Technology: What to expect from Samsung’s Galaxy S21 event

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Samsung’s next Unpacked event will kick off on January 14th at 10AM ET, and thanks to copious leaks, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the big day.

a close up of a computer: The rumored Galaxy S21 Ultra lineup. © Image: WinFuture The rumored Galaxy S21 Ultra lineup.

Samsung is widely expected to announce its next lineup of flagship phones, which will likely be called the S21, S21 Plus, and the S21 Ultra. The S21 Ultra is rumored to have top-of-the-line specs, cameras, and, in a first for an S-model Galaxy phone, support for Samsung’s S Pen stylus. The S21 and S21 Plus are expected to have similar specs but differentiate in size.

A new set of true wireless earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro, and a Tile-like item tracker, the Galaxy SmartTag, also seem like a lock. Rumors about both products have hit the web recently, and they each showed up in a leaked preorder ad for the S21 Ultra. And of course, Samsung may surprise us with things that we don’t know about yet.

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Here’s the rundown of what we think we know so far.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra will support the S Pen stylus

The Galaxy S21 Ultra. © Image: WinFuture The Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Let’s talk about the Ultra flagship first. The big new feature for the S21 Ultra is support for the S Pen stylus, as confirmed by Federal Communications Commission filings. However, the stylus is rumored to be an optional accessory, and the phone isn’t rumored to have a dedicated slot to store it, unlike the company’s Note series of phones. WinFuture posted images of an optional case that allows you to store the S Pen, though, so that might be a useful accessory to pick up to help you not lose the stylus. WinFuture also reports that the S Pen will cost just under €40, which translates to just under $49.

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As for cameras, the Ultra will apparently have four back cameras, including 3X and 10X telephoto cameras, according to WinFuture. Both of those telephoto cameras are also expected to have optical image stabilization and a 10-megapixel resolution. The phone may also have Samsung’s 100X “Space Zoom” feature that first debuted in the Galaxy S20, reports Android Police.

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The other two back cameras are rumored to be a 108-megapixel wide-angle camera and a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, and the selfie camera may be 40 megapixels. The phone could also have laser-assisted autofocus, something that was included with last year’s Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.

You can get a closer look at the rumored camera setup for the Ultra in this leaked marketing image from leaker Evan Blass:

a close up of a sign: The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s rumored cameras. © Image: Evan Blass The Galaxy S21 Ultra’s rumored cameras.

The Ultra is also expected to have a 6.8-inch WQHD+ (3200 x 1440) resolution display, according to WinFuture. It’s also expected to support a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate, and leaker Ice Universe says the S21 Ultra may be able to run at that full WQHD+ resolution with the 120Hz refresh rate, something that the S20 Ultra couldn’t do.

Samsung S21, Galaxy Buds Pro Preorder

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The S21 Ultra is also rumored to support 5G networks, be IP68 certified for water and dust resistance, have a 5,000mAh battery, and come with 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of storage.

The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus will offer similar specs at different sizes

a screen shot of a computer: The rumored Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus. © Image: WinFuture The rumored Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus.

Samsung also plans to announce the Samsung S21 and S21 Plus, which won’t have quite as powerful specs as the Ultra.

The most obvious difference between the S21 and S21 Plus is a smaller camera module. The two phones are expected to have a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens, reports WinFuture. And both phones will reportedly have a 10-megapixel selfie camera.

Here’s a better look at the cameras on the S21, thanks to another leaked marketing render from Blass:

graphical user interface, application: The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus’ rumored camera setups. © Image: Evan Blass The Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus’ rumored camera setups.

As for screens, the standard S21 is expected to have a 6.2-inch display with an FHD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution, while the S21 Plus is rumored to have a 6.7-inch screen with an FHD+ (2400 x 1080) resolution. Both are expected to support a 120Hz refresh rate screen as well, though it apparently won’t be an adaptive refresh rate, according to Android Police.

How to preorder the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra

  How to preorder the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra Starting at $799.99

Like the Ultra, both the S21 and S21 Plus are expected to support 5G networks and be IP68-certified. They’re also expected to be offered with either 128GB or 256GB of storage. And depending on which model you buy, they’ll have different battery sizes: the smaller S21 is rumored to have a 4,000mAh battery, while the S21 Plus is expected to have a 4,800mAh battery.

Each phone is also rumored to have a different back cover material. The S21 could have a plastic back, while the S21 Plus may have a glass back, according to WinFuture.

The S21 lineup may not include a power charger in the box

Samsung’s newest phones may take a cue from Apple by not including a charger in the box, according to WinFuture’s reports about the S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra. And the company recently deleted ads mocking Apple for not including a charger with the iPhone 12 lineup, lending credence to rumors that Samsung will be making a similar move.

While the decision could be a good one for the environment, keep in mind that if you’re thinking about picking up an S21, you may also need to consider purchasing a separate charging brick to go along with it.

The new phones may run Samsung’s One UI 3.1

Samsung’s S21 lineup may run One UI 3.1, and a video from YouTuber Jimmy is Promo reveals some of the features that could be coming in the new update.

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The video, which apparently demonstrates One UI 3.1 running on the S21 Ultra, shows off a way to record from the front and rear cameras simultaneously, some of the S Pen features that work on the S21 Ultra, backgrounds for the call screen, the ability to select video resolution from the video recording screen, and more.

Samsung’s new Galaxy Buds Pro true wireless earbuds could compete with the AirPods Pro

a close up of a computer: Samsung’s rumored Galaxy Buds Pro. © Image: Evan Blass Samsung’s rumored Galaxy Buds Pro.

In addition to its S21 slate of phones, Samsung is also heavily rumored to announce a new set of true wireless earbuds called the Galaxy Buds Pro. Not only have they been revealed as a preorder freebie for the S21 Ultra in a leaked marketing render shared by Blass, but YouTuber Digital Slang has already posted a hands-on video and comparisons with the AirPods Pro and Samsung’s bean-shaped Galaxy Buds Live.

The new earbuds are rumored to have active noise cancelation, an eight-hour battery life (up to 28 hours with the charging case), and an IPX7 water / sweat rating. You can see how the Galaxy Buds Pro compare to some of Samsung’s other true wireless earbuds in this leaked spec sheet from WalkingCat. The Galaxy Buds Pro may cost $199, making them a more affordable alternative to $249 Apple’s AirPods Pro.

Samsung may launch its Tile-like item tracker called the Galaxy SmartTag

  What to expect from Samsung’s Galaxy S21 event © Image: 91mobiles

Samsung’s rumored new Tile-like Galaxy SmartTag will apparently use Bluetooth to connect with devices and share its location. The tag itself looks to be a small square with rounded corners and a loop at the top to make it easier to attach to things, as shown in photos posted on the website of Taiwan’s telecom regulator and shared by 91mobiles. The design in the photos also matches an image of the SmartTag in the leaked ad of preorder bonuses for the S21 Ultra.

It seems likely that the SmartTags will work with Samsung’s new SmartThings Find app, which lets you track the locations of your Galaxy devices, similar to Apple’s Find My app.

Where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra, .
Starting at $799.99

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