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Samsung Galaxy Note 21 release date, price, specs, leaks and what we know so far

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra (Image credit: Aakash Jhaveri)

While the Samsung Galaxy S21 is the big new phone from Samsung, we're already looking ahead to the Samsung Galaxy Note 21, the brand's big end-of-year phone.

We don't know much about the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 yet, but there are already some leaks and rumors circling around, and you can find them all below. When the Galaxy S21 stops being the hot topic, you can bet speculation will ramp up about the Note phone.

Of course,  it still feels uncertain if the Note 21 will happen at all, given the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra launched with S Pen support – though as recently as December, a Samsung employee reportedly said the company is "preparing to release the Galaxy Note series next year." While the company didn't hint at whether a Note 21 would be coming during its January Unpacked event, it's hard to imagine a full year without another Samsung flagship phone.

The Samsung Galaxy Note 21 is set to be an upgrade to the Galaxy Note 20, and the latest of the Note series – though some people think Samsung is planning to kill off this stylus-toting range of phones, so it could end up being the last of its kind.

We can expect to see whatever choices Samsung makes for the Galaxy S21 to be reflected in the Note 21 too. In the meantime, we’ve also included a wish list of the things we want to see from the Samsung Galaxy Note 21, along with educated guesses as to the likely release date and price, so read on for all that and more.

Update: An early render of the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 gives us an idea of what we could expect from it. It's just speculation, based a lot on the Galaxy S21, but it's worth taking a look at.

Cut to the chase

  • What is it? The successor to the Samsung Galaxy Note 20
  • When is it out? Probably August 2021
  • How much will it cost? Expect to pay a premium price

Samsung Galaxy Note 21 release date and price

The main leaks surrounding the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 are simply whether or not it will even launch. It’s been rumored that Samsung is looking to ditch the range and just focus on the Galaxy S range and the new Galaxy Z Fold range at the high end.

With both the Samsung Galaxy S21 and the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 rumored to support a stylus, there’s certainly evidence for that, as now that most of Samsung’s premium phones have big screens it’s mostly just the stylus that helps the Note stand out, so adding it to the S range would leave less reason for the Note range to exist.

However, if Samsung really is phasing out the range it looks as though there's a chance we might at least get a Samsung Galaxy Note 21 before that happens. Both @UniverseIce (a leaker with a reasonable track record) and Herald Corp (a South Korean news site) have suggested as much.

'Industry sources' have apparently said the same, adding that there's supposedly only going to be one Galaxy Note 21 model though - so we might not see a Samsung Galaxy Note 21 Ultra.

On the other hand, @UniverseIce has since stated that there's no evidence the Galaxy Note 21 is in development.

And a site even claims to have heard from a Samsung official that the S Pen will be added to the Z Fold 3 and Galaxy S21 Ultra, with the Note range then set to be discontinued. Three sources speaking to Reuters also claim that there won't be a new Galaxy Note in 2021.

Most recently of all though an anonymous Samsung official has claimed that there will be a new Galaxy Note in 2021, which suggests the range isn't dead yet.

So right now we're really not certain, but we'd think there's a good chance there will be at least one more Note, and assuming the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 is in the works, we can take a good guess at when it will launch, with August 2021 being very likely.

In recent years Samsung has always announced new Note models in early August and shipped them roughly two weeks later, so the same again is likely for the Note 21.

The price is slightly harder to guess as that does change year to year, but the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 started at $999 / £849 / AU$1,199, so we’d expect the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 will cost at least that much.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

The Note 21 will likely cost at least as much as the Note 20 (above) (Image credit: TechRadar)

Leaks and rumors

There isn’t much in the way of Samsung Galaxy Note 21 leaks yet, but we can be confident of some things. For example, the phone is sure to support – and come with – an S Pen stylus, since that’s the main selling point of the range.

There will also probably be multiple models, with a Samsung Galaxy Note 21 Ultra or Plus likely joining the standard model.

The range is also likely to have top-end power, with US users probably getting the top Qualcomm chipset of the time (likely the Snapdragon 888 or 888 Plus), and most other regions probably getting the top Samsung Exynos chipset.

What we want to see

While we wait for more Samsung Galaxy Note 21 rumors to roll in, we’ve come up with a list of what we want to see.

1. Snapdragon for all models

Samsung typically packs different chipsets into its Note phones for different regions, with the US getting a Snapdragon one, while the UK and much of the rest of the world gets an Exynos one. The problem with this is that the two chipsets are never equal, so one version of the phone is usually better than the other.

In recent years it’s tended to be the Snapdragon one, so we’d like all models of the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 to use whatever the best Snapdragon chipset is at the time. But we’d even take them all using Exynos – mostly we just want them to be equal.

2. A glass back

Samsung Galaxy Note 20

The Galaxy Note 20 has a plastic back (Image credit: TechRadar)

While the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra has a glass back, the standard Samsung Galaxy Note 20 is stuck with a plastic one, which is quite surprising given how much the phone costs.

So for the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 we want all models to have a glass back, or use some other premium material such as metal. Just no plastic please.

3. 120Hz on all models at all resolutions

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 only has a 60Hz refresh rate, which is low for a premium phone, and while the Note 20 Ultra ups it to 120Hz, it drops the screen resolution in the process, so you have to choose between a high refresh rate and a high resolution.

While the Samsung Galaxy S20 range did the same, a number of other phones, such as the OnePlus 8 Pro, don’t make you choose.

So for the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 range we want all models to feature a 120Hz refresh rate, and for all of them to do it whatever other screen settings you have.

4. Camera improvements

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra

Even the Note 20 Ultra could use camera improvements (Image credit: Future)

Great as the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra is, its camera isn’t quite up there with the best in low-light situations, with the phone resorting to texture smoothing to compensate for noise. This results in less detailed images than recent phones from Apple and Google manage, so we want to see this improved for the Galaxy Note 21.

We also wouldn’t say no to more lenses – both Galaxy Note 20 models have a triple-lens rear camera, while the top-end standard is increasingly quad-lens.

5. Faster charging

Both the Galaxy Note 20 and the Note 20 Ultra have 25W fast charging, which isn’t bad but it pales in comparison to the 65W charging on the OnePlus 8T.

It’s also oddly a lot slower than the 45W charging offered by the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Plus, so we want at least a return to 45W with the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 range, and ideally more.