The Samsung Galaxy S21 takes some attributes off, but it’s an excellent Android phone at a reasonable cost.
Although Samsung Galaxy S22 is out, the Samsung Galaxy S22 series has been released however, Samsung Galaxy S21 is still a must-have. Samsung Galaxy S21 still remains important. It’s due to the fact that Samsung’s Galaxy S22 is but an iterative improvement over the previous. If you can get an Galaxy S21 for a good price or at a bargain the phone is worthy of buying.
Samsung’s Galaxy S series have been all-purpose, multi-tasking flagship phones. However, this time, with Galaxy S21, Samsung has taken away nearly everything it’s updated. The recipe for disaster turned out to be a fantastic Android smartphone that is 200 dollars less that Samsung’s Samsung Galaxy S20 at the time of its launch.
Its 6.2-inch display, three back cameras and a 4000 mAh battery, the Galaxy S21 isn’t much of an improvement over its predecessor. Sure, it has the latest camera module as well as colors and the Qualcomm Snapdragon the 888. However, it’s not the only thing that’s new. Galaxy S21 turns out to be an extremely incremental upgrade. The major modifications came with the Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra , which was replaced by Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra.
With this in mind, read through the Samsung Galaxy S21 review to learn why removing clutter is working out quite well with Samsung’s flagship phone.
Table of Contents
Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Date of release and price
It is possible to purchase Samsung Galaxy S21 today. Samsung Galaxy S21 right now on its own or with a carrier contract.
The U.S., for a starting price of $799, you could get the Galaxy S21 with 128GB of storage. But for $50 more and you can purchase the model with 256GB for $849. It’s $200 less than what that which the Galaxy S20 cost a year earlier — a huge savings.
For those in the U.K. the Samsung Galaxy S21 begins with PS769 to get the model with 128GB of storage. For more storage options that set it costs PS819. In comparison, the 5G Galaxy S20 came in at PS899 and this S21 is PS130 lower.
Be aware that there’s just a USB-C cable included and you’ll have to purchase an adapter If you don’t own one already. The S21 only has 8GB of RAM. There’s no option of getting the 12GB version of Galaxy S20. Galaxy S20, unless you choose to go with the larger Galaxy S21 Ultra.
Look around and you’ll discover that the Galaxy S21 now well below the initial launch price. You’re probably to discover it’s less expensive than the previously mentioned cheap Samsung Galaxy S21 FE. You could purchase an authentic refurbished Galaxy S21(opens in a new browser) from Samsung, regardless of the fact that Samsung does not sell the phone as new.
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Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Design
From the front from the front, from the front, the Galaxy S21 looks alot like from the front, it looks a lot like Galaxy S20, with its 6.2-inch display, which is complemented by a punch-hole selfie camera that sits in the middle of the display. When you get closer, you’ll find the S21 has ditched its predecessor’s curvaceous display and has gone with flat edges.
This could sound like an upgrade, considering that the new phone doesn’t appear more sleek and sleek and sleek, but I’m okay with it. I find that curving screens on Android phones that have displays less than 6.5 inches can be slightly difficult to hold, particularly because you’re mostly using these phones with one hand. Larger devices tend to feel more comfortable when they have curved edges, especially when performing hand-to-hand movements to access apps that are on the display’s outer edge.
The flat edges of the Samsung Galaxy S21 lead to the edges of metal flowing into the latest “Contour Cut” camera design The rear camera module blends into the left-hand side of the Galaxy S21 and the back.
In addition, the metal is replaced by what’s possibly the Galaxy S21’s most significant improvement: a back made of plastic. Samsung refers to it as polycarbonate, but it’s really expensive plastic, whereas the S20 uses glass.
The choice of a plastic back is probably the most important reason Samsung is able to sell its Galaxy S21 at its cheaper cost. While the absence of a glass back may appear strange for an expensive smartphone I was surprised to find it didn’t feel cheap. In addition, I think it’s more comfortable than the polycarbonate that’s on the S20 FE’s back, but it also offers a more tactile surface as opposed to the glass back Galaxy S series, making it less likely to slip from your fingers or pick up fingerprints. Personally, I’m glad to take advantage of the savings when it helps keep costs low.
