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Samsung removes MST, Micro SD card from S21 line

Summary

With the launch of the Galaxy S21 series, Samsung has made the decision to remove MST support for the US lineup, and to remove the microSD card expansion slot.

In doing so, Samsung Pay will no longer work at payment terminals that don't support NFC, removing one of its biggest strengths against competitors such as Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Additionally, users now must choose how much storage they want in their phones at time of purchase. This can go up to 256gb for the base and plus models, and 512gb for the ultra model.

 

Quotes

Quote

Unfortunately for fans of the feature, Samsung confirms to us that the Galaxy S21 won't have MST in the US, and this loss of MST will apply to future phones as well.

 

We doubly confirmed this change with a Samsung representative, and though the feature is listed on some spec sheets at Samsung's site, it's also missing from others. We're told the sheets that have it correspond to non-US markets. Reaching out, we have confirmed with a company representative the feature will not be present on the US versions of the Galaxy S21 series.

Quote

All three phones in the S21 series — the base S21, S21+, and S21 Ultra — all lack microSD expansion. The phones start at 128GB of internal storage, and can go up to 512GB on the S21 Ultra, or 256GB on the S21 and S21+. Once you run out of that allowance, you're stuck dealing with cloud storage. The move isn't entirely uprising, since the Galaxy Z Fold2 and Z Flip also lacked SD card slots, but it's still a shame to see.

 

My thoughts

Personally, really annoyed by this move. Both of these are features that I utilize(d) on my current phone, the S20 Ultra. With this, plus the removal back at the end of 2020 of the Rewards program for Samsung Pay, strongly discourage me from getting a Galaxy device during my next upgrade cycle. MST and the microSD were two features that made the Galaxy lineup very appealing - now Samsung seems to be pulling a Galaxy S6 instead.

 

Sources

https://www.androidpolice.com/2021/01/14/samsung-ditches-microsd-card-slot-for-galaxy-s21-series/

https://www.androidpolice.com/2021/01/14/samsung-pay-is-losing-its-one-remaining-good-feature-on-the-galaxy-s21/

 

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Dang those were two very good features and I feel the MST was something Samsung should have been showcasing more. Being able to pay anywhere regardless of if the store was setup for contactless payment especially when it was first introduced years ago was a huge feature that hardly anyone even knew about.

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Ughhh all for the price of keeping up with Apple. First the headphone jack and now expandability. These devices will become throwaway e-waste when people don't have the necessary space that they "should have bought" (the tech companies will argue). Though with that amount of storage I guess its not too consequential on the upper end models except for a social media junkie. Lower end models like my Galaxy A40 64GB on the other hand? I do not want to pay for an unexpandable phone. Mine only had 64GB which would already have been near to full if I hadn't got a microSDcard expansion slot. Though from you said here it seems to only apply to the US market. Hopefully the EU and the UK markets will escape this.

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19 minutes ago, Albal_156 said:

Ughhh all for the price of keeping up with Apple. First the headphone jack and now expandability. These devices will become throwaway e-waste when people don't have the necessary space that they "should have bought" (the tech companies will argue). Though with that amount of storage I guess its not too consequential on the upper end models except for a social media junkie. Lower end models like my Galaxy A40 64GB on the other hand? I do not want to pay for an unexpandable phone. Mine only had 64GB which would already have been near to full if I hadn't got a microSDcard expansion slot. Though from you said here it seems to only apply to the US market. Hopefully the EU and the UK markets will escape this.

Ah, the removal of MST support is limited to the US market. Removal of the microSD card is, as far as I can gather, worldwide.

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Honestly at this point I don't even know what phone I would buy if I had to replace my s9+ probably a pixel since it still has a headphone jack. But dang I'm sick of getting less and less features for more money. Who cares about a spec bump or if they added a10k screen or 20 cameras to the back if I have to find a dongle to play music out of an aux cable or even charge my phone because apparently a charger is just too expensive for Apple and samsung to include now with their $1200 phones. But hey its saving the environment right 🙄

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2 hours ago, Ethan. said:

Samsung has made the decision to remove MST support for the US lineup

haha, I didn't know that this was a thing.  Although in Canada the use of tap is really prominent and for the ones that don't support tap it usually is a requirement for chip and pin.  I'm wondering if they are moving away from this, as MST is likely less secure and can lead to more fraud (over chip and pins or even NFC).

