Samsung Galaxy S21 follows in iPhone 12's footsteps — there won't be a charger in the box (leak)

Rear camera and back of Galaxy S21 Plus in Phantom Violet
(Image credit: @MaxWinebach)

Apple's new no-charger-in-the-box approach is spreading like wildfire in the smartphone industry. Rumors about Samsung's plans to follow in Apple's footsteps have been circulating since last year, but now the writing is on the wall. 

Leaked Samsung Galaxy S21 marketing materials confirm that the Korean tech giant's next-gen smartphone line will not ship with chargers — just like the iPhone 12.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 will not have a charger in the box

Evan Blass, a popular tech leaker known for pulling the curtains back on the smartphone and tablet industry, unveiled the marketing materials for the Galaxy S21 ahead of Samsung's Unpacked event.

In a section called "What's in the box," it says, "Galaxy S21+ 5G comes packaged with just what you need — USB Type-C data and charging cable, ejection pin and Quick Start Guide. Just another way of being good to the environment."

Samsung Galaxy S21 leaks

Samsung Galaxy S21 marketing materials by @evleaks (Image credit: @evleaks/Evan Blass)

My, my how the tables have turned. In a late October social-media ad, Samsung trolled Apple for not shipping chargers with the iPhone 12.

The Korean tech giant reminded its followers that its flagship smartphones, unlike the iPhone 12 line, ships with chargers. However, the ad didn't age well. In late December, several publications observed that Samsung deleted the ad from its social media accounts, fueling suspicions that Samsung planned on following Apple's footsteps.

Samsung's ad removal came after a document leak from Anatel, Brazil's FCC-equivalent agency. The leak unveiled what we all now know: the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra will ship without wall chargers and earbuds. It's true what they say: haters secretly want to be you.

Apple claimed that it's purging chargers and earbuds from its boxes to save the environment, but as The Verge pointed out, the environmental benefits of waste cutting are outweighed by people buying earbuds and chargers separately. 

The iPhone 12 line supports 5G, a costly investment for Apple. As such, tech pundits theorize that Apple was looking for a cost-cutting avenue to offset the manufacturing costs of 5G-capable phones, and they found their solution in nixing the earbuds and chargers. It's worth noting that Samsung's next-gen smartphone line will also feature 5G capability.

On Jan. 6, Samsung hosted a virtual First Look event. The company gushed about its plans to produce more eco-friendly packaging, using the catchphrase, "Think clean and go green." The segment seemed to be a precursor to Samsung's Apple-esque strategy for the upcoming Unpacked event: convince the masses that it's committed to saving the planet to soften the blow of absent wall chargers and earbuds.

Despite yanking accessories from the box and angering consumers, Apple seems to still have a solid footing in the smartphone industry. Samsung will likely survive the initial backlash, too. 

Samsung is expected to unveil the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus, and S21 Ultra at its highly anticipated Unpacked event on Jan. 14 at 10 a.m. ET. The S21 and S21 Plus will reportedly have flat displays, but the S2 Ultra is rumored to have a larger, curved screen.

Samsung will be live streaming the event on its YouTube page and

Kimberly Gedeon

Kimberly Gedeon, holding a Master's degree in International Journalism, launched her career as a journalist for MadameNoire's business beat in 2013. She loved translating stuffy stories about the economy, personal finance and investing into digestible, easy-to-understand, entertaining stories for young women of color. During her time on the business beat, she discovered her passion for tech as she dove into articles about tech entrepreneurship, the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and the latest tablets. After eight years of freelancing, dabbling in a myriad of beats, she's finally found a home at Laptop Mag that accepts her as the crypto-addicted, virtual reality-loving, investing-focused, tech-fascinated nerd she is. Woot!