After underwhelming sales of the S20 lineup, Samsung has had a serious rethink of its US pricing strategy as the pandemic rages on.
Samsung’s much-awaited Galaxy S21 lineup has arrived and the standout feature isn’t found on its software or hardware. It’s its price tag.
The next-gen flagship lineup starts at $800 (£769, AU$1,249) for the baseline Galaxy S21, rises to $1,000 (£949, AU$1,549) for the Galaxy S21 Plus, and maxes out at $1,200 (£1,149, AU$1,849) for the Galaxy S21 Ultra, representing a $200 price cut for the trio of models from last year’s S20 family.
Samsung promises its new S21 lineup works better than its predecessors, despite its cheaper price tag. But Samsung is a publicly listed business after all, and it needed to make a bunch of calculated compromises to allow the S21 to hit that lowered price, even if component costs are trending lower.
One of the most controversial omissions is the in-box wall adapter and earphones. Samsung is pushing its customers to reuse older accessories in the name of the environment, just like Apple did with the iPhone 12 family.
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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,” according to the company.
Some of the other trade-offs getting less attention: a reduction in RAM on the base S21 (it has 4GB less RAM than the S20); the reduction of the screen resolution (by half) on the S21 and S21 Plus; and the replacement of Gorilla Glass from the back of the S21 with polycarbonate, aka plastic.
Unlike the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition, which starts at $700, Samsung retained 8K video recording in all S21 phones.
The Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra are all available for preorder ahead of their January 29 shipping date.