Three seconds. Three whole seconds of my attention. That’s how long it takes me to unlock my iPhone while wearing a mask. The login fails and I type in my password like a neanderthal.

Half a second. According to my trusty stopwatch, that’s how fast I can unlock the new system.

Samsung

Galaxy S21, which uses an improved on-screen fingerprint sensor.

You know what I could do with all the time I saved? Probably… nothing.

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The Samsung Galaxy S21, left, starts at $799, while the Galaxy S21 Ultra, right, starts at $1,199.

Photo:

Kenny Vassus/ Wall Street Journal

You’re forgiven if you missed the presentation of the Samsung Galaxy S21 a few weeks ago. There are no Weezy Blast features, and you might have been distracted otherwise. Nevertheless, the trio of new phones – the Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus and Galaxy S21 Ultra – is the best Samsung phone released in years, and the best Android phone at the current price. The S21 costs $799, which is $200 less than last year’s model.

This is what I would call Samsung’s year of improvement. (See the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S10 for more examples.) The company has refined and improved some of the best features they’ve ever introduced, including a fingerprint sensor, a 120Hz quick-update screen and a 10x zoom on the S21 Ultra.

It is no coincidence that these are some of the features.

Apple

to be included in your next iPhone, whether it’s the iPhone 12S Signature, iPhone 13 or the iPhone Super Max Crazy Deluxe 2021.

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What are the features of your favorite smartphone? What features would you like to see in your next phone? Join the discussion below.

Apple is working on on-screen fingerprint technology and has considered integrating Touch ID and Face ID on the same device, two former Apple employees have revealed. Although they could not confirm the company’s plans, other reports, including from Bloomberg, indicate that Apple is testing on-screen fingerprint sensors for the next iPhone.

Apple declined to comment about its future products.

While other industry reports suggest that Apple is introducing better and faster OLED screens and an additional TV camera, I can also point to something that is history. As you can see in the video above, I have chronicled the last five years in which Apple has followed Samsung – and Samsung has followed Apple – in terms of hardware features.

There is a clear pattern: Samsung is releasing advanced features (e.g., water resistance, wireless charging, 5G connectivity) as quickly as possible, which I believe puts it two to three years ahead of Apple. Apple follows suit when it thinks the technology is ready for the masses. If Apple has an edge over Samsung in the marketplace, it is usually due to proprietary technology such as AirPods or facial recognition – or the removal of features such as the headphone jack.

“For people who love Samsung, it’s high time,” he said.

Drew Blackard,

Vice President of Product Management at Samsung Electronics America. He underscores the value the company derives from feedback from the first helicopters. They “help us improve what will become a product two years later.

And so it is: about the same time that Samsung is improving its early features, as with the Galaxy S21, you can be sure that Apple is usually not far behind with its own variants.

Fingerprint sensor in the screen

The Galaxy S21’s fingerprint sensor is located under the bottom half of the screen. If necessary, a fingerprint icon appears to indicate where to press. It is fast and reliable, recognizing the sides of your fingers and even the lightest touch. This has not always been the case.

In the Galaxy S10 and S20, the technology was slower, often returned error messages and failed miserably with wet fingers. These improvements are the result of

Qualcomm’s

Second generation ultrasonic fingerprint sensor. The sensor now covers a larger area, works 50% faster and registers more fingerprints when scanning, making it more accurate.

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All three Galaxy S21 models are equipped with a new, faster and more reliable on-screen fingerprint sensor.

Photo:

Kenny Vassus/ Wall Street Journal

Qualcomm declined to say whether Apple is another customer of its ultrasound technology.

A former Apple employee who worked on Apple’s Touch ID said that the company worked with optical sensors to read fingerprints on the screen. The individual stated that optical scanning can be more reliable than ultrasonic scanning. Apple filed several patents in 2014. The latest patent shows a fingerprint that is recognized when placed anywhere on the screen. Apple declined to comment on its patents.

Former employees stressed that whatever solution Apple uses must meet the security standards of the current Touch ID, which is still used on the iPhone SE, iPad and MacBooks.

