Samsung’s new Galaxy S21 phone line hits shops Friday. The newest model of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy phone is the successor to the Galaxy S20 line, launched in 2020. If you are out there for an improve, it’s possible you’ll be questioning: What precisely are the variations between the 2 Galaxy telephones? And is it price it to spend $800 for an improve? 

Here’s the whole lot you have to know for now about how the Galaxy S21 compares with the Galaxy S20. (Psst… here is why now is likely to be the worst time to purchase the Samsung Galaxy S20.) We selected a winner for every class under based mostly purely on specs. For a more in-depth take a look at Samsung’s new telephones, learn our evaluations of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Ultra.

Read more: Galaxy S21 vs. S20 specs in contrast: What Samsung modified in its new telephones

Drew Evans/CNET

The base Samsung Galaxy S21 features a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X show with a 120Hz refresh price, a 4,000-mAh battery and three rear digital camera lenses, together with a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens. It runs on Android 11, and has a brand new Snapdragon 888 processor. The phone will get a serious worth drop in contrast with its predecessor, beginning at $800 (£769, AU$1,249).

Angela Lang/CNET

CNET gave the bottom Galaxy S20 a ranking of 8.7 out of 10, naming it the perfect out of the S20 line. Our reviewer appreciated top-shelf features corresponding to a pointy show and superior digital camera capabilities, however famous that the beginning worth of $999 (£799, AU$1,349) was a bit excessive for what you get. While the S21 is usually comparable in features, except S20’s worth drops more, it appears price it to improve to the S21.

Design, display screen dimension and weight

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 are extraordinarily comparable in terms of shows. Both characteristic 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED screens, a 120Hz refresh price and an in-screen fingerprint sensor. The variations are comparatively small: The S21 has a pixel density of 421 ppi, in contrast with the S20’s 563 ppi. The S21 can also be barely heavier, at 6.03 ounces, whereas the S20 weighs 5.75 ounces. 

The two telephones additionally seem like near similar in design. The solely main distinction in look is the rear digital camera module — on the S21, it has a metallic overlay. Both telephones are IP68-rated for water and mud resistance. Neither phone has a headphone jack

In phrases of colours, the Galaxy S21 is available in pastels referred to as phantom violet, phantom grey, phantom pink and phantom white (different colours can be found for the S21 Plus and Ultra fashions). The Galaxy S20 is offered in cosmic grey, cloud blue, cloud pink and cosmic black. 

Winner: Tie

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Our first take a look at the brand new Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus



The base mannequin Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21 have the very same digital camera setup: The rear digital camera modules have a 64-megapixel telephoto digital camera, a 12-megapixel wide-angle digital camera and 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera. Both telephones additionally include a 10-megapixel selfie digital camera. The cameras are the identical on each Plus fashions, too. 

The main digital camera upgrades include the S21 Ultra. This mannequin has 4 rear cameras: a foremost 108-megapixel large sensor and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digital camera, plus two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses — one with 3x zoom and one with 10x zoom. It additionally boasts a quick Bright Night sensor and pixel binning expertise, which makes your pictures more detailed. 

Winner: Tie (besides within the case of the S21 Ultra, which wins over the S20 Ultra)

Read more: Galaxy S21’s digital camera features are good, however are they sufficient?

Processing velocity

Two of the most important upgrades to the S21 are the phone’s processor and the software program it runs — it is now on Android 11 with a Snapdragon 888 processor, which ought to result in will increase in velocity and efficiency. The S20 was initially launched with Android 10 and has a Snapdragon 875.

Winner: Galaxy S21

Battery life

The base Galaxy S20 and S21 fashions have the identical battery dimension of 4,000 mAh. The battery dimension rises to five,000 mAh in each the S20 Ultra and S21 Ultra. The solely distinction between fashions is within the Plus variations: The S21 Plus will get a battery dimension improve to 4,800 mAh, in contrast with 4,500 mAh within the S20 Plus. 

Winner: Tie (besides within the case of the S21 Plus, which wins over the S20 Plus)

Read moreSamsung Galaxy S21: What to learn about battery life and battery sizes

5G connectivity

All S21 and S20 fashions help 5G connectivity, so once more, no distinction there. 

Winner: Tie

Stylus help

One of the larger variations between the 2 phone fashions comes on the Ultra stage. The Galaxy S21 Ultra consists of help for the S Pen stylus (offered individually for $40), whereas not one of the S20 fashions do. That means S21 Ultra homeowners will quickly have the ability to use the small digital pen to jot notes, take higher screenshots, signal paperwork or draw of their favourite apps.

Read more: Galaxy S21 Ultra works with Samsung S Pen, Pro stylus: Price, features and limitations


Outside of the processor, maybe the most important distinction between the bottom S20 and S21 is the worth tag. The Galaxy S21 will go on sale on Jan. 29 (although you’ll be able to preorder the S21 now), beginning at $800 for the 128GB mannequin. In comparability, the Galaxy S20 began at $999. Though the worth on the S20 has fluctuated for the reason that Galaxy Unpacked occasion, Samsung did not say whether or not it might get an additional lower. For worldwide pricing see the chart under.

Winner: Galaxy S21 

Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Spec comparability

Here’s how the specs of the 2 telephones evaluate, now that the S21 particulars have been formally launched.

For more in regards to the Galaxy S21 and the whole lot else Samsung introduced, you’ll be able to try our roundup

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20 specs

Galaxy S21 Galaxy S20
Display dimension, decision 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X; (2,400×1,080 pixels) 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X; (3,200×1,440 pixels)
Pixel density 421 ppi 563 ppi
Dimensions (inches) 2.80×5.97×0.31 in 2.72×5.97×0.31 in
Dimensions (millimeters) 71.2×151.7×7.9 mm 69.1×151.7×7.9 mm
Weight (ounces, grams) 6.03 oz; 171g 5.75 oz; 163g
Mobile software program Android 11 Android 10
Camera 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Front-facing digital camera 10-megapixel 10-megapixel
Video seize 8K 8K
Processor Snapdragon 888 Snapdragon 865 or 64-bit octa-core processor (Max 2.7GHz + 2.5GHz + 2GHz)
Storage 128GB, 256GB 128GB
RAM 8GB 12GB (5G), 8GB (LTE)
Expandable storage Up to 1TB Up to 1TB
Battery 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen
Headphone jack No No
Special features IP68 ranking for water and mud resistance, 5G-enabled, 30X Space Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging, 120Hz refresh price 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh price; IP68 ranking for water and mud resistance,
Price at launch (USD) $800 $999
Price (GBP) £769 £799, £899 (5G)
Price (AUD) AU$1,249 AU$1,349 (4G), AU$1,499 (5G)

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