Get ready for the biggest changes yet to the Galaxy phone line. Rumors are swirling about the Galaxy S11 — if that’s what Samsung winds up calling its flagship phone for 2020. Most of the speculation right now centers around huge camera upgrades, and there have been several major leaks already.
We’re talking about a possible 108MP camera in the Galaxy S11, as well as three larger screen sizes and a 120Hz display, plus 5G connectivity and a faster new Snapdragon 865 processor. You can also expect larger batteries across all three rumored models of the Galaxy S11.
With the iPhone 11 lineup wowing critics with their cameras, the OnePlus 7T impressing reviewers with its value and Google’s Pixel 4 offering even better computational photography, Samsung will have its work cut out for it. But there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the company’s next smartphone.
Galaxy S11 latest news and rumors
A new leak suggests that the Galaxy S11 lineup could take on the Galaxy S20 name, and that the Galaxy S20 Ultra could be a whopping 6.9 inches.
Samsung has posted a video showing off its Isocell Bright HMX image sensor, which is likely to find its way into the Galaxy S11. Along with that video, we now have an explanation of what to expect from the phone’s 108-megapixel image sensor.
Our Snapdragon 865 benchmarks suggest that this new chip will close the gap between top Android phones and iPhones powered with the A13 Bionic processor.
IceUniverse also claims that Samsung will be launching the Galaxy S11 and new foldable clamshell phones February 18 in San Francisco, Calif. However, a more recent rumor says that the date could be February 11.
Galaxy S11 release date
ccording to @IceUniverse on Twitter, Samsung will hold a launch event for the Galaxy S11 on February 18 in San Francisco. At that same event the leaker says that Samsung will also unveil new foldable clamshell phones, which could include the Galaxy Fold 2.
However, the Israeli site Giraffe claims that the release date could be as soon as February 11 in the same location.
For the Galaxy S10, Samsung held the product launch a few days before this year’s Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona. It was unveiled on Feb. 20. The phone then went on sale on March 8.
The takeaway? Mobile World Congress is a good indicator of when Samsung is ready to unveil a new phone, even if that event doesn’t happen at the show itself. Mobile World Congress 2020 will start on Feb. 24..
Galaxy S11 price
There aren’t any credible rumors yet for the price on the Galaxy S11. But if the Galaxy S10 lineup is a guide, you can expect a range of models and an affordable model to go head-to-head with the iPhone 11.
The Galaxy S10e cost $749 when it debuted. The regular Galaxy S10 with its larger display cost $899 and the largest Galaxy S10 Plus cost $999. We expect similar prices this time around, but one wild card could be 5G. At this point we’re not sure which models will offer this connectivity and how much it might add to the cost.
One rumor has Samsung launching a cheaper Galaxy S11 Lite model alongside the Galaxy S11, but it may only launch in Europe and Asia.
Galaxy S11 design and sizes: Bigger displays but cutout returns
While other companies have achieved a bezel-free look with the aid of pop-up cameras, Samsung and others are also working on embedding the camera sensor underneath the screen. However, it looks like the Galaxy S10 will still have a cutout like the Galaxy Note 10.
Although we don’t know the size of the Galaxy S11’s display, one leaked benchmark points to a possible taller screen with a 20:9 aspect ratio.
How about the screen sizes? A leak from Evan Blass points to 6.4 inches for the Galaxy S11e, 6.7 inches for the Galaxy S11, and 6.9 inches for the Galaxy S11 Plus. All of those sizes would be significantly larger than the Galaxy S10 lineup at 5.8, 6.1 and 6.4 inches, respectively.
According to an Ice Universe tweet, we can expect the S11 to still come with bezels, but narrower than the already small ones on the Note 10. We’ll have to wait a bit before Samsung creates a rival to the Huawei Mate 30 Pro’s “waterfall display” it seems.
Given that the Galaxy S11 could have as many as five lenses on the back, get ready for a prominent camera array. Galaxy S11 renders reportedly based on factory design models suggest a big camera bump. Those renders, from noted phone leakers OnLeaks and CashKaro, have the five camera lenses, two sensors and a flash taking up most of the lefthand corner of the Galaxy S11.
