Samsung Galaxy S21 leak just revealed killer feature is dead

Samsung Galaxy S21 leak just revealed killer feature is dead
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Under-display selfie cams may be the wave of the future. But that future apparently won’t include next year's Samsung Galaxy S21. 

That’s the word from The Elec, which reports that Samsung won’t release a smartphone with an under-display camera until the second half of 2021. That would exclude the flagship phone Samsung is planning to launch next spring, which will either be called the Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S30, depending on who’s doing the leaking.

Under-display cameras are much anticipated features for smartphones, as they’ll allow phone makers to include full-screen displays without any punch-holes or notches to house front cameras. The ZTE Axon 20 already introduced an under-display camera, and Xiaomi’s upcoming smartphones are expected to adopt the feature as well.

Samsung’s phones, in contrast use an Infinity O display, which means a circular cutout in the panel for the front camera. That allows for minimal bezels on phones, but it does interrupt the flow of the screen. It’s particularly noticeable when the app you’re using has a white background.

It had been rumored that the Galaxy S21 was going to adopt an under-the-display camera as its killer feature, but The Elec’s report claims Samsung is delaying the feature due to low-production yields. Instead, it looks like the Galaxy Z Fold 3 — the rumored successor to the just released Galaxy Z Fold 2 — will be Samsung’s first device to use an under-the-display camera. That phone won’t appear until the second half of next year.

There isn't a lot of information about how the folding phone will utilize this form factor, but it does mean Samsung isn't ready to give up on pursuing this type of camera, at the very least. 

Rumors surrounding the Galaxy S21 currently indicate that the new flagship would arrive in February or March 2021, just like the Galaxy S20 did this year. Early leaks have shown that the phone could even potentially get S Pen support like the Galaxy Note models, but nothing has been confirmed to that end just yet. 

While Samsung may go a conventional route with the Galaxy S21’s front camera, there could be changes in store for the rear camera array. Earlier Galaxy S21 rumors suggest that Samsung will use a 180MP main camera along with two telephoto lenses.

Brittany Vincent

Brittany Vincent has been covering video games and tech for over 13 years for publications including Tom's Guide, MTV, Rolling Stone, CNN, Popular Science, Playboy, IGN, GamesRadar, Polygon, Kotaku, Maxim, and more. She's also appeared as a panelist at video game conventions like PAX East and PAX West and has coordinated social media for companies like CNET. When she's not writing or gaming, she's looking for the next great visual novel in the vein of Saya no Uta. You can follow her on Twitter @MolotovCupcake.