Why did Samsung make the Galaxy S21 phones $200 cheaper for 2021?

Samsung Galaxy S21 All Colors
Samsung Galaxy S21 All Colors (Image credit: Android Central)

Best answer: Anytime you can deliver a product that offers more for less, more people will want to buy it. After the release of the Galaxy S20 FE, Samsung knows this more than any other Android flagship phone maker.

In the end, it's always about value

"Value" doesn't mean something is sold for a low price. That's how a lot of people interpret the word (myself included most of the time) but what value actually means is that something is sold at a fair price. The issue is that a consumer's idea of a fair price often differs from a seller's version.

Smartphones have always been that way. You were expected and conditioned to pay a certain amount for a top-of-the-line phone and we did. That was that. However, a couple of things have changed that are allowing consumers to see "value" a little more clearly when it comes to buying a phone. Samsung has capitalized on it with the Galaxy S21, which is bound to be one of the best Android phones in 2021.

The first, and most important one, even if we didn't realize it, was seeing phones from Chinese companies like OnePlus. OnePlus launched as the "Flagship Killer" and offered the same great hardware that brands like Samsung or LG put on the market for hundreds less. The problem was that in the West, none of these companies were well-known and their products were harder to find.

Samsung Galaxy S21 vs. Galaxy S20 FE

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

At the tail end of 2020, Samsung itself fixed all this with the release of the Galaxy S20 Fan Edition. It had great hardware where it counted most and checked in at the right price. Samsung was never going to be able to offer a "base" model Galaxy S phone for $1,000 again because it showed us all it could offer a better value.

There is a cost that comes with cutting prices, too. MST is gone — though it was on its way out anyway — chargers and earbuds were now extras (though if you order now you'll get enough SamsungBucks to buy what you need here), the waterfall display and SD card slot are gone, and the back of the S21 is plastic instead of glass.

Some of these "issues" might not mean much to you. I know I don't really care about MST and hated Samsung's curvy waterful displays. But some of the compromises made will make a difference to some people. Overall, though, most see a better value from an $800 Galaxy S21 than they did from a $1,000 Galaxy S20.

I think this is going to propel Galaxy S21 sales even during a time when it's hard to sell anything because so many are out of work. It might also bring about the end of a true Fan Edition released at the end of a product cycle because we're already getting an exceptional value on day one.

One thing I know for sure, though, is that Samsung set the "value" bar at just the right place for a lot of people with the Galaxy S21.

Jerry Hildenbrand
Senior Editor — Google Ecosystem

Jerry is an amateur woodworker and struggling shade tree mechanic. There's nothing he can't take apart, but many things he can't reassemble. You'll find him writing and speaking his loud opinion on Android Central and occasionally on Twitter.