 

It's sad to see micro-sd cards disappear.  I really haven't had a need for it yet (benefits of not taking many photos), but it was always a good piece of mind (especially if I wanted to load a bunch of movies offline for a trip where internet was not a guarantee)

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1 hour ago, Vanderburg said:

Mystery Science Theater?

Magnetic Secure Transmission

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Just now, wanderingfool2 said:

haha, I didn't know that this was a thing.  Although in Canada the use of tap is really prominent and for the ones that don't support tap it usually is a requirement for chip and pin.  I'm wondering if they are moving away from this, as MST is likely less secure and can lead to more fraud (over chip and pins or even NFC).

 

It's sad to see micro-sd cards disappear.  I really haven't had a need for it yet (benefits of not taking many photos), but it was always a good piece of mind (especially if I wanted to load a bunch of movies offline for a trip where internet was not a guarantee)

I understand the benefits of NFC over MST, but their justification is weird. While a lot of large stores like Walmart and Target have terminals that are fully NFC compatible, there's a ton of places that don't, ranging from vending machines to your local small businesses (in the US, at least). Eventually they could definitely remove MST with no complaints, but this feels a bit preemptive.

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So, the S21 is a downgrade when it comes to functionality. Typical.

 

My Mum's Galaxy Tab S6 is a perfect example of why an SD card is important. She hadn't gotten around to moving her files to the new card, and as a result when a google update bricked the tablet (the recovery partition got broken as well), she lost 6 months of work. Older files luckily were still on her Galaxy Tab A's card.

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46 minutes ago, Ethan. said:

I understand the benefits of NFC over MST, but their justification is weird. While a lot of large stores like Walmart and Target have terminals that are fully NFC compatible, there's a ton of places that don't, ranging from vending machines to your local small businesses (in the US, at least). Eventually they could definitely remove MST with no complaints, but this feels a bit preemptive.

Yea, having the magnetic strip's in the US is much more of a thing.  Here in Canada, even the small retailers have chip an pin...remember visiting the US a few years back and finding it amazing at the amount places that didn't use chip and pin.

 

Actually by 2010, it looks like Canada had over 55% of terminals that were chip and pin (and for those terminals it only accepts swipe if the card itself doesn't have chip and pin).  That is because at least here in Canada, companies like Visa would penalize you if you used swipe vs EMV (Apparently by 2011 if you used swipe and there was any issue of fraud you would be on the hook).

 

With that said, it appears as though in the US the card makers are implementing similar rules as they did in Canada (with deadlines in 2020)...so I wouldn't be surprised within a year you might find it really hard to find one where MST would work.

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I'm still on S6 and still not convinced by their new series.

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Less component in the phone, makes the phone greener. Also, the removal of the microSD card, avoids people buying them, with their packaging that is harmful in the environment.

 

Removal of the USB Type-C port should have already been done. Less cables consumers need to buy and replace. These are so innovative ideas, Apple and Samsung should double the price of their phone. /s

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Whelp, forget Samsung as a viable option then...

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2 hours ago, Dabombinable said:

So, the S21 is a downgrade when it comes to functionality. Typical.

Yeah, as Samsung releases more and more devices it just makes my Note9 look better and better sadly. IMO Samsung went from the best hardware (with pretty bad software) to now just mediocre hardware and mediocre software. Probably leaving Samsung once my Note9 needs to be replaced.

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Looks like the S7 Edge is going to make it another year. microSD card gang yee yee.

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Galaxy S21 is the worst value of phone I've seen in ages. 799€ for one of most bizarre cost savings I've seen to a point it almost beats Apple at being shitty. No charger, no SD slot anymore, no headphone jack and PLASTIC phone case? On a 799€ phone? Samsung, are you ok? That's just absurd. With nonsense they are pulling off recently my next phone is just gonna be some Realme which I'll treat as disposable from moment I buy it. It may be worse, but it's not 500€ worse.

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I don't see this as much of an issue; so, so few people actually use the microSD card expansion. Do some? Absolutely. Probably much higher on a tech forum like this. However as an overall group, no, it's not every widely used. So you might as well axe it. Same goes for MST. In order to help push more NFC terminals out, if you take away one of the payment options then it'll help make that push. Though, really, with Apple Pay already using NFC I'm surprised it didn't happen sooner.

 

It's not like they do these things on a whim. They do extensive market research before making these decisions.

 

If they're taking away features from Samsung Pay, I'd even hazard a guess that the program isn't going that well and eventually they'll just stop all together, except for perhaps their home market.

