Samsung introduces a high-end smartphone series twice a year. The Galaxy S21 series will be officially unveiled on January 14, 2021, and the new Note models are expected in the second half of the year. This time, however, Samsung opts for a number of remarkable changes when it comes to the S series. The new smartphones will not only be introduced a month earlier than usual, the new top model – the Galaxy S21 Ultra – will also be made compatible with the S Pen for the first time.
This iconic stylus pen has been the main feature of the Samsung Galaxy Note series for many years, but will also be found in other Galaxy products from 2021. Such as the S21 Ultra and the Galaxy Z Fold 3 foldable smartphone expected later this year. These new developments naturally raise the necessary questions regarding the Note line-up; will the Galaxy Note 20 still be followed up?
There have been rumors for some time that Samsung wants to drop its Galaxy Note series. Last month, however, LetsGoDigital already mentioned that a Note 21 will appear in 2021. We received this information from a reliable source in Korea, who is closely involved with Samsung Electronics. Whether it will be one or two models, our source does not yet know for certain.
A few days later, the Korean News Agency Yonhap reported that an anonymous Samsung official has stated: “We are preparing for a Galaxy Note series release for next year.” From this statement it can be concluded that it will most likely again concern two models, in the form of a Samsung Galaxy Note 21 and a Note 21 Ultra.
Now that it is clear that a new Note smartphone will arrive this year, the question remains; What can we expect from this device? Based on what is already known about the Galaxy S21 line-up and our expectations for the Note 21 line-up, LetsGoDigital has made a series of renders of the expected top model; the Samsung Note 21 Ultra.
The 3D renders are digitally designed by in-house designer Giuseppe Spinelli, aka Snoreyn. The model is drawn from sketch, after which the images are transformed into beautiful lifestyle images, creating the illusion that the pre-production device is actually laying on the table in front of you. The video animation below was also made by the Italian designer.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21 Ultra
The Note 21 Ultra will undoubtedly be provided with several new functions, which can also be found in the S21 Ultra. The devices in the Note line-up have a somewhat more rectangular design with a business appearance, compared to the round S-series models.
Although the Galaxy S20 Ultra was equipped with a 6.9” display, the S21 Ultra will have a slightly smaller 6.8″ screen. For the Note 20 Ultra, a 6.9″ screen has been chosen, presumably the display of the Note 21 Ultra will remain the same size as its predecessor.
Naturally, Samsung will opt for an AMOLED display. In addition, you may assume that the QHD+ resolution will be maintained. The device will also be equipped with an adaptive 120 Hertz refresh rate, which will remain usable in maximum screen resolution. The S20 / Note 20 only supports this high refresh rate in Full HD resolution, but this will change in 2021.
Samsung will probably further increase the maximum brightness. The soon-expected S21 Ultra will have a peak brightness of 1600 nits – a significant upgrade over the 1400 nits display of the S20 Ultra. The Note 20 falls exactly in between with 1500 nits. It is therefore in line with expectations that the Note 21 Ultra will support at least 1600 nits.
In all likelihood, Samsung will again choose to implement a curved display in the Galaxy Note 21 Ultra. In addition, premium materials will be used for the frame and rear panel. A metal frame with a glass back is the most obvious option. As long as it doesn’t become a plastic back – as is the case with the base models of the Note and S series, including the Galaxy Note 20 and the S21.
Compatible with Samsung S Pen
Of course the new Samsung Note can also be used with the S Pen. This stylus pen has been included as standard from the very first Note. Thanks to a dedicated stylus compartment you can easily store the pen in the phone, after which the S Pen is automatically being charged.
By putting the pen in the compartment for just 40 seconds, it’s ready to be used for approx. half an hour. If you are about to forget or loose the stylus, the device will automatically warn the user that the S Pen is no longer connected.
Over the years, Samsung has continuously refined and improved the S Pen, making the pen much more than a handy tool for creating sketches and drawings. As the display of smartphones have also become increasingly larger, the stylus has become a useful means to increase productivity. Select and translate text, convert handwritten text into typed text, annotate web pages, photos and even PDFs – it’s all possible with the Samsung stylus.
Samsung may see another chance to further improve the S Pen. For example, the latency of the Note 20 Ultra was reduced to 9 milliseconds. As a result, there is in fact no more input delay, so that writing with the stylus feels as if you are holding a regular pen.
There are also many writing aids available – including a ballpoint pen, a fountain pen or a highlighter – everything is available in different thicknesses and colors. Even the sound of the S Pen makes you believe you’re using a real pen on paper. Thanks to the many Air Actions that Samsung has linked to its stylus, it has become a very versatile tool.
Now that the S21 Ultra will also be compatible with the S Pen, it is all the more likely that Samsung will provide the Note 21 with new and improved S Pen functionalities. After all, this remains the most distinctive feature of this high-end smartphone series.
Renewed selfie camera and new quad camera
Although it is generally known that Samsung – like other smartphone manufacturers – is developing an in-display selfie camera, it is still unclear whether it will be used in the Note 21 Ultra. It would of course be a great innovation, especially since the Note model series will exist exactly 10 years in 2021.
