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How the price of Samsung Galaxy S phones changed over the years
If you were to tell the average smartphone user that Samsung Galaxy S prices had only gone up over the years, they’d likely believe you. However, you’d be lying. There have been a few years in which prices have actually dropped — including 2021, believe it or not. If you look back, there are a lot of interesting price changes happening.
Considering that Samsung is the world’s largest smartphone manufacturer and the Galaxy S series is its most popular phone family, we thought we’d examine everything from the very beginning. Below, you’ll find a list of every major Galaxy S phone and its original launch price. In the end, you’ll find a chart giving a compact view of how those prices have changed as time went on.
Please note that we won’t be including every variant of the Galaxy S series here. The Mini variants from the mid-2010s, for example, won’t be included. We’re also ignoring the Fan editions, Lite editions, Active editions, etc., in favor of focusing only on the main entries in the series.
Samsung Galaxy S price: $399
The original Samsung Galaxy S had many different names. The Samsung Galaxy Proclaim, Galaxy S Showcase, Galaxy Vibrant 4G, Galaxy S Captivate — the list is quite long. However, we’ll always remember it as the Galaxy S, the one that started it all.
Here in the United States during the phone’s launch year of 2010, it was incredibly difficult to buy a smartphone in an unlocked format. Instead, you needed to visit your carrier and buy a phone through them. You’d get a small portion of the phone’s cost integrated into your bill over the next two years as part of your exclusive contract. As such, it’s hard to determine the exact final Samsung Galaxy S prices as they would change from carrier to carrier.
However, we determined the average amount to be around $399, which equates to ~$477 in 2021 dollars. That seems like a bargain compared to the smartphones of today. But keep in mind that this phone was far less advanced — and a lot cheaper to produce.
Samsung Galaxy S2 price: $549
The Samsung Galaxy S was a huge hit for the company. Because of its success on the market, all eyes were on the Galaxy S2 in early 2011. Unfortunately, Samsung went hog wild with the follow-up and released multiple phones with totally different designs and specs — all using the Galaxy S2 branding. It was so messy that you could buy a Galaxy S2 from AT&T, and it would be a completely different phone compared to the device of the same name from T-Mobile.
Still, that didn’t stop Samsung from selling Galaxy S2 phones like hotcakes. The phone was even more popular than the original Galaxy S and put Samsung firmly at the top of the Android smartphone world.
Once again, though, it was hard to buy the phone unlocked in the US. With that in mind, most consumers likely didn’t even notice that the list price of the phone jumped up significantly to $549. The price, after all, was hidden in their mobile carrier’s contract. Thankfully, it wouldn’t be much longer before regulatory bodies forced carriers to stop this practice.
Samsung Galaxy S3 price: $599
Samsung entered 2012 as the smartphone king. In Q3 2011, it outsold Apple as far as smartphones go — a first for the Korean company. Not content to stop the growth, Samsung launched what is arguably one of the most beloved phones of all time: the Samsung Galaxy S3.
Thankfully, Samsung started to tone down its habit of releasing many different phones with the same name. The Galaxy S3 looked very uniform no matter where you got it. The internal specs might have been wildly different, but that’s a whole other story.
Despite the significant jump in specs and design, the price for this phone didn’t jump much higher than the previous model. In 2012, the Galaxy S3 cost about $599. That represents one of the smaller increases in the long history of Samsung Galaxy S prices.
Samsung Galaxy S4 price: $649
Statistically, the Samsung Galaxy S4 is the biggest Android phone of all time. At 80 million units sold, the only other Android phone that comes even close to its sales is its predecessor, the Galaxy S3. Even the mighty iPhone 5S — launched in the same year — sold only 52 million units.
Once again, Samsung only nominally increased the price of the phone compared to the Galaxy S3. Of course, consumers in the US still likely wouldn’t have known it cost them $649. By this point, getting the phone unlocked was much easier, but only a small fraction of US buyers went that route.
A lot of die-hard smartphone fans saw very clearly what the price of the phone was in the summer of 2013. That’s when Samsung and Google partnered together to launch a Google Play Edition of the phone. It featured an unlockable bootloader and stock Android — a breath of fresh air for the people who loathed Samsung’s Android skin TouchWiz. Samsung and Google only partnered to do this for a few cycles, but we wish it had gone on longer.
