Samsung announces Galaxy S21 line of devices, Malaysian pre-orders up till 28 Jan

  • Prices start from US$916 onwards, main divergence is in camera dept
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra features two telephoto lenses; now supports S Pen

Samsung announces Galaxy S21 line of devices, Malaysian pre-orders up till 28 Jan

The thing about starting New Years with a bang is that the bang itself needs to be big and resounding. Samsung’s newly-announced slate of Galaxy S21 devices feels both like a bang and, in a strange way, kind of deflating.

On one hand, the new devices – announced during the second virtual Galaxy Unpacked event – imbues the “better is more” nature of its predecessors. Things like 8K video recording and 100X zoom with the camera makes a return, plus a few additional surprises. They also cost a lot, expectedly. Yet most of this feels more of a refinement than it is innovation.

There are three devices to the Galaxy S21 line-up: the S21, S21+ and the S21 Ultra, with prices starting from US$916 (RM3,699). Pre-orders have begun from 15 January up until 28 January 2021, which will net customers a few goodies (as shown below).

Samsung announces Galaxy S21 line of devices, Malaysian pre-orders up till 28 Jan

[RM1 = US$0.247]

Triple threat

All three Samsung Galaxy S21 devices are pretty distinctive from one another, though there are a few shared features. For one, they all sport the same processor. Malaysian units won’t be sporting the high-end Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset as with certain markets – instead, the devices will run on the new Exynos 2100, which is Samsung’s first flagship chip with an integrated 5G modem. The verdict on which chipset is better is still in the air, though on paper, they both appear on fairly equal footing.

All three devices will also have 120Hz screens, though they vary in sizes and type. The S21 and S21+ have flat screens, while the S21 Ultra will sport the curved Edge display. All three have different screen sizes, of course: the S21 sports a 6.2-inch FHD+ display, while the S21+ has a 6.7-inch FHD+ screen (they have the same resolution).

The S21 Ultra of course, carries the most exquisite display. It has a 6.8-inch screen with QHD+ (3200 x 1440) resolution, and the most adaptive refresh rate of the bunch, going as low as 10Hz. As a whole, not much has changed in terms of display when compared to the S20 devices, but it’s just about as premium as displays can get.

The S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra carry pretty hefty batteries, at 4,000 mAh, 4,800 mAh, and 5,000 mAh, respectively.


Souped-up shooters

The three devices diverge most drastically in the camera department. The S21 Ultra offers itself as the most appealing to shutterbugs. It offers a 108MP main camera that is coupled with a 12MP ultra-wide camera and – more interestingly – two 10MP telephoto cameras. One offers 3X optical zoom, while the other provides 10X optical zoom.

Functionally, the phone switches seamlessly between both telephoto lenses when you pinch to zoom in. Both also powers the 100X Space Zoom feature. The S21 Ultra also allows users to shoot in 4K at 60fps across all lenses, including the front camera – a first on any Galaxy smartphone.

The S21 and S21+ both carry the same cameras – namely a 12Mp main shooter, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a zoom camera using a single 64MP sensor (offering 30X hybrid zoom). You can still record in 8K for all three devices.

The camera and screen sizes are likely what’s driving your decision between all three devices, but the S21 Ultra does sport a few exclusive features. This includes support for the new Wi-Fi 6E standard. More interestingly, the S21 Ultra is also the first Galaxy S device to use Samsung's S Pen stylus – the same stylus included in the Note series.

The S Pen has to be purchased separately, however, or you can use an existing S Pen from a Galaxy Note or Galaxy Tab on the device. There’s no specific slot to snugly store the S Pen, though – users will have to get a case for it.

S Pen support does seem like Samsung is making headway towards merging its Galaxy Note devices with the Galaxy S line-up, as its flagship devices have now expanded with the inclusion of its foldable devices. 

All three S21 don’t sport a headphone jack. Sadly, they also do away with microSD slots, meaning that there’s no way to expand the built-in storage. Taking a leaf from the latest iPhones, the S21 devices also ship with no charging adapters in the box. You’re going to have to buy your own.

The Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra are available for pre-orders from now up until 28 January 2021. Consumers who purchase any Galaxy S21 series during the pre-order period will get 25% off any selected smartphone cases at participating outlets (terms and conditions apply, of course).


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