Still, the question remains how far the developments of under-screen camera technology have progressed. Although the ZTE Axon 20 5G has now been officially released, there is still something to be said about the quality of this under-screen camera. Samsung will probably only build this tech into a high-end device if the company is also sure that good image quality is maintained.
It is certainly not inconceivable that Samsung will again opt for a centrally placed punch-hole camera for the Galaxy Note 21. With the Note20 Ultra, a 10 megapixel selfie camera (f / 2.2) was chosen. We assume that this front camera will at least get an update.
For example, the S20 Ultra / S21 Ultra has a 40 megapixel selfie camera (f / 2.2) with “pro-grade technology”. In poor light conditions, the camera automatically switches to 10 megapixels with larger pixels – in order to capture more details. It is possible that Samsung will also use this high-resolution selfie camera for the Note 21 Ultra. Video calls can most likely be conducted in the same resolution; 4K @ 60fps.
With regard to the camera system at the rear, the same design trend is probably followed here as with the S21 series. The latter models will have a significantly larger camera, which extends to the edges of the device. The Ultra model also gets a new camera configuration. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is expected to feature a 108 megapixel main camera (2nd generation) with an f/1.8 lens, a 12 megapixel ultra-wide angle camera (120˚) and two 10 megapixel telephoto cameras. One supports 10x Hybrid zoom, the other 3x Hybrid zoom.
It is still unknown why Samsung chooses to build in two telephoto lenses. It is quite possible that this will lead to more photography options. However, exact details are not yet known. A teaser, spread by Samsung India while sending the press invitations for the Galaxy S21 Unpacked launch event, shows that this will be an important feature to be discussed during the product presentation and probably also during the marketing campaign of the S21 Ultra.
It is not inconceivable that a comparable camera will also be used with the Note 21. For the time being, however, no information is available about the camera system of this model. The 8K video resolution will undoubtedly be maintained, it is in line with expectations that the image quality will be further improved. Think of a higher frame rate of 30fps or even 60fps. Currently 8K is only applicable at 24fps. Furthermore, there will undoubtedly be a Pro mode and a Night mode available.
As for the autofocus system, the S21 Ultra will take over the Note 20’s laser autofocus system. It may also be found in the Note 21. This works significantly faster and more accurately than the 3D DepthVision camera, which was used in previous top models from Samsung.
Hardware & Software
As every year, Samsung will install a new processor that is even faster and more powerful than its predecessor. In 2021 it will be the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chipset, although the Exynos 2100 variant from Samsung itself will be used in Europe. In previous years, the Samsung Exynos chip was less in terms of performance and energy consumption compared to Qualcomm. This year, however, Samsung seems to have made huge performance improvements, the first benchmark tests showed.
The Samsung Exynos 2100 will be officially announced on January 12, 2021 during an online event. Two days later, the Galaxy S21 series will be announced, becoming the first Samsung smartphones to be powered by this new and extremely powerful 5nm chipset.
The Samsung Note 21 series will also be powered by this processor. Naturally, this chip has an integrated 5G modem, so you can also make use of the super-fast 5G mobile internet network – provided you also have a 5G subscription, of course.
Last year Samsung offered a choice of 12GB RAM and 256GB or 512GB memory. It is still unclear whether the Note 21 will also have 12GB of RAM, but this is certainly not inconceivable. Although the S20 Ultra was equipped with 16GB RAM, it is expected that the S21 Ultra comes with 12GB RAM. 16GB of RAM is a lot and actually simply not necessary. We also do not expect to see any changes in terms of storage capacity.
Introduction Samsung Note 21 series
Normally, Samsung organizes a Galaxy Unpacked event around August to officially announce the new Note models. However, the introduction of the S-series smartphones will take place a month earlier this year. It is still unclear what this will mean for the introduction of the Note 21.
Last year, Samsung chose to simultaneously announce the S20 series and the Z Flip. This time, the S21 series will be announced earlier and the Galaxy Z Flip 2 will arrive just a little later – it is expected in the spring of 2021.
It is quite possible that Samsung also opts for a separate release of the Note 21 (Ultra) and the Z Fold 3. In that case, it is likely that the Note 21 will be announced first, for example in early August. Followed by the Z Fold 3 around October.
The Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G carried a suggested retail price of € 1,300 (256GB). If Samsung does indeed implement the innovations and improvements as described in this publication, then it is obvious that the price will not get cheaper. The S21 Ultra will probably be € 50 more expensive on the market than the year before. It is very well possible that Samsung chooses for a similar price increase with the Note 21 Ultra.
No information is yet known about the colors. The release takes place in the fall, Samsung often opts for colors that perfectly match the season – think of the beautiful Mystic Bronze and Mystic Green color variants for the Note 20 Ultra.
For the product images we have created, we used a mix of the S21 Ultra and its Phantom Black and Phantom SIlver colors and the Mystic Bronze and Mystic Green colors of the Note 20. As the release date approaches, more details about this new flagship device will undoubtedly come to surface.
Note to editors : The product images shown in this publication are created by in-house designer Giuseppe Spinelli (aka Snoreyn). The presented 3D renders are for illustrative purposes only. The images are copyright protected. Feel free to use these renders on your own website, please be so respectful to include a source link into your publication. This product is not yet for sale, Samsung is expected to launch their 2021 Note-series devices halfway through 2021.