Galaxy S21: Samsung is copying Apple again, and Android and iPhone fans are suffering


Samsung’s Galaxy S21 range no longer ships with a power adapter, headset, or microSD card slot.

Drew Evans / CNET

Samsung Galaxy S21 the line has a lot to offer. Screens have been improved, the processor has gotten faster, and cameras have been upgraded to take sharper photos and videos. And to a Starting price $ 200 cheaper than the Galaxy S20, they are once again an attractive alternative to Apple’s latest iPhones.

Read more: Discover CNET Galaxy S21 review and Galaxy S21 Ultra review

But by apparently taking a page from Apple’s playbook, Samsung is cutting down on some things. There is once again no headphone jack, microSD card slot is gone and one the fast charger is no longer included in the box. To some, it’s like Samsung is copying Apple in all the wrong ways.

Of course, some of these changes shouldn’t come as a surprise anymore. Last years Galaxy s20 The line didn’t have a headphone jack, and most more expensive phones said goodbye to the port as businesses pushed for Bluetooth headsets and headsets. (Samsung unsurprisingly unveiled its latest Galaxy Buds Pro headphones for $ 200 at the same event as the S21.) This year, Samsung, like Apple with the iPhone 12, went a step further and removed the included wired headphones as well, which makes sense as he clearly wants people to buy his wireless headphones.

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However, it gives up to $ 200 in Samsung credit for those who pre-order its new phones directly from The credit can be used to purchase a pair of Buds Pro or other accessories, sweetening the blow for at least first-time users.

The microSD card slot was also apparently on the borrowed time. Samsung has already ditched the expandable storage option on its foldable phones, and a number of other manufacturers have refused or long ignored this capability. Apple and Google have never supported microSD storage expansion for their phones, while OnePlus only has the option available for its more affordable Nord series.

“Over time, SD card usage has declined markedly on smartphones as we have expanded the storage options available to consumers,” the South Korean electronics giant said in a statement. The company notes that its phones come with at least 128GB of storage while also supporting 5G and 6E Wi-Fi for faster wireless transfers to and from cloud storage platforms such as OneDrive. and Microsoft’s Google Drive.

While I can understand why this is frustrating for some power users, the thought of losing the microSD card slot never really bothered me. I also like that the base storage option is 128GB overall, not 64GB like on Apple’s iPhone 12 and 12 Mini.

So long, fast charger included


Samsung is following Apple’s lead and ditching the charger out of the box.


What I will really miss, however, is the AC adapter.

Apple started this “trend” last year by announcing that it would no longer include a loading brick with its latest iPhones. Lisa Jackson, Apple’s vice president of environment, policy and social initiatives, said at the time that taking the products out of the box would be better for the environment because it would reduce waste (although, as as some analysts have pointed out, there may have been a nice additional financial advantage to cash in on accessories sales).

Apple’s 5-watt USB chargers that have been included with most iPhones for years are largely useless in 2021, ending up in a drawer or remaining in the box. It would have been great for Apple to include a faster USB-C charger like it did with the iPhone 11 Pro and 11 Pro Max, but by ditching the slow charger, the company could quite easily claim that it is helping the environment, as many people have the same charger from various other Apple products that they’ve bought over the years.

Read more: Samsung’s Galaxy S21 upgrades likely won’t mean the end of the Galaxy FE or Note lines. Again

Samsung, like Apple, says it is ditching the included power supply to help the environment. Federico Casalegno, senior vice president of experience planning at Samsung and its design innovation center, explained during Thursday’s virtual press conference that “a lot of our users prefer to reuse their current chargers and headphones. and leave the new ones in the box, unused. ” Much like Apple, Samsung is reducing its packaging for the S21 line in an effort to reduce its footprint.

Unlike Apple’s chargers, however, Samsung’s chargers have become more and more useful to me over time, as the company’s included power bricks can quickly charge devices over USB-C. For the Galaxy S20, Samsung included a 25-watt fast charger, which is actually pretty awesome.

The company says on its website for the S21 Ultra 5G that using this same type of AC adapter can recharge the Ultra’s 5,000mAh battery in “about an hour.”

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Any effort to help the environment and solving the growing problem of electronic waste should be commended, but instead of ditching features it would have been great to see Samsung take the lead and embrace new technologies like gallium nitride for its chargers. This technology not only offers a fast way to charge, but is also more energy efficient, wasting less heat than traditional silicone chargers.

If it were paired with offering newer, faster chargers with the S21 with an incentive of a few extra dollars for people to swap old chargers with their phones, it could have turned the conversation around. By recycling many older chargers and giving users a more energy-efficient way to power their fancy new phones, Samsung would still be helping the environment without taking away a useful feature for consumers.

And it’s not like these new gallium nitride chargers are too expensive. A new AmazonBasics 30-Watt GaN USB-C Charger is available for under $ 20, roughly the same price as Samsung bill for a new 25 watt AC adapter on its website.

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