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The Galaxy S21 doesn’t come with a charger in the box — and that’s OK

When you buy a new Galaxy S21 and open the box, you’ll find a phone and a USB-C cable. That’s it. After previously removing the included wired headset from its phones, Samsung is now dropping the wall charger from its in-box accessory set.

Just like when Apple made the move with the iPhone 12, the reasoning is simple to understand. Samsung saves money on every phone it ships without a charger, and can pass on some percentage of that savings to the customer — after all, the lineup did get cheaper this year.

Sure there’s no charger, but the Galaxy S21 is also $200 cheaper than the S20 was.

But more importantly, this is another positive step in reducing e-waste. Before Apple even made its move official, I advocated for removing the charger from the iPhone’s box — and I hope more companies do the same. E-waste is a huge problem that largely goes unnoticed by the public. The world is producing over 50 million metric tons of e-waste yearly, and only a small percentage is properly recycled. Anything we can do to reduce that amount should be applauded.

Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra charger
Andrew Martonik/Digital Trends

And we need to understand that while this seems frustrating, fewer and fewer people are actually using in-box chargers. Samsung says its data show one-quarter of Galaxy S chargers are wireless. And then there’s the large number of people who simply keep using whatever chargers they already have plugged in when they buy a phone. Charging speeds have stagnated, especially on Samsung phones, and any charger from the past couple of years will serve you just as well as the one in the box.

E-waste is a serious problem that needs to be addressed — even if Samsung benefits as well.

Samsung says that for those who do want a charger, it’s going to reduce the price of chargers at its online store, and work with retail partners and carriers to do the same. Currently, Samsung’s 25W fast charger will set you back $35, which is frankly absurd. You can buy a two-pack of white label 25W fast chargers for just $17, and there are numerous reputable charging brands making comparable chargers with better designs at similar discounts.

Not having the in-box charger isn’t some massive loss. You can get a far better charger — in terms of design, performance, ports, or all of the above — for a very reasonable amount of money. And you have that money because the Galaxy S21 is $200 less than the S20 was.

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