Opinion, Smartphone

Is the Samsung Galaxy S21 Too Expensive?

The Samsung Galaxy S21 smartphones were unveiled much earlier than anticipated last week, and we’ve got the Malaysian pricing of the new devices too. But unlike other markets, where the starting price of the S21 series is actually lower than the S20 lineup, we see the opposite here in Malaysia. In fact, local prices of the S21 smartphones are up across the board.

So that brings us to the question: is the Galaxy S21 series too expensive in our market? Well, the answer to that question is actually not very straightforward. While they are priced higher than their predecessors, the S21 phones are not exactly more expensive now – we’ll break it down below.

First, let’s take the standard Galaxy S20 as a point of comparison. When it was launched in Malaysia last year, it retailed at RM3,599. The Galaxy S21, on the other hand, costs RM3,699 – that’s a RM100 price difference. However, keep in mind that the S20 only had 128GB of internal storage and 8GB of RAM; the S21 features twice the amount of storage at 256GB with the same amount of RAM.

Essentially, you’re paying RM100 to get more storage space – and a slew of other upgrades – with the Galaxy S21; not a bad deal at all. It’s a similar scenario with the Galaxy S21+, though there’s a bigger price gap. It offers 256GB of storage and 8GB of RAM for RM4,299, while its predecessor, the Galaxy S20+, came with 128GB of storage and 8GB RAM for RM3,999 – a RM300 price difference.

As for the range-topping Galaxy S21 Ultra, same story here. The S20 Ultra only had 128GB of storage and 12GB of RAM for RM4,999 at launch, but the S21 Ultra has 256GB of storage with the same RAM capacity for RM5,299. You’re paying the extra RM300 not just for the larger storage capacity, but also for a more polished and capable flagship smartphone.

If you need even more storage space, there’s the S21 Ultra with 512GB of storage and a whopping 16GB RAM for RM5,899. Without a doubt this is a steep price tag, but compared to, say, the iPhone 12 Pro Max with 512GB storage – which costs an eye-watering RM6,699 – the S21 Ultra does offer better value for money.

So then, is the Samsung Galaxy S21 series more expensive in Malaysia compared to other markets? Well, yes and no. The thing is, Samsung Malaysia is not bringing in more affordable variants of the S21 smartphones with less storage capacities, which in turn drives up the prices of the devices. If the Korean company had brought in the base 128GB models, it’s entirely possible the prices of the Galaxy S21 phones could be lower like other markets.

Will more Galaxy S21 variants be introduced in the near future? Perhaps, though we do expect the retail prices of these phones to steadily drop in the coming months. This was the case with Samsung’s previous flagship smartphones, and in the current economic uncertainty brought on by COVID-19, it’s not far-fetched to assume the same will happen to the Galaxy S21 series.