Welcome to 2021 and as we usher in a new year. Brace yourselves for plenty of new smartphones beginning with this one and the bar has been set really high.
Here in the US, the galaxy s21 launched 200 $ cheaper than last year’s s20. Samsung says this is a result of many factors including better supply chain scaling and cheaper components but of course, other compromises have to be made. The s21 has a polycarbonate back instead of glass. It doesn’t include a microSD card slot and only has a full HD display instead of last year’s quad HD.
Should you be bothered by any of this well given its cheaper price tag definitely not last year Samsung also gave the non-ultra-note 20 a polycarbonate back and it was a difference you could feel. that’s not the case on the s21. the phone feels solid and every bit like a premium device the lack expandable memory. Isn’t that big of an issue? Either that said at least here in the US where models start at 128 gigabytes. I recommend spending that extra 50 $ to get the 256-gigabyte model which I believe in most cases around the world is the standard.
Finally, the move down to full HD is smart. Why is that you might ask well while the s20 series could go up to quad HD resolution. If you wanted to enjoy the buttery-smooth 120hz refresh rate you needed to dial down to full HD plus. If you have a problem with that then the s21 for you is probably this phone the ultra. What’s probably most important about the s21 is its price tag and it tells us that Samsung is listening and knows that what the market wants and needs is a more affordable phone.
On that topic, the s21 delivers in every other respect despite its cheaper price tag. This is just as good as a smartphone at its pricier for siblings the s21 plus and s21 ultra. The s21 plus starts at 200 $ more and trades in the polycarbonate back for gorilla glass and a larger screen in the battery but everything from its 5-nanometer processor and triple cameras are the same as early.
I have yet to hear the verdict on the Exynos based model that’s available in other parts of the world. I can only speak for my Snapdragon 888 powered s21 which is both powerful and power-efficient. Capable of everything I’ve thrown at it most probably even more from a pure performance perspective. I have nothing to complain about and I really think Samsung hit a home run this year.
When it comes to the design of the s21 they’ve really leaned into the fact that in 2021 camera humps are going to be large so they’re embracing it. The phone still has three cameras but with bigger circles and framed with chamfers to make them look bolder and feel more intentional. I love how the frame of the phone and the camera bump are a single piece of aluminum and how they serve as an accent color.
There’s something for everyone whether you want something more classy or flashy and regardless of which color you choose. The finish is matte and more smudge-resistant upfront its display is flat no longer curvy on both sides like its predecessor everywhere is familiar. It’s got Samsung’s stamp written all over it but side by side with the s20. Whatever changes Samsung’s made gives the s21 more sophistication in the hands. The s21 feels great, it’s my favorite size of all the three phones in the series slightly bigger than last year’s s20 but with the same 6.1-inch display that’s big enough for content consumption. Its size is still not unwieldy like the s21 ultra or even the iPhone 12 pro max. It’s perfect for one-handed use on paper.
The galaxy s21 has got the same cameras as the s20 a 12-megapixel ultra-wide-angle camera, a 12-megapixel wide camera, and a 64-megapixel 3x telephoto lens but something you should know about smartphone cameras is that hardware is only half the story. Take for example Sony whose image sensors are in many top smartphones but whose own experience smartphones don’t take photos that are as good or google. Which has used the same hardware for three or more years now on its pixel phones still some of the best in the biz. The other important factor is hard to quantify. Think of it as machine learning the ai algorithms that work behind the scenes to turn a good photo into a great one. Samsung says this is where they made improvements but the proof is in the pudding.
Galaxy s21 lasted us a full day of average use with 5g turned on to get the most accurate picture of battery life I made sure to test on days that I was outdoors running errands so that I wasn’t just on wi-fi but also accessing the internet on cellular.
Following apple’s lead Samsung isn’t including a charger in the box but they say the phone supports up to 25 watts of wired charging using Samsung’s 25-watt charger. The one that came with last year’s phone I got 20 from a 10-minute charge 56 in half an hour and 93 in an hour a full charge took about one hour and 20. The phone also supports 15-watt wireless charging and reverse wireless charging so that you can charge accessories like the new galaxy buds pro or another phone.
As the first major smartphone launched in 2021 Samsung really set the bar high with this phone it delivers where it matters and even better yet is more affordable. For me, that’s a win-win with its 800 $ asking price. It’s still a pricey phone but worth it given all that it offers and while we have yet to see what’s coming from its competitors Samsung was smart to launch early because there’s really nothing to complain about. So, if you’re in the market for a new smartphone don’t wait just go for it.
It’s pretty clear that for most users the s21 is the phone you should buy. Go for the s21 plus only if you want that bigger display and longer battery life. Go for the s21 ultra if you want all the latest bells and whistles including its new cameras and s pen support upgrade.
Now, if you need it to wait if you’re curious about what’s coming next February will bring a lot of surprises and that was our Samsung galaxy s21 review.