Samsung Galaxy S21

Today, Samsung announced its brand new Galaxy line-up at its first virtual Unpacked event of the year, right at the tail end of CES 2021. So yes, Samsung, you got our attention.

The basics include the Galaxy S21 ($800) and S21 Plus ($1000) phones and Galaxy Buds Pro earbuds ($200), though we were more interested in the sleeker, more feature-rich Galaxy S21 Ultra ($1200)–all of which will be available on January 29, but can be pre-ordered right now with an instant credit up to $200 and up to $500 if you trade-in your old phone.

The Galaxy S21 Ultra is big and beautiful at 6.8 inches, with a stunningly bright display, a pro-grade camera with, count em, four back lenses, and the ability to use Samsung’s S Pen accessory (though it is sold separately). This is important because until now, this stylus only worked with the Galaxy Note line of phones, and we’re super excited because sometimes, our big, fat fingers get in the way of navigating the web, texting, signing documents or jotting down notes.

What else should you expect from the S21 and why do you need it? First of all, it makes a statement. With a huge, rounded AMOLED 2X display it is 25 percent brighter (and $200 less) than the S20 Ultra and comes with a refresh rate which will shift between 10hz and 110hz to give you the smoothest view of whatever you’re looking at—as well as saving battery life. All the better to seriously upgrade your streaming experience–no matter what platform you decide to watch your favorite TV shows or movies on.

But it’s the camera with 108-megapixel sensor that really puts the Ultra over the top, giving you one wide, one ultra-wide and two telephoto lenses. It also shoots 8K video and lets you pull stills from the recording, which means less fiddling while you film. Though we haven’t had a chance to see exactly how this upscale, quad camera works, we’ll check back when we get one in hand.

We are especially fond of the Phantom Black color, designed simply with just black film and haze glass, but you can also get it in Phantom Silver or three new colors created especially for the S21 Ultra, Phantom Titanium, Phantom Navy and Phantom Brown. Oh, and it is covered in Gorilla Glass Victus, which we hope might stop it from cracking if (when) you drop it.

So, if you’re looking to upgrade your smartphone with a super-sized screen and hard-core camera, now may be the time to check out the S21 Ultra–because this year Samsung didn’t pull any punches.