it, if need be. That luxury, I’m afraid, stops with the S21’s.
S21 series phones do not come with memory card slots. All you get is the 128 or 256 GB’s that you pay for (A 512 GB option is available for the S21 Ultra).
Now, 256 gigabytes might sound like a lot on a regular phone, but these phones are equipped with cameras that can shoot in 8K, and once 8K videos start filling up your camera roll, your storage could run out pretty quickly.
You can use Google Photos and similar apps to store your photos and videos, but offline sharing and viewing becomes all the more difficult when you start using cloud services.
So, there you have it! The three phones that Samsung released yesterday are, in no way, bad devices. The No Expandable Storage might be one of the biggest blows to the S-lineup but once you look past that, most of the other flaws do not seem that big. All in all, beautifully designed devices with respectable specs and some pretty significant upgrades.
Check out the full specifications here.