The Sony PlayStation 5 is here at last – seven years after its predecessor appeared and proceeded to utterly dominate its competition. But this time, the PS5 has an uphill battle to convince everyone that it’s a necessary purchase.
It isn’t a gateway to gaming in a new resolution in the way that previous console generations were, and you don’t even need to buy one to play the latest games – there are almost no titles in its entire catalogue that can’t also be played on PS4.
But the PS5 has some unexpected tricks up its sleeve that make it feel like a proper generational upgrade and, ultimately, give it a leg up over the Xbox Series X.
The PS5 is out now, priced at £450 ($500, AU$750), the same price Microsoft is charging for its Xbox Series X.
There is a more affordable PS5 Digital Edition (£360, $400, AU$600) which, according to Sony, is identical to the standard PS5 in terms of performance and specs but lacks an optical disc drive. Microsoft’s disc-less next-gen console, the Xbox Series S (£249, $300, AU$500), costs significantly less than the PS5 Digital Edition, but is also downgraded in a number of ways so (by design) isn’t in the same league.
The PS5 is absolutely huge. So huge, it makes the Xbox Series X – a very large console in its own right – look decidedly compact. Standing vertically, Sony’s console is 9cm taller and 11cm deeper than its Microsoft rival, and is big enough to cause issues for those with limited space in their equipment racks, particularly as you have to allow space for it to stay cool.
Like the Xbox Series X, the PS5 uses a single, unusually large fan (by console standards) to keep itself cool, which it does very quietly indeed. Unlike the Xbox Series X, it’s not completely inaudible in a silent room, but the consistent whirr is quiet enough to be drowned out by any sound coming from your TV or sound system.
With both consoles, the disc drive is noisier than the fan, particularly when playing a 4K Blu-ray. Here, though, we peg the PS5 at about 5dB quieter than the Xbox. That’s enough to make a difference and, while neither will intrude on your movie soundtrack, you are more likely to notice the Xbox in the quieter moments. It isn’t an issue with games, as even those bought on disc run primarily from the consoles’ built-in storage.
In terms of the PS5’s looks, we’ll leave you to make up your own mind. For every person who likes the way it’s styled, there seems to be at least one more who hates it. Perhaps this Marmite-like reaction is precisely what Sony was going for.
You can at least position it vertically rather than horizontally if that better suits your furniture and/or tastes, but swapping orientation involves unscrewing and repositioning the included pedestal stand: the console’s curves mean it won’t simply lie flat.
Sony PlayStation 5 tech specs
(Image credit: Future)
Maximum resolution 4K
Maximum frame rate 120fps
Storage 825GB SSD
Outputs HDMI 2.1, 3.5mm headphone jack (on controller), USB (Type-A) x3, USB-C
The PS5’s controller is the first real indication that Sony has opted to go beyond sheer processing power and aimed for a more holistic upgrade encompassing the way games feel and sound.
The new DualSense is a massive step up from its DualShock predecessor, and is packed with technology that helps immerse you in the games you play in new and inventive ways.
It’s all down to a series of motors that provide haptic feedback as well as resistance in the triggers. Pull down the left trigger to aim down the sites of a gun in Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War and the resistance under your finger varies, depending on the weight of the weapon. Pull the right trigger and the first bit of movement is light before you get to a sort of bite point that you need to click through to fire the gun.
Switch to Astro’s Playroom and you can feel raindrops as they land on his umbrella. It sounds gimmicky, but it’s testament to the quality of the engineering and the way it’s seamlessly integrated with the visuals and sound that the opposite is true.
The DualSense is bigger than the PS4’s DualShock 4 and quite weighty, too. The general shape and button layout is the same, though, and if you’re comfortable gaming on a PS4, you should have no problem here.
One other addition that’s fairly easy to miss (and even dismiss) is the DualSense’s integrated microphone, which has its own mute button above. This allows you to plug any pair of standard wired headphones into the bottom of the controller while still being able to communicate with friends in online games.
