Samsung's next family of flagship smartphones, due in January and expected to be called the Galaxy S21, have leaked online.
Marketing videos allegedly from Samsung itself appeared this week, published by Android Police and showing a set of three new 5G smartphones. The fleeting glimpses of each phone don't give too much away, but the focus is clearly on their camera systems, and specifically the rear camera modules.
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Redesigned for the S21 family, the rear cameras appear to sit in a smaller module than before, with the S21 and larger S21+ phones getting three lenses each. The flagship of the family, called the S21 Ultra, appears to have no fewer than five rear cameras, with one likely using a periscope system, identifiable via a square aperture.
A design quirk of the S21 family is how the camera module is a different color to the body of the phone; in this case, a bronze module sits on top of a purple phone. The images look just like unofficial renders published by smartphone leaker Steve Hommerstoffer in October.
According to Android Police, the S21 and S21+ each have 12-megapixel main and ultrawide sensors, plus a 64-megapixel telephoto sensor.
Meanwhile, the Galaxy S21 Ultra is said to have a quad camera system with a 108-megapixel main sensor, 12MP ultrawide sensor and 10MP 3x telephoto camera, plus a periscope lens with 10-megapixel, 10x telephoto zoom.
Periscope cameras work by sending light through a prism at 90 degrees; the light then travels down the length of the phone, through a set of lenses before reaching the image sensor. This is a way to fit more lenses into a smartphone without making its body any thicker. There is also said to be a laser autofocus system, replacing the time-of-flight (ToF) sensor of the year-old S20 Ultra.
Samsung normally announces its new Galaxy S smartphones at one of its Unpacked launch events in February, before taking them to the Mobile World Congress exhibition in Barcelona in March. However, for 2021 the company is reportedly hosting its Unpacked event on January 14, with the phones arriving in store on January 29.