Galaxy S21 appears in Samsung flagship leak — but something is missing

Samsung Galaxy S20 FE smartphone
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)

Samsung had an impressive 2020 with a number of flagships that dominated their respective categories, including unique options like the Galaxy Z Fold 2, longtime favorites like the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, and the new, more affordable entry in the Galaxy S20 FE.

If a new leak from the oft-reliable Max Weinbach is accurate then 2021 is shaping up to be another banner year for Samsung smartphone fans with seven "flagship" class phones coming, including three with S Pen support (via TechRadar).

These devices include the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus, Galaxy S21 Ultra, Galaxy S21 FE, Galaxy Z Fold 3, Galaxy Z Fold 3 FE and the Galaxy Z Flip 3. I'm guessing many of you already have noticed what's missing there: the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra could be the last of the Galaxy Note line.

This certainly isn't the first time we've seen that suggested. As Weinbach indicates in a later tweet, we could see the S Pen live on with support in other Samsung flagships, but it will be separate rather than built-in. 

Given the dedicated fanbase the Galaxy Note enjoys, it would be a bold move by Samsung. This is a group that had a hard time giving up their phones when they were literally exploding on them and then came back to the line in droves the moment it returned. Whether offering them a big screen and S Pen support in the S21 Ultra, for example, will be enough remains to be seen. 

Looking over the rest of the list, there is only one other real surprise: the existence of a Galaxy Z Fold FE. Naturally, you have to assume that, like the Galaxy S20 FE, this is going to be a more affordable member of the Z Fold lineup. Affordable, of course, being a relative concept when you are coming from a $2,000 phone like the Galaxy Z Fold 2. 

What cuts do they make to bring costs down and how much can they bring it down? If the cameras, display and processor all take a hit would you be interested in a $1,499 folding smartphone from Samsung? It's worth noting that Weinbach didn't list it as the Galaxy Z Fold 3 FE or even the Z Fold 2 FE, making it hard to know what specs list they are going to be working from. 

All told, it looks like 2021 will be another strong lineup for Samsung and with the three Galaxy S21 flagships expected in January, it is going to kick off early. However, Fall 2021 may prove the real story for Samsung as we see whether the hole left by the Galaxy Note can be filled with the Galaxy S21 FE and perhaps the new foldables.

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.