That’s a particularly big deal because any standard headphones plugged into the DualSense can take advantage of the console’s bespoke 3D audio technology. The controller’s integrated microphone makes voices sound tinny, but clarity is decent as long as there isn’t much background noise. All told, this is an excellent solution that allows everyone to experience 3D audio.
In the battle of the spec sheets, the PS5 appears to lose out against the Xbox Series X. Both have 8-core CPUs from AMD, but the Xbox’s are clocked at 3.8GHz while the PS5’s are 3.5GHz. Both consoles also use AMD graphics processors, with the Xbox’s providing 12 teraflops of power to the PS5’s 10.28 teraflops.
Both consoles use SSDs (solid-state drives) rather than mechanical hard disk drives, with Microsoft offering a terabyte of storage to the PS5’s 825GB. But the way Sony has designed and integrated the PS5’s storage makes it so fast (more than twice as fast as that of the Series X, in fact) that it essentially boosts overall console performance.
But neither console uses that power to deliver 8K. As with the Xbox Series X, the PS5 has no 8K output option within its menus. Instead, 4K at 60Hz is the performance target, with 120Hz available via some games, often at the cost of resolution and/or certain graphical features.
One such graphical feature that this new console generation brings with it is ray tracing, which massively improves lighting, shadows and reflections. This has the potential to transform almost everything you see on screen, making games look vastly more realistic.
Like the Xbox Series X, the PS5 allows you to prioritise graphical quality or performance for many games. Delve into the Game Presets section of the settings and you can choose between Resolution Mode and Performance Mode. While any 4K HDR TV will be capable of supporting Resolution Mode, even when it includes ray tracing, if a game has a 120Hz Performance Mode, you won’t be able to take advantage unless you also have a TV that supports 120Hz. These are still relatively rare. In fact, we’re only aware of one model under 55 inches that supports 4K@120Hz (the LG OLED48CX). Check out our list of the best gaming TVs for guidance.
For many people, a console needs to be an all-round entertainment device rather than a pure games machine. The PS5 obliges with a selection of streaming apps and a 4K Blu-ray player, although there are some flaws and missteps here.
One of the big flaws is that Dolby Atmos isn’t supported at a system level. Instead, 7.1-channel PCM is the highest-quality audio delivery that can be selected in the console’s menus, and that’s the best you’ll get out of any games or streaming apps. You can, though, enable Atmos for Blu-rays by accessing a hidden menu within the Disc Player app. Why it’s available here and not across the system as a whole is a mystery, though we should be grateful that it’s supported at all – Dolby Vision is not.
The Disc Player app is also unique in that it’s able to override the system’s frame rate and dynamic range settings. If you play a standard Blu-ray movie, for example, it will be output at 24fps and in SDR, just as it should. Every streaming app, though, outputs in line with the console’s main settings, so SDR films are upconverted to 60fps and HDR, which can result in some judder and exaggerated colours. Again, if the Blu-ray player can match its output to the content being played, why can’t the console’s streaming apps?
In terms of actual app selection, the PS5 is roughly on a par with the Xbox Series X. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV are all here in 4K and with (genuine) HDR. Disney+ is on board, too, but is currently only in Full HD and SDR (although the console will upscale to 4K and upconvert to HDR).
UK owners also get Now TV, BT Sport and TV from Sky (essentially Sky Go for the big screen), but of the terrestrial catch-up services, only All 4 is included. BBC iPlayer is missing and though it’s unlikely you bought a new console to watch Eastenders, you might expect to have the option.
As soon as you turn the PS5 on, it’s clear that this is a next-generation console. While the Xbox Series X bizarrely seems determined to convince you that it’s just like the Xbox One you owned before it, the PS5 screams newness from its sultry logos and 4K HDR user interface, to its new home screen with game ‘cards’ that fill your screen and speakers when highlighted. It’s a fresh, super-stylish presentation, but familiar enough to ensure that existing PS4 gamers will quickly find their way about. The clear icons, logical layout and snappy operation aid its usability, too.
