The Android 13 update is now live for the carrier-unlocked Galaxy S21 series in the USA, which makes the base Galaxy S21 model a cheap ticket to One UI 5.0 and high-end performance for prospective smartphone buyers stateside. That is, as long as you’re willing to buy a certified renewed smartphone directly from Samsung.
The unlocked Galaxy S21 is no longer available for purchase new. It’s a shame, given the solid specifications and potential discounts the phone might’ve enjoyed this time of year. With that in mind, if you’re looking to buy a Galaxy phone with high-end performance to enjoy the new One UI 5.0 update, your only other option is the unlocked Galaxy S22. Or is it?
As of this writing, a brand-new Galaxy S22 costs $725 after a $75 instant rebate. Comparatively, a certified renewed Galaxy S21 5G costs $525 after a $100 rebate. And if you’re thinking of buying the unlocked Galaxy S21 FE instead, you might want to forget about it. Android 13 is not yet available for the unlocked Galaxy S21 FE in the USA, and the phone is also more expensive than the renewed Galaxy S21 5G. It costs $599 after a $100 rebate.
Get the Galaxy S21 and One UI 5.0 experience for a little over $500
As long as you can get past the fact that the Galaxy S21 is not brand-new and you’re getting a certified renewed phone, the 2021 flagship sounds like a pretty good deal. Particularly if you’re looking for a cheap ticket to Android 13 and you want high-end performance out of your phone. We don’t usually talk about renewed phones, but this sounds like an offer worth considering, given the circumstances.
The Galaxy S21 FE costs an extra $75 and doesn’t give access to Android 13 and One UI 5.0 just yet. Plus, the Galaxy S21 5G is technically superior in every aspect (save for the fact that the FE had newer firmware at launch), even though both phones share the same Snapdragon 888 5G chipset. And if you want a better phone with access to One UI 5.0, the Galaxy S22 is always an option. But then again, it costs $200 extra, so it’s not a realistic option if you’re looking for a sub-$600 One UI 5.0 Galaxy phone with decent performance.
If you are interested in checking out certified renewed carrier-unlocked Galaxy S21 5Gs that have a relatively low price tag, Samsung USA sells them through its online store. And for a closer look at One UI 5.0, albeit running on the Galaxy S22, you can check out our videos below.