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If you got a Samsung Galaxy S20 or Note 20 for Christmas, you should probably return it

If you just got a new Android phone this Christmas, there’s a pretty good chance it has a Samsung logo on it. The Galaxy S20 and Note 20 phones among the very best of 2020, and with Samsung’s very aggressive end-of-year pricing, your secret Santa likely saved a bundle to boot. But you might want to return it while you still can.

I’m not here to tell you that your new phone is flawed or busted—in fact, you’re probably going to love it. Samsung’s flagships have been leading the Android pack for years, and the displays, cameras, and designs of the S20 and Note 20 are among the best you can get right now. 

But if you can squeeze just a couple more weeks of life out of your old phone, there’s a new one on the way much earlier than usual. Samsung has all but confirmed that the new Galaxy S21 will land in January, just a couple of weeks from today and more than a month earlier than usual. By the looks of things, to, you’re going to be getting a lot more than a slightly updated S20. From the processor to the pricing and the lineup, there are more reasons than ever to wait for the new S21 to arrive before settling in with your new Galaxy phone.

samsung galaxy note 20 ultra back camera array Ryan Whitwam/IDG

The Note 20 Ultra is a great phone, but something better is just around the corner.

A better Galaxy in every way

Like the iPhone in September, Samsung’s new Galaxy phones represent the unofficial start of the Android year. That usually happens in February or March, so a reported launch in January likely means that something bigger than usual is on the way. Based on what I’ve seen from leaks, the S21 is shaping up to be one of Samsung’s nicest phones in years, with super-slim bezels, a unique camera array that has a much smaller bump, and some very nice color options.

Samsung will likely launch three models again in very similar sizes to the S20. Beyond that, quite a bit will reportedly be changing. Rumors suggest a better camera system that utilizes the Note 20’s laster autofocus, which would go a long way toward fixing one of the S20’s biggest issues. Also expected to get a boost are night mode and zoom, two categories that fell into the good-not-great column on the S20.

galaxy s21 renders leak Evan Blass/@evleaks

Based on the leaks we’ve seen, the Samsung Galaxy S21+ and Galaxy S21 Ultra could be better than your average yearly upgrade.

A new processor making its debut in the Galaxy S isn’t a surprise, but the type of processor might be. Samsung is due to launch its next Exynos chip on January 12, and this year it might be ready to ship an Exynos-powered Galaxy S phone in the United States  for the first time. But even if it doesn’t, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 is shaping up to be a huge leap over the 865 that could rival the tremendous speed and power efficiency that Apple brought with the awesome A14 Bionic in the iPhone 12.

With the new chip might come a feature that Samsung has traditionally reserved for its Note phones: S Pen support. Earlier this month, president TM Roh confirmed rumors that Samsung will be bringing some of the Note’s “most well-loved features to other devices in our lineup.” That basically means that the Galaxy S21 is almost certain to gain S Pen support, a feature that has sorely been missing from Samsung’s flagship phone.

note 20 ultra camera2 Michael Simon/IDG

The camera bump should be a lot less bumpy on the S21.

With the Note 20 Ultra, Samsung reduced the S Pen’s latency and added some impressive translation and fun gestures that bring it to a new level of productivity. Even if it’s not bundled like the Note, the S Pen will be an excellent accessory for the Galaxy S21 that will instantly make it superior to every Galaxy phone that came before it, including the brand-new one you just got.