A Galaxy S11 concept design suggests a square camera array for the back of the phone, similar to what we’ve seen in 2019 from the iPhone 11 Pro and Pixel 4. There could be a reason for stacking three of the Galaxy S11’s four rumored lenses this way, says leaker Ice Universe: it would leave space for a periscoping mirror to boost the phone’s optical zoom capabilities. (More on the Galaxy S11’s camera below.)
Galaxy S11 colors
According to a reliable leaker — Ishan Agarwal — the Samsung Galaxy S11e will come in blue, grey and pink and the S11 will come in at least blue, grey and black.
Galaxy S11 108MP camera — this could be big
It was hard not to be underwhelmed by the cameras on the Galaxy Note 10, which features the same triple lens setup that Samsung introduced with the S10 lineup earlier this year. Better photos might should be on the way with the Galaxy S11, though.
According to XDA Developers, the Samsung Camera app code has a 108MP photo mode. Max Weinbach found out that the latest version of the camera software in the One UI 2.0 beta — Samsung’s flavor of Android 10 — contains support for 12,000 x 9,000 pixel images. In other words: 108 megapixels.
Galaxy S11: Snapdragon 865 power
While we’re talking about Qualcomm, let’s not forget that the Galaxy S lineup is usually the first to feature the latest Qualcomm mobile processor, the Snapdragon 865, following on from the Snapdragon 855 that powers both the Galaxy S10 and Note 10. The newly unveiled Snapdragon 865 is highlighted by an improved image signal processor that can support the 108-megapixel image sensor slated for the S11, a brand new Qualcomm AI engine that should speed up digital assistant performance and image recognition among other capabilities, and better graphics performance geared at gamers.
Of course, any new chip raises questions about how fast it will be. We’ve had the chance to benchmark the Snapdragon 865 on a Qualcomm-supplied reference device, and on the Geekbench 5 measure of general performance, the 865-powered device produced a multicore score that nearly matched the result we recorded with the A13 Bionic-powered iPhone 11 Pro Max. (The iPhone still outpaces the single core score of thee Snapdragon 865.) The new Qualcomm chip outperformed the iPhone in some graphics tests, though it still lags the iPhone in our real-world video conversion test using Adobe Rush. Our preliminary conclusion, though, is that the Snapdragon 865 compares very well to the best processor Apple uses in its phones — at least until the iPhone 12 and its A14 processor ships in fall 2020.
Galaxy S11 5G: A new Qualcomm chip
When it announced the Snapdragon 865 chip, Qualcomm also noted that it will include tan X55 5G modem with the chip. This isn’t as space efficient as the smaller 765 chip which has its modem built-in, but it will still give the new top-tier CPU the 5G abilities it needs to stand out.
The company’s 5G modems — the X50 initially, and now the X55 — are standalone chips that sit alongside the handset’s processor. That tends to create chunkier devices that might not be as power-efficient as some would like. For example, the Galaxy S10 5G features a massive 6.7-inch screen and huge 4,500 mAh battery. It’s also 0.31 inches thick and weighs 6.98 ounces, compared to the 6.17-ounce Galaxy S10 Plus, which is slightly thinner at 0.3 inches.
Going With USB-C — and no headphone jack
Interestingly, a report from October 2018 provided some clues as to what we might be able to expect from Samsung’s Galaxy S11.
ETNews said that Samsung has decided to go with USB-C exclusively in the Galaxy S11. That means the company will ditch the headphone jack and require you to use wireless earbuds or a dongle in the box that will let you plug in 3.5mm headphones.
The fact that the Note 10 and Note 10 Plus have ditched the headphone jack makes it all but certain that we’ve seen the last of the 3.5mm port on Samsung’s flagship phones.
Galaxy S11 Battery
It’s almost a given that a phone will have a greater battery capacity than the model that preceded it, but the S11 series may be seeing a big jump in this area. According to a leak published by Ice Universe, the S11e could have a battery capacity as high as 4,000mAh, a jump of 900mAh over the S10e. This leads Ice Universe to suggest that the S11 Plus, the assumed largest version of the S11 series, could have up to a 5,000mAh battery. That’s bigger than any other premium flagship on the market right now, and would seal Samsung’s spot at the top of the battery life charts.
A newer leak from SamMobile suggests a battery capacity of 4,500 mAh for the standard S11, which makes sense in the context of the previous leaks, and blows even the iPhone 11 Pro Max out of the water in terms of battery capacity (the 11 Pro Max has a 4,000 mAh battery).