Galaxy S21 image leak brings the divisive new design into focus

Galaxy S21 Ultra press render in Phantom Silver
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The Galaxy S21 is set to arrive on January 14 with Samsung itself confirming its plans for an event on that day even though it hasn't specified the contents of that event just yet. So with less than a month to go, the floodgates have opened.

While we had already seen some leaked teaser videos of the devices, Roland Quant of today posted official press renders of the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Ultra that give us a crystal clear look at Samsung's 2021 flagships (via phoneArena),

The renders confirm much of the information that we already know, including the fact that the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus are virtually indistinguishable with the exception of the size and some of the color options. They feature the same trio of cameras on the back along with an offset flash and identical flat displays with a centered hole-punch front-facing camera.

After the somewhat blurry teaser videos, I was really curious to see what the Phantom Violet actually looks like at a higher resolution, and it is exactly as bold a statement as the teasers suggested with the gold or mystic bronze accents on the sides and camera array serving as punctuation. If that's not your style, don't worry, there are a number of other color options including black, white, grey and pink.

Samsung Galaxy S21 press render in Phantom Violet

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The angle I find the most interesting is the side view which gives you a look at the camera bump. It now wraps smoothly into the side of the smartphone rather than jutting up a couple of millimeters in from the edge as it did last year. I found that pretty irritating and, while I don't think this will entirely resolve my concerns, I do think it should alleviate some of them.

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra press render in Phantom Grey

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Taking a look at the Galaxy S21 Ultra render in the more subtle Phantom Grey the camera bump doesn't look any more prominent than it does on the Galaxy S21 and Galaxy S21 Plus. However, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is reportedly 8.9mm thick versus 7.9mm for the Galaxy S21, so that masks some of the additional sizes of the camera array.

Not everyone is thrilled with the new look for the Galaxy S21, but I think it's a very nice functional change to last year's design. Of course, that's just based on the images and videos that we've seen, the real test will be once I can finally get my hands on it next month. 

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.