Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra may arrive in January with this polarizing new design

(Image credit: @OnLeaks)

Samsung's flagship Galaxy S line has traditionally been released at the end of February just ahead of Mobile World Congress, the biggest mobile event of the year. Well, it appears that Samsung may be changing things up for the Galaxy S21 launch in 2021.

Regular leaker Steve Hemmerstoffer (@OnLeaks), in a Voice post shared some renders of the Galaxy S21 based on alleged spec leaks along with claims of a January 2021 announcement for the Galaxy S21.

Samsung's Galaxy S line is typically the first smartphone to feature Qualcomm's latest and greatest Snapdragon chipset, although that too may change this year, and are perennial favorites for Android users as some of the best smartphones on the market.

Samsung is responsible for some of the most innovative smartphone designs with the Galaxy Z Fold 2 5G and the Galaxy Z Flip 5G. But the Galaxy S line is typically more of a specs showcase with a more traditional, albeit high-end, design.

One design touch that the Galaxy S has employed for the last several years has been the inclusion of a curved display that gives devices like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra its nearly bezeless look from the front. As you can see in the 360-degree render in the video below, the curved display is gone from this Galaxy S21 variant with instead a flat display (reportedly 6.2-inches) as seen on the Galaxy S20 FE

This has spurred a great deal of debate among Samsung fans online. While most will agree that the curved display is a superior look, there are many (myself included) that find a flat display much more usable. The issue with curved displays is both durability concerns due to the exposed screen edge and frequent registering of touches while simply holding the phone.

That was not the only design debate created by these renders though, the other notable feature is the camera module. The Galaxy S21 pictured above features a reasonably small triple camera array with a separate flash on the rear of the smartphone. But things look quite different on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.  I punched in on that section in the Galaxy S21 Ultra render below.

(Image credit: @OnLeaks)

In order to accommodate the jump up to a quad-camera array on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the camera module now dominates the top corner of the smartphone seemingly running about half the width of the device. The speculation is that this may be a second telephoto lens, but it's unclear at this point.

Overall dimensions for both come in quite close to their predecessors. The Galaxy S21 (6 x 2.8 x 0.3 inches) is 0.08 inches wider, but otherwise identical to the Galaxy S20. The Galaxy S21 Ultra (6.5 x 3 x 0.4 inches) actually gets slightly shorter and narrower, 0.07 and 0.02 inches respectively, while adding 0.003 inches of thickness.

Last but not least, is the news that the Galaxy S21 Ultra may offer support for the S-Pen. However, for those hoping that it would truly replace the Galaxy Note, it will not include a silo to house the S Pen. While that would theoretically allow for a much more robust S Pen, I doubt most Note fans would be thrilled at the notion of losing the built-in convenience. 

Given the early launch timeframe, we expect to see plenty of more Galaxy S21 leaks coming soon, so stay tuned.

Sean Riley

Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more.  Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.