Samsung Galaxy S21 live video just leaked — but there’s some bad news

Samsung Galaxy S21 design and benchmarks
(Image credit: Random Stuff 2)

We’re just over a month away from the Samsung Galaxy S21’s release date. And while the leaks have been coming thick and fast in recent days, this latest video is the clearest look yet.

YouTube channel Random Stuff 2 seems to have got hold of a Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus handset in a dark grey shade – most likely what leaks call “Phantom Black.” The video clearly shows both the front and back of the handset. He also shows a live Geekbench 5 test, and the results don't look nearly as great as the phone itself. 

The video shows the Galaxy S21 notching a single-core Geekbench 5 score of 1,115 and a multi-core score of 3,326. While those numbers are pretty good in the world of smartphones at large, they're pretty close to the S20 and way behind the iPhone 12.

In our Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus review, the S20 handed in Geekbench 5 scores of 818.3 for single-core performance and 3,076.3 for multi-core, so it's not a giant performance leap. By comparison, the iPhone 12's A14 Bionic chip notched 1,593 on the single-core Geekbench 5 test and 3,859 on the multi-core portion. So it's not even close.

That said, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 chip said to be powering the Galaxy S21 series is completely new, so it’s likely that the software is still being optimized to play to its strengths. In any case, performance in the video appears slick and fluid, so you’re unlikely to be disappointed in how the phone feels in day-to-day use.

Samsung Galaxy S21 design

In terms of aesthetics, the Galaxy S1 handset matches the earlier leaks, with the redesigned wrap-around triple camera array on the back offering a distinct look, and barely any bezels to speak of on the front.

As with the Galaxy S20 range launched earlier this year, we’re expecting three members of the S21 family: a 6.2-inch S21, a 6.7-inch S21 Plus and a 6.8-inch S21 Ultra. While all three are rumored to ship with 120Hz refresh rates, the two smaller models are tipped to have FHD+ displays to the Ultra’s QHD resolution. In addition, the S21 Ulrta's panel should have a dynamic refresh rate to help save battery life.

Along with S Pen support and the higher resolution, the S21 Ultra is likely to get a big camera upgrade over its siblings, with a 108-megapixel main sensor and dual telephoto lenses offering 3x and 10x zoom, respectively.

Price is still up in the air at this point, and it’s an open question as to whether Samsung will raise the cost of entry again, or decide that the pandemic induced financial downturn means prices have to be more competitive. If the rumors are indeed correct, we’ll know by mid January.

Now see the 5 ways Samsung Galaxy S21 can beat iPhone 12

Alan Martin

Freelance contributor Alan has been writing about tech for over a decade, covering phones, drones and everything in between. Previously Deputy Editor of tech site Alphr, his words are found all over the web and in the occasional magazine too. When not weighing up the pros and cons of the latest smartwatch, you'll probably find him tackling his ever-growing games backlog. Or, more likely, playing Spelunky for the millionth time.