Samsung Galaxy Note 21: why there's no new Note coming in 2021

Samsung Galaxy Note 21
The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra from 2020 (Image credit: Future)

After months of leaks and speculation it's official: the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 is canceled. That news comes direct from TM Roh, Samsung's President and Head of Mobile Communications, so it doesn't get much more official than that.

Roh doesn't say exactly why the phone has been canceled, but there are a number of possible reasons, which we'll dig into below. This also isn't necessarily the end of the Galaxy Note range - there's reason to think there will be a Samsung Galaxy Note 22 next year.

And ahead of that, there are other stylus-toting Samsung phones you can pick up. The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra has arrived with stylus support, and now there's also the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 that supports an S Pen too.

Plus, it's expected the Samsung Galaxy S22 will feature a Galaxy S22 Ultra that may act as an alternative to the Note series. Some rumors even suggest it may be called the Galaxy S22 Note.

So there are certainly alternatives, but for everything you need to know about why the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 was canceled, and what we might see from the Galaxy Note 22, read on.

Samsung Galaxy Note 21: cut to the chase

  • What is it? The successor to the Samsung Galaxy Note 20
  • When is it out? Never - it's been canceled

Why the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 isn't happening

There are a number of possible reasons for the cancelation of the Samsung Galaxy Note 21, but one is that Samsung simply had too many high-end phones planned for this year.

Earlier in 2021 (prior to the cancelation being confirmed), Samsung's CEO had already heavily suggested the company wouldn't be providing a new Galaxy Note phone in 2021. DJ Koh, Samsung's CEO, said “It is not that we do not release new products. The timing may vary, but next year we are preparing to continue to do so."

He continued: “Note series is positioned as a high-end model in our business portfolio. It could be a burden to unveil two flagship models in a year so it might be difficult to release Note model in 2H."

That suggests we might see a new model in 2022 (likely to be called the Samsung Galaxy Note 22), but that with the Samsung Galaxy S21 range, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, and the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 3, all launching this year, Samsung didn't feel there was space for a new Note as well.

The ongoing chipset shortage also seems to be a factor here, as there might not actually be enough components for Samsung to mass produce the Galaxy Note 21 as well as all these other phones. The company's CEO suggested as much in the same comments, saying "The disparity between the supply of parts and demand in the information technology (IT) side is severe".

Instead of the Galaxy Note 21, Evan Blass (a leaker with a good track record) has said that the Galaxy S21 FE is being positioned as a follow-up to the Galaxy Note 20.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra being used with a stylus

The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra could be the closest thing to a Note this year (Image credit: Future)

Leaks and rumors

Given that the Samsung Galaxy Note 21 isn't happening, we're now turning our attention to the Samsung Galaxy Note 22, which might well launch next year, but so far we don't really know anything about it.

That said, 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 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, and most other regions probably getting the top Samsung Exynos chipset.

We've also been hearing Samsung is readying an under-display camera for its smartphones, and it could come in the next Galaxy Note. In Korea the company trademarked the marketing name 'Under-Panel Camera' or UPC, making it seem imminent.

It's now expected that this camera will debut on the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3, but don't be surprised if the next generation of it makes it to the Galaxy Note 22.

What we want to see

While we wait for more Samsung Galaxy Note 22 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 22 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

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 viewed from the back

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 22 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.

The more recent Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra doesn't make you choose between resolution and refresh rate, so for the Samsung Galaxy Note 22 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

The Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra's camera block

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 22.

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 9 range, and Xiaomi is rumored to be bringing out a 200W phone in 2022.

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 22 range, and ideally more.

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, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.