Samsung is betting hard on foldable phones in 2021, but this doesn't mean that its core product lineups are getting axed just yet. Yes, you might have heard that Samsung won't release a Galaxy Note 21 in 2021, but conflicting rumors state that this couldn't be farther from the truth and Samsung is very much on track for the next Note release sometime in August 2021.
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But how did the Note lineup end up here, from being one of the most anticipated and perfected Android flagships every year to being in dangerous peril of being retired? We'll try to answer that question and also summarize everything known about the Note 21 so far.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21: Is it happening?
According to some sources, Samsung has been seriously entertaining the idea of scrapping the Galaxy Note lineup in 2021. Initially, some sources claimed that the Note 21 would be out of Samsung's 2021 portfolio due to a trivial but extremely logical reason: lack of differentiation from the upcoming S21 Ultra and Z Fold 3, which are widely rumored to support the S Pen. That's right, the very same S Pen, which has been the stand-out signature feature of each and every Galaxy Note phone since 2011. If either of these unannounced but definitely coming flagships indeed score S Pen support, then the Note 21 could indeed lose its single saving grace and become irrelevant.
Still, a larger amount of contradicting rumors also state that while Samsung might indeed nix the Note eventually, this wouldn't happen in 2021. There's one last hurrah scheduled for the Note series, and that will be the Note 21 indeed.
It's hard to choose which source to believe, but for the purposes of this article and to cater to our wishful thinking, we've chosen to believe that there will be a Note 21.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21: Expected price and release date
If Samsung's traditional schedules are something to go by, we should expect the Galaxy Note 21 sometime in August 2021. It will probably take place alongside a Galaxy Fold 3 or a Z Flip 3/Z Flip Lite announcement.
As far as the price tag is concerned, we are likely looking at $999+ starting price for the Note 21, which could make it a tough sell considering that foldables are only going to get more affordable with time.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21: Display and design
One thing to have in mind about the Note 21 is that no specific specs have leaked just yet. If it materializes, the Note 21 will most likely come with a display larger than 6.8 inches. Hopes are high that we might see an under-screen selfie camera, so no cutout or notch whatsoever. However, rumors state that the only Samsung-made phone with a discreet selfie camera in 2021 will be the Galaxy Z Fold 3. So, that translates to punch-hole design for the Galaxy Note 21.
Samsung has been reportedly working on bringing under-display cameras for a while, but concerns about the image quality have held back on the innovation. Remember, having a camera under a display means that less light is able to hit the selfie sensor directly, which is undesirable and could lead to inferior image results.
Speaking of the design, no surprises are expected. The design language of the Note series has peaked a long time ago and Samsung is generally keeping true to that mantra. A mostly glass exterior is expected, and we assume Samsung will stick to the frosted glass finish it introduced with the Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, along with some metal design elements.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21: Specs and features
Being a flagship device, the Note 21 will most certainly arrive with a flagship pair of processors: a Snapdragon for the US and an Exynos for the rest of the world. Namely, those would be the recently-announced 5 nm Snapdragon 888 and the Exynos 2100. We'd certainly see a decent amount of RAM and storage on board.
The S Pen will certainly be a part of the package, seeing how it's an integral part of the Galaxy Note line. Even if other Samsung devices score support for the venerable S Pen, it will always be clear cut for the Note series. Aside from the pure hardware support for the S Pen, the Note series also has a slew of software features to accommodate for the added functionalities which make the two a much better pair.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21: Camera
Just like most Galaxy flagships from the past few years, the Note 21 will most certainly come along with a triple camera setup, consisting of a ultra wide-angle, main wide-angle, and a telephoto camera.
Judging from the latest S21 leaks, the Note 21 could theoretically score the same triple-camera system that's rumored to make it into the S21 Ultra. That means a 108 MP sensor yet again, and 100x hybrid zoom. What's really bonkers is that we expect two zoom cameras — a 3x telephoto camera for portraits and a 10x telescope camera for lossless zooming.
There will, of course, also be an ultra-wide camera. So yes, you counted that right — 4 cameras on the back. Main high-res camera, a 3x telephoto, a 10x zoom, and an ultra-wide one. When does it end?
Samsung Galaxy Note 21 5G
Of course, we fully expect the Note 21 will be 5G-ready out of the box. The new connectivity is well on its way to becoming a new norm, instead of an exotic commodity, so flagships coming out in 2021 and onward pretty much have no excuse but to support it. Just like the Galaxy S21, we expect the Note 21 to be ready for both mmWave and Sub-6Ghz standards.