Samsung’s Galaxy S21 Ultra hits the FCC, confirms S-Pen and Wi-Fi 6E support

Samsung’s next Android flagship, the Galaxy S21 Ultra, has landed in the FCC database (first discovered by the Android Authority). The listing confirms a few of the rumors that have been hovering around.

First, the FCC confirms that the Galaxy S21 has S-Pen support. Rumors have swirled that the Galaxy Note line would be killed to focus on Samsung’s balloon-shaped foldable lineup, and breeding Note’s one unique feature would certainly fit that narrative. There is still some controversy as to whether the note is actually dead. Reuters quotes an anonymous source claiming the note is dead, while Yonhap, South Korea’s largest news agency, quotes an anonymous source claiming the note is alive.

What is not in doubt is that the Note is no longer the only Samsung phone with stylus support. As the tester of all things wireless, the FCC says that the S21 Ultra has “two different inductive coupling modes for S-PEN motion detection (Hover and Click).” Ultra sounds like it works like the note, but remember there is nowhere to store the S-Pen on a Galaxy S21. We know what the phone looks like and it does not have a huge gap for pen storage as the note did. Like an Apple Pencil or Surface Pen, you will probably need to purchase the pen separately and figure out where to store it.

Another treat in the report is confirmation of Wi-Fi 6E compatibility with the Ultra model. The FCC seems as enthusiastic about the Wi-Fi 6E as we are: it wrote a 23-page report dedicated solely to supporting the new Wi-Fi standard on the S21 Ultra. We could talk forever about the new tricks and optimizations in 802.11ax / Wi-Fi 6 standard that hit phones starting in 2019, but Wi-Fi 6E is easy to understand: it just adds a big chunk of the 6 GHz spectrum to the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum we use today. More spectrum means more bandwidth for you and your neighbors.

With the Galaxy S21 rumored to launch in mid-January (during virtual CES?), The S21 Ultra will be one of the first Wi-Fi 6E clients, of any kind, to hit the market. You also need a new access point to make Wi-Fi 6E work, and so far no one has hit the market. Asus announced in September the “world’s first Wi-Fi 6E gaming router”, the incredibly named “Asus ROG Rapture GT-AXE11000 Gaming Router”, but there is no release date and it is still not for sale yet. A permanently sold out Newegg listing costs $ 550.

We know almost everything else about the Galaxy S21. In the US, it will be the first phone with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 SoC. It has a larger fingerprint sensor on the screen. The Ultra model should have a 5000 mAh battery and a 120Hz OLED screen that is dimensioned somewhere around 6.8 inches. Official photos have already been leaked showing the usual front screen design and a rear camera block making the questionable decision to wrap around the side and corner of the phone. I wonder what will happen if you drop it on the corner!

Nothing is official yet, but the phone is expected to be released on January 14th.

List image by Evan Blass