The Samsung Galaxy S20 is the company’s most premium and impressive smartphone to date, but already we’re dreaming of what Samsung will cook up for the Galaxy S30 range.
Now that the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 has launched, we know Samsung’s vision of what a ‘premium’ phone is right now – and that gives us a hint for what’s in store with the Galaxy S30, which we wouldn’t expect until the beginning of 2021. In the meantime, read our Note 20 live blog to read our thoughts as the reveal stream happened.
The Samsung Galaxy S30 devices are sure to be some of the most exciting phones of 2021, so hype is already building, and we’re even hearing the first very early rumors.
You’ll find those below, and we’ll be adding to this article any time there’s new information, so make sure to check back regularly if you want to stay up to date.
You’ll also find our wish list for the Samsung Galaxy S30 further down – these are the things that we most want from Samsung’s next Galaxy S phone, in order to make it as good as possible.
Latest story: We’ve heard a little about the Galaxy S21 / S30’s Ultra model, specifically about its cameras. Apparently, this top-end phone might have two zoom cameras and no Time-of-Flight sensor. Some of the other snappers could be the same as in the S20 Ultra though.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? The successor to the Galaxy S20
- When is it out? Probably February 2021
- What will it cost? Likely upwards of $999 / £899 / AU$1,499
Samsung Galaxy S30 release date and price
Samsung always unveils its new Galaxy S models early in the year, and in recent years it has been announcing them in February, then selling them from March, so it’s very likely it will do the same with the Samsung Galaxy S30 range.
We can’t get much more specific than that, but recently the company has avoided MWC (a trade show which takes place at the end of February) and launched its phones earlier in the month, so that too is likely in 2021.
As for how much the Samsung Galaxy S30 range will cost, the phones will probably be at least as expensive as the Galaxy S20 range, likely meaning a starting price for the basic model of at least $999 / £899 / AU$1,499, with the Samsung Galaxy S30 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S30 Ultra likely costing even more.
Samsung Galaxy S30 or Galaxy S21?
Before the Samsung Galaxy S20 launch we thought it’d be called the Galaxy S11, and different leaks referred to it differently. History might repeat itself – a top leaker has stated the Galaxy S30 is actually the Galaxy S21.
So will the phone be called the Samsung Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S30?
There’s no way of knowing for now – most people think Galaxy S30, but the leaker who stated it’ll be the S21 has a great track record, enough to make us pay attention.
As the phone’s launch gets closer, we’d expect more noteworthy leakers to throw their worth behind one name or the other, which should give us a better idea of what to expect.
Samsung Galaxy S30 leaks and news
At the time of writing we’ve not heard too many Samsung Galaxy S30 rumors, but one thing we have heard is a claim that the phone might have an in-screen camera, though Samsung is apparently evaluating the feasibility, so it sounds like the tech might not be ready.
We’ve also heard that Samsung is working on a 150MP camera for smartphones that can combine nine pixels into one, for 16MP shots that can take in a lot of light.
We would however take this claim with a serious side of salt – it’s very early for S30 rumors, the source doesn’t have a track record, and even if Samsung is working on that camera, that doesn’t guarantee that we’ll see it in the Galaxy S30 range.
Having said that, the claim of a 150MP main snapper has since appeared again, with another source adding that it could be joined by a 64MP telephoto, 16MP ultra-wide, and 12MP macro snapper, plus a depth sensor, for five sensors in total. Though if this is accurate it’s probably more likely that the Samsung Galaxy S30 Ultra will have these specs.
Having said that, we’ve more recently heard that the Samsung Galaxy S30 Ultra will have a 108MP camera (just like the S20 Ultra) but with a new and likely improved image sensor. So it’s unclear which rumors are right for now.
Elsewhere we’ve heard that the Samsung Galaxy S30 will ditch the time-of-flight (ToF) sensor that the Galaxy S20 had. Apparently Samsung is shelving the technology until it has a sensor that can compete with the one Apple uses.
That’s been backed up by a Samsung Galaxy S21 / S30 Ultra camera leak. Apparently the device will have a 108MP main, 12MP ultra-wide and 40MP selfie camera, like the S30 Ultra, but with two zoom lenses instead of one, and no Time-of-Flight sensor. These zoom cameras are said to facilitate 3x and 5x optical zooming.
Elsewhere, there’s also a Samsung patent (below) detailing a smartphone camera design with six rear camera sensors. This would include five wide-angle ones and one telephoto one, and each lens would be individually tiltable, so they could point in different directions.
