The Verizon-customized variants of Samsung's next three flagship phones — presumably named the Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra — have all just leaked, on none other the tech giant's own community support forums.
Three separate strings of code attributed to model numbers SM-G991U, SM-G996U and SM-G998U, all bearing "VZW" designations, were posted onto Samsung's Korean forums, and have made their way to us via PhoneArena (opens in new tab).
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The code doesn't give away much; it doesn't tell us whether Samsung plans to name the series the Galaxy S21 or Galaxy S30, nor does it tell us anything about the devices' software or hardware, whether that concerns the amount of RAM or the chipsets inside.
Thankfully though, another Galaxy S21 leak from a few days prior hinted at battery capacities for two of the three models, via China's 3C certification board. From the looks of it, the S21 and S21 Plus will pack 3,880-mAh and 4,660-mAh units, which would be both slightly less and more than those phones' respective predecessors.
Given that these are Verizon models, we can assume they've been geared to Big Red's millimeter-wave (mmWave) 5G network, which requires a different array of antennas and running gear than what's utilized for more conventional, mid- and low-band 5G networks that other carriers are using. Verizon is working to deliver long-range 5G before the end of 2020, as T-Mobile and AT&T already have.
What makes this leak somewhat interesting is that Verizon's unique network requirements forced the carrier to skip out on offering the smallest Galaxy S20 for the first few months of its existence, simply because that device had no room for the hardware needed to enable 5G on Big Red.
Samsung and Verizon later rectified this over the summer with an exclusive model that made the proper provisions for mmWave 5G, at the cost of some RAM. But given this leak, it would seem that the entry-level S21 model is destined for Verizon at launch.
In terms of other rumors surrounding the Galaxy S21, it's been reported that Samsung is considering offering an S Pen in the S21 Ultra, which may result in the end of the line for the Galaxy Note series.
The Galaxy Note 20 and Galaxy Note 20 Ultra released just last month, and while they're both among the best big phones you can buy — and made more versatile by virtue of their S Pen styluses — many of their distinctive software and productivity features are actually coming to existing Galaxy flagships in the form of updates. In other words, there's really nothing the new Notes can do that the Galaxy S20 soon won't be able to, which undercuts the Note's reason to exist in a sense.
Otherwise, we're still awaiting harder details on what Samsung has planned for its 2021 flagship models. Now that the Note 20 is out, we expect the rumors and leaks to begin dropping in earnest, with increasing frequency from now until the spring — so watch this space.