(Pocket-lint) – The Samsung Galaxy S21 series launched at the end of January 2021, giving us an insight into what we can expect from Samsung’s smartphones this year.
One of the next major devices should be the Galaxy Note 21, which in the past has improved on the Galaxy S range and bettered it in certain areas, such as design and camera. But in 2021 things might be different, with questions over whether we’ll see a Note line at all now the Galaxy S21 Ultra supports the S Pen and the Z Fold 3 is also rumoured to.
Will the Galaxy Note continue? Here’s everything we have heard so far about the Galaxy Note 21 and Note 21 Ultra, which could also be the Note 22 and 22 Ultra if rumours are to be believed.
Release date and price
If Samsung does continue to offer the Galaxy Note series, we would have expected an August launch for the Note 21. The Note 20 series took place on 5 August 2020, while the Note 10 series launched on 7 August 2019 so early August is the pattern.
This might change for 2021 however. Reports have claimed that due to a chip shortage and clash with other products, Samsung has said it is committed to the Note series, but launch timings may change and we may see a new Note device in 2022 instead. We suspect if this is true, we’d see the next Note earlier than August 2022.
In terms of price, we’d expect Samsung to launch the next Note device – or devices – around the same prices as their predecessors. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 starts at £849 or $999 so we’d expect similar for the Note 21.
- S Pen built in
- Waterproof, premium
- Under-display camera?
Most of the current rumours surrounding the Note 21 series are whether or not it will appear, rather than specifics on what it will feature.
If Samsung does launch a Note 21 and Note 21 Ultra – or just one – however, we’d expect the device or devices to take some design details from the Galaxy S21 series, like the camera housing that flows into the frame.
We’d also expect a waterproof metal frame sandwiched between glass panels and some interesting finishes too. An under display fingerprint sensor is likely and one thing is for sure, there will be a built-in S Pen. There’s also a couple of murmurs to suggest we might see an under-display front camera, which would mean no punch hole camera.
- 120Hz refresh rate likely
- Flat display possible
With Samsung offering an adaptive 120Hz refresh rate display on all the Galaxy S21 models, it’s likely the Note 21 models would have this too, along with support for HDR10+. There are no leaks on sizes as yet, but we’d expect similar to the Note 20 and Note 20 Ultra if there are two models.
The Note 20 has a flat display with a Full HD+ resolution, while the Note 20 Ultra has a curved display with a Quad HD+ resolution. We wouldn’t be surprised to see just one model of the Note 21 this year, with a flat display to keep costs down and therefore an option under the Galaxy S21 Ultra with an S Pen.
- Under-display front camera reported
There haven’t been an specific rumours surrounding the Note 21 cameras as yet, other than the suggestion that there may be an under-display front camera. We’d expect improvements on the Galaxy S21 series however, at least in terms of features. We wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar respective loadout in terms of hardware to the S21 and S21 Ultra though.
The S21 has a triple rear camera made up of a 12-megapixel main sensor with 1.8µm pixel size, f/1.8 aperture and optical stabilisation (OIS), a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor with 1.4µm and f/2.2, and a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor with 0.8µm, f/2.0 and OIS. There’s a 10-megapixel, 1.22µm, f/2.2 front camera.
The S21 Ultra meanwhile, has a quad rear camera comprised of a 108-megapixel main sensor with 0.8µm pixels, f/1.8 aperture, OIS and laser autofocus, a 12-megapixel ultra-wide sensor (1.4µm, f/2.2) and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses, one with 1.22µm, f/2.4 (3x optical) and the other with 1.22µm, f/4.9 (10x optical). It also has a 40-megapixel selfie camera.
Hardware and specs
- Qualcomm SD888 or Exynos 2100
- At least 8GB RAM likely
- Large battery
The Samsung Galaxy Note 21 will likely run similar processors to the Galaxy S21 range with the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 or the Exynos 2100 chipset, depending on the region. It’s likely the Note 21 would offer at least 8GB of RAM, while we’d expect to see at least 12GB RAM in the Note 21 Ultra. If the next Note does arrive in 2022 however, it could offer the successor to the Snapdragon 888, which will likely be announced by Qualcomm in 2021.
