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Samsung announces new flagship S21 series phones

Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent
·4-min read

Samsung has revealed a trio of new flagship smartphones, with the company pushing their 5G and connectivity abilities as the world increasingly takes to remote working and living.

The company has announced the new Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra will go on sale from January 29, with pre-orders beginning on Thursday.

All three new devices support 5G, while the larger S21 Ultra has also been made compatible with Samsung’s S-Pen stylus for the first time – an accessory which is normally part of the firm’s Note smartphone range – in an effort to boost the new phone’s appeal as a productivity device.

The introduction of the new phones comes amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, which Conor Pierce, Samsung’s corporate vice president for the UK and Ireland, said was a factor in the development of the new devices.

“This year, we’re using technology to stay connected more than ever before,” he said.

“With many of us working remotely and spending more time at home, we wanted to deliver a seamless smartphone experience that empowers you to share your world and connect with the people that matter the most.

“2021 marks a new era for the Galaxy range. We believe this year will be the real test of the power of 5G and we are committed to getting it in the hands of the next generation of innovators.

“With 5G enabled across the entire S21 Series, Galaxy S21 5G and Galaxy S21+ 5G offer the latest flagship experience to help you get the most out of every moment.”

Mr Pierce said bringing the S-Pen to the S21 Ultra would be an advantage to those working remotely and connecting with others while social distancing measures were part of daily life.

“As we navigate through these challenging times, we know that connection is so important which is why we are delivering best-in-class features to our customers, including the largest screen in our S21 Series and the most powerful camera, packaged in a new premium design and powered by 5G,” he said.

The Samsung S21 Ultra smartphone
The S21 Ultra is compatible for the firm’s S-Pen stylus for the first time (Samsung)

“What’s more, for the first time we are bringing our much-loved S Pen to the Galaxy S21 Ultra for users who want to take their productivity and creativity to a new level. For those who need the very best technology for streaming, gaming and capturing content, the Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G is the ultimate device.”

In the phone line-up, the new S21 comes with a 6.2-inch display and will start at £749, Samsung confirmed.

Meanwhile, the S21+ features a 6.7-inch screen with pricing starting at £949, and the top-of-the-line S21 Ultra boasts a 6.8-inch display and will start at £1,149.

Both the S21 and the S21+ come with a triple rear camera system which includes Samsung’s Space Zoom feature, where owners are able to use up to 30x zoom.

On the S21 Ultra, there is a quad rear camera system which includes a 108-megapixel sensor and the camera is able to capture images at up to 100x zoom.

Ben Wood, industry expert and chief of research at analyst firm CCS Insight, said the new phones “raise the bar” for the company and put some pressure on rivals, including Apple.

“Samsung’s decision to announce its latest flagship Galaxy smartphones early is a sensible move given the market turmoil created by the global pandemic and the postponement of the annual MWC event, which usually provides a showcase for Samsung’s latest new devices,” he said.

“It also narrows the gap since Apple’s announcements in October 2020, offering Samsung something new to compete with the iPhone 12 portfolio.

“The camera has become an anchor feature on new smartphones and Samsung has raised the bar again.

“Despite being a niche use-case for most phone owners, I particularly like the ‘Director’s View’ feature that is native to the phone and allows video capture to be toggled between the different camera views – be that a zoom, wide or a close shot.”

Alongside the trio of smartphones, Samsung also announced a new pair of wireless earphones – Galaxy Buds Pro, which includes what the firm calls “intelligent active noise control”, which can automatically adjust audio settings to block out or let in outside noise as the user needs.

In addition, the company announced Galaxy Smart Tags, small trackers which can be attached to items such as keys, bags or pets and used to help locate them should they be lost.