Early Samsung Galaxy S21 5G launch and key S21 Ultra specs are now essentially confirmed


Although it's certainly not unusual to hear whispers about next-gen Galaxy S-series handsets from various reliable tipsters and insiders this time of year, the S21 family rumors can already be described as exceptionally loud and detailed rumblings.

The reason is of course pretty simple, with Samsung being widely expected to revise its typical flagship launch schedule to try to take advantage of Huawei's well-documented production woes and better combat what's shaping up as an incredibly successful iPhone 12 lineup.

Granted, this sort of gossip has become a staple of the company's high-end smartphone release preparation in recent years, coming and going like clockwork ahead of essentially every new hero device, but things seem different this time around. That's because a number of trusted sources have called for an early Galaxy S21 5G debut of late, and now one of the most reputable news organizations in the world is corroborating those claims.

"As early as late January"

According to three undoubtedly dependable "sources familiar with the matter" anonymously quoted by Reuters, the 5G-enabled Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra could be launched "more than a month earlier than expected."

Naturally, everyone initially expected the Galaxy S21 trio to arrive roughly a year after the S20 roster, which was formally unveiled on February 11, 2020 and commercially released almost a month later.

That means Reuters is ready to predict Samsung's next big thing(s) will see daylight "as early as late January" 2021, which appears to largely coincide with recent reports and rumors originating in different places. 

Unsurprisingly, the news agency is not willing to make a more specific or detailed forecast just yet, unlike Twitter leaker Jon Prosser, for instance, who claims the Galaxy S21 5G family is set for a January 14 announcement and pre-order start followed by a January 29 commercial release.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra will be a beast

No, Reuters doesn't technically refer to the three expected S21 models by their names in this new report. In fact, the news organization doesn't even say there will be three main versions of Samsung's next-gen flagship. But that's pretty much a given following a number of detailed recent accounts of the S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra specs, as well as a bunch of very credible leaked factory CAD-based renders.

The latest tidbits filling some of the Galaxy S21 Ultra's blanks come from Ice Universe, aka @UniverseIce, who is rarely wrong about this type of stuff. Apparently, the 6.9-inch or so powerhouse will sport a WQHD+ display capable of doing 120Hz at 2K resolution. While the 120Hz refresh rate technology is obviously nothing new for Samsung's ultra-high-end handsets, the Galaxy S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra can only take advantage of that in their FHD resolution mode.

Of course, future S21 Ultra 5G owners will have to be careful not to drain their phone's battery too fast by using 120Hz in combination with the highest pixel count available. The screen resolution is expected to circle the 3200 x 1440 pixel mark, by the way, with Ice Universe also tipping "almost equal width bezel", which probably means Samsung will further reduce the already small size of the S20 Ultra's "chin" for the Galaxy S21 Ultra.

To help keep energy consumption in check, Samsung will purportedly implement a display technology dubbed LTPO (low-temperature polycrystalline oxide), which has already been adopted by the Note 20 Ultra after being snubbed by the S20 Ultra.

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Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra should bring back the S20 Ultra's 45W fast charging support after the Note 20 Ultra inexplicably settled for 25-watt speeds. That's not going to be on par with the OnePlus 8T's 65W capabilities, for instance, but it should still fill up the 5,000mAh or so tank of the S21 Ultra in a relatively short amount of time.

Finally, Ice Universe is today reiterating his claim from last week that the S21 Ultra 5G will use a 108MP Isocell HM3 imaging sensor for its primary rear-facing camera, up from the HM1 on both the S20 Ultra and Note 20 Ultra. That obviously suggests the real-world photography skills of Samsung's best phone will be improved, but it remains to be seen exactly in what ways and to what degree. 

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