The Galaxy S21 series ditched the microSD support for storage expansion so we wouldn’t be surprised to see the same applied to the Note series.
Big batteries are also likely in the Note 21 series. The Samsung Galaxy S21 series ranges between 4000mAh and 5000mAh capacities so we’d expect to see at least a 4000mAh in the Galaxy Note 21, though we suspect it would be closer to 4500mAh.
Samsung Galaxy Note 21 rumours: What’s happened so far?
Here is everything we have heard so far surrounding the Note 21 and Note 21 Ultra.
17 March 2021: Samsung Galaxy Note series will continue, but no model in 2021
Based on a report from Sammobile surrounding Samsung’s 52nd annual shareholder’s meeting, Samsung’s DJ Koh, co-CEO of Samsung’s IT and Mobile Communications division, is claimed to have said that while a Galaxy Note in 2021 would be hard because of a serious shortage of chipsets and a clash with other products, a new Note would be coming in 2022.
DJ Koh is said to have said the launch timings might change however, so while we have been used to seeing a Galaxy Note arrive in August, it might be that the next Galaxy Note would appear earlier in 2022 rather than Note users having to wait till August 2022.
28 January 2021: Samsung says S Pen support doesn’t mean it’s not committed to Note category
Speaking to T3, a Samsung spokesperson said: “Whilst we have expanded our S Pen experience across our wider Galaxy range, this does not mean we are not committed to the Galaxy Note category. To provide the best mobile experience to all customers, we will actively listen to their feedback and reflect this in our product innovation”.
19 January 2021: Samsung Display applies for under-display camera trademark
Giz China reported Samsung Display applied for a trademark registration for an under-display or sub-screen camera, called “Under Panel Camera”. Could this come to the Note 21?
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12 January 2021: Samsung Galaxy Note 21 may have appeared with under-display camera
LetsGoDigital spotted an unreleased device in Samsung’s official CES videos that show a smartphone without a punch hole for the front camera, suggesting it has an under-display camera. There is some speculation suggesting the device could be the Note 21 Ultra.
16 December 2020: Samsung denies rumours of Galaxy Note series discontinuing
In an interview with Yonhap News Agency, an anonymous Samsung official was quoted saying: “We are preparing to release the Galaxy Note series next year”.
1 December 2020: Samsung may discontinue high-end Galaxy Note smartphones
Reuters reported that three sources had claimed Samsung didn’t currently have plans to develop a new version of the Note for 2021. It was also said the development efforts were being redirected to its foldable range instead.
29 November 2020: Report suggests we may only get the Note 21 next year
ET News reported that 2021 may only see one Galaxy Note device released following the introduction of support for the S Pen in the Galaxy S21 Ultra and the rumoured support coming to the Z Fold 3. The report claimed the reduction to one model was to “reduce the weight of the Note series”.
15 November 2020: No evidence of Galaxy Note 21 as yet
Leaker Ice Universe – who previously claimed the Note 21 wouldn’t necessarily disappear just because the S21 Ultra got support for the S Pen – tweeted again saying there is no information on the development of the Note 21 Series.
An unusual clue: There is currently no information on the development of the Note21 series. pic.twitter.com/RBzzwsg8Cg
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) November 15, 2020
2 October 2020: Samsung Galaxy Note 21 will be released next year
Korean news site Herald Corp reported: “The Note 21, the successor to the Galaxy Note series, will be released next year”.
The site also said though that applying the Note’s features to the Galaxy S range is a strategy to “absorb Note customers into the Galaxy S series”.
24 August 2020: Tweet suggests Note 21 still an option, even if S21 supports S Pen
Leaker Ice Universe claimed that “the output and price of the Z Fold 3 are not enough to replace the Note as Samsung’s main flagship in the second half of the year, and Note is still a guarantee of shipment”.
Even if the Galaxy S21 Ultra uses S Pen, it does not mean that Note21 will disappear.
— Ice universe (@UniverseIce) August 24, 2020
20 July 2018: Samsung striving to unify Galaxy S and Note
Way back in 2018, The Bell reported that Samsung was talking about unifying the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note lines to prevent profibility deterioration.
Writing by Britta O’Boyle.