The Phantom Violet S21 I had to test looks amazing even though the name may sound a bit silly. The panel in violet has an incredibly soft hue as does the copper-like hue of the edges and camera bump provide the S21 an almost retro sci-fi style Think Star Trek meets Art Deco.
Three other colors Three other color options — Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, Phantom White — are also available, but I have not yet seen them on metal or plastic.
It measures 6 x 2.8 inches x 0.31 inches and weighting 6.07 ounces The Galaxy S21 is a bit smaller and a bit larger than Galaxy S20 (5.9 x 3 x 0.31, 5.7 ounces). However, I believe it’s the perfect size and weight for single-hand use. It’s small enough to allow my thumb to be able to reach the two-thirds of the screen, however, large enough to be able to sit and binge watch hours of videos on.
The Galaxy S21’s display-mounted ultrasonic fingerprint reader also is more responsive due to Qualcomm’s latest scanner that’s 1.7x bigger and 50 percent more efficient than the previous version. I noticed that the S21 did not always reject a quick tapping of my thumb, which is great for my speedy temper.
The only thing that’s not perfect is that this: the Galaxy S21 dropped the microSD slot that previous models been sporting for a time. I’m not certain the reason Samsung has done this, considering that there aren’t any obvious limitations to storage capacity inside this Galaxy S21, nor would I anticipate that it’s going to affect the cost of manufacturing by much. Maybe it’s a method to Samsung to convince users to buy the 265GB model, but there are so many cloud storage servicesavailable, I’m really not worried about the absence of expandable storage.
Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Display
Samsung has both lowered to upgrade the Samsung Galaxy S21’s 6.2-inch AMOLED display, which was the same size as the S20 earlier had. There’s no need to pick between a full HD+ resolution at 120Hz or QHD that is running at 60Hz similar to Galaxy S20. Galaxy S20, but that’s because the S21 has a 1080p resolution.
Although it’s more restrictive, I think it eliminates the the complexity. You can change the display’s refresh rate to 60Hz if you are looking to get the maximum battery life feasible, or if you enjoy a little blurring when browsing websites. However, you’ll be offered the option of a dynamic refresh rate that permits the S21 to lower its refresh rate from 120Hz to 48Hz , based on the task in hand. This isn’t an upgrade that which you’ll be able to notice when not scrolling however, it’s one that makes the S21 more pleasant to use.
In testing it on its “natural” screen setting, the Galaxy S21 display delivers 109.2 percent sRGB coverage and 77.4 percent DCI-P3 color spectrum coverage, as well as it has a Delta-E at 0.29. That’s a good score however, both the iPhone 12 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra outperform it by a wide margin. S21 for coverage as well as accuracy.
In actual use, the Samsung Galaxy S21’s display is amazing. Put it into “Vivid” mode and you’ll get plenty of color and contrast even if it is a little on the edge of oversaturation. It’s a great display for watching movies and videos or browsing Instagram photos, or engaging in games. Samsung has always had great screens on its Galaxy S phones, and the S21 is no exception.
Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Cameras
The hardware-wise in terms of hardware, technically speaking, Galaxy S21 cameras are exactly like those of the Galaxy S20. Its triple-camera array consists of an main wide-angle lens with 12MP and a 12-megapixel ultra-wide lens and the 64MP telephoto lens that comes that has a 3x hybrid zoom, and 30x space zoom.
However, Samsung is making a Google and is heavily relying on computational and software enhancements to boost the three rear cameras. For the most part it’s Galaxy S21 Galaxy S21 achieves this. However, since Samsung’s Galaxy S22 is the latest generation, Samsung has announced that it will be bringing some of the phone’s camera functions for Galaxy S21. Galaxy S21, like nighttime portraits using the Telephoto lens.
We’ll start with the normal camera mode. Check out the image below. With numerous shades and colors to work with, as well as the light coming from the left side, it gives an exercise for the smartphone camera.