 

8 hours ago, Albal_156 said:

Ughhh all for the price of keeping up with Apple. First the headphone jack and now expandability. These devices will become throwaway e-waste when people don't have the necessary space that they "should have bought" (the tech companies will argue). Though with that amount of storage I guess its not too consequential on the upper end models except for a social media junkie. Lower end models like my Galaxy A40 64GB on the other hand? I do not want to pay for an unexpandable phone. Mine only had 64GB which would already have been near to full if I hadn't got a microSDcard expansion slot. Though from you said here it seems to only apply to the US market. Hopefully the EU and the UK markets will escape this.

Apple never had storage expansion. That's not why they're making these decisions. You can back things up to the cloud. It's funny, everyone seems to cry that this is such a huge deal, but it's really not. Most companies don't offer expandable storage. Hasn't really made a ton of ewaste, has it. The A series also isn't the S series, so it isn't applicable for the OP.

6 hours ago, Shorty88jr said:

Honestly at this point I don't even know what phone I would buy if I had to replace my s9+ probably a pixel since it still has a headphone jack. But dang I'm sick of getting less and less features for more money. Who cares about a spec bump or if they added a10k screen or 20 cameras to the back if I have to find a dongle to play music out of an aux cable or even charge my phone because apparently a charger is just too expensive for Apple and samsung to include now with their $1200 phones. But hey its saving the environment right 🙄

f8ee05d.thumb.jpg.4b510066c28c35118b483e4e9e47d57c.jpg

It is, but it doesn't happen over night. You don't need a charger with every phone. That's why most people have so many of them lying around. You can invest in a good charger once, and use it with more devices. Which really is what most companies should be pushing towards anyway, from both an environmental and profit stream view point.

 

The picture is also exaggerated, as most people already have headphones. If you didn't have a charger, now you do, now you don't need one for future devices.

It's really not that hard to figure out.

6 hours ago, wanderingfool2 said:

haha, I didn't know that this was a thing.  Although in Canada the use of tap is really prominent and for the ones that don't support tap it usually is a requirement for chip and pin.  I'm wondering if they are moving away from this, as MST is likely less secure and can lead to more fraud (over chip and pins or even NFC).

 

It's sad to see micro-sd cards disappear.  I really haven't had a need for it yet (benefits of not taking many photos), but it was always a good piece of mind (especially if I wanted to load a bunch of movies offline for a trip where internet was not a guarantee)

That's exactly why it's disappearing ;) Very few users actually use it. I used to be in the same mindset of 'it's nice to have in case..', but when you never end up using it, you also barely notice it's gone. If you ever needed to take a bunch of movies there's always USB C thumb drives. Not nearly as elegant, but for the odd time you need it, it works fine.

6 hours ago, Ethan. said:

I understand the benefits of NFC over MST, but their justification is weird. While a lot of large stores like Walmart and Target have terminals that are fully NFC compatible, there's a ton of places that don't, ranging from vending machines to your local small businesses (in the US, at least). Eventually they could definitely remove MST with no complaints, but this feels a bit preemptive.

In the US, sure, but most other places have NFC. Hell, most PoS providers only offer one model without NFC, if any at all.

As it gains more and more traction, we'll see it implemented in more and more places. One has to happen before the other.

Also, US is a bad example when it comes to adopting new payment technology, as they held (or still do) onto the stripe/swipe for so long.

6 hours ago, Dabombinable said:

So, the S21 is a downgrade when it comes to functionality. Typical.

 

My Mum's Galaxy Tab S6 is a perfect example of why an SD card is important. She hadn't gotten around to moving her files to the new card, and as a result when a google update bricked the tablet (the recovery partition got broken as well), she lost 6 months of work. Older files luckily were still on her Galaxy Tab A's card.

A perfect example of why you should always have off device backups, which can easily be done without an SD card.

3 hours ago, TempestCatto said:

Whelp, forget Samsung as a viable option then...

Not sure what else you'd go to if the things they cut out are what forms your buying decision. They were one of the last companies to actually have them.

3 hours ago, Mnky313 said:

Yeah, as Samsung releases more and more devices it just makes my Note9 look better and better sadly. IMO Samsung went from the best hardware (with pretty bad software) to now just mediocre hardware and mediocre software. Probably leaving Samsung once my Note9 needs to be replaced.

Moving to...what? Considering Samsung was one of the few companies to even use these features.