The PS5 has an even better next-gen trick up its sleeve, in the form of Astro’s Playroom, which is pre-installed on the console. Not only is this a great platforming game in its own right, it also serves as an ingenious introduction to the DualSense controller’s many features, plus the super-polished, super-smooth 4K/60Hz presentation.
Once we’ve had enough cutesy robot fun, we move on to Call Of Duty: Black Ops Cold War, which is a great showcase for both next-gen consoles. By default, the game runs in 4K at a consistent 60 frames per second, but you have the option to either further enhance the visuals by enabling ray tracing, or enhance the performance by enabling 120Hz.
Each option has its merits: competitive gamers will go for the responsive 120Hz mode (if their TV supports it), while those who prioritise cinematic spectacle will want to enable the lovely ray tracing feature. In fact, there’s an argument that 120Hz is of most use in multiplayer, while ray tracing makes sense for the campaign, so it’s a bit of a shame that you have to quit the game in order to activate and deactivate Performance Mode.
Switching between Call Of Duty on PS5 and Xbox Series X, it’s difficult to spot any differences in either the presentation or the performance. There may be some on the spec sheet, but if one is a better performer than the other, it’s not obvious here.
We play the new, Sony-exclusive Spider-Man: Miles Morales and are again given the option of playing in a ray tracing-enabled mode (Fidelity Mode) or Performance Mode. Fidelity Mode runs at just 30 frames per second, but looks glorious. This is a pseudo-sequel to the Spider-Man game that came out on the PS4 in 2018, and is set in the same city.
On the PS5, though, it is packed with extra details, people and traffic, and the ray tracing adds stunning reflections to all of its windows, vehicles and puddles. This has a transformative effect on the scale of the presentation. The city simply looks bigger, busier and more realistic and Miles Morales feels like the strongest advert yet for next-gen. These are still early days, though, and even this game was designed for both PS4 and PS5. It’s likely just a glimpse at what’s to come in the next few years.
Taking a break from gaming, the PS5 serves as a capable streamer and disc-player, its limitations notwithstanding. Jack Ryan streamed from Amazon Prime Video is punchy, dynamic and naturally balanced in its colours. The Apple TV 4K produces a slightly more sophisticated and nuanced delivery, but the PS5 is certainly a match for the Xbox Series X.
Switching to the 4K Blu-ray of Blade Runner 2049, we’re impressed by the depth, solidity and three-dimensionality of the PS5’s delivery. It produces deeper blacks than the Xbox Series X, which currently has an issue that Microsoft has promised to fix. That has benefits across the whole picture, particularly in terms of drama, dynamism and colours. However, the PS5 isn’t a match for even the most affordable dedicated 4K Blu-ray players when it comes to subtlety of shading and stability in motion. If you’re serious about disc-based movies, a standalone player is still the way to go.
Spinning up the bombing-run scene of Unbroken via Blu-ray, it turns out that the PS5 can do a very good job of Dolby Atmos soundtracks when given the chance. It doesn’t quite have the crispness or dynamic punch of a dedicated player such as the Sony UBP-X700, but the console produces a muscular, room-filling sound with good clarity and well-placed sound effects.
While Dolby Atmos isn’t an option for games, those who already own a surround sound system will be relieved to hear that that’s still the optimal way to enjoy game soundtracks.
That’s not to say the PS5’s bespoke 3D audio system isn’t good, because it really is. We test it with a pair of B&O BeoPlay H2 on-ears and the extravagant Grado GS2000e over-ears, each plugged into the DualSense controller, plus the official, wireless PS5 Pulse headset. In each case, we find that the so-called Tempest Engine delivers open, spacious and atmospheric sound with good placement of effects and a convincing sense of three-dimensionality.