That would have a number of potential applications, from adding a bokeh effect to panoramas, to potentially improving low light shots and HDR. However, the patent hasn’t specifically been linked to the Galaxy S30, so we wouldn’t count on seeing this design.
We also have some news on the chipset, with a benchmark suggesting that some versions of the Samsung Galaxy S30 will use a new Exynos 1000 chipset with GPU performance that’s up to three times faster than the Snapdragon 865 – which is the best Android chipset at the time of writing. Buyers in the US though will probably get a Snapdragon 875 instead, which is sure to be similarly fast.
On the battery front, unofficial reports suggest that the S30 could be in for a small battery capacity boost compared with the equivalent S20 models – but we’ll have to wait and see whether this translates into better battery life overall.
A small piece of news on the Galaxy S30 development is that Samsung had been rumored to switch suppliers of its screen tech to a company called BOE. Newer reports suggest that isn’t the case anymore though, and it’s likely the screen tech will remain similar to the Galaxy S20 as Samsung continues to make its own screens for its phones.
We’ve heard Samsung is having internal debates as to whether it could stop shipping charging cables with some of its 2021 smartphones, in a bid to reduce e-waste (as most people already have charging cables).
The Samsung Galaxy S30 could certainly be one of those phones. Previous Galaxy phones have charging cables that don’t match the charging speed of the actual device, so many people already buy separate ones, and it’s also possible the device will be totally portless. We’ll have to wait to see for sure, though.
What we want to see
We don’t know much about the Samsung Galaxy S30 yet but we know what we want from it, with the following things being top of our list.
1. A more reasonable price
There’s no getting around how expensive the Samsung Galaxy S20 range is. Even the basic model will set you back a lot, with prices rising compared to the previous year and the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra almost creating a new category of ultra-premium phones.
The situation isn’t helped by the absence of a Samsung Galaxy S20e or Samsung Galaxy S20 Lite – though it’s possible one will arrive at some point.
In any case, we’d like to see either a cost reduction for 2021’s models or a Samsung Galaxy S30 Lite alongside the rest of the range. Or better yet, both.
2. 100x zoom across the range
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra has some of the flashiest camera credentials we’ve seen on a smartphone, headlined by its 100x zoom.
So, for the Galaxy S30 range we’d like to see that feature move down to the more affordable models. But we’d also like to see it improved, as in its current form the quality isn’t great, making it more of a party trick than a feature you’ll actually be using a lot.
3. An in-screen camera
Samsung’s current flagships have camera cut-outs in the screen for the selfie camera, and we feel this is a rather inelegant solution, so for the Samsung Galaxy S30 we’d really like the camera to be built into the screen, just like the fingerprint scanner.
That would allow Samsung to deliver a truly all-screen design without having to resort to a pop-up camera (which takes up more internal space and is likely to be more vulnerable).
We’re not confident that we’ll see this – it will likely largely depend on whether the tech is good enough – but it would certainly be a standout feature.
4. A new look
The design of the Galaxy S range didn’t change much with 2020’s models, and other than switching a bezel for a punch-hole camera the design hasn’t changed a whole lot in years, so we’d say it’s time for Samsung to switch things up with the Galaxy S30 range.
One way to do that would be with an in-screen camera, as mentioned above, but one way or another we want the phones to look truly different to the Galaxy S20 range.
5. The same chipset everywhere
One odd feature of the Samsung Galaxy S range is that the chipset differs depending on where you are in the world, with some regions getting Qualcomm’s top-end Snapdragon chipset of the time, and others getting Samsung’s top-end Exynos one.
The trouble is these chipsets are rarely equal. Whether in terms of performance or battery life, there’s usually a difference. How much of a difference can vary from year to year, and it’s not normally too massive, but there is always a weaker version of the phone.
So going forward we’d like to see Samsung use the same chipset in all regions.
6. 120Hz at QHD+
Another quirk of the Samsung Galaxy S20 range is that you can have a 120Hz refresh rate or a QHD+ screen resolution, but not both at the same time.
That’s rather restrictive, especially when plenty of other phones – such as the OnePlus 7T Pro and Google Pixel 4 XL – have at least a 90Hz refresh rate paired with QHD+, whereas on Samsung’s phones you have to drop right down to 60Hz.
There are rumors that Samsung might remove the restriction with a software update, but whether it does or not, it’s not a restriction we want to see on the Galaxy S30 range.
7. A slicker scanner
The in-screen scanner in the Samsung Galaxy S20 range isn’t bad, but it’s still not as fast or reliable as the best physical fingerprint scanners, so that’s another thing we’d like to see improved for the Samsung Galaxy S30.
We want it to work instantly, every time, while still being secure.