September 30, 2020

Samsung Galaxy S30 series: 8 things we want to see

We won't see the Samsung Galaxy S30 series until 2021, but we can start hoping for certain features now!

Samsung logo Galaxy S20 2

Next year might seem far away, but it’s closer than you think. In the early part of 2021, we fully expect to see Samsung launch the latest iteration of its flagship phone series, which we are assuming will be known as the Samsung Galaxy S30 family. There is a slight possibility Samsung could instead use Galaxy S21, but we doubt it.

It’s no secret that the Samsung Galaxy S20 family of phones underperformed in multiple metrics. Whether it was because the cameras weren’t all they were cracked up to be or pricing being astronomically high, consumers simply didn’t embrace the phones. Samsung needs to turn that around in 2021.

Related: Samsung Galaxy S: A history of the biggest name in Android

While it certainly didn’t ask us, we thought we’d throw Samsung some ideas on what we hope to see in the Samsung Galaxy S30 series. Below, you’ll find our top eight requests. Keep in mind, that these are realistic requests. We’re not asking for 14 camera lenses, a starting price under $200, and 6TB of onboard storage. Instead, our requests are things that Samsung could absolutely do — if it wants to.

We also aren’t going to waste time asking for things we know we are going to get. We know the Samsung Galaxy S30 series will have the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-series chipset, for example, so there’s no need to ask for that. Our requests are realistic but by no means certain.

At the bottom of the article, we have a poll in which you can vote for the feature you want the most from this list. Be sure to cast your vote before you go!


A Samsung Galaxy S30e

Samsung Galaxy S10e in hand back

For some reason, Samsung opted to not release a Samsung Galaxy S20e. This was a strange move considering the Samsung Galaxy S10e was one of our favorite smartphones of 2019. Obviously, Samsung didn’t have a crystal ball that could have predicted the COVID-19 pandemic, but can you imagine how well a small, cheap Galaxy S20 variant would do in this current market?

Related: Android Authority’s Best of Android for 2019

Luckily, Samsung has the ability to right that wrong and bring back the “e� variant in 2021. With the ongoing popularity of budget-oriented smartphones in 2020 (OnePlus Nord, Google Pixel 4a, Apple iPhone SE, etc.), a Samsung Galaxy S30e would fit right in.

Of course, it needs to fully adopt the model set by the Galaxy S10e. That means the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-series chipset, multiple camera lenses, a decent amount of RAM and storage, fun color options, and a palatable price tag. If Samsung could make that happen in 2021, it would be nearly certain that the phone would be a winner.


Some more exciting designs with less glass

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra S20 Plus S20

To be fair, the Samsung Galaxy S20 line wasn’t badly designed or ugly. The phones were simply…well…boring. There was nothing about them that really made them stand out. There wasn’t even an element that really screamed “this is a Samsung phone.�

Related: Can someone please put the style back in smartphone design?

Meanwhile, Samsung’s competitors are designing some terrific-looking devices. The Oppo Find X2 Pro is one of the sexiest phones we’ve seen in a long time, and even the OnePlus 8 series is easily identifiable as distinctly OnePlus. Simply put, Samsung needs to get on the ball.

On a related note, Samsung also needs to move away from the so-called “glass sandwich� design. All-glass phones are expensive to make with lower durability and substantial design barriers. Moving away from the glass sandwich would make the phones unique, more durable, and cheaper to build. Lead the way here, Samsung!


A camera bump that isn’t ridiculous

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra space zoom 1

Camera quality has become one of the most important features of any smartphone. With the Samsung Galaxy S series being the top dog of the Android world, it’s a given that it needs to have the camera specs to match its pedigree.

However, Samsung appears to have gotten so caught up in camera tech that it’s ignored camera design. For example, the camera bumps on the Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra and Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra are laughably huge. It’s like Samsung didn’t even try to make them smaller.

Samsung’s camera bumps on its highest-end offerings have gotten so big that it’s getting silly.

Along with less-obtrusive camera bumps, simply making better-looking camera arrays would be nice as well. To be fair, the camera modules on the back of the Note 20 line look better than the ones on the S20 line, but they’re still not great. Other companies can make terrific cameras without also making ugly, enormous modules, so Samsung can do it, too.


Ditch the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor

samsung galaxy s20 plus review in display fingerprint sensor

The in-display fingerprint sensor started as a pretty cool niche feature but has now become the standard for premium phones. However, nearly every in-display sensor on the market is based on optics (i.e. light) whereas Samsung flagships use ultrasonics (i.e. sound).

Related: Ultrasonic fingerprint sensors: How do they work?

Samsung claims that ultrasonic sensors are faster and more efficient than optical sensors, but our experience proves otherwise. It’s an objective fact that fingerprint sensors in rival phones surpass Samsung’s in both speed and accuracy.

