The Samsung Galaxy S21 series is here, offering a new design, a range of new features, and the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888. But there’s one other change that some potential buyers might not be so thrilled about. The Galaxy S21 spells the end of the microSD card slot in Samsung’s flagship phones. None of the models, not even the S21 Ultra, have expandable storage.
I don’t really care, though.
The microSD card was long a convenient and inexpensive way to get additional storage for your phone. And over time, it’s only gotten cheaper. But in 2021, it’s just no longer necessary.
Samsung is, thankfully, making it relatively easy to upgrade the internal storage in your Galaxy S21, so if you think you’re going to need more storage, it’s not overly expensive to get it. The base model of the Galaxy S21 already offers 128GB of storage, which isn’t bad — but if you think you’re going to need extra, it’s only $50 to double that to 256GB. On the Galaxy S21 Ultra, you can jump all the way to 512GB if you wish.
Now, I get that for many people, spending $800 on a smartphone is already a stretch, and that extra $50 can make a difference. But the fact is that it used to be far more expensive just to jump from 64GB to 128GB — and many low-end phones charge a similar amount of money for a whole lot less. Just look at the new Moto G Power, where you’ll pay $50 for an extra 32GB.
And we can’t forget that Samsung’s base prices have gone down this year, a full $200 from the Galaxy S20 series. Upgrade to that 256GB storage option, and you’re still coming out $150 ahead of where you would’ve been with the base Galaxy S20.
Gone are the days when cloud-based apps and services were a novelty, and most people kept their music on their device itself. These days, almost everything is cloud-based, and that’s likely to continue. Music? Spotify? Movies and TV shows? Netflix? Many people even handle basic file storage through Google Drive. And this isn’t a matter of “it’ll happen when 5G gets here” — it’s the case right now with LTE.
Really ,the only thing you need local storage for is apps, and the photos and video you take between time spent on Wi-Fi. And yes, that is an area where you could run into issues, especially if you enjoy lots of mobile gaming and shooting 8K video. But again, if you know that’s what you want from the start — just buy the extra storage.
Cloud storage is no longer the “future” — it’s the present.
Now I realize I’m coming from a place of privilege to not care about local storage that doesn’t incur a recurring cost. And that, perhaps, is the main reason why I would want an SD card slot. But even those who do use local storage for music and videos should be able to get away with using either 128GB or 256GB, even if it means rotating media out every now and then.
Ultimately, doing away with tech like the microSD card slot gets companies like Apple and Samsung closer to the future of portless devices. It may not benefit everyone, but you’ll get used it, as I have. You’ll have to, anyway.
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