In the CIA safehouse at the start of Call Of Duty, the 3D audio gives a real sense of the cavernous nature of the place, the distance of each character as they speak and the echo as their voice reacts to the interior walls of the warehouse. You get none of this when listening in simple stereo.
There’s a slight synthetic note to the presentation that isn’t there when listening through proper speakers and, try as it might, the processing can’t quite place effects directly in front or behind you. Still, if you don’t already have a surround-sound package, the PS5’s 3D audio is an excellent solution that makes use of the headphones you may already own.
While the PS5 and Xbox Series X both suffer from a lack of exclusive games, the PS5 certainly fares better on that front and, crucially, makes a better all-round case for getting on board the next-gen train. It feels fresh and new, has an innovative controller, features bespoke 3D audio tech that anyone with a pair of simple wired headphones can take advantage of, and a built-in game that introduces you to all these cool new things in charming style. None of this can be said of the new Xbox.
Its credentials as an all-in-one entertainment device are rather dented by its complete lack of Dolby Vision, its lack of Dolby Atmos everywhere but in the Disc Player app, and its slight app gaps, but some or all of these issues could be fixed in time.
Besides, the majority of people will buy a next-gen console for next-gen gaming, and it’s the PS5 that delivers this most effectively – not in terms of resolution and frame rates, which are no higher here than from the Xbox – but in terms of new, game-changing tech and a dazzling user experience.
In a digital press conference on Thursday, with the tagline “Welcome to the Everyday Epic,” the company demoed its three new Galaxy S21 smartphones in varying sizes — a 6.2-inch Galaxy S21, a 6.7-inch S21+ and a 6.8-inch S21 Ultra. Samsung showed off its faster Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor, advanced AI-powered cameras, new colors in a matte finish and premium earbuds you can buy to go with it. All models come with built-in 5G capabilities.
The S21 Ultra is clearly Samsung’s standout product. Whilethe Galaxy S21 and 21+ featurea new flat high definition screen (2400 x 1080), the S21 Ultra model takes it a step further with a super high-resolution display (3200 x 1400). The S21 Ultra has four rear cameras, compared to the three rear cameras on the other two devices. The S21 Ultra’s four cameras are a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens for shooting landscapes or group shots, a 108-megapixel wide-angle lens for clarity and color accuracy and two 10-megapixel telephoto lenses that work together to zoom even more into shots.
The Galaxy S21 ($799) and S21+ ($999) are $200 cheaper than the models they’re replacing, and the S21 Ultra ($1199) is $300 less than its predecessor. These prices are the same as Apple’s iPhone lineup, though the S21 Ultra costs $100 more than the iPhone 12 Pro Max.
The S21 and S21+ (available in purple, black, gray, white and pink) and the S21 Ultra (available in black, silver, brown, titanium and navy) will be available for pre-order on Thursday. All devices start shipping on January 29.
The three models support the S Pen stylus used in its Note series phones, but all three models ship without a charger, which Samsung says is for sustainability reasons. Apple made a similar movie with the iPhone last year.
The upgrades are indeed improvements to the Galaxy lineup, most significantly to the camera technology, but Samsung’s “epic” motto feels off, both because the changes are more evolutionary than revolutionary and because of the backdrop to the announcements. Life feels anything but epic: More people are stuck inside, the news cycle is exhaustive and unemployment levels remain high. Let’s be honest, the day is a win if we change out of sweatpants.
In a nod to our new normal, Samsungisthrowing in some features that may be better geared for life at home during the pandemic. This includes a default blue light filter that could help reduce eyestrain when you’re doomscrolling. The phones also offer deeper integration into home automation products.
