RIP Galaxy Note? Samsung confirms best features are coming to Galaxy S21

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra with S Pen
(Image credit: LetsGoDigital/Giuseppe Spinelli)

The Samsung Galaxy S21 is rumored to be getting support for the S Pen, and now Samsung has seemingly confirmed that this possibility is a done deal. 

In a letter from TM Roh, president of Samsung Electronics, about what to expect for 2021, he says that the company has been “paying attention to people’s favorite aspects of the Galaxy Note experience and are excited to add some of its most-loved features to other devices in our lineup.”

S Pen is coming to more Samsung phones

That seems to be shorthand for the S Pen, as it’s really the only standout feature of the Galaxy Note 20 and other Note devices. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is said to be the first Samsung phone outside of the Note lineup to get S Pen support, even though you may need a special case to hold the stylus. But it sounds like the Ultra won’t be alone. 

Based on Roh’s statement and other leaks, we also expect the S Pen to work with at least one of Samsung’s new foldable phones for 2021, which will likely be the Galaxy Z Fold 3. Being able to take notes, write and sketch on a larger canvas will likely appeal to power users.

More foldable phones and more affordable

Samsung revealed a lot more in its sneak peek, including that the company plans to expand its portfolio of foldable phones while making the category more "accessible" — that's a buzzword for more affordable. 

As great as it is, the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 2 has a list price of $1,999, putting it out of reach of most shoppers. The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip 5G starts at $1,449. However, both devices have been discounted in various sales. 

A focus on camera improvements

While the cameras on Samsung's phones have surpassed the iPhone 12 Pro and Google Pixel 5 in terms of zooming capability, overall image quality has been a step behind the best camera phones. So it’s good to hear from Roh that we should “be on the lookout for super-intelligent, pro-grade camera and video capabilities in 2021."

Roh teases some of these camera capabilities in his letter, saying that “whether you prefer to edit footage like a pro or just want intelligent, multitasking lenses to do the heavy lifting for you, the Samsung Galaxy will be more than ready to meet the demands of the video-obsessed in 2021.” We just hope video doesn’t take a back seat to photo quality.

UWB and Galaxy Smart Tag

Last but not least, Samsung is investing more in ultra-sideband (UWB) and says that it will enable its devices to do everything from open doors to enable integrated car experiences. And in a nod to what is likely the Galaxy Smart Tag — Samsung’s answer to Apple’s rumored AirTags — the company says it will be “making it easier to quickly locate the things that matter most, from your keys to your wallet — even your family pet.”

Mark Spoonauer

Mark Spoonauer is the global editor in chief of Tom's Guide and has covered technology for over 20 years. In addition to overseeing the direction of Tom's Guide, Mark specializes in covering all things mobile, having reviewed dozens of smartphones and other gadgets. He has spoken at key industry events and appears regularly on TV to discuss the latest trends, including Cheddar, Fox Business and other outlets. Mark was previously editor in chief of Laptop Mag, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc. Follow him on Twitter at @mspoonauer.