Just like Rome, which was not built in a day, it took Samsung some time to become the major smartphone manufacturer that it is today. Undoubtedly, the main driving force that kickstarted Sammy’s rise to the top of the market was its flagship smartphone lineup. Indeed, ever since its inception, the pioneering Galaxy S and its successors have been the workhorses that made the company a household name.
We can’t help but look back at the past and draw parallel lines between the previous Galaxy flagships and the new ones. Samsung has truly gone a long way, indeed, and we can only be excited about what’s available now and what the future will offer. So, without further ado, let’s explore the evolution of the most successful Android-powered smartphone lineup so far!
History of Samsung Galaxy S series:
Samsung Galaxy S (2010)
Released: June 2, 2010
The Galaxy S was not a perfect phone by any means, as it had certain issues and quirks, but regardless, it is one of the more notable phones in Samsung’s history and undoubtedly among the best phones of 2010. Many, including us, consider as the best Android had to offer in 2010.
Samsung Galaxy S II (2011)
Released: April 28, 2011
And indeed, what was not to like about this one? It was the thinnest phone in the world at the time of its arrival, measuring just 0.33” (8.49mm), and also came with an immensely speedier hardware and vastly improved Super AMOLED display in comparison with its predecessor. One of the more serious issues with the Galaxy S II was its design – uninspiring and stale, if you will, though this got addressed with the Galaxy S II’s successor.
Samsung Galaxy S III (2012)
Released: May 22, 2012
True, the Galaxy S III didn’t look half-bad at the time, but its plastic, “nature-inspired” design was a far cry from the anticipated ceramic body that many wanted to see. Well, it was not the highest-quality device around in 2012, but it certainly was one of the most capable. With the gorgeous display and super-fluid performance, the Galaxy S III shone with its refined TouchWiz UI and overall user experience.
Samsung Galaxy S4 (2013)
Released: April 27, 2013
On its own, the Galaxy S4 was a great phone, but was it a worthy upgrade for the S III owners out there? Probably the upgrade was not that compelling, even more so when you remember the differences between the SII and the SIII. Still, for those who were just then jumping on the Galaxy bandwagon, the Galaxy S4 was one of the best phones for its time.
Samsung Galaxy S5 (2014)
All in all, the S5 was yet another re-iteration of the winning formula that was presented with the SIII, with the focus being on actually useful hardware and software features. True, gimmicky functionalities were still part of TouchWiz, but Samsung had toned them a bit this time around. Still, the Galaxy S5 remained universally critiqued for its uninspiring design.
Samsung Galaxy S6 & S6 edge (2015)
In every other way, the Galaxy S6 was a substantial evolution step. A specs monster no matter where you look, the handset was no slouch in the hardware department. Software-wise, it showed us that when Samsung wills something, it’s more than capable of achieving it – toned-down TouchWiz, almost no unnecessary and gimmicky features, and a top-notch user experience is all you got.
Samsung Galaxy S7 & S7 edge (2016)
Released: March 11, 2016
Samsung, however, felt the discontent with the decision to remove some features from the S6 and two of the removed features were back in the S7 series: it featured a water protection rating and a microSD card for expandable storage, but the removable battery that was removed from the S6 series was gone forever, never to return on a Galaxy S phone.
Both phones packed a punch with the top specs for the time and the S7 Edge in particular was a best seller.
Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8 Plus (2017)
Released: April 21, 2017
These were also the first phones to come with Bixby, the unfortunate Samsung assistant that never really got popular and was more of an annoyance than an improvement.
Apart from that, the Galaxy S8 family was powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 processor, while in markets outside the US, it used Samsung’s own Exynos 8895.
Samsung Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus (2018)
Released: March 16, 2018
The Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus arrived in 2018 and brought an improved camera with dual aperture that promised better low-light photography, as well as overall enhancements in performance.
The S9 were powered by the top of the line chip for the time, the Snapdragon 845, in the United States (globally, phones shipped with the Samsung-made Exynos 9810 chip) and had 4GB of RAM on the S9 and 6GB of RAM on the S9 Plus. On board storage stood at 64GB with the option to expand via microSD cards.
One thing Samsung fixed this year was the fingerprint sensor. The S8 series had the fingerprint weirdly positioned to the side of the rear camera and users would often hit the camera lens instead of the fingerprint scanner, plus it was a bit high and hard to reach. On the S9, the fingerprint is still on the back of the phone, but it is below the camera where it makes a lot more sense and is easier to reach.
Samsung Galaxy S10e, S10 and S10 Plus (2019)
Released: March 8, 2019
All phones share the same Snapdragon 855 processor and an impressive for the time 128GB of on board storage, plus they stand out with offering features like a 3.5mm headphone jack and a microSD card slot that have been removed by many manufacturers in 2019.
Samsung Galaxy S20, S20 Plus and S20 Ultra (2020)
Released: March 11, 2020
The Galaxy S20 series focus on improved cameras that can zoom further, as well as the adoption of 5G connectivity across the range and the addition of large batteries.
The S20 series also mark the first time Samsung removes the 3.5mm headphone jack from its flagship series.
Samsung Galaxy S21, S21 Plus and S21 Ultra (2021)
Release date: January 29th, 2020
And then come the differences. The Galaxy S21 and the S21 Plus have identical triple-camera setup, with a main, ultra-wide and a 3X hybrid zoom telephoto camera. In fact, they use the same hardware as the S20 and S20+, but some improvements have happened in the way these cameras process photos. The S21 Ultra, however, is different: it features a larger main sensor, a 108-megapixel one, an ultra-wide shooter, and then, two telephoto zoom lenses, one at 3X zoom, and another one of the periscope kind that provides 10X zoom. Combined with Samsung’s clever algorithms, you can use the latter camera to get up to 100X zoom in shots.