In addition to the phones, Samsung introduced a premium version of its wireless earbuds, called Galaxy Buds Pro, with enhanced noise cancellation and an ambient sound feature. Ahead of the event, a Samsung executive in a product demolikened working from home to being at a construction site — dogs barking, a toddler running around and appliances humming in the background. The new wireless earbudshave three built-in microphones that separate the user’s voice from the background noise so audio can come in clear during a call, even if it’s a chaotic background.
Meanwhile, ambient sound lets you hear the world around you on top of what you’re listening to. If you’re using them on Zoom call, you can still hear your kid in the background. The two features work together intelligently, too. When your child inevitably comes to talk to you during your meeting, Galaxy Buds Pro will detect them speaking, lower the volume and automatically switch to the ambient noise setting so you can hear him better.
The set, which comes in purple, black and silver, costs $199 — $50 less than the rivaling Apple AirPods Pro. The company claims it gets 5 hours of playback and 13 hours of reserved power when fully charged.
Samsung’s annual Galaxy event usually coincides with Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February — the first major tech event that was canceled last year due to the pandemic — but the company moved it up to land on the last day of this year’s all-digital CES consumer tech conference.
Following a long thread of rumors, Samsung also unveiled a Bluetooth location tag called Galaxy SmartTag that lets you locate non-connected devices with a physical tag that attaches to keys, a bag or a pet’s collar.
Conspiracy theorists and pro-Trump extremists are using podcasts hosted on mainstream tech platforms to push misinformation, despite a widespread crackdown on individual social media accounts that push these ideas.
The AP first reported that podcasts on Apple, Spotify, and Google were peddling claims that the US election was rigged, and that the January 6 US Capitol riots were staged, among other claims.
Insider likewise found podcasts easily available on all three platforms that claimed President-elect Joe Biden’s win was “a fraud.”
The podcast “Red Pill News”, hosted by a user called RedPill78, described the US Capitol riots as “a staged event” in an episode aired January 11. That’s still available on Apple Podcasts as of January 17.
The AP found another podcast, “X22 Report”, which said in one episode ahead of the Capitol riots: “We the people, we are the storm, and we’re coming to DC.” That is also available on Google’s podcasting platform as of January 17.
And Insider on Sunday found a third podcast, called “Quite Frankly” and hosted on Spotify, Apple, and Google, where the host characterized the election in a January 16 episode as “a stinky, smelly, suspicious election” in a wider rant about free speech. “Quite Frankly” has also hosted RedPill78 on prior episodes.
The ongoing availability of these podcasts contrasts with the strict stance taken by several major tech firms to crack down on social media accounts pushing conspiracies, or apps that peddle hate, in the wake of the Capitol riots on January 6.
Spotify, meanwhile, in November banned “War Room”, a podcast hosted by former White House adviser Steve Bannon. The show was also suspended from Twitter and YouTube after Bannon suggested beheading the government’s pandemic expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, and FBI director Christopher Wray.
Yet, while the X22 Report podcast remains available via Apple, it has been suspended by YouTube, Spotify, and Twitter. Red Pill News’ podcast description also states it is no longer available on YouTube.
A fourth podcast “SoulWarrior Uncensored” is run by self-declared QAnon believer Melody Torres. According to the AP, she said she has been booted from Twitter. The AP also reported that the podcast was still available on Apple and Google, but was removed from Spotify after an inquiry by the news outlet.
Oren Segal of ADL’s Center on Extremism told AP: “Podcasts filled with hatred and incitement to violence should not be treated any differently than any other content.
“If you’re going to take a strong stance against hate and extremism in the platform in any way, it should be all-inclusive.”
Insider approached Spotify, Google, and Apple for comment.
If you were to tell the average smartphone user that Samsung Galaxy S prices had only gone up over the years, they’d likely believe you. However, you’d be lying. There have been a few years in which prices have actually dropped — including 2021, believe it or not. If you look back, there are a lot of interesting price changes happening.
Considering that Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer and the Galaxy S series is its most popular phone family, we thought we’d examine everything from the very beginning. Below, you’ll find a list of every major Galaxy S phone and its original launch price. In the end, you’ll find a chart giving a compact view of how those prices have changed as time went on.
