Much cheaper Samsung Galaxy S21 compared to S20? Not so in the PH

Jan 15, 2021

ONE of the major reasons why the just-announced Samsung Galaxy S21 line is so praised are the much more approachable prices for the base models.

In the United States, at least, the Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21+ are launching at $799 (around P38,400) and $999 (around P48,000) — $200 (around P9,600) cheaper than the S20 and S20+. These prices apply for the 128GB version, but you can add $50 more to get the 256GB versions.

Publications lauded the move. “Smarter and cheaper,” said CNN in its headline announcing the new phones. "New, more affordable," said Engadget.

Is it the same in the Philippines?

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Well, see for yourself. Here's a comparison of launch prices between the S20/S20+ and the S21/S21+.

Galaxy S21 (256GB): P47,990
Galaxy S20 (128GB): P49,990

Galaxy S21+ (256GB): P57,990
Galaxy S20+ (128GB): P55,990

As you can see, the prices are overall the same year-over-year, dipping slightly for the base S21 versus the base S20, while also increasing slightly in the S21+. However, you get double the storage. (The 128GB versions of the S21 and S21+ don't seem to be available here.)

Over in nearby Singapore, we can see the same pricing strategy. The Samsung Galaxy S20 cost SGD 1,298 at launch; the S21 (256GB version) is a slightly lower SGD 1,248 at launch. The S20+ is SGD 1,498; the S21+ (also 256GB) is also SGD 1,498.

The Verge listed down the ways Samsung found help to drive down the price on the S21 and S21+. For one, the subtly curved display edges are now gone. It also dropped screen resolution to 2400 x 1080. RAM was also stepped down to 8GB from 12GB.

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And of course, no charger is included in the box. (You do get a USB-C to USB-C cable, though.)

Both the S21 and S21+, however, do offer the latest silicon — and this is one key difference between Samsung phones you'll get in the Philippines versus Samsung phones you'll get in, say, the US. For a variety of reasons, the Samsung Galaxy S series in international markets (like ours, or Europe) gets the Exynos 2100 chip. The US gets a Snapdragon 888 chip.

This difference in base storage, chipsets, as well as the other usual suspects like import duties, were likely important factors in Samsung's pricing strategies around the globe.

In any case, with the S21 series, you'll get the latest processor, as well as 5G integration. The camera module, unchanged from last year, offers a three-lens system with a 12-megapixel wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel ultrawide camera, and a 64-megapixel telephoto lens… but this time, with upgraded software capabilities. The S21+ also got a slightly beefier battery.

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As many tech publications have noted, the price of the S21 and S21+ have also been adjusted to match the price of the phone’s biggest competitor, the iPhone 12 series. The S21 family starts at $799 (S21), $999 (S21+), and $1,199 (S21 Ultra); the iPhone 12 family starts at $799 (iPhone 12), $999 (iPhone 12 Pro), and $1,099 (iPhone 12 Max).

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If iPhone 12 price competitiveness is the goal, the Samsung Galaxy S21 has also achieved that in the Philippines — even without the $200 slashing that the US price tag had to do. The S21 family starts at P47,990 (S21), P57,990 (S21+), and P69,990 (S21 Ultra); the iPhone 12 family starts at P49,990 (iPhone 12), P62,990 (iPhone 12 Pro), and P68,990 (iPhone 12 Max).

We have asked Samsung Philippines for comment, and will update the story when we receive it.

For a detailed guide on all the features of the Samsung Galaxy S21 line, read this story from

Here’s the full list of PH prices:

Galaxy S21
256 GB - P47,990

Galaxy S21+
256 GB - P57,990

Galaxy S21 Ultra
256 GB - P69,990
512 GB - P79,990

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