120 Hz OLED screens

Please take a seat in the Rudimentary Refreshment class. All displays are refreshed a certain number of times per second – often 60 – to convey movement. It is measured in hertz, or “60Hz.” Since videos are usually 60 frames per second or less, this works in most cases. However, doubling the refresh rate to 120Hz can make some animations even smoother, especially scrolling and transitions between menus. It can also reduce lag when typing with a pen and improve some video games that can run at more than 60 frames per second.

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The 120 Hz refresh rate is set by default on all Galaxy S21 devices, but can be turned off in the settings to conserve battery power.

Photo:

Kenny Vassus/ Wall Street Journal

Can you really tell the difference if you don’t compare the two sides? No, but that’s okay. The biggest technology gap is the battery. Last year, the Galaxy S20 had 120 Hz capability, but it was disabled by default because of battery drain. On the Galaxy S21, it’s on by default, with better screen power efficiency and a new adaptive frame rate that adjusts to what’s on the screen. For the Galaxy S21 Ultra, Samsung uses a new, energy-efficient 6.8-inch OLED screen that reduces power consumption by 16% while offering incredibly high resolution.

According to some reports, Samsung, which regularly manufactures iPhone parts, will provide such a screen for future iPhones. Moreover, Apple already has the marketing jargon for it. The refresh rate of the iPad Pro’s LCD screen is 120 Hz, which is called “ProMotion.”

The 2021 iPhone Pro models will have a 120 Hz screen, depending on the

Min Chi Kou,

TF International Securities is an analyst with extensive experience in accurately predicting the future functionality of the iPhone. Apple tested it on the iPhone 12, he says, but withdrew it due to battery and performance issues.

Ultra-scale camera

Last year I called the Galaxy S20 Ultra the “Space Zoom,” which allowed you to digitally magnify photos up to 100x – a true love at first sight. This year, the optical capabilities are even better. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is equipped with four cameras on the back, including a TV camera with 3x optical zoom and another with 10x optical zoom.

Translation: insanely beautiful pictures when you are insanely far away.

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Squirrel captured with the Galaxy S21’s 10x optical telephoto lens.

Photo:

Joanna Stern/ Wall Street Journal

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A squirrel captured by the camera of the iPhone 12 Pro 2X phone.

Photo:

Joanna Stern/ Wall Street Journal

Is it always that scary? Sure, but is it helpful if you try to take a picture of a deer in the distance or of your child in the middle of a soccer field? Of course it is.

According to Coe, Apple is looking at other improvements to the telephoto lens, but is unsure of the timing. Apple has also filed patents on the subject, one of which, just this week, mentions a camera that contains “two light-folding elements.”

When you zoom in further, the picture becomes clear: whether Apple buys Samsung’s technology or invents its own, it aims to give the iPhone many features that Galaxy owners already have.

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Count the cameras! The Galaxy S21 Ultra has four cameras, including two television cameras. The iPhone 12 Pro has three.

Photo:

Kenny Vassus/ Wall Street Journal

For more analysis, evaluations, tips and titles on WYD technologies, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.

Email Joanna Stern at [email protected]

Copyright ©2020 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All rights reserved. 87990cbe856818d5eddac44c7b1cdeb8

Frequently asked questions

Will Samsung release a new phone in 2021?

The first glimpse of Samsung’s plans for cell phones in 2021 will be on display at Unpacked. Samsung is expected to unveil three new Galaxy S handsets at Thursday’s event. The new S21 models will likely be the 6.2-inch S21, the 6.7-inch S21 Plus and the 6.8-inch S21 Ultra.

Will there be an S21 galaxy?

The Galaxy S21 (as well as the S21+ and S21 Ultra) has been available since January 29 – its predecessor, the Galaxy S20, began shipping in early March 2020. Those who place an order before that date will receive the Galaxy Buds Live wireless headphones and a free Galaxy SmartTag.

Which is better than the iPhone 12 or the Samsung S20?

The iPhone is slightly more convenient thanks to Face ID, a faster processor, and the excellent MagSafe features. In contrast, the Galaxy S20 has a better display, more storage and RAM, and better camera zoom features – for about the same price.

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