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Chargergate: Samsung's charger does, in fact, fit. But really, does this even matter?

Dominik Bärlocher
Zurich, on 12.02.2021
Translation: Patrik Stainbrook
The scandal continues: contrary to earlier claims, the Samsung Galaxy S21 doesn't come with a charger. Even though said charger fits perfectly in the box. But who even cares? Your wallet will be better off either way.

According to Samsung, the packaging of the Samsung Galaxy S21 has to be smaller as the USB charger no longer fits. But according to some, uh, unconventional users, it's simple greed on Samsung's part. A corporation of leeches, all of them. A scandal!

Urban legends, fake news and conspiracies are often quite entertaining. They're exciting, lurid and just as close to the truth as they could be. However, Samsung's case is easily verified.

The facts:

  • The 2021 Samsung Galaxy S21 no longer includes a charger in its box.
  • Chargers must be purchased separately.
  • The 2020 Samsung Galaxy S20 does include a charger.

This knowledge alone is useful.

Samsung Galaxy S21 box + Samsung EP-TA20EBE charger

Samsung doesn't just offer the one charger. Nevertheless, the Samsung Galaxy S21 UItra 5G doesn't include one. Instead, there's a phone, a few pages of paper that no one will ever care about, and a USB cable.

Everything included in the Samsung Galaxy S21 box.
Everything included in the Samsung Galaxy S21 box.

I'll take everything out and use a charger that came with the Samsung Galaxy S8. Therefore, the setup for this first test looks like this:

Galaxy S21 Ultra (256GB, phantom silver, 6.80", Dual SIM, 108Mpx, 5G)
1299.–
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (256GB, phantom silver, 6.80", Dual SIM, 108Mpx, 5G)

It's super easy. Simply remove the box with the manual, put the cable and charger in the box, and then put the phone on top.

Even with an old charger the box closes cleanly.
Even with an old charger the box closes cleanly.

And presto, my solution works. However: the EP-TA20EBE only charges at 15 watts.

According to sceptics, this shows that Samsung intentionally doesn't include chargers anymore, the filthy capitalists. At least if you think according to the average Reddit user.

Samsung Galaxy S21 box + Samsung TA800N

Samsung currently offers another charger that they launched more or less at the same time as the S21. The TA800N, which charges at 25 watts, significantly faster than its predecessor. If you already have a Samsung Galaxy S21 with a large battery and high-power consumption, then you'll also want to charge it quickly.

Time for test #2, using the following setup:

Galaxy S21 Ultra (256GB, phantom silver, 6.80", Dual SIM, 108Mpx, 5G)
1299.–
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (256GB, phantom silver, 6.80", Dual SIM, 108Mpx, 5G)

The same procedure: operating manual out, cable and charger in. The result: it almost works. The phone is a bit wobbly on top and the box no longer closes completely when you wrap packaging film around the box. By several millimetres if you just pop the lid on top.

If there's packaging film stretched around the box, then it seals even better.
If there's packaging film stretched around the box, then it seals even better.

Aha, proof! If the box were a millimetre larger, then they could have easily included a charger.

The catch, part 1: Samsung's side

There's just one problem with the conspiracy: Samsung never claimed that the charger wouldn't fit in the box. Samsung's Twitter once claimed that a charger was included. That was in October 2020.

Charger included… yeah, right.
Charger included… yeah, right.

Eventually the truth came out. Followed by great outrage. So great, in fact, that Patrick Chomet, Corporate Executive Vice President and Head of Customer Experience Office at Samsung, commented in an FAQ.

Samsung's official statement on Chargergate.
Samsung's official statement on Chargergate.

According to him, Samsung's reason for removing chargers was based on the fact that customers continue to use old chargers instead of replacing them with new ones – how exactly they came to this conclusion wasn't said. This is why the new charger is available separately, he claims.

Proof of Samsung's greed?

The catch, part 2: the monetary toll

If you want a Fast Charger, you'll have to dig deep once more. This should in turn bring in some revenue for Samsung.

Easy to verify, but we need to normalise prices. Naturally, if you look at a Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra today, it costs far less than it did when it was new. The same fate will befall the S21 when the S22 is launched. Or whatever the successor model will be.

Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (128GB, Cloud White, 6.90", Hybrid Dual SIM + eSIM, 108Mpx, 5G)
40 of 60 remaining
869.–was 980.–
Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G (128GB, Cloud White, 6.90", Hybrid Dual SIM + eSIM, 108Mpx, 5G)
Galaxy S21 Ultra (256GB, phantom silver, 6.80", Dual SIM, 108Mpx, 5G)
1299.–
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra (256GB, phantom silver, 6.80", Dual SIM, 108Mpx, 5G)
  • The Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G cost 1349 francs at launch on May 18, 2020.
  • The Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G cost 1249 francs at launch on January 14, 2021.
  • The Samsung Charger TA800N cost 21.55 francs at launch on January 6, 2021.

Math time:

Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra 5G w/ charger            1349.00 CHF
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G without charger            - 1249.00 CHF
Samsung Charger TA800N            - 21.55 CHF
                                                 -------------
Total                                                78.45 CHF
                                                 =============

In short: if you treat yourself to a phone with a separate charger on launch, you'll save 78.45 francs. Samsung doesn't care whether a charger would fit in the box or not. You should, as if you buy a charger separately, you'll have saved about 80 bucks.

Still, if you're looking to get outraged: even two chargers fit into one S21 box.

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There you go. So much for conspiracy theories.

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Dominik Bärlocher
Dominik Bärlocher
Senior Editor, Zurich
Journalist. Author. Hacker. A storyteller searching for boundaries, secrets and taboos – putting the world to paper. Not because I can but because I can’t not.

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