Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S20: comparing Samsung's flagship phones

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7 min read
fairly easy
The S21 isn't the clear winner you might expect
The Samsung Galaxy S21 represented a shift in focus for the storied smartphone line after successive years of unequivocal flagships.

For this reason alone, a comparison between the Galaxy S21 and its predecessor, the Samsung Galaxy S20, is a fascinating one to make. While Samsung debuted its Ultra line alongside the S20, the latter was still considered a compromise-free flagship phone in its day.

The same can't quite be said for the Galaxy S21, which in several ways fails to pull away from the Galaxy S20 as much as you might expect.

So which phone is better overall? This one's going to be unusually tight.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs Samsung Galaxy S20 price and availability

The Samsung Galaxy S21 landed on January 29, 2021, with a starting price of $799 / £769 / AU$1,249 for the 128GB model. There's also a 256GB model that costs $849.99 / £819 / AU$1,349.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 launched on March 6, 2020. Pricing started at £799 / AU$1,34 for the 4G variant (which didn't launch in the US), and shifted up to £899 / $999.99 / AU$1,499 for the 5G model.

Over 18 months on from release, it's tricky to find a brand new Galaxy S20 out in the wild. But we've seen a 4G Galaxy S20 on Amazon UK for £588, which is a saving of £211 (around $290 / AU$390) over the RRP.

The Samsung Galaxy S20 has a glass back (Image credit: Future)

Design

Both of these phones are compact and solid, but the older Samsung Galaxy S20 is undeniably the more premium and desirable of the two.

While the Galaxy S20 is composed of an aluminum frame sandwiched by glass surfaces, Samsung adopted a cheaper 'Glasstic' composite for the Galaxy S21's rear panel. It's the only handset in the Galaxy S21 line to have this.

Interestingly, despite this step down in quality, the Galaxy S20 is actually the lighter phone of the two at 163g for both the 4G and 5G variants. The Galaxy S21 weighs 169g for the sub–6GHz model, and 171g for the mmWave model, which are two different versions of 5G.

The two phones share…
Jon Mundy
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