Editor’s be aware: This story mistakenly mentioned that the Galaxy S21 line contains expandable storage of as much as 1TB. Nonetheless, the S21 telephone line doesn’t embrace a microSD card slot. We remorse the error. 

Samsung’s Galaxy S21 telephone line was introduced at a digital occasion in January. (Here is the place to order one.) The newest model of Samsung’s flagship Galaxy telephone is the successor to the Galaxy S20 line, launched in 2020. When you’re available in the market 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 it is best to go along with a Galaxy S20 FE or one of many new Galaxy A collection fashions?)

Here is every little thing it is advisable to know for now about how the Galaxy S21 compares with the Galaxy S20. We selected a winner for every class beneath primarily based purely on specs. For a extra in-depth have a look at Samsung’s new telephones, learn our full opinions of the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Extremely.

Learn extra: Galaxy S21: What did Samsung change since final yr? Not an entire lot

Drew Evans/CNET

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

Angela Lang/CNET

CNET gave the bottom Galaxy S20 a ranking of 8.7 out of 10, naming it the most effective out of the S20 line. Our reviewer appreciated top-shelf options akin to a pointy show and superior digicam 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, except S20’s worth drops extra (you will get it refurbished for round $550), it appears price it to improve to the S21. Learn our full Galaxy S20 assessment.

Design, display dimension and weight

The Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S20 are extraordinarily comparable with regards to shows. Each function 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED screens, a 120Hz refresh charge 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 be barely heavier, at 6.03 ounces, whereas the S20 weighs 5.75 ounces. 

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

When it comes to 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 telephone must you purchase? We evaluate all of them


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

The foremost digicam upgrades include the S21 Extremely. This mannequin has 4 rear cameras: a primary 108-megapixel broad sensor and a 12-megapixel ultrawide digicam, plus two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses — one with 3x zoom and one with 10x zoom. It additionally boasts a quick Vibrant Night time sensor and pixel binning expertise, which makes your pictures extra detailed. 

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

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


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Processing pace

Two of the largest upgrades to the S21 are the telephone’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 pace 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 learn about battery life and battery sizes

5G connectivity

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

Winner: Tie

Stylus help

One of many larger variations between the 2 telephone fashions comes on the Extremely degree. The Galaxy S21 Extremely contains help 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 be capable 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: Worth, options and limitations


Outdoors of the processor, maybe the largest distinction between the bottom S20 and S21 is the value 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 value 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, and to date it does not appear to have finished so. For worldwide pricing see the chart beneath.

Winner: Galaxy S21 


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Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Spec comparability

Here 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 little thing else Samsung introduced, you possibly can take a look at 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
Digital camera 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 12-megapixel (ultrawide) 12-megapixel (wide-angle), 64-megapixel (telephoto), 12-megapixel (ultrawide)
Entrance-facing digicam 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 ranking for water and mud resistance, 5G-enabled, 30x House Zoom, 10W wi-fi charging, 120Hz refresh charge 5G enabled; 120Hz refresh charge; IP68 ranking for water and mud resistance,
Worth at launch (USD) $800 $1,000
Worth (GBP) £769 £799, £899 (5G)
Worth (AUD) AU$1,249 AU$1,349 (4G), AU$1,499 (5G)

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