Top 3 things to expect from Samsung's Galaxy S21 Unpacked event (and one thing we hope for)

Samsung Logo at CES 2019
Samsung Logo at CES 2019 (Image credit: Android Central)

Despite just being a few days into 2021, the year is already shaping up to be a really fascinating one for the mobile tech space. Amidst all of the announcements coming out of the virtual-only CES 2021 spectacle, Samsung is getting ready to unveil its latest batch of Galaxy S flagships earlier in the year than ever before.

The next Samsung Unpacked officially kicks off on January 14 at 10:00 AM ET/7:00 AM PT, and in addition to Samsung's next entry in the Galaxy S family, we're also expecting a few other gadgets to make an appearance.

From the Galaxy S21, Samsung's next wireless earbuds, and more, here's everything we're expecting to see at Samsung's big S21 event later this week!

Galaxy S21 series

Samsung Galaxy S21 Trio Leaked Renders

Source: LetsGoDigital (Image credit: Source: LetsGoDigital)

Out of everything to be announced at Thursday's event, most of the focus will be on the Galaxy S21 family. Lucky for us, we already have a pretty good idea of what to expect from the phones thanks to endless leaks and rumors over the last few months.

Samsung is expected to launch a total of three S21 models, including the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra. They'll all feature a revamped design with the rear camera housing flowing seamlessly into the frame of the phone, which we expect is an aesthetic you'll either love or hate. There's no headphone jack (as expected), and this year it's rumored that only the S21 Ultra will support expandable storage. Speaking of the S21 Ultra, it'll be the first entry in the Galaxy S series to support the S Pen!

In regards to the specs, it's an expected affair of flagship goodness. All three phones will be powered by the Snapdragon 888 in the U.S. and the Exynos 2100 in other markets. You'll find Dynamic AMOLED displays for all three phones, too, along with Quad HD+ resolutions and 120Hz refresh rates. Samsung's also expected to deliver on the battery front, with the Galaxy S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra rumored to have 4000, 4800, and 5000 mAh batteries, respectively.

Galaxy S21 In Box Contents Leak

Source: WinFuture (Image credit: Source: WinFuture)

Where things get even more interesting is on the camera front. The S21 and S21+ look to be playing things pretty safe, featuring a 12MP primary camera, 64MP telephoto, and 12MP ultra-wide. For the S21 Ultra, rumor has it we'll get a 108MP primary camera, 10MP telephoto with 3x zoom, 10MP telephoto with 10x zoom, and a 12MP ultra-wide.

That combination of 3x and 10x telephoto sensors should allow for some of the most impressive zooming capabilities we've ever seen from a Galaxy, and if Samsung is able to pull off the execution, it could be reason enough to cement the Galaxy S21 Ultra as one of the best Android phones of 2021.

The cherry on top for all of this is that we're actually expecting Samsung to lower prices for the S21 series compared to the S20 lineup — something that doesn't happen very often in the flagship space. Based on the latest rumors, here's how pricing could work out:

  • Galaxy S21 — $849
  • Galaxy S21+ — $1049
  • Galaxy S21 Ultra — $1399

The S21 Ultra will obviously be the go-to choice for anyone that wants the absolute best Galaxy experience they can get, but at $850, the baseline Galaxy S21 is shaping up to be incredibly promising.

Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro Render

Source: Evan Blass (Image credit: Source: Evan Blass)

Every phone deserves quality accessories to go along with it, and in the case of the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung's hoping you pair its new phones with its latest entry in the wireless earbud space — the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.

The Galaxy Buds Pro are expected to be Samsung's highest-end true wireless earbuds yet, with rumors hinting at a retail price of $199. For your money, the Galaxy Buds Pro should deliver excellent audio, active noise canceling, IPX7 water resistance, and a new "spatial audio" feature to mimic what Apple achieved with its AirPods Pro and AirPods Max.

Perhaps one of the biggest changes with the Buds Pro is their design. Where the Galaxy Buds Live ushered in the iconic bean shape for a one-size-fits-all approach, the Buds Pro are much more traditional — using customizable tips for an in-ear seal. That is a bit disappointing as someone that really loved the fit and finish of the Buds Live, but the design of the Buds Pro should also allow for substantially improved ANC.

Galaxy SmartTag

Samsung Galaxy SmartTag leak

Source: 91Mobiles (Image credit: Source: 91Mobiles)

On the subject of accessories, we're also anticipating Samsung to announced a brand new product. Hot on the heels of Apple rumored to be working on a Tile-competitor with its AirTags, we should also see Samsung tackle this product niche with the Galaxy SmartTag.

The goal of the Galaxy SmartTag is about what you'd expect. You'll be able to place them in a bag, on a keychain, or anywhere else and then be able to securely locate that item with your Galaxy phone. Not only will you be able to use your phone to locate the SmartTag, but pressing a button on the SmartTag will also ring your phone.

There's talk of an upgraded "SmartTag+" launching alongside the regular SmartTag, but at this time, what benefits it'll offer over the regular model remain unclear.

A new Galaxy Z Fold

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 multitasking

Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Hayato Huseman / Android Central)

Where the above gadgets are all but confirmed to make an appearance at Samsung Unpacked on Thursday, this last pick is a bit more up in the air. That said, we still wanted to bring it up as a potential surprise we could see from Samsung.

There's been ample talk about a Z Fold Lite, with the current idea being that Samsung's next entry in the Z Fold series will be focused on something the Z Fold 2 clearly lacks — affordability.

We've heard that the Z Fold Lite will have a 7-inch tablet display and a 4-inch cover screen, but as far as rumored specs go, that's about it. Some have speculated that Samsung could sell the Galaxy Z Fold Lite for as little as $999, though that remains to be seen.

It's entirely possible Samsung will hold off until later in the year to talk about the Z Fold Lite, but with Unpacked just around the corner, we're hoping to at least get a small tease of what's to come from the device.

What are you most excited for?

That's everything we think we'll see from the next Samsung Unpacked, and now, we want to hear from you. What are you looking forward to the most? Comment below and let us know!

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

5 Comments
  • Of course Samsung had to rush to beat Apple's rumored AirTags announced all the way back in the summer with their own to say they were first, lol.
  • It's hardly rushing. Air tags have been rumoured for a couple of years.
  • Well, I guess it's time to move on from S10e to the regular S21. According to Samsung trade-in I can get $550 for my S10e plus $60 credits which I can use toward the new Buds pro. Not too shabby.
  • Maybe if I was more into taking pictures all the time....but I just cannot stomach these prices for something that will only last two or three years! Now if we could semi-easily replace a worn out battery I would be more interested. But I am typing this on a 8 year old laptop that cost less than any of these three phones and is still running the latest Windows version and functioning perfectly! Oh well, to each his (or her) own!
    On another note...the camera design falls into the UGLY category for me!
  • ZZZZzzzzz
    Who cares. There are no more quantum leaps with this technology anymore. I'll keep my S10e until it breaks because the next phone won't do much else different, and if it does then whatever it is isn't a game changer. I used to watch these things with anticipation, now I don't even pay attention.