Of course, using optical sensors in the Samsung Galaxy S30 line would force Samsung to eat some humble pie. That’s not something the company does well, so this hope of ours might not come to pass. However, Samsung is fully capable of doing this so we have our fingers crossed that it has the guts to accept the truth.


Full eSIM support across the globe

There isn’t enough room in this article to talk about eSIM, why it’s great, and why certain carriers are dragging their feet in adopting the technology. We’ll just point you to this excellent article by our own Robert Triggs for all that info. For now, all you need to know is that eSIM is the future and the Samsung Galaxy S20 series doesn’t support it universally.

Related: eSIM: What is it, who’s got it, and why should you care?

To be clear, certain variants of the Galaxy S20 series do support eSIM. Unfortunately, none of those variants are sold in the United States. It’s a mixed bag for other countries, too. Honestly, it’s really confusing and silly. To right this wrong, Samsung should just support eSIM on every device in the Samsung Galaxy S30 series. Full stop.

Of course, it’s still too early to abandon physical SIM cards altogether. But Samsung is in a unique position of power in the smartphone industry (especially here in the US), and it could flex that power to push eSIM forward. It’s the right thing to do, Samsung!


Faster wired charging

Samsung Galaxy S20 USB C port and speaker

For some reason, Samsung didn’t jump on the fast wired charging bandwagon. Even when it does offer faster-than-usual charging on its flagships, you need to buy a separate charger to get the advertised speeds (we’re looking at you, Galaxy S20 Ultra). In 2021, this stance will put Samsung way behind the curve.

Related: Tested: These are the fastest charging phones

Here’s an example of what we mean. The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra — a smartphone with an MSRP of $1,399 — charges at a rate of 25W with the in-box charger. The OnePlus 8, with a list price of $699, charges at 30W with its charger. The Google Pixel 4a, with a list price of $349, charges at 18W. The math just doesn’t add up.

Meanwhile, competitors are creating phones that charge at ridiculous rates — we’re talking 65W and even 125W. Granted, there is a balance here, because the faster you charge the more strain it puts on the battery, and the more battery life gets degraded. That being said, though, Samsung could easily push all its flagships to 45W charging speeds and include the damn charger in the box. It’s Samsung, it can do that.


The Samsung Galaxy S30 needs a slight drop in cost

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra vs OnePlus 8 Pro backs

Credit: David Imel / Android Authority

We realize there are a lot of nuances when it comes to the consumer cost of smartphones. The Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 chipset, for example, is the most expensive ever from Qualcomm. This pushes the consumer price of phones with that chipset way up, whether the OEM wants it or not.

That being said, there are plenty of phones out right now with the SD865 on board that don’t cost $999, which is the starting price for a vanilla Samsung Galaxy S20. Sure, most of them cut a lot of corners to keep that price down, and Sammy might find it hard to cut those same corners. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t try, though!

Related: The best Snapdragon 865 phones you can get

Look, we’re realistic: we know the Samsung Galaxy S30 isn’t going to be a $700 phone. However, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be a $900 phone if Samsung focuses on making that price point a priority. For a start, it could use build materials that aren’t glass, just like we suggested earlier in this article. That’s some good advice, Samsung!


The return of the headphone jack

Samsung Galaxy S10 headphone jack

We realize people are sick and tired of hearing about the slow death of the headphone jack. We fully accept that we are a part of the problem, considering we keep talking about it. However, we can’t help but point out that the Samsung Galaxy S20 series is the first in the line without the legacy port and its sales are tanking hard. Coincidence? Maybe. But it’s worth noting.

Related: The best phones with a headphone jack

At this point, bringing back the headphone jack might not just be the right move for keeping Android fans happy, but a move towards better overall sales. With people less inclined to spend $1,000 on a flagship smartphone, every unit sold counts. Even if only a few thousand buyers pass over a Samsung Galaxy S30 because it lacks a headphone jack, that’s a few thousand sales Samsung is missing out on.

Besides, the flagship smartphone series that is supposed to be all about representing the best-of-the-best of Android should have a headphone jack. It should also have a microSD card slot, wireless charging, an IP rating, and many other integral features. Once again, bringing the 3.5mm port back would force Samsung to eat some humble pie, but we’ve seen the estimated Galaxy S20 sales numbers, and we think Samsung’s got nothing to lose.


That’s it for our hopes related to the Samsung Galaxy S30 series. Below is a poll where you can tell us what your most-wanted feature is. You can only make one choice so be sure to choose wisely. If there’s something else that didn’t make our list that you hope comes to the Galaxy S30 line, use the comments section to let the world know. Just keep it realistic, people.

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