Samsung Galaxy S5 price: $649
Up until now, the Samsung Galaxy S prices had only gone up. In 2014, for the first time, Samsung launched the newest Galaxy S device at the same exact price as the previous year: $649.
Even though the price stayed the same, several new specs and features launched with this phone. That included a fingerprint sensor integrated into the home button, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, and a 16MP rear camera lens.
Unfortunately, sales of the Galaxy S5 failed to even come near the sales of the Galaxy S4. That’s why the S5’s design was the last of its kind. In 2015, Samsung would completely revamp the Galaxy S aesthetic. Still, the Galaxy S5 is fondly remembered by fans.
Samsung Galaxy S6 series prices: $649 — $799
In 2020, we ranked all of the Galaxy S phones from worst to best. Unfortunately, our friend the Samsung Galaxy S6 came in at the very bottom as our least favorite in the line. Sorry, bud.
Despite it being stuck at last place in our hearts, it represented the third time in a row that the base Samsung Galaxy S price remained unchanged. Of course, when you consider that Samsung removed the MicroSD card slot, IP rating, and removable battery, you’d wonder why it didn’t drop.
For the first time, the manufacturer also launched a more premium version of a Galaxy S phone. The Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge was basically the same phone but slightly bigger and with curved glass on the sides. Despite the device not really offering much else over the normal model, the Edge variant cost $100 more for a total of $749. Not content to stop there, Samsung eventually launched a Galaxy S6 Edge Plus for $799.
You should also note that, due to low sales, Samsung dropped the entry price of the Galaxy S6 to $579 not long after it launched. This was the first time that had happened in the middle of a Galaxy S phone’s lifecycle. It wouldn’t be the last.
Samsung Galaxy S7 series prices: $669 & $769
With sales of the Galaxy S6 series being incredibly disappointing, Samsung needed a hit — and fast. Enter the Samsung Galaxy S7 and Galaxy S7 Edge. Both phones took what worked with the Galaxy S6 but brought back the things Samsung disregarded the previous year. That included the MicroSD card slot and an IP rating. Unfortunately, the removable battery never came back.
Still, the Galaxy S7 family fared much better on the market than its predecessors. With a launch price of $669 to $699 (depending on where you bought it and when), the entry-level version of the phone was only nominally more expensive than the Galaxy S6. However, it offered many more specs and features. Likewise, the larger Edge variant cost around $100 more.
Unfortunately, Samsung still wasn’t selling as many Galaxy S7 phones as it had hoped. This forced it to, once again, drop both phones’ prices in the middle of their lifecycles.
Samsung Galaxy S8 series prices: $749 & $849
In 2017, Samsung wisened up in a few ways. It abandoned the Edge branding, which appeared to simply confuse buyers. Instead, it launched the Samsung Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8 Plus. As the “Plus” moniker suggested, it was a larger version of the base model, which is why it cost more. This made much more sense.
The Galaxy S8 line represented a seismic shift for the design of the Galaxy S series. For the first time, the fingerprint sensor moved to the back of the phone, allowing for the front to be all display (with sizable bezels, of course). That big change must have made Samsung pretty confident because it increased the entry price to $749 — even after it needed to reduce the already lower price of the Galaxy S7 just months earlier.
Things must have worked out OK, though, as Samsung didn’t reduce the prices of these phones in the middle of their lifecycles. Coming off the fiasco of the Galaxy Note 7 the previous year also may have had an influence on Samsung Galaxy S prices as well.
Samsung Galaxy S9 series prices: $719 & $839
If you go back to the early days of the Galaxy S line, you see a lot of similarities. The Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, and Galaxy S5 all featured the same core design elements. Since then, though, we’ve seen the line change quite a bit.
Related: Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus Redux
Not so with the Galaxy S9. The 2018 iterations of the Galaxy S legacy looked very similar to the 2017 models. The biggest change was the movement of the rear fingerprint sensor from the side of the camera to below it. The Galaxy S9 Plus also got a second rear camera, representing the first time that had ever happened on a Galaxy S phone.
