The Samsung Galaxy Note 21 is having an interesting lead up to its release; mainly because no one is quite sure if it's getting one at all. Now that the Galaxy S21 launch is out of the way, all eyes are turned towards Samsung's next stalwart flagship, but tipsters are saying it's the end for the Galaxy Note line.
We're sure to get a clearer picture as we head towards the summer, but for now, here's everything we know about the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 so far.
- Best Samsung phones: the best Samsung smartphones, rated
- Best cheap phones: the best cheap smartphones, ranked
- Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 death blow primed as Huawei Mate X2 unleashed
Galaxy Note 21: release date
The Galaxy Note 20 series debuted in August last year at the Samsung Galaxy Unpacked event. The Note line has been making a summer appearance since the Galaxy Note 5, so if we do see a Galaxy Note 21 this year, we'd expect Samsung to introduce it at its second Unpacked event of the year.
Twitter tipster Max Weinbach said last year that he doesn't think we'll see a new Galaxy Note in 2021, but an industry insider spoke out not long after, claiming that Samsung will launch only a single Galaxy Note model this year, set for the latter half of 2021.
Twitter leaker cozyplanes chimed in to say they had spoken with three of their own sources who confirmed the Galaxy Note 21 is in development and will launch in August at the earliest; so it's on track for its regularly scheduled release date, if it exists.
Galaxy Note 21: price
There's no word on the price for the Galaxy Note 21, but we'll be interested to see if Samsung opts for a single premium model as the swansong of the series, or if it goes down the more affordable route with a Galaxy Note model that cuts down on premium features to hit an appealing price point.
At launch, the Galaxy Note 20 started at £849 / AU$1,499 for the 4G model (not available in the US), $999 / £949 / AU$1,649 for the 5G variant, and from $1,299 / £1179 / AU$1,849 for the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra 5G model, so don't expect the Galaxy Note 21 to be that cheap.
Galaxy Note 21: display and design
When it comes to the Galaxy Note 21's design, there won't be too drastic of a leap from the Galaxy Note 20 aesthetically, given the tried-and-tested candy bar form factor.
The Galaxy Note's holepunch camera could be banished forever, based on rumors saying that Samsung is testing two variants; one with the traditional front-facing camera placement, and one with an under-screen camera. We may have already seen the UDC Galaxy Note model already, with an reported sighting during CES 2021.
An under display camera paired with the sizeable display panel of the Galaxy Note would be a treat for fans, and if Samsung can shave down the bezels, it'll be a step towards an even more immersive display.
If we get a single model, the screen size will probably lie somewhere between the Galaxy Note 20's 6.7-inch, and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra's 6.9-inch screen. Previous Note models have had a larger discrepancy between the two variants, but given how close last year's panels were, the effect of offering just the one size shouldn't make that much of an impact for fans. The Galaxy Note 21 will likely also sport an AMOLED QHD+ panel with 120Hz refresh rate.
As with the camera housing redesign between the Galaxy S20 and Galaxy S21, we'll probably see the Galaxy Note 20's camera housing extend to the corner of the chassis, rather than a standalone rectangular panel. You can take a look at what that might look like in Giuseppe Spinelli's renders, and video above (via LetsGoDigital)
When it comes to the body, Samsung is faced with going down the route of the more premium Galaxy S21 models' rear glass panel – which is horrifyingly fragile – or the glasstic that was so divisive on the Galaxy Note 20, but has proven to be more durable than it's glass counterpart.
Galaxy Note 21: specs and features
The Galaxy Note 21 may be sharing its once-unique S-Pen support with the Galaxy S21, and maybe even the Galaxy Z Fold 3, but it might be set to roll out with a brand new feature that'll be a first for any Samsung smartphone: an under display camera (UDC).
For the rear camera setup, we're likely to see either a triple or quad camera setup, echoing one of the Galaxy Note 20 models, depending on whether Samsung goes for an ultra premium Galaxy Note 21, or even cut-price Galaxy Note 20 FE, as industry analyst Ross Young has suggested might release instead.
Interestingly, Samsung's Exynos 2100 can support up to six cameras (via SamMobile), and that's not something being utilised in the Galaxy S21 series. The hexa-camera support includes the front shooter, meaning a handset touting the new SoC could support another five lenses on the rear; that might encompass an improved ToF sensor for the Galaxy Note 21 (via SamMobile)
Last year's Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy S20 series both utilised the same processor – Qualcomm's Snapdragon 865, or Samsung's Exynos 990, depending on the region: this year's Galaxy S21 series houses the new Snapdragon 888/ Exynos 2100 so expect the Galaxy Note 21 to follow suit.
Galaxy Note 21: other rumours and news
If the Galaxy Note is dead in the water, there are rumors emerging of a third device in the foldale category that Samsung is working on that could take its place – namely the rollable Galaxy Scroll. The company has even teased a new foldable with a brand new form factor to sit alongside the Galaxy Z Fold, and Galaxy Z Flip series.
Alternatively, the single Galaxy Note model we see this year could actually be a Galaxy Note 20 FE, offering a more affordable version of last year's flagship, according to industry analyst Ross Young.