The Galaxy S21’s photos are bursting with detail and color but, like Galaxy phones of the past it’s colors may be less saturated in comparison to that Google Pixel 5 I used to make a comparison. Pixel 5 Pixel 5 delivers a warmer hue and more accurate colorswith a greater dynamic range.
When zoomed into the S21 can be seen to reveal some more fine features, probably because of its telephoto camera and the grille of the Aston Martin DB5 and the numbers on the Vox headphone amp more clear than the Pixel 5’s image.
It’s important to note that I turned on the feature Scene Optimizer which makes use of AI to determine what’s in frame and then adjusts the camera in order to capture the most effective shot. In reality, I think that this could result in over-processing.
Outdoors with natural light and the main camera of the Galaxy S21 is excellent at. While it’s not the ideal photoshoot as shown in the image below you can see that Galaxy S21 picks out more details in comparison to Pixel 5. Pixel 5 in the tower buildings to the right and the London’s Canary Wharf in the background. But it is clear that the Pixel 5 offers more dynamic color and a range of colors that is more accurate to the real world.
In reality, things can get a bit difficult in low-light conditions or areas that are illuminated with artificial lighting. I noticed that it more difficult to distinguish between the Pixel 5 was better at sharpness and edge detection in areas with low light and the S21 often produces blurred and uneven results.
You’ll have to be to find this issue and I think it’s because of Samsung’s Galaxy S21 ramping up the ISO and adding more noise in the darker parts of a photograph in the process. I think this may be the result of some issues with the AI processing applied to dark areas this is something Samsung can fix through an update to its software.
The lighting isn’t ideal for portrait mode, either. Due to the social distancing regulations that are in place within the U.K. I was forced to take the photo of my pal Claire at her front door as the sun was setting which meant that there was the problem of dealing with a dim light on one side , and a porch light on other.
Its Pixel 5 copes admirably, offering more natural skin tones as well as making out the finer details in highlights and shadows. However, S21 has some issues in washing out and over-smoothing Claire’s face. The hair doesn’t see the details in her hair, especially on the left side.
Non-portrait S21 photographs are better and I’m assuming that the algorithm in portrait mode is having trouble identifying the background and blur what’s not out. This is something that Pixel 5 is Pixel 5 is particularly good at.
In conditions of better lighting in brighter light, the portrait mode works superior with regard to both the rear camera and 10MP front-facing camera. Take an image beneath of Tom’s guide’s Mark Spoonauer as an example.
In addition, shooting objects instead of faces, it possible to have the Galaxy S21 deliver a nice portrait photograph.
The Galaxy S21 doesn’t deliver the sharpest cutouts for portraits similar to Pixel 5. Pixel 5, as Samsung chooses to use a subtle blurring effect. I prefer the sharpness of the Pixel 5 however, the S21 has some good results.
Change into switching to S21 night mode and low-light issues disappear. In the photo below it’s clear that the S21 offers a clear and bright image that’s much more detailed (notably in the street lighting) over Pixel 5. Pixel 5. With more cameras to capture light and detail The S21 highlights the shortcomings that the Pixel 5’s two cameras at the rear.
I am a fan of the colors that I like the colors Pixel 5 offers, though. Also, the S21 appears to do a decent amount of sharpening in its night photos. Night mode can be applied to all three Samsung Galaxy S21’s cameras.
Ultra-wide angle images are expensive for Samsung’s Galaxy S21, but once you get closer, things fall out of the woodwork. Although it has a larger perspective over Pixel 5, it’s not as clear. Pixel 5, punching into an image reveals blurred details however Google’s phone’s is much more clear. It’s up to you to determine the high-quality detail is worth the higher-quality image.
It’s in zooms of 20x or 30x “Space Zoom” where the S21’s actual camera improvements are in play. In particular, the innovative Zoom Lock feature, which makes use of AI to recognize the subject and stabilize the camera.
This is a great method and can result in photos which are clear and clear for such high zooms even when you’re using somewhat shaken hands. After that, the processing will clean up the image and gives you an image that is zoomed out but not a mess.
