Samsung’s trio of S21 phones — the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra — are here, and the lineup starts at a cool $200 less than its predecessor. While the price cut is a welcome change, the smartphone industry is notoriously cut-throat, and (as always) you can bet the S21 will face stiff competition from the iPhone 12 series. So let’s see how the S21 stacks up against its long-time rival.
In a nutshell: The $800 S21 appears to be a slightly better deal for the features you get, on paper at least. Although the iPhone 12 line starts at $829 (£799, AU$1,349) you’ll have to pony up $879 (£849, AU$1,429) for the 128GB version, which is the same amount of storage you get for the entry-level S21.
The S21 also has an extra telephoto lens, and the highest-end S21 Ultra has support for Samsung’s S Pen stylus, which is sold separately.
It’s also important to note what Samsung removed from its S21 family to allow it to start at that lower price. One of the most controversial changes is the lack of an in-box wall adapter and earphones. The South Korean company is pushing its customers to reuse older accessories in the name of the environment, just like Apple did with the iPhone 12 family. The S21 line also lost expandable local storage, joining last year’s Galaxy Z Fold 2 and Z Flip foldables in ditching the microSD card slot because “usage has markedly decreased.”
Samsung’s new lineup includes (from left) the $800 Galaxy S21, $1,000 Galaxy S21 Plus and $1,200 Galaxy S21 Ultra.
One thing you get in the iPhone 12 that’s absent on the S21, however, is MagSafe. That’s Apple’s proprietary magnetically enabled system that lets you charge your iPhone wirelessly and attach all kinds of accessories to the back of the device. The Pro models also have lidar, which is a depth sensor…