Samsung devoted its first Unpacked event of 2021 to the Galaxy S21, but that’s not all the company had to share. In addition to three new phones, Samsung announced the Galaxy Buds Pro and its first SmartTag lost item tracker.
Galaxy S21 and S21+
Samsung’s new S21 and S21+ phones come with a refreshed design and the latest silicon from chipmaker Qualcomm, but those aren’t the features that will draw people to these devices. Instead, it’s the fact that they will start at $800 and $1,000 when they go on sale on January 29th. Even when you account for the hidden cost of there being no power adapter in the box, that makes the S21 and S21+ significantly more affordable than their predecessors. More importantly, it means they start at the same price as the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 Pro. Of course, Samsung had to cut some corners to make the S21 and S21+ more affordable. They feature the same camera components as the S20 and S20+ and you’ll have to contend with a less pixel-dense display than last year. But if you ask us, so far none of those changes have made the S21 and S21+ come off as any less competent.
Galaxy S21 Ultra
We’ll forgive you if the only takeaway you came away from Samsung’s segment on the S21 Ultra is that it comes in a fancy new black colorway. It’s true, the company spent far too much time talking up something so straightforward, but that doesn’t mean Samsung didn’t update its top-of-the-line model in a meaningful way. New to the $1,200 S21 Ultra is an updated dual telephoto lens system that Samsung claims will improve “clarity with every shot.” Oh, and the rumors were true: the S21 Ultra will include S Pen support. Samsung even plans to release a Pro model of the stylus that will support that will allow you to use its Air Action gestures to control the phone remotely. Like its less expensive siblings, the S21 Ultra goes on sale on January 29th.
Galaxy Buds Pro
The design of Samsung’s bean-like Galaxy Buds Live may have made them great meme material, but when it came to day-to-day use, they weren’t all that compelling. Thankfully, Samsung went back to the drawing board and came back with the $200 Galaxy Buds Pro. The company’s new headphones combine elements of both the Galaxy Buds+ and aforementioned Galaxy Buds Live, leading to a design Samsung claims is less intrusive and more comfortable to wear. They also come with enhancements like active-noise cancellation, support for 360 Audio and an improved IPX7 rating against sweat and water. They’ll be available to buy today.
Leave it to Samsung to beat Apple to announcing its take on a Bluetooth tracker first. The Galaxy SmartTag is a Tile-like accessory you can attach to your belonging and use to try and find them if they ever get lost. While you’ll eventually be able to buy one for $30, you can also get a free SmartTag if you pre-order any of Samsung’s new phones directly from the company. Later this year, Samsung will release a Tag+ model that will take advantage of the ultra-wideband (UWB) feature in many of its new phones to offer enhanced tracking.