The Samsung Galaxy S21 was launched in January 2021 and is available in stores and online. The most important point to note about the Samsung Galaxy S21 lineup is that Samsung reduced their US prices by $200. Evidently, Samsung had to make major compromises in the S21 series to sell it at cheaper prices.
The phone no longer comes with a charger adapter or earphones, and it lacks a microSD card slot for additional storage. It also has 4GB of RAM which is less than S20. Samsung also swapped the Gorilla Glass on the rear with polycarbonate, an attempt at saving plastic, and reduced half the pixels from the display.
Despite these compromises, the Galaxy S21 is still more attractive than the S20, with a starting price of $800. In particular, each smartphone in the S21 range offers more traits that differentiate them, in contrast to the S20 range.
The question is: Is the Samsung Galaxy S2 worth buying after over six months of its launch, even at its cheap price? Or have the rivals already beaten it to the punch? I turned on the phone again to assess.
Design and Display
As previously said, the Samsung Galaxy S21 is a visual leap for Samsung. All of the modifications made, lead to a phone that looks more luxurious and contemporary.
The repetitious rectangular camera panel on the top left of the device’s backside has been removed. Rather, now the camera panel blends into the phone’s frame, attempting to bring the overall appearance together. The approach is excellent. It looks brilliant and is a deviation from other phones without being entirely different. We’re looking at the Galaxy S21, and it features a triple camera system. The Galaxy S21 Ultra is more costly, and it comes with an additional camera and a bigger camera module.
The Galaxy S21 is also available in a variety of colors, all of which are stunning: Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Violet, and Phantom Pink.
Samsung has been slammed for putting their so-called “glasstic” on the Galaxy S21, although it’s smooth and soft to the touch and even passes for frosted glass at first glance. Although it doesn’t have the same luxury appearance or feel as authentic glass, the replacement of plastic does assist to make the phone sturdier.
A sleek shiny framework covers the phone’s sides, holding the volume and power buttons, as well as the USB-C port at the base. Just like the Galaxy S20, there’s no headphone jack in S21, but that’s the way things are these days.
The 6.2-inch edge-to-edge mega display on the front of the phone is only broken up by a tiny hole for the front-facing lens on the top center of the screen, which looks amazing!
The quality of the display is also commendable. The Galaxy S21 has an AMOLED display with a resolution of 1080p and a refresh rate of 120Hz. The fast refresh rate contributes to the responsiveness of the display and the fluidity of the animations. Although the 1080p resolution on this phone differs from the 1440p resolution on the Galaxy S21 Ultra, the variation isn’t significant in everyday use. Even in direct sunshine, the display is readily bright for most people.
Overall, the Samsung S21 has a great feel and look to it with a commendable display. Samsung did go down with the “glasstic” material but it’s not the worst!
Performance and Battery
The Exynos 2100 chipset is included within the Samsung Galaxy S21, coupled with 8GB of RAM and either 128GB or 256GB of storage. The Qualcomm SM8350 Snapdragon 888 is used in some of the other countries. There is no MicroSD card slot, unlike prior versions of Galaxy phones, to enhance capacity.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 scored Geekbench 5 scores of 716 in single-core and 3,464 in multi-core, reaching up to the Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus. While not being the speediest smartphone in the market, it’s still a swift phone that can handle anything from photo retouching to mobile gaming with ease.
The battery size is 4000mAh, same as the Galaxy S20. I decided to put it to test by playing a high-resolution video on full brightness on YouTube for 2 hours. The battery level decreased by 14% in that period, indicating that it would have remained more over 14 hours in total. Meaning, it will easily last the entire day and some more after that too. Even though there is no wall charger in the packaging, you do receive the cable, and it charges rapidly thanks to the 25W fast charging. It also has wireless charging features just like its predecessors.
Software: One UI 3.1
One UI 3.1 is an incremental update to the 3.0 version, which was released in late 2020. Android 11 made its premiere on a Samsung phone with One UI 3.0. Besides the standard functions of Android 11, Samsung included a few additional tricks and design modifications.
Very little has changed in One UI 3.1. The inclusion of Google Discover as a panel feature for the left-most home screen panel is the most noticeable update. As a result, you have the option of using Discover or Samsung Free as your news aggregation app. You may also turn off the function entirely.
There isn’t much of a change between 3.0 and 3.1 except for this additional feature. Generally, Samsung’s OS is at its finest with this newest iteration. The animations are slick, the functionality is vast, and Samsung is working hard to make the OS less bloated.
The important phrase here is “less bloated.” One UI is still cluttered with extra applications, functions that most users won’t use, and a redesigned Settings app that makes it difficult to locate stuff. Samsung is progressing well, but there is still more to be done.
Software upgrades are one area where Samsung is excelling right now. Previously, getting a Pixel was the only way to obtain rapid and consistent updates. When it comes to monthly security fixes, Samsung has recently caught up to Google. It didn’t release Android 11 on the first day, but by the end of 2020, much of its flagship phones had received the upgrade. That’s a huge thing, and it indicates Samsung’s commitment to software is escalating.
Because Samsung’s major sensor update occurred between the Galaxy S10 and S20 series, the Galaxy S21 camera hardware hasn’t altered from last year’s phone. It’s mostly about software this year and figuring out a way to change the camera module and make it slim.
The triple-lens rear arrangement remains the same, with a 12MP primary camera, a 12MP ultra-wide, and a 64MP telephoto capable of 3x hybrid optical zoom. All three are competent for capturing fantastic photographs, much like the Galaxy S20, and the Galaxy S21 receives some software tweaks to improve things even more.
If you’ve had a Galaxy S20, you won’t notice much of a difference in your photos, but those who have a Galaxy S10 or an earlier phone will see significant progress.
Single Take – It is the mode that lets you take a range of images and videos when you singly press the shutter button, utilizing all three cameras. It is so much better, owing to the arrival of a new slow-mo feature, and has continued to the Samsung’s highlight.
Single Take, for example, will improve your chances of capturing useable images and/or clips while photographing erratic movements such as running dogs or fast-moving toddlers.
The telephoto lens on this camera is remarkable, with 3x optical zoom and up to 30x digital zoom. The results won’t be as good as the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s dual telephoto cameras, but it’s still a fascinating feature to experiment with.
Photos of distant objects taken at a magnification of 10x or less were of good quality and totally acceptable. Anything greater than that gets extremely grainy, and the quality soon degrades.
The phone’s front-facing 10MP selfie camera isn’t as impressive, nevertheless, it performs admirably.
For video, you have the choice of shooting in 8K at 24 fps, which provides max clarity and depth but is a little too restricted for our tastes. You also have the option of 4K at 30, 60, and 240 fps, and also Full HD at 30, 60, and 240 fps.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 is a pretty good phone for the money. It has outstanding performance, a fantastic camera, and a brand new design that looks incredible and modern. All of this comes at $800, which is $200 cheaper than the Galaxy S20’s starting price.
That isn’t to suggest the smartphone is faultless. The plastic back isn’t a deal-breaker for most, but it still is plastic anyway. The display isn’t nearly as sharp as the Galaxy S21 Ultra’s, and the telephoto camera isn’t included. However, given the Galaxy S21’s overall excellent performance, it’s relatively easy to ignore these flaws.
Is Samsung Galaxy S21 worth buying? Absolutely! It’s more than enough for many of us out there.