Forget Galaxy S21 — Samsung's mid-range phones could be crazy powerful

galaxy s21
(Image credit: OnLeaks)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 might be the first big smartphone launch of next year, but you may not need to buy Samsung's flagship phones to get a device capable of amazing performance. And we'll know for sure very soon.

Tech leaker Ice Universe said that we'll see Samsung's Exynos 1080 chipset debut at an event in Shanghai on November 12. While we'd rather see a full phone launch rather than just components, this particular slice of silicon has given us high hopes for the performance of lower-priced Samsung phones in 2021.

From previous rumors, we can expect the Exynos 1080 to use a 5nm process node, which means it offers a similar density of transistors to Apple's class-leading A14 chipset in the iPhone 12

While this chip isn't going to be the one found inside the Galaxy S21 - that'll be the Exynos 1000 - the 1080 still has plenty of power. One benchmark showed that this supposedly mid-range chip outperforms this year's best Android silicon, the Snapdragon 865 Plus from Qualcomm.

As IU points out, Samsung hasn't held a launch event for any previous generations of its chips. The fact it's doing so now could have interesting implications. 

Samsung could be simply looking to show off some new features or great benchmark scores. Or it could be trying to take a leaf out of Apple's book and focus more on proprietary hardware, which while more costly than buying chips from elsewhere, would give iit more control over the way its devices work.

We'll find out exactly what Samsung has in store for us in just over a week's time. But we wouldn't expect to see a phone using this chipset appear until next year, perhaps even after we see the Galaxy S21 debut around February.

Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.