Maybe because of how similar these phones were, Samsung dropped the entry-level pricing ever so slightly. The Galaxy S9 landed at $719 while the Galaxy S9 Plus came in at $120 more. The company probably felt secure with these differences in Samsung Galaxy S prices because of that second lens on the Plus variant.
Samsung Galaxy S10 series prices: $749 — $1,299
By 2019, we had had four years of Samsung launching two primary entries in each new iteration of the Galaxy S line. If it could do two phones, why not three? Why not four? With the Galaxy S10 series, Samsung went nuts and launched four phones all at once.
The two main entries in the series stayed the same as the two previous years: the Samsung Galaxy S10 and Galaxy S10 Plus. These came in at $899 and $999 respectively. Samsung also launched a smaller, cheaper model known as the Galaxy S10e, which cost $749. Then, on the other end of the spectrum, it launched the Samsung Galaxy S10 5G, which ended up being a sort of precursor to the Galaxy S20 Ultra. That phone cost $1,299.
In 2020, when Sammy launched the next set of phones on this list, it simultaneously slashed the prices of the Galaxy S10 line while still keeping them in production. This was a way for budget-conscious buyers to get some nice hardware for less money than the wallet-busting Galaxy S20 series.
Samsung Galaxy S20 series prices: $999 — $1,399
The Samsung Galaxy S prices in 2019 were all over the place. The Galaxy S10e was $749, while the Galaxy S10 5G cost nearly twice as much. With the Galaxy S20 line, Samsung opted to abandon the low end and go straight to the premium end. At launch, the cheapest Galaxy S20 phone was a whopping $999. The Galaxy S20 Plus started at $1,199.
The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra, in particular, went way overboard. With a starting price of $1,399, it was one of the most expensive “normal” phones the company had ever launched. If $1,399 wasn’t enough for you, there even was a $1,599 model with more RAM and storage.
Obviously, hindsight is 20/20, and Samsung likely realizes by now that this was a mistake. Granted, the company couldn’t have known a global pandemic was right around the corner when it launched the Galaxy S20 series. Yet, the incredibly high prices of these phones all but assured they would be poor sellers at a time when people are losing their jobs left and right.
Thankfully, Samsung didn’t make this mistake again in 2021.
Samsung Galaxy S21 series prices: $799 — $1,199
Samsung’s bottom line took a big hit in 2020 when the Galaxy S20 series failed to woo consumers. This year, the company rectified that mistake by drastically reducing the cost of entry for the Galaxy S21 family. And it didn’t even need to slash the overall quality by much to do it.
The lowest-end Galaxy S21 starts at $799. That price gets you the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor (or the Exynos 2100 in other parts of the world). It also gets you a solid triple-lens rear camera setup, a fine amount of RAM and internal storage, and a cool new design aesthetic that looks pretty classy.
In another smart move, Samsung kept its “everything but the kitchen sink” mentality with the Galaxy S21 Ultra. That phone has almost no compromises when compared to the Galaxy S20 Ultra, yet still comes in at $200 cheaper at $1,199. This lineup is probably Samsung’s most inclusive ever. It allows buyers from all over the budget spectrum to get themselves a Galaxy S phone.
Time will tell if these Samsung Galaxy S prices work out for Samsung. Let’s hope they do, though.
Samsung Galaxy S prices: The historical picture
Below, you’ll find a chart that gives a bird’s eye view of the main entries in the entire Galaxy S family. You can see the pricing steadily increases over time, but there’s plenty of fluctuations from year to year. Be sure to note that huge dive from last year to now.
Although we can’t see into the future, this chart does make it seem like Samsung Galaxy S prices in 2020 will be as high as they go for quite a while. Unless global economies magically rebound over the next 10 months or so, it’s highly unlikely Samsung would attempt to go as high as Galaxy S20 pricing any time soon.
Of course, long gone are the days in which you’d be able to buy a Galaxy S flagship for under $700. Thankfully, the Fan Edition line appears to be very successful for Samsung. Here at Android Authority, we called the Galaxy S20 FE the best smartphone of 2020, so Samsung is clearly onto something there. It will be very interesting to see what the Galaxy S21 FE looks like. Could Samsung nab our top award with the same phone line two years in a row? Stay tuned!