Utilizing Space Zoom I was able to get an acceptable image of a tiny mint tin in my window, but from the other end from the space. I’m not certain how practical it can be for everyday photography on smartphones however, it’s an impressive display of AI technology.
In terms of video on the video front, this Galaxy S21 covers a lot of aspects. Similar to its predecessor, the Galaxy S20 it offers up to 8K video recording at 24 frames per second. This is a bit much for most devices, yet it can capture high-quality images while also recording high-quality videos. Other features that are high-end include video recording in 1080p at 120 frames per second which is super smooth. If you’re talking about smooth it is you can use the Super Steady mode, which makes use of AI to correct for shakey recording, can be used on 1080p 60 frames per second video capture.
Another feature is the brand new Director’s view when you shoot video. It allows you to shoot with the rear and front cameras simultaneously and also see live thumbnails of the different cameras. This allows you to select the best footage to shoot your videos. It’s a good idea and is not an unintentional gimmick that I originally believed.
Portrait footage, that is the renaming of live-focus videois smooth, with footage that shows the subject is in focus and the background blurred. If you’re moving around, you’ll be able to observe the S21 processing its algorithms, which can result in over smoothing facial features.
Other camera improvements include an upgraded Single Take feature that takes many stills and pictures by a single click. Single Take now provides Highlight Video as well as Dynamic Slow-Mo videos.
If you take the above information into consideration all of the above, considering all of the above, the Galaxy S21 delivers an upgrade over the Galaxy S20. I’m not convinced it’s got the capabilities to beat the SamsungiPhone 12 Pro Max off our list oftop smartphone camera list. The iPhone 12 could still have it on par, but the S21 competes with Pixel 5 Pixel 5, and beats Google’s phone in lots of different areas. The potential for further improvement in camera AI or computational photo aspects by Samsung offers plenty of room for the camera of the S21 to improve with time.
Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Performance
In the U.S The Galaxy S21 comes with the most up-to-date Snapdragon 888 processor, which promises 20% faster performance of the CPU and 35% more GPU speed as well as improved AI performance. Although there’s not a 12GB RAM option however, the S21 has plenty of memory with 8GB of memory, and I didn’t experience any lag in my tests.
As for the benchmarks, putting the Snapdragon 888-equipped S21 through a variety of tests, we saw the processor score the multi-core score of 3,302 on Geekbench 5. This is slower then those running the iPhone 12, which raked at 3,859. However, the S21 does not surprise us, and outperforms many other Android phones running the older Snapdragon 865.
For graphics performance it’s S21 was rated at 33 frames-per-second when tested in 3DMark’s Wild Life graphics benchmark. It’s slower than Apple’s iPhone 12, which clocks in at 39 frames per second however it’s better than other top-of-the-line Android phones. In actual use, however the S21 is a beast when it comes to games.
Each of Call of Duty: Mobile and Asphalt 9 Legends played well at max settings With their 120Hz refresh rates improving the smoothness. It’s important to note that when we played with on the Snapdragon 808 Galaxy S21, I was using a smartphone with two Exynos models.
It is based on a five-nanometer process node similar to the Snapdragon 888 and Exynos 2100 is based on a 5-nanometre process node Exynos 2100 is expected to provide a 20% increase in energy efficiency, and 10% performance improvement over the 7nm last-gen Exynos 990. In testing it against the S2100 in Geekbench 5 it scored an overall score of 3,391, which it is in line to the Snapdragon chip this is very pleasing as Exynos chips previously lacked performance. in comparison to Snapdragon chips.
While playing those games along with a variety of other apps on the at the same time, I did not observe any slowdowns or unresponsiveness from the S21 although its back was a bit warm.
Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Life of the battery and charging
Similar to its predecessor and its predecessor, it’s like the Galaxy S21 comes with a capacity of 4,000 mAh. It’s plenty for a phone of this size, however it’s a shame Samsung did not increase the capacity by a bit. However, the enhanced adaptive refresh rate and performance of the chip should result in more battery life.
