Editors’ notice: An earlier model of this story misstated the storage capabilities of the Galaxy S21 line. The S21 cellphone line doesn’t embody a microSD card slot.

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 cellphone line is the most recent model of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy cellphone, launched earlier this 12 months (here is the place to order one.) It is also the successor to the Galaxy S20 line, which got here out in 2020. In the event you’re out there for an improve, chances are you’ll be questioning: What precisely are the variations between the 2 Galaxy telephones? Is it well worth the $800 for an improve? (Or perhaps you need to go together with a Galaxy Z Fold 3 or Z Flip 3, or anticipate the rumored Galaxy S22?)

This is every thing you could know for now about how the Galaxy S21 compares with the Galaxy S20. We selected a winner for every class beneath based mostly purely on specs. For a extra in-depth take a look at Samsung’s new telephones, learn our full critiques of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Extremely.

Learn extra: Galaxy S21: What did Samsung change since final 12 months? Not a complete lot

Drew Evans/CNET

The bottom 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 cellphone will get a serious worth drop in contrast with its predecessor, beginning at $800 (£769, AU$1,249). Learn our full Galaxy S21 evaluate.

Angela Lang/CNET

CNET gave the bottom Galaxy S20 a score of 8.7 out of 10, naming it the most effective out of the S20 line. Our reviewer appreciated top-shelf options equivalent to a pointy show and superior digital camera capabilities, however famous that the beginning worth of $1,000 (£799, AU$1,349) was a bit excessive for what you get. Whereas the S21 is generally comparable in options, until S20’s worth drops extra (you will get it refurbished for round $550), it appears value it to improve to the S21. Learn our full Galaxy S20 evaluate.

Design, display screen dimension and weight

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 are extraordinarily comparable relating to shows. Each 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 421ppi, in contrast with the S20’s 563ppi. The S21 can also be barely heavier, at 6.03 ounces, whereas the S20 weighs 5.75 ounces. 

The 2 telephones additionally seem like near equivalent in design. The one main distinction in look is the rear digital camera module — on the S21, it has a metallic overlay. Each telephones are IP68-rated for water and mud resistance. Neither cellphone has a headphone jack

By way 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 Extremely fashions). The Galaxy S20 is obtainable in cosmic grey, cloud blue, cloud pink and cosmic black. 

Winner: Tie

Learn extra: Which Samsung Galaxy cellphone must you purchase? We evaluate all of them


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The bottom 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. Each 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 Extremely. This mannequin has 4 rear cameras: a foremost 108-megapixel broad 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 Vivid Evening sensor and pixel binning expertise, which makes your images extra detailed. 

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

Learn extra: Galaxy S21’s digital camera options are good, however are they sufficient?


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Processing velocity

Two of the most important upgrades to the S21 are the cellphone’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 bottom Galaxy S20 and S21 fashions have the identical battery dimension of 4,000mAh. The battery dimension rises to five,000mAh in each the S20 Extremely and S21 Extremely. The one distinction between fashions is within the Plus variations: The S21 Plus will get a battery dimension improve to 4,800mAh, in contrast with 4,500mAh within the S20 Plus.

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

Learn extraSamsung Galaxy S21: What to find out about battery life and battery sizes

5G connectivity

All S21 and S20 fashions assist 5G connectivity, so no distinction there. 

Winner: Tie

Stylus assist

One of many larger variations between the 2 cellphone fashions comes on the Extremely stage. The Galaxy S21 Extremely consists of assist for the S Pen stylus (bought individually for $40), whereas not one of the S20 fashions do. Which means S21 Extremely house owners 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.

Learn extra: Galaxy S21 Extremely works with Samsung S Pen, Professional stylus: Value, options and limitations


Exterior of the processor, maybe the most important distinction between the bottom S20 and S21 is the worth tag. The Galaxy S21 is now on sale, beginning at $800 for the 128GB mannequin. (Purchase the S21 right here.) By comparability, the Galaxy S20 began at $1,000. Although the worth on the S20 has fluctuated because the Galaxy Unpacked occasion, Samsung did not say whether or not it will get an additional lower, and to this point it would not appear to have executed so. For worldwide pricing see the chart beneath.

Winner: Galaxy S21 


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Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Spec comparability

This is how the specs of the 2 telephones evaluate, now that the S21 particulars have been formally launched.

For extra concerning the Galaxy S21 and every thing else Samsung introduced, you possibly can try our roundup

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20 specs

Galaxy S21 Galaxy S20
Show 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
Cell software program Android 11 Android 10
Digicam 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Entrance-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)
Battery 4,000 mAh 4,000 mAh
Fingerprint sensor In-screen In-screen
Headphone jack No No
Particular options IP68 score for water and mud resistance, 5G-enabled, 30x Area Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging, 120Hz refresh price 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh price; IP68 score for water and mud resistance,
Value at launch (USD) $800 $1,000
Value (GBP) £769 £799, £899 (5G)
Value (AUD) AU$1,249 AU$1,349 (4G), AU$1,499 (5G)

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