It hasn’t been long since the release of the Samsung Galaxy S21 last January. While Samsung’s new-generation flagship phone didn’t get a major redesign, the new update is still quite surprising. This Samsung Galaxy 21 vs. S20 comparison will look closer at these two smartphones’ similarities and differences.
The newest phone models are often more expensive than their predecessors. That is not the case with the Galaxy S21 since it costs $200 less than last year’s Galaxy S20 model. Does that mean the S21 is a downgrade of the S20? See for yourself.
Samsung slashed the price of its flagship phone series this year, perhaps to cope with the business challenges presented by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Galaxy S21 starts at $799, the Galaxy S21 Plus starts at $999, and the top-of-the-line Galaxy S21 Ultra starts at $1,199. These prices are applicable for units with 128 GB storage. If you want to get the 256 GB model, you need to add $50 to its initial cost.
Comparatively, the Galaxy S20 models were much more expensive during its release last year. The base model’s starting price back then was $999, the Galaxy S20 plus was at $1,119, and the top-shelf Galaxy S20 Ultra was at $1,399.
For its chipset, the new Galaxy S21 uses Qualcomm’s newer mobile processor --- the Snapdragon 888. Meanwhile, its predecessor, the S20, used the Snapdragon 865 for units released in the U.S., while other markets received those with Exynos 990 processor.
According to Qualcomm, the new chipset will deliver an overall boost in performance and faster graphics rendering than the previous generation.
Additionally, the S21 now runs on Android 11 and One UI 3.0, while the out-of-the-box S20 runs on Android 10. However, to S20’s defense, you can still upgrade its O.S. and U.I. to the latest ones available.
The Galaxy S20 and S21 almost have identical displays. Both models have a 6.2-inch AMOLED screen with a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
However, the Galaxy S21’s resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels is inferior to the Galaxy S20’s 1440 x 3200 pixels. In terms of pixel density, that’s 563 PPI for the S20 and only 421 PPI for the S21.
On the bright side, the Galaxy S21 has a more vivid display of 1,300 nits than the Galaxy S20’s 1,200 nits. Overall, you can hardly notice the difference between the displays unless you look much closer.
The Samsung S21 continues Samsung’s release of three different sizes of its flagship model, which started in the S20. That is if you don’t count the Galaxy S20 FE. The S21 full-screen display looks similar to its predecessor, albeit for a punch-hole right at its center.
Moreover, the camera array of the S21 is blended into a metal frame around the unit. Samsung calls this camera housing the Contour Cut.
One of the features of the S20 that garnered quite the attention is its cameras. The Galaxy S20’s 108 MP primary camera’s zoom lens ran into some autofocus issues. Fortunately, Samsung did not make the same mistake twice.
Samsung’s most expensive phone, the S21 Ultra, comes with a four-camera array on the back. The S21 Ultra’s 108 MP main sensor returns as well as its 100x zooming ability. It now features two telephoto lenses --- a 3x zoom and a 10x optical zoom. Samsung also included laser autofocus to fix the focusing issues from before.
Meanwhile, the S21 and S21 Plus feature the standard three-camera setup of a 12 MP main ultra-wide lens, a 12 MP primary camera, and a 65 MP telephoto shooter. These phones also have the Zoom lock feature that improves focus during zoom shots.
The battery sizes and charging speed of both phones remain the same. The base models Galaxy S21 and S20 use a 4,000 mAh battery. Meanwhile, their Ultra counterparts have a 5,000 mAh power pack.
Only the Galaxy S21 Plus has a bigger battery of 4,800 mAh than its S20 Plus predecessor, which has a 4,500 mAh module.
However, it is estimated that the S21’s batteries can last 2 hours longer than its S20 predecessor. This discrepancy can be attributed to the S powering a smaller screen resolution and more efficient chipset.
Samsung also did not include a charger in the box of its new flagship phones, perhaps to mirror Apple’s move on the iPhone 12.
One differentiating feature between the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the S20 series is the former’s ability to use the S Pen stylus. If you could recall, the S Pen was previously limited only to Galaxy Note devices.
|Specs||Samsung Galaxy S20||Samsung Galaxy S21|
|Display Size, Resolution||6.2-inch, 1440 x3200 pixels, 1200 nits, Corning Gorilla Glass 6||6.2-inch, 1080 x 2400 pixels, 1,300 nits, Corning Gorilla Glass Victus|
|Pixel Density||563 PPI||421 PPI|
|Dimensions (Millimeters)||151.7 x 69.1 x 7.9 mm||151.7 x 71.2 x 7.9 mm|
|Weight (Ounces)||5.75 oz||5.96 oz|
|Mobile Software||Android 10, Can be upgraded to Android 11, One UI 3.0||Android 11, One UI 3.1|
|Back Camera||12 MP Wide-Angle, 64 MP Telephoto, 12 MP Ultra-Wide||12 MP Wide Angle, 64 MP Telephoto, 12 MP Ultra-Wide|
|Selfie Camera||10 MP||10 MP|
|Video Capture||8K at 24 fps||8K at 24 fps|
|Processor||Octa-core (2.7 GHz Max + 2.5 GHz + 2.0 GHz||Octa-core (2.9 GHz Max + 2.84 GHz + 2.2 GHz)|
|Chipset||SM8250 Snapdragon 865||SM8350 Snapdragon 888|
|RAM||12 GB UFS 3.0||8GB UFS 3.1|
|Storage||128 GB||128 GB|
|Memory Card Slot||MicroSDXC||None|
|Battery||4,000 mAh||4,000 mAh|
|Special Features||5G Enabled, Water Resistant (IP68), 120 Hz refresh rate||5G Enabled, Water Resistant (IP68), 120 Hz refresh rate|
|Price off-contract||Starts at $999||Starts at $799|
The answer depends solely on you. While the $200 price drop for the S21 is quite attractive, there are also some drawbacks, such as a smaller screen resolution. On the other hand, you get a faster chipset and longer battery life. Whether you chose the Galaxy S20 or S21, both will undoubtedly get your money’s worth.