Galaxy S21: Samsung didn’t bring back the headphone jack and here’s why
This story is part of , where our editors will bring you the latest news and the hottest gadgets of the entirely virtual CES 2021.
, the follow-up to last year’s , has arrived earlier than the company’s flagship phones usually do. (Here are CNET’s and .) Samsung hosted a earlier this month in which the latest Galaxy S smartphone was unveiled, about a month earlier than last year’s announcement. .
for months about the new device, fueled by . Would the Galaxy S21 come with a stylus? Would it sport a sleek new design? ?
And the perennial question: Would it include a headphone jack? We now know the answer: No, the Galaxy S21 does not have a headphone jack.
We guessed as much ahead of the Unpacked event, based on leaks. But if we learned anything in the time since(the very same day the ), it’s that anything is possible.
showed a similar design to the S20 lineup, with an in-screen fingerprint reader and a centered hole-punch front camera. But one thing we didn’t see in the is a headphone jack, which told us it was probably not in the cards for the S21. for all three models of the S21 also did not include mention of a headphone jack.
There had been some unsubstantiated conjecture about Samsung reintroducing the headphone jack as a sort of experiment in 2021. The thinking here is that a headphone jack could be enough to differentiate the Galaxy flagship from other premium phones from the likes of Apple and Google, which have also forced users to convert to either the or dongle lifestyle in recent years.
It was an interesting theory, especially if you remember Samsung’s initial reaction to Apple’s original removal of the headphone jack from its 2016 handset, the iPhone 7. Apple’s move became a punchline at Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 launch event that same year. And , mocking the iPhone’s unwieldy dongle setup. But the tide changed and, in 2019, it, too, left the headphone jack on the cutting room floor. , the first of the Galaxy S line to nix it.
History repeated itself with the Galaxy S21. When Apple decided not to include a charger or earphones in the box with its iPhone 12, Samsung mocked that decision as well. But now . A leak from tipster Evan Blass the day before Galaxy Unpacked also showed a “what’s in the box” page from Samsung that only listed a USB-C cable (sans charging brick), ejection pin and Quick Start Guide, citing environmental reasons. And not including headphones in the box was yet another piece of evidence against the inclusion of a corresponding headphone jack.
One reason phone makers love to lose the jack: thinner bezels. Thin is in, and a smaller bezel footprint allows for a larger screen without adding to the phone’s overall size.
Another, perhaps more cynical reason: The company’s own wireless earbuds ought to sell better when its phones lack a wired headphone jack.have sold like gangbusters, likely thanks in no small part to the iPhone’s excised jack. And Samsung’s got its own line of wireless earbuds, the , and , and now, there are the , too. So it makes a lot of sense for Samsung to stick to its decision to bid the headphone jack adieu.