The Samsung Galaxy 20 phones were no doubt incredible phones. But for many users, it felt like the company had pushed the price of this flagship phone a bit too high. For this reason, Samsung sought to correct its mistake with the launch of the Galaxy S21.
Launched in 2021; the Galaxy S21 comes with appealing new features and at a good price too. With the launch of the Galaxy S22 approaching, is it still worth buying a Galaxy S21 smartphone? Let’s explore this question in our Samsung S21 Series 2021 review.
As is the norm these days, the Samsung S21 came in several variants, all set at different price points. The Samsung S21 price from this website starts at $829 AUD. The price would depend on the variant and storage option you choose. Getting a Galaxy S21 Ultra will set you back a few more dollars. It comes in the same storage configuration as its siblings but with 12GB of RAM.
All of the three variants in the Samsung S21 series share a similar revamped design compared to the S20 series. They come with a large camera bump at the back of the phone, which is connected to the phone’s frame. This gives the phones a kind of duo-tone look for some colors like violet. The Galaxy S21 Ultra spots the biggest camera bump as it has a quad-camera set up instead of a triple camera set up like its siblings.
Samsung replaced the Galaxy S20’s glass back with a plastic one on the base S21, and so it doesn’t feel as premium. However, they more than make up for it by using high-quality polycarbonate and adding to it a grippy matte touch. The S21+ and S21 Ultra look a bit more premium thanks to their glass sandwich design, which is glass on the front and back with metal on the sides.
You also get a wide range of great colors to choose from. The base Galaxy S21 is available in white, grey, pink, and violet, the S21+ in black, violet, and silver, and the S21 Ultra comes in either black or silver. Samsung retained the ever-so-classy edge-to-edge display with a hole-punch cutout for the front-facing camera. It did, however, slim down the bezels a bit and made the edges less curvy.
The display on this range was both an upgrade and a downgrade to the S20 lineup. The S21 sports a 6.2-inch display, while the S21+ comes with a 6.7-inch display. If you prefer big screens, then you will definitely fall in love with the S21 Ultra, which has a 6.8-inch display. The displays for the S21 and S21+ top out at 1080p, a downgrade from the entry-level S20’s 1440p resolution.
On the positive side, they have an adaptive refresh rate varying from 48-120Hz, which was not possible on the standard S20. The Galaxy S21 Ultra shines in this respect sporting a 1440p resolution and an adaptive refresh rate.
Samsung is always incredibly keen on its cameras, and this is evident from the Galaxy S21 range. The S21 and S21+ have the same triple camera configuration. This includes a 12-Mp wide-angle camera with an f/1.8 aperture and dual pixel autofocus, a 12MP ultrawide camera with an f/2.2 aperture and 120-degree field of view, and lastly, a 64Mp telephoto camera for better zooming.
These cameras might not be the most innovative upgrades from the S20, but thanks to the Snapdragon 888’s image signal processor, they definitely deliver impressive performance.
Comparatively, the S21 Ultra has a quad-camera setup, featuring the same ultrawide camera. But that’s as far as similarities go. With this phone, you will get two 10MP telephoto lenses, one with 10x optical zoom and an f/4.9 aperture, and the other has 3x optical zoom and an aperture of f/2.4. The main camera is excellent, standing at 108MP with a 12MP output.
Performance and battery
The Galaxy S21 series phones all come with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 processor or Samsung’s very own Exynos 2100, depending on the region. With these processors, you are guaranteed super-fast speeds, and the phones should comfortably handle everything you throw at them, including heavy multitasking and video games.
The battery life is also pretty decent. The Galaxy S21 has a 4,000mAh battery. The S21+ goes a notch high, boasting a 4,800 mAh battery, while the S21 Ultra proves why it’s the king of the range with its 5,000mAh battery. Despite the battery differences, all three phones should last you a full day, even on heavy use. Furthermore, they all support 25W wired charging, 15W wireless charging.
The Galaxy S21 series does come with a few downgrades compared to the Galaxy S20 – an intentional move by Samsung to make it much more affordable. The phones don’t have a microSD card slot, the plastic back is also a downgrade, plus you won’t be getting headphones or a wall charger straight from the box.
Nevertheless, the phones pack all of the features you could possibly want in a phone. There’s really no reason you shouldn’t consider jumping on the Galaxy S21 bandwagon.