The Galaxy S21 series is here. Samsung’s latest flagships were unveiled at the company’s January 2021 Unpacked event, a month earlier than usual.
There are three new S21 phones again this year, with a choice between regular, ‘Plus’ and ‘Ultra’ models. The range starts at a more affordable £769/US$799.99, despite Samsung ditching the 4G model in the UK.
The S21 Ultra is also the first S-series phone to ever have S-Pen support, which could mark the beginning of the end for the Note line. However, it’s much thicker than the Note stylus, and doesn’t come built-in or with its own battery.
All three phones come with Samsung’s new Exynos 2100 processor in most markets, although the US and China will uses Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 888. All have 120Hz AMOLED displays, but they vary quite significantly – the regular S21 and S21+ both have 1080×2400 panels (6.2in and 6.7in respectively), while the S21 Ultra is rocking a 6.8in 1440×3200 screen.
The two cheapest models also have identical camera setups (12Mp main, 12Mp ultrawide, 12Mp telephoto and 10Mp selfie), but there are big upgrades on the Ultra. The main lens is a 108Mp beast, capable of 100x ‘Space Zoom’. A periscope and regular telephoto enable up to 10x optical zoom, while there’s also a 12Mp ultrawide and 40Mp selfie camera.
You can read more about the phones in our full guide to the S21 range. The Plus and Ultra models have a glass front and back which makes them fragile, but all three are extremely capable devices that are worth protecting.
We haven’t had a chance to test these cases for ourselves yet, but can easily recommend them based on the brands’ strong reputation. We’ll update this article as more become available.
Official Samsung Silicon – Best Official
Samsung’s official case lineup seems like the obvious place to start, and this new silicone option is one of our favourites. The soft material adds plenty of grip to the S21 Ultra, making what is a very large device feel great in the hand.
It also means both the back and sides of the device are well-protected, and should be able to cope with any bumps and scratches just fine. There’s even a dedicated slot for the S Pen, the latest addition to the S21 range.
As you might expect given the S-Pen slot, this case is only compatible with the S21 Ultra. However, there are plenty of great official options on for the regular and Plus models on the Samsung website.
You can buy it now for £59/US$69.99, although Samsung is offering 30% off all its cases when bought with any of the company’s smartphones until the end of March.
Mous Limitless 3.0 – Best Slimline
We’ve included Mous’ third-generation of Limitless case in a few round-ups since it launched, and with good reason – this is one of the very best slimline cases you can buy.
Made from a polycarbonate and TPU blend, the Limitless 3.0 is said to offer ‘superior drop protection’. While we can’t verify that claim, the versions we’ve tested for other phones certainly feel extremely strong durable. You also get Mous’ new signature case features: the AiroShock material for impact absorption and AutoAlignPlus for compatibility with a range of magnetic accessories.
It’s available in five distinct finishes, including the Aramid Fibre version pictured.
You can pre-order it now for £49.99/US$59.99, with cases shipping from 23 February.
Spigen Tough Armor – Best Rugged
Spigen’s Tough Armor case has been around a little while than the Mous case, but it’s equally impressive.
The dual-layer TPU and polycarbonate design has been engineered to provide military-grade protection, making it the default option if you’re looking for a rugged case.
Raised areas protect the camera module, while it retains full wireless charging compatibility. There’s even a built-in kickstand for hands-free viewing.
Buy it now from Amazon for £16.99/US$16.99.
Speck Presidio2 Grip – Most grippy
Fits: S21 Ultra
Also available for: S21, S21+
For everything smartphones have gained in the last few years, they’ve definitely suffered in terms of grip. That’s an inevitable consequence of switching to an all-glass design, but even the ‘glasstic’ back of the regular S21 can easily slip out of your hand.
Speck’s latest Presidio2 Grip case can help, with so-called ‘no-slip grips’ on the back of the case improved to provide even better grip and last longer. It’s far from the only reason to buy this case, though, with 13-foot drop protection via Speck’s ArmourCloud technology. There’s also a satisfying soft-touch finish and antibacterial coating.
Check out the full range on the Amazon website, with prices starting at £32.44/US$35.15.
ESR Metal Kickstand – Most versatile
If you’re in the market for protection that doesn’t cover up the stunning design of the S21, look no further than ESR’s metal kickstand case.
It’s made from a clear flexible polymer, which the company says provides better impact protection than hard plastic. It’s also means the case is much easier to put on and off. Subtle raised edges mean the camera and screen are also suitably protected.
As the name suggests, there’s also a built-in kickstand, which can be used in both portrait and landscape mode to suit what you’re doing. It’s even freely adjustable up to 60 degrees.
You can buy it now for £15.19/US$18.99.
Otterbox Otter + Pop – Unique design
If you’re someone who regularly adds pop sockets to your phone for improved grip, you’ll love Otterbox’s Otter + Pop case.
Part of the company’s well-known Symmetry Series, it allows you to easy remove and attach new pop sockets to suit your style. As well as being compatible with Otterbox’s PopTops, you can also connect it to a car vent or range of other surfaces.
The case itself is made from 50% recycled materials, while Otterbox says it’s able to protect against drops, bumps and fumbles.
In addition to the black model pictured, the case is also available in the wonderfully-named Tranquil Waters Light Teal.
You can buy it for £34.99, although it’s not currently available in the US.
Olixar Leather-Style Wallet
A round-up isn’t complete without a wallet-style case, and Olixar’s offering is an inexpensive way to provide all-around protection.
The company has been able to cut costs by going for PU leather, a convincing and more environmentally-friendly alternative to the real thing.
The minimalist outer design continues inside, with two card slots and a secure holder for the phone. It can also double as a kickstand, all while reducing bulk and retaining full wireless charging support.
You can buy it now for £9.99/US$11.49.
You’ve seen the cases, but what if you haven’t pre-ordered one of the phones yet? Here’s where to buy the Samsung Galaxy S21, S21+ and S21 Ultra.
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