3 hours ago, RejZoR said:

Galaxy S21 is the worst value of phone I've seen in ages. 799€ for one of most bizarre cost savings I've seen to a point it almost beats Apple at being shitty. No charger, no SD slot anymore, no headphone jack and PLASTIC phone case? On a 799€ phone? Samsung, are you ok? That's just absurd. With nonsense they are pulling off recently my next phone is just gonna be some Realme which I'll treat as disposable from moment I buy it. It may be worse, but it's not 500€ worse.

Most people won't even notice the plastic back once they put a case on it, and even if they don't, plastic stands up to abuse far better than glass does. It all depends on the plastic they use; it could still feel quite premium. They just need to make it thick enough that it doesn't have that hollow sound when you tap on it, and little to no flex. The average user doesn't care about the loss of a headphone jack, they'll use a dongle or simply buy wireless headphones.

 

Samsung is perfectly fine. They've done their research. They know these moves won't affect their sales.

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So Samsung is cutting out even more features while still charging $800, thats disappointing. No micro SD slot, lower display resolution, no charger, no earphones, and a plastic back, plastic is better for drop resistance but a lot worse if you care about the back getting scratched, the S21 looks to be a downgrade compared to the S20.

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@dizmoIts a PITA doing device backups over USB. It is always far simpler and easier to simply store everything on a card, and occasionally remove it and do manual backups.

Stock recovery on any consumer device BTW is always shit as you can't do actual full partition backups (or move files to external storage - TWRP allows for that)

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Who is the bigger copycat Samsung or Apple when it comes to phones launches...

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@dizmo

 

"plastic stands up to abuse far better than glass does"

 

No it just doesn't. It gets scratched if you just look funny at it. It gets horribly scratched if you just gently place it on desk constantly. It'll just wear off on all edges from placing of phone in a pocket and taking out of it. One may argue everyone use case, but a lot of people don't. And also, it's a freaking 799€ phone. For god damn 800€, give us a fucking glass back. We had them for years at this price point and suddenly we get god damn plastic? Come on, stop defending these greedy corporations selling you shit with excuse it's for your benefit. It's a cost saving to increase their margins, nothing else. And if you're so anal about cases, your phone won't shatter with one even if it's glass.

 

Like I said, plastic is good, but not at this price point. Realme 7 Pro with plastic back at 300€, perfectly acceptable. Samsung Galaxy S21 with plastic back at 800€, totally UNACCEPTABLE.

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3 hours ago, dizmo said:

Moving to...what? Considering Samsung was one of the few companies to even use these features.

Idk yet, it's not that I won't use Samsung because they removed these features, it's more that I only used Samsung because they had these/similar features. I vastly prefer the 'stock' android experience on something like a Pixel or Oneplus device but Samsung used to have so many more or just better features compared to other devices that I tolerated the not great software (and lack of support for updates).
I chose my Note9 over a long list of other devices because it had almost everything I was interested in, OLED display, large battery, support for all the LTE bands, Wireless charging, water resistance, expandable storage, etc. It was the only device with all of these features. (here's a picture of my long outdated phone spreadsheet)
image.thumb.png.de6674795fb50af1b603b9731df3da73.png
Now I have no reason to chose Samsung over something from Oneplus/Google/etc., they all have similar hardware/features but the others better native support for AOSP/'stock android' ROMs. I really hate the way smartphones are going, removing features and charging more money to do so.
The only phone I had been looking at was the Note20 Ultra purely because I can make the trade off of the headphone jack for a high refresh rate display but now with the (probable) end of the Note line and the S21 dropping sd card support as well, it's just not something I'm interested in.

I have no Idea what my upgrade plan is, i'll probably hold out until the notches/hole-punches go away and see what's left or just keep installing custom up-to-date ROMs on my Note9.

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The removal of MST strikes me as odd, particularly because this one thing was the marquee feature of Samsung Pay; the fact that it can be used almost anywhere regardless if it used magstripe or one of the newer terminals which support contactless payments. While I don't think this will matter in any area where NFC-based payments is already prevalent, it might be a bummer for people who used the magstripe option more frequently.

 

As for the removal of the microSD card slot.....meh. It stung a bit on the S6 because the base storage was 32GB at the time, which wasn't a lot for some, but since the S21 line all start at 128GB, I really am not stung at all by this move. That's really more storage than I feel I'll realistically ever need.

 

That said, I am still going to the iPhone. Am not terribly impressed with the S21.

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