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Galaxy S21: Samsung does not bring the headphone jack back and here’s why


Evan Blass

This story is part of THESE, where our editors bring you the latest news and hottest gadgets from the all-virtual CES 2021


Samsung Galaxy S21, the follow-up to last year Galaxy S20 flagship, is almost here. On January 14, Samsung will host a virtual Galaxy unpacked event on the last day of THESE (here’s how to watch live), where the latest Galaxy S smartphone is expected to be unveiled, about a month earlier than last year’s announcement. Rumors have been circulating for several months now about the new device, powered by delicious galore. Comes Galaxy S21 with a stylus? Will it have a sleek new design? Will it replace the Galaxy Note line?

And the perennial question: Will it include a headphone jack? All we can say right now is probably not. But if we learned anything in the time ago Samsung released its latest Galaxy S flagship (same day it novel coronavirus was officially christened COVID-19), that is, anything is possible.

Read more: Samsung Galaxy S21 colors: Get ready for pastel pink if rumors are true

Leaked teasers for Galaxy S21 shows a design similar to the S20 series with a fingerprint reader on the screen and a centered hole-front camera. But one thing you will not see in leaked pictures is a headphone jack that tells us it’s probably not in the cards for the S21. Later leaks showing Samsung’s specifications for all three models of the S21 also did not include mention of a headphone jack.

There have been an unfounded suspicion that Samsung reintroduced the headphone jack as a kind of experiment in 2021. The thinking here is that a headphone jack could be enough to distinguish the Galaxy flagship from other premium phones from similar Apple and Google, which have also forced users to convert to either wireless earphone or dongle lifestyle in recent years.

That’s an interesting theory, especially if you remember Samsung’s initial reaction to Apple’s initial removal of the headphone jack from the 2016 handset, the iPhone 7. Apple’s move became a punchline at Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 launch event the same year. And ads for the Galaxy Note 8 went a step further, mocks the iPhone’s unwieldy dongle setup. But the tide changed and when Samsung unveiled its Galaxy Note 10 in 2019, it also left the headphone jack on the cutting floor. Last year’s Galaxy S20 also lacked a headphone jack, the first of the Galaxy S line to nix it.

Read more: The iPhone 12s lightning port may be the next thing Apple kills

History may repeat itself with the Galaxy S21. When Apple decided not to include a charger or earphones in the box with its iPhone 12, Samsung also spotted the decision. But now rumors suggest that Samsung may follow suit. A leak from tipster Evan Blass shows a “what’s in the box” page from Samsung that only shows a USB-C cable (sense charging stone), exhaust pin and quick start guide with reference to environmental reasons. And not including headphones in the box is yet another proof against the inclusion of a similar headphone jack.

One reason why phone manufacturers love to lose the plug: thinner frames. Thin is in, and a smaller frame footprint allows for a larger screen without adding the overall size of the phone.

Galaxy Buds Pro leaked image

The alleged Galaxy Buds Pro.


Another, perhaps more cynical reason: The company’s own wireless earphones should sell better when its phones lack a wired headphone jack. Apple AirPods has gone like gangbusters, probably thanks not least to the iPhone’s carved jacks. And Samsung has its own series of wireless earphones, the Galaxy Buds, Galaxy Buds Plus and Galaxy Buds Live, with an equally productive rumor that hyper the supposedly coming Galaxy Buds Pro. So it would make sense for Samsung to stick to its decision to bid on the adieu headphone jack. Plus, if the latest leaked promotional slides are accurate, Samsung may be able to offer a pair of wireless earphones along with the S21 as a pre-order bonus, though it’s not clear if this offer will be available in the US.

We expect to receive our response on January 14 at Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked Event, but in the meantime, here is everything else we’ve heard so far about the Galaxy S21.

More rumors about Samsung Galaxy S21:

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