Samsung has just launched their latest addition to the Galaxy S series, the Galaxy S21 5G, and it's priced cheaper than the Galaxy S20.
Similar to the previous S20 series, the phone is available in three variations — the S21 5G, S21+ 5G and S21 Ultra 5G.
All of them are 5G-capable, whereas in the previous generation, only the S20 Ultra was 5G-capable.
The rear also makes a departure from the raised-glass camera array for a distinct "Contour Cut Camera housing".
Coincidentally, the colour-naming scheme seems to suit its Phantom of the Opera mask look.
Before getting into the thick and thin of what's new and what's good about the phones, if you're set on snapping up a set, pre-orders should now be available at the Samsung Online Store, Samsung Official Stores on Lazada and Shopee, KrisShop Online Store, and selected consumer electronics & IT online stores.
Pre-ordering at local telcos M1, Singtel and StarHub can be done online from Jan 15, 10am onwards.
According to Samsung, pre-orders with the telcos for the S21 will come with a free Galaxy Buds Live and Galaxy SmartTag worth $336, while pre-orders with the telcos for the S21+ and S21 Ultra variants will come with a Galaxy Tab A7 10.4 (64GB) Wi-Fi worth $448.
Now, for the pricing deets. First and foremost, surprisingly, for the latest edition of their flagship phone, Samsung has priced the S21 series lower than its S20 counterpart. For comparison's sake, the prices listed are for 256GB versions, if available.
The S21 is an upgrade in most parts (of course), but here are some of the features that stood out more than just a higher number of pixels or a faster phone.
5G capability: Faster internet (when it arrives)
When Samsung announced the S20FE, one of the main draws was that despite its lower price tag compared to the S20, it had 5G capability.
This time round, all variants have 5G capability included.
5G is yet to be available nationwide but promises speeds up to 100x faster than 4G LTE.
So when 5G does finally arrive officially, any S21 phone will be able to hop on the 5G network for faster surfing.
4K 60fps on more lenses: Capturing smoother 4K videos
The S21 series will feature 4K video-resolution recording capability at 60 frames per second (fps) across more rear phone camera lenses compared to earlier models.
With that said, only the S21 Ultra will get 4K 60fps across all rear camera lenses, while for the S21 and S21+, 4K 60fps will be limited to wide and super-wide lenses only.
Ever found yourself mesmerised by a TV in an electronics showroom? Chances are you laid your eyes upon a 60fps-capable TV and noticed how smooth the motion is compared to the usual 24fps.
On the S21 phones, this means higher-resolution, smoother videos that are not limited to only the main camera (when does a casual phone user ever need to shoot 4K though?).
Corning Gorilla Glass Victus: Tough, resilient screens
While the phone screens of certain other brands are known to be easily scratched and cracked, Samsung phones tend to last better and longer due in part to their Corning Gorilla Glass (CGG) screens.
The S20 series screens used the "damage- and drop-resistant" CGG 6, but the FE got the lower-end CGG 3 instead.
The S21 line will come with CGG Victus, touted as the toughest Gorilla Glass yet, which first appeared on the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra last year.
To get all personal-anecdote-y, my S10+ (CGG 6) and S20FE (CGG 3) without screen protectors have yet to see any scratches on the screens. So you can expect fewer scratches and cracks on the S21 series.
Director's View: Higher versatility in making videos
Available to all models is the Director's View feature. This new feature aims to give you more control of your videos, by showing you the available angles through all the rear cameras when shooting. By way of a thumbnail live-view, you get to see what the other angles are before switching the recording to another camera.
Another feature in the Director's View is split-camera video recording. Nowadays it's getting more and more popular to not just watch something yourself, but go one step further and watch another person's reaction to watching a video or playing a game.
In similar fashion, Director's View does more than just record what you're seeing, and includes either a split-screen or picture-in-picture of your reaction at the front camera, somewhat like the experience of a video call.
The regular video recording mode without the split-screen is of course still available, but having Director's View gives you more options when making videos.
Now that's not all the S21 phones have to offer. There's a lot more to be looked at in terms of hardware and specifications, but after years of beefed-up phone lineups and prices to go along, it's refreshing to see an updated flagship with more features yet at a lower price than its predecessor.
And if you've come this far searching for an answer to "Did Samsung really remove their chargers after mocking Apple for doing it," the answer is yes. Samsung has confirmed that the S21 will ship with no chargers included. *womp womp*