Galaxy S21 first of many phones that Samsung will ship sans charger and earphones

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When Apple confirmed during its iPhone 12 press conference that its new flagship devices would ship without a charger in the name of the environment, the company faced a bit of backlash. Even competitors took a few jabs at the company for its decision, but now its biggest competitor, Samsung, is doing the same with its Galaxy S21 series.

Unveiled globally yesterday, and currently available for pre-order in South Africa, the S21 series will also ship sans charger and earphones, with only a USB Type-C cable included in the packaging.

Samsung’s reasoning was also environmental in nature, adding that many of its consumers already have chargers and earphones from previous devices.

The South Korean firm further confirmed that this is a strategy it will be adopting for future devices too, taking a gradual approach when it comes to releases and shipping.

“We discovered that more and more Galaxy users are reusing accessories they already have and making sustainable choices in their daily lives to promote better recycling habits. To support our Galaxy community in this journey, we are transitioning to removal of the charger plug and earphones in our latest line of Galaxy smartphones.

We believe that the gradual removal of charger plugs and earphones from our in-box device packaging can help address sustainable consumption issues and remove any pressure that consumers may feel towards continually receiving unnecessary charger accessories with new phones.

We’ve also been implementing standardized USB-C type charging ports since 2017, so older chargers can still be compatible with our newest Galaxy models,” reads an answer from Samsung during a Q&A session

While making decisions in the name of sustainability is commendable, we do have two issues with this.

The first being that standalone non-third party chargers can be quite expensive, and should a consumer moving from the Apple ecosystem to the Samsung one purchase a Galaxy S21 device, an additional of a charger will also be needed.

The second is that a USB Type-C charger from 2017 may not be optimised from a wattage perspective for the larger 4 000 to 5 000mAh batteries found on the different models of S21. Added to this, much like batteries themselves, chargers also degrade over time.

Whether this is a trend that other manufacturers will adopt remains to be seen, but if the two biggest players in the mobile market are doing it, it won’t be long before others follow. As such, chargers could prove an even more vital accessory in the coming years.

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.

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