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Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: What Samsung might change in 2021

CNET logo CNET 1/14/2021 Alison DeNisco Rayome
screen of a cell phone: Find out how the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 compares to the the Samsung Galaxy S20, pictured here. Angela Lang/CNET © Provided by CNET Find out how the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 compares to the the Samsung Galaxy S20, pictured here. Angela Lang/CNET

We're about to get a first look at Samsung's Galaxy S21 phone line at the company's Unpacked event this morning, on the last day of CES (here's how to watch the phone unveiling live). The latest version of Samsung's flagship Galaxy phone follows the Galaxy S20 line, released in 2020. If you're in the market for an upgrade, you may be wondering: What exactly are the differences between the two Galaxy phones ? And is it worth it to spend a rumored $850 for an upgrade? 

screen of a cell phone: Find out how the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 compares to the the Samsung Galaxy S20, pictured here. © CNET

Find out how the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S21 compares to the the Samsung Galaxy S20, pictured here.

Here's everything you need to know about how the Galaxy S21 is rumored to compare with the Galaxy S20. (Psst... Here's why now is the worst time to buy the Samsung Galaxy S20.)

Read more: Every Samsung Galaxy S21 rumor we've heard so far

Galaxy S21

Because the Galaxy S21 has not yet been publicly unveiled, we can only report on the rumors we've heard about its specs and features. However, an extensive leak, posted on Android Police in November, documents almost the entire spec sheet for all three phones in the line: the Galaxy S21, the Galaxy S21 Plus and the Galaxy S21 Ultra (read on for how the Galaxy S21 specs compare to those of the S20). Samsung didn't comment on the leak.

Based on those leaks and others (including another massive leak of promotional slides the day before the unveiling), we know that the S21 has many similar features to the S20, including size (6.2 inches), battery (4,000 mAh), camera features (including a 12-megapixel ultrawide lens), a 120Hz display and 5G connectivity. However, the S21 is also rumored to run on Android 11, as opposed to the S20's Android 10, and will have a Snapdragon 888 processor. The other major difference will be in the price: While the Galaxy S20 started at $999, the Galaxy S21 is rumored to start at $850 -- a major price decrease, likely due to sales drops that Samsung experienced during the pandemic

a close up of a computer: Galaxy S21 in leaked image Evan Blass © Provided by CNET Galaxy S21 in leaked image Evan Blass

Read more: Galaxy S21: Will Samsung's next flagship include a headphone jack? Probably not

Galaxy S20

CNET gave the base Galaxy S20 a rating of 8.7 out of 10, naming it the best out of the S20 line. Our reviewer called out top-shelf features, including a sharp display and advanced camera skills, but noted that the starting price of $999 was a bit high for what you get. That price has since dropped to $800 at Best Buy (and even lower at Amazon). But if the S21 includes many of the same features and a few more upgrades, going for the newer phone could be the better choice, depending on the final price of course. 

Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20: Spec comparison

Here's how the specs of the two phones compare, based on the leaked information so far. However, the specs for the Galaxy S21 may change once the phone's details are officially released.

More Samsung Galaxy S21 rumors

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