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First look at Samsung's new Galaxy S21 line

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Yahoo Finance’s Dan Howley reviews the Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphone.

Video Transcript

ZACK GUZMAN: Well, Samsung is stepping up its game to take on Apple's iPhone, long time leader in the space. And here to break down what it's offering in that new phone, I want to bring on Yahoo Finance's Dan Howley with today's Tech Support. Dan?

DAN HOWLEY: That's right, I have right here the Samsung Galaxy S21. That's this guy right here. And the 21 Ultra, that's this guy right here. These are two of Samsung's three new smartphones.

Now, I just kind of got to break down how they compare to the iPhone 12 line because, look, that's what people are going to be shopping for. It's either Samsung or iPhone.

So let's talk about prices first. The S21 starts at $799. Now, that's compared to the iPhone 12, which starts at $799. The mini iPhone starts at $699. The 21 plus is $999, as you can see. The 12 Pro is 999. And then we have the 12 Pro Max at 1,099 and the Galaxy S21 ultra at $1,200. So we were just talking about this before we came on how expensive these phones are. $1,200 is a lot of money to put out for a smartphone.

So why are the prices so different, and what do you get? Well, the S21 has a screen size of 6.2 inches. That's the regular version right here. The S21 plus gets a larger screen size of 6.7 inches. And the S21 Ultra has a big, fat display of 6.8 inches. That compares to the iPhone 12 and iPhone 12 ProMax. The iPhone 12 Pro has 6.1 inches to 12 ProMax has 6.5 inches.

Basically what we're looking at in these phones is cameras. That's really what these phones come down to nowadays. And so Samsung put a lot of thought into that. You could see the backs of the phones have these kind of gigantic cameras on the rear.

They really do provide a lot of capabilities. And so the S21 has a 3X telephoto lens as well as an ultra-wide angle, while the Ultra gets a 10x optical telephoto lens. And that's huge because Samsung wants it to seem like you only need this phone, no matter what, whether you would normally use a DSLR or camera, you want to zoom in at a ball game, whenever that happens again, or just across your room at your cat, which is what I do now because of the lockdowns.

But they do want to give you the opportunity to use your phone's camera as you would a normal camera. And they are doing that very well with these new phones. I don't know how much you're going to need to zoom in 10X on your smartphone. But hey, you have the opportunity.

They also have this thing called Space Zoom, where you can zoom up to 100X, I guess if you want to spy on people through their windows. That's cool. You can do that. Or just take photos of planes flying above. That's something that you can do as well. And they had that in the last generation, but they improved that greatly with this version with more AI and more software capabilities.

And the phones also have wireless charging technology. That's something that the iPhone has as well. The iPhone, by the way, has ultra-wide and wide angle cameras as well as a telephoto lens. It's only the Pro and the ProMax that have the telephoto though. And the Pro has a 2X, while the ProMax has a 2.5X.

And finally, I just want to talk about the overall design of these phones. Samsung has been kind of leaning towards displays that kind of cascade over the sides. I'm not a big fan of that. They've been doing that for years. The Ultra has that, unfortunately.

You do get that 100X zoom. So if you really want something along those lines, you would get this.

I love the standard S21 though, the flatter design. The screen is beautiful. I was saying that I have an iPhone. I stick to it because of my Apple Watch and my obsessive use of the rings to track my activity, which has just become a debilitating problem for me. But if I didn't, I would get the S21 because it's a beautiful phone.

And I just want to talk about the S21 Ultra real quick. Samsung has the Note line of phones where you can use a stylus. The S21 Ultra actually does that as well. So you're going to be able to use a stylus on this. So if you're a big fan of that, it is something worth getting. It doesn't, however, have a dock. The S21 doesn't offer the stylus capabilities. But again, this is really the phone that I think you should go with.

AKIKO FUJITA: Yeah, Dan, isn't the irony though, at $1,200, and you're talking about the camera being the best feature. You can actually use that money to get a camera that takes better photos than your phone, right? I mean, I realize that's not the convenience. But it's kind of interesting where we put our money now.

DAN HOWLEY: I agree with you. It's pricey. But I do think that overall, the capabilities that these phones offer are worth it. $1,200, it's a little bit pricey. That's why I say that the standard is probably the way to go at $799, a little bit cheaper and a really great camera.

AKIKO FUJITA: OK, and you can read all about it on YahooFinance.com. Dan Howley, always here with those reviews. Thanks so much for that.