The Samsung Galaxy S21 just got a whole lot more interesting. Samsung has announced a massive improvement in the way it makes its RAM, and next year’s flagship could very well be the first handset to feel the benefit.
Samsung’s new 10-nanometer 16GB LPDDR5 RAM chips are significantly faster than what’s come before, with the company boasting a 16% speed improvement on units currently powering smartphones around the world.
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Indeed, according to Samsung (opens in new tab), the RAM is capable of transferring over 50GB of data in one second. In other words, a little bit of the shine just came off your $1,299 Galaxy Note 20 Ultra.
But it’s not just about speed; the 16GB chips are also 30% thinner than current versions, and with manufacturers trying to pack more components into smaller handsets, every little helps. And Samsung isn’t shy about the fact that it hopes rival manufacturers will adopt the new technology, so this could be a step on the path to even thinner, lighter handsets across the board.
But rival smartphone makers won’t get their hands on the new tech before Samsung’s own phone division. So could this speedy new RAM debut in the S21, or will the company decide that 16GB RAM is overkill? After all, even the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra makes do with 12GB.
In fact, most flagship smartphones make do with quite a lot less than that, and while more RAM theoretically makes handsets better at multitasking, the difference isn’t always noticeable in most daily tasks, or even recognized by popular benchmarking software. Compare a OnePlus 8 Pro with 8GB RAM (opens in new tab) to one with 12GB RAM (opens in new tab) and the difference could be accounted to a rounding error.
Still, with the iPhone 12 family rumored to have just 4GB to 6GB RAM, it’s clear which handset has the edge on paper – especially if the speed advantage Samsung mentions can be felt in day-to-day use.
If Samsung does indeed pack this new RAM into the S21 then it might go some way towards fixing a worrying rumor we’ve heard: that the phone won’t be packing the latest and greatest Qualcomm chip, and will be sticking with the Snapdragon 865 instead.
That may sound like a risky strategy, but with prices of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 875 chips set to soar, settling for a slightly slower SoC might just prove to be the lesser of two evils. And if speedier RAM can make the phone feel faster without the need for a new processor, then we won’t be complaining.