Please note that we won’t be including every variant of the Galaxy S series here. The Mini variants from the mid-2010s, for example, won’t be included. We’re also ignoring the Fan editions, Lite editions, Active editions, etc., in favor of focusing only on the main entries in the series.
Samsung Galaxy S price: $399
The original Samsung Galaxy S had many different names. The Samsung Galaxy Proclaim, Galaxy S Showcase, Galaxy Vibrant 4G, Galaxy S Captivate — the list is quite long. However, we’ll always remember it as the Galaxy S, the one that started it all.
Here in the United States during the phone’s launch year of 2010, it was incredibly difficult to buy a smartphone in an unlocked format. Instead, you needed to visit your carrier and buy a phone through them. You’d get a small portion of the phone’s cost integrated into your bill over the next two years as part of your exclusive contract. As such, it’s hard to determine the exact final Samsung Galaxy S prices as they would change from carrier to carrier.
However, we determined the average amount to be around $399, which equates to ~$477 in 2021 dollars. That seems like a bargain compared to the smartphones of today. But keep in mind that this phone was far less advanced — and a lot cheaper to produce.
Samsung Galaxy S2 price: $549
The Samsung Galaxy S was a huge hit for the company. Because of its success on the market, all eyes were on the Galaxy S2 in early 2011. Unfortunately, Samsung went hog wild with the follow-up and released multiple phones with totally different designs and specs — all using the Galaxy S2 branding. It was so messy that you could buy a Galaxy S2 from AT&T, and it would be a completely different phone compared to the device of the same name from T-Mobile.
Still, that didn’t stop Samsung from selling Galaxy S2 phones like hotcakes. The phone was even more popular than the original Galaxy S and put Samsung firmly at the top of the Android smartphone world.
Once again, though, it was hard to buy the phone unlocked in the US. With that in mind, most consumers likely didn’t even notice that the list price of the phone jumped up significantly to $549. The price, after all, was hidden in their mobile carrier’s contract. Thankfully, it wouldn’t be much longer before regulatory bodies forced carriers to stop this practice.
Samsung Galaxy S3 price: $599
Samsung entered 2012 as the smartphone king. In Q3 2011, it outsold Apple as far as smartphones go — a first for the Korean company. Not content to stop the growth, Samsung launched what is arguably one of the most beloved phones of all time: the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Thankfully, Samsung started to tone down its habit of releasing many different phones with the same name. The Galaxy S3 looked very uniform no matter where you got it. The internal specs might have been wildly different, but that’s a whole other story.
Despite the significant jump in specs and design, the price for this phone didn’t jump much higher than the previous model. In 2012, the Galaxy S3 cost about $599. That represents one of the smaller increases in the long history of Samsung Galaxy S prices.
Samsung Galaxy S4 price: $649
Statistically, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the biggest Android phone of all time. At 80 million units sold, the only other Android phone that comes even close to its sales is its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. Even the mighty iPhone 5S — launched in the same year — sold only 52 million units.
Once again, Samsung only nominally increased the price of the phone compared to the Galaxy S3. Of course, consumers in the US still likely wouldn’t have known it cost them $649. By this point, getting the phone unlocked was much easier, but only a small fraction of US buyers went that route.
A lot of die-hard smartphone fans saw very clearly what the price of the phone was in the summer of 2013. That’s when Samsung and Google partnered together to launch a Google Play Edition of the phone. It featured an unlockable bootloader and stock Android — a breath of fresh air for the people who loathed Samsung’s Android skin TouchWiz. Samsung and Google only partnered to do this for a few cycles, but we wish it had gone on longer.
Samsung Galaxy S5 price: $649
Up until now, the Samsung Galaxy S prices had only gone up. In 2014, for the first time, Samsung launched the newest Galaxy S device at the same exact price as the previous year: $649.