With a 60hz refresh rate The Galaxy S21 managed 9 hours and 53 minutes of Tom’s Guide battery test, which is a continuous web browsing at 150 nits brightness. This is a lot more than 5G.
This isn’t long enough to be on our thetop phone battery life list However, it’s better than that 8 hours, 25 minutes on the iPhone 12. It’s even better than Samsung’s Galaxy S20 with its 9 hours and 31 minutes, so the latest battery seems to be doing its job.
It was left in the standard “Adaptive” mode, which alters the display’s dynamic refresh rate and brightness, it’s Galaxy S21 lasted 6 hours and 31 minutes. It’s not a great time but it’s certainly not bad when you’re getting bright and vibrant displays with 120Hz refresh rate.
In addition it is possible that the AI algorithms included in the S21 will learn more about my phone’s usage in the course of time and help me optimize my battery usage, but it’s not an overnight event.
Chargers are where things get messy. The Samsung Galaxy S4 offers fast charging with the USB-C standard, which juices up the battery up to 55% in just 30 minutes, according to our testing. The issue is that you must ensure that you possess a brick for charging on be on hand, since Samsung will only include the USB-C cable inside the box. If you don’t own the charger, Samsung will provide you with an 25W charger.
Samsung released a massive celebration of this choice being eco-friendly; obviously, it will save Samsung money as well. In the end, I believe it’s the right choice regardless of the motive. The ability to reduce electronic waste is well worth the additional cost and the minor discomfort it may cause to certain S21 customers who don’t in a state of being able to use phones charging.
Samsung Galaxy S21 review: One UI and Software
While I’ve had Samsung phones for a long time but I’m not the greatest enthusiast of their user interface that it is able to offer on Android. However, since the launch of One UI in 2018, I’ve gradually gotten used to Galaxy series’s take of Google’s mobile operating system. Version One UI 3 that debuted alongside Samsung’s Galaxy S21 built upon this popularity.
The interface is much more refined and elegant, with a new Quick Panel as well as a notification screen that is less filled with. I particularly appreciate the newly designed lock screen widgets, as well as the ability to put elements on screen, and change their transparency.
Although One UI provides a wide range of options for adjusting you Galaxy user experience could become a bit overwhelming during moments when you want to locate a specific setting. Do I hate the main apps drawer on The One UI. Even after its third version that the apps are placed in an unorganized manner that, if you’re switching from one phone loaded with apps to another one, can make finding apps you’re looking to arrange your home screen the most difficult task. When compared to the sleekness of the app drawer on the default Android Samsung’s version, Samsung’s drawer is messy.
I am aware that Samsung wants to allow me to use their services, however numerous other Android phones use Google features, like auto-filling passwords. However, One UI 3 tries to oblige me to make use of Samsung Pass as well as the Samsung Account, which I frequently forget my password for. It’s fine once you’ve gotten established however it can be difficult for a while until you get used to it. There is plenty of room for Samsung to improve its performance in this area.
Samsung’s flagships support Samsung DeX. This feature allows you to use your Galaxy S21 and connect it to an external monitor in order to make the phone an unreal Chrome operating system. Also, you will receive four years of updates to the platform along with five years of security patch updates by Samsung and is the most comprehensive update policy that you can find from any Android phone (yes even better than that of Google’s Pixels).
Samsung Galaxy S21 review: Android 12
Samsung has released OneUI 4.for The Galaxy S21 in mid-November 2021. This update comes with Android 12, which offers numerous enhancements to the UI and privacy features. You can now select the accent color for your system using the Color Palette, or access the privacy dashboard to view what apps are using your microphone camera, location, and microphone.
In this regard, One UI 4.1 rolled out to the Galaxy S21, among other phones. It also introduced several of the software features that were introduced in Galaxy S22. Galaxy S22. Through OneUI 4.1 available, your Galaxy S21 now supports a variety of camera features, like Pet recognition, night portraits and telephoto portraits, among many more.
Even though Samsung has made changes to the features you’ll find on the Pixel phone You can read the Android 12 review to find out more about what to expect from the new update.