5 reasons the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 looks unlikely to happen

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra could be the last of the Note range (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

In any normal year there would be little doubt that we’d see a new Samsung Galaxy Note model. After all, the Note range is Samsung’s second highest profile after the Galaxy S, and a big seller for the company. Yet there’s significant doubt over whether there will actually be a Samsung Galaxy Note 21.

With the phone – if it arrives at all – probably not landing until August 2021, it’s way too early to say with any certainty whether there will be a Samsung Galaxy Note 21, but below we’ll look at the reasons why there might not be, and the evidence that this could be the end of the line for the Note range.

We've included the five main reasons that the Galaxy Note 21 might not happen, and combined they make the phone look a little unlikely - but there's still some hope for it.

1. There’s little difference between the Galaxy Note and the Galaxy S

There was a time when the Samsung Galaxy Note range stood distinct from the Galaxy S range. The phones in the Note range were bigger, often described as ‘phablets’, making them arguably more versatile and productivity focused than Samsung’s more mainstream Galaxy S range.

Further pushing that angle was the presence of the S Pen stylus, allowing users to sketch and take notes as if with a pen and paper.

Now though, while the S Pen remains a difference, the size doesn’t. The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is exactly the same size as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, and the specs are very similar too. The Note has a squarer design, but that’s hardly reason enough for it to exist.

Similarly, the basic Galaxy Note 20 has the same size screen as the Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus. Admittedly, there’s slightly more difference here, with the Note 20 being a marginally lower end phone with a price tag more in line with the base S20, but still, the differences other than the S Pen aren’t that significant.

2. Samsung has new premium phone ranges

Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 review

With the Z Fold range, does Samsung really need the Note? (Image credit: Future)

How many premium phones ranges can one company support or justify? We don’t know, but that might be a question Samsung is asking itself, as in recent years it has launched the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold and Samsung Galaxy Z Flip ranges.

These are foldable phones and are arguably spiritual successors to what the Note range was in the past, as they’re large and versatile.

They’re also very different to both the Galaxy S and Galaxy Note ranges, and in the case of the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, have a similar price to the top models in those lines, making them essentially competitors.

We’d guess Samsung doesn’t want too many different models competing for the same market, so for all those reasons it could make sense to drop the Note range and focus on foldables.

3. The S Pen might move to other models

We noted above that the main thing the Samsung Galaxy Note range still has over the Galaxy S range is the S Pen stylus, but Samsung could easily start supporting that on other phones, and there’s evidence that it will.

We heard rumors that Samsung would add the S Pen to the S range all the way back in 2019, and have since heard that specifically the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra and Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 might support the S Pen.

That said, they’re both sure to be more expensive than the standard Samsung Galaxy Note 21 would be, and in the case of the S21 Ultra there might not even be a slot for the stylus, so there could still be an audience for the Note.

4. There’s no evidence that the Note 21 is in the works

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

If there was a successor to the Note 20 in the works, we may have heard of it by now (Image credit: TechRadar)

We wouldn’t necessarily expect to have heard rumors of the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 yet, but the almost complete absence of them - other than ones that suggest it might not be coming - is notable.

In fact, one leaker has gone so far as the emphasize that there’s apparently currently no information on the Samsung Galaxy Note 21.

As noted above, the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 range probably wouldn’t land until around August 2021 anyway, so there’s plenty of time for rumors to roll in, but phones as high profile as this do tend to get leaked very early.

5. Samsung itself may have said the range is dead

Perhaps most damning of all is a claim that apparently came from a “Samsung Group official”, who supposedly said the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 and Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra will both support the S Pen, and as a result the Samsung Galaxy Note series will be discontinued.

However, it’s still worth taking this with a pinch of salt, as this claim has been made via Ajou News (a South Korean news site) rather than being any sort of official announcement from Samsung.

It’s also slightly unclear whether they mean the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is the final Note model, or whether the range will simply begin to be phased out – which could still leave room for a Samsung Galaxy Note 21.

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to 3G.co.uk, 4G.co.uk and 5G.co.uk and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.