Even though the price stayed the same, several new specs and features launched with this phone. That included a fingerprint sensor integrated into the home button, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and a 16MP rear camera lens.
Unfortunately, sales of the Galaxy S5 failed to even come near the sales of the Galaxy S4. That’s why the S5’s design was the last of its kind. In 2015, Samsung would completely revamp the Galaxy S aesthetic. Still, the Galaxy S5 is fondly remembered by fans.
Samsung Galaxy S6 series prices: $649 — $799
In 2020, we ranked all of the Galaxy S phones from worst to best. Unfortunately, our friend the Samsung Galaxy S6 came in at the very bottom as our least favorite in the line. Sorry, bud.
Despite it being stuck at last place in our hearts, it represented the third time in a row that the base Samsung Galaxy S price remained unchanged. Of course, when you consider that Samsung removed the MicroSD card slot, IP rating, and removable battery, you’d wonder why it didn’t drop.
For the first time, the manufacturer also launched a more premium version of a Galaxy S phone. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge was basically the same phone but slightly bigger and with curved glass on the sides. Despite the device not really offering much else over the normal model, the Edge variant cost $100 more for a total of $749. Not content to stop there, Samsung eventually launched a Galaxy S6 Edge Plus for $799.
You should also note that, due to low sales, Samsung dropped the entry price of the Galaxy S6 to $579 not long after it launched. This was the first time that had happened in the middle of a Galaxy S phone’s lifecycle. It wouldn’t be the last.
Samsung Galaxy S7 series prices: $669 & $769
With sales of the Galaxy S6 series being incredibly disappointing, Samsung needed a hit — and fast. Enter the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. Both phones took what worked with the Galaxy S6 but brought back the things Samsung disregarded the previous year. That included the MicroSD card slot and an IP rating. Unfortunately, the removable battery never came back.
Still, the Galaxy S7 family fared much better on the market than its predecessors. With a launch price of $669 to $699 (depending on where you bought it and when), the entry-level version of the phone was only nominally more expensive than the Galaxy S6. However, it offered many more specs and features. Likewise, the larger Edge variant cost around $100 more.
Unfortunately, Samsung still wasn’t selling as many Galaxy S7 phones as it had hoped. This forced it to, once again, drop both phones’ prices in the middle of their lifecycles.
Samsung Galaxy S8 series prices: $749 & $849
In 2017, Samsung wisened up in a few ways. It abandoned the Edge branding, which appeared to simply confuse buyers. Instead, it launched the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. As the “Plus” moniker suggested, it was a larger version of the base model, which is why it cost more. This made much more sense.
The Galaxy S8 line represented a seismic shift for the design of the Galaxy S series. For the first time, the fingerprint sensor moved to the back of the phone, allowing for the front to be all display (with sizable bezels, of course). That big change must have made Samsung pretty confident because it increased the entry price to $749 — even after it needed to reduce the already lower price of the Galaxy S7 just months earlier.
Things must have worked out OK, though, as Samsung didn’t reduce the prices of these phones in the middle of their lifecycles. Coming off the fiasco of the Galaxy Note 7 the previous year also may have had an influence on Samsung Galaxy S prices as well.
Samsung Galaxy S9 series prices: $719 & $839
If you go back to the early days of the Galaxy S line, you see a lot of similarities. The Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy S5 all featured the same core design elements. Since then, though, we’ve seen the line change quite a bit.
Not so with the Galaxy S9. The 2018 iterations of the Galaxy S legacy looked very similar to the 2017 models. The biggest change was the movement of the rear fingerprint sensor from the side of the camera to below it. The Galaxy S9 Plus also got a second rear camera, representing the first time that had ever happened on a Galaxy S phone.
