Why Samsung Galaxy S21 phones won't include headphones or a charger in the box

The company says it's promoting recycling by getting people to reuse their old accessories.

Sean Keane Former Senior Writer
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Sean Keane
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You won't get headphones or a charger plug with the Samsung Galaxy S21 line.

Drew Evans/CNET

When you unbox your shiny new Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus or Galaxy S21 Ultra you won't find the wired headphones or a charger plug included with most phones . Samsung is pushing customers to reuse old accessories instead, it said ahead of the latest Galaxy S reveal at its Unpacked event on Thursday, the last day of CES 2021. (Here are CNET's Galaxy S21 review and Galaxy S21 Ultra review.)

The company unveiled the Samsung Galaxy S21, Galaxy S21 Plus or Galaxy S21 Ultra, which start at $800, $1,000 and $1,200, respectively, during Thursday's virtual event. All three are available to preorder now, and will ship on Jan. 29. (International prices aren't yet available but $800 is roughly £590 or AU$1,030.)

In removing the charger plug and headphones, Samsung says it is promoting "better recycling habits" among its customers.

Read more: Galaxy S21: Samsung didn't bring back the headphone jack and here's why

Watch this: Our first look at the new Galaxy S21 and S21 Plus

"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," Patrick Chomet, head of customer experience at Samsung's mobile communications unit, said in a statement.

He noted that Samsung has been using standardized USB-C type charging ports since 2017, so older chargers will still be compatible with the S21 phones. The company also removed support for microSD cards, since none of the new models have the necessary slot.

Samsung also unveiled its wireless Galaxy Buds Pro at the event. These wireless earbuds cost $200 and are available now.