Maybe because of how similar these phones were, Samsung dropped the entry-level pricing ever so slightly. The Galaxy S9 landed at $719 while the Galaxy S9 Plus came in at $120 more. The company probably felt secure with these differences in Samsung Galaxy S prices because of that second lens on the Plus variant.
Samsung Galaxy S10 series prices: $749 — $1,299
By 2019, we had had four years of Samsung launching two primary entries in each new iteration of the Galaxy S line. If it could do two phones, why not three? Why not four? With the Galaxy S10 series, Samsung went nuts and launched four phones all at once.
The two main entries in the series stayed the same as the two previous years: the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. These came in at $899 and $999 respectively. Samsung also launched a smaller, cheaper model known as the Galaxy S10e, which cost $749. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, it launched the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which ended up being a sort of precursor to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. That phone cost $1,299.
In 2020, when Sammy launched the next set of phones on this list, it simultaneously slashed the prices of the Galaxy S10 line while still keeping them in production. This was a way for budget-conscious buyers to get some nice hardware for less money than the wallet-busting Galaxy S20 series.
Samsung Galaxy S20 series prices: $999 — $1,399
The Samsung Galaxy S prices in 2019 were all over the place. The Galaxy S10e was $749, while the Galaxy S10 5G cost nearly twice as much. With the Galaxy S20 line, Samsung opted to abandon the low end and go straight to the premium end. At launch, the cheapest Galaxy S20 phone was a whopping $999. The Galaxy S20 Plus started at $1,199.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, in particular, went way overboard. With a starting price of $1,399, it was one of the most expensive “normal” phones the company had ever launched. If $1,399 wasn’t enough for you, there even was a $1,599 model with more RAM and storage.
Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and Samsung likely realizes by now that this was a mistake. Granted, the company couldn’t have known a global pandemic was right around the corner when it launched the Galaxy S20 series. Yet, the incredibly high prices of these phones all but assured they would be poor sellers at a time when people are losing their jobs left and right.
Thankfully, Samsung didn’t make this mistake again in 2021.
Samsung Galaxy S21 series prices: $799 — $1,199
Credit: David Imel / Android Authority
Samsung’s bottom line took a big hit in 2020 when the Galaxy S20 series failed to woo consumers. This year, the company rectified that mistake by drastically reducing the cost of entry for the Galaxy S21 family. And it didn’t even need to slash the overall quality by much to do it.
The lowest-end Galaxy S21 starts at $799. That price gets you the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor (or the Exynos 2100 in other parts of the world). It also gets you a solid triple-lens rear camera setup, a fine amount of RAM and internal storage, and a cool new design aesthetic that looks pretty classy.
In another smart move, Samsung kept its “everything but the kitchen sink” mentality with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. That phone has almost no compromises when compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, yet still comes in at $200 cheaper at $1,199. This lineup is probably Samsung’s most inclusive ever. It allows buyers from all over the budget spectrum to get themselves a Galaxy S phone.
Time will tell if these Samsung Galaxy S prices work out for Samsung. Let’s hope they do, though.
Samsung Galaxy S prices: The historical picture
Below, you’ll find a chart that gives a bird’s eye view of the main entries in the entire Galaxy S family. You can see the pricing steadily increases over time, but there’s plenty of fluctuations from year to year. Be sure to note that huge dive from last year to now.
Although we can’t see into the future, this chart does make it seem like Samsung Galaxy S prices in 2020 will be as high as they go for quite a while. Unless global economies magically rebound over the next 10 months or so, it’s highly unlikely Samsung would attempt to go as high as Galaxy S20 pricing any time soon.
Of course, long gone are the days in which you’d be able to buy a Galaxy S flagship for under $700. Thankfully, the Fan Edition line appears to be very successful for Samsung. Here at Android Authority, we called the Galaxy S20 FE the best smartphone of 2020, so Samsung is clearly onto something there. It will be very interesting to see what the Galaxy S21 FE looks like. Could Samsung nab our top award with the same phone line two years in a row? Stay tuned!
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