Review: What’s good and bad in Samsung Galaxy S21

Reader Rating2 Votes
8.6
8.2
Final Score
Buy It Now

Recently Samsung has announced its first premium flagship phone of the year–Samsung Galaxy S21. The phone is the successor of the Galaxy S20 launched last year. The Korean company has put lots of effort in order to make the phone flagship and an improved version of the previous year’s Galaxy S20.

Design

Unlike the previous iterations, this year Samsung opted for a flat design instead of a curved display. The flat design helps the user to grip the phone more firmly. The phone is encased in a shiny metallic frame that easily blends with the texture of the back. Unlike Apple which uses metallic back for their phone, Samsung has used a matte finish which sometimes looks cheap. But because of the matte back, Samsung has managed to cut the price of the phone.

At the back, there are three cameras that are vertically aligned with a new “Contour Cut” layout. On the front, there is a tiny cut at the top center of the phone for the selfie camera. The selfie camera will also be used as “Face ID.” Samsung has tried to keep the bezels minimum for all sides. But the bottom bezel is slightly thicker than the top and side bezels. It is IP68 rated to keep it safe from dust and water. Unfortunately, the new Galaxy S21 doesn’t come with a microSD card slot.

It is available in three color options — Phantom Gray, Phantom Pink, Phantom White. In terms of specifications, the phone measures 6 x 2.8 x 0.31 inches.

Display

The Samsung Galaxy S21 has the same display as Galaxy S20. It has a 6.2-inch AMOLED display with a dynamic refresh rate. But company has downgraded the resolution from S20’s 1,440 x 3,200 to 1,080 x 2,400. But the display still looks crisp and sharp and you can easily browse social media or watch videos in the sunlight. Samsung uses an adaptive refresh rate that from 120Hz to 48Hz depending on the usage. The dynamic refresh rate makes the scrolling and animations quite smooth.

Performance and Processor

Samsung Galaxy S21 comes in two variants. Depending on the region, you can get a phone with either Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 888 processor or Samsung’s in-house Exynos 2100 chip. In India only Exynos variants are available. Unlike the previous models, this version also supports 5G networks, including Sub-6 and mmWave.

Samsung claimed that the latest Snapdragon 888, offers up to 20% better CPU performance, and 35% more GPU speed. During our testing, we didn’t observe any lag. The launching of apps was very snappy and quick. The camera launched under 2 seconds from the home lock screen. For heavier tasks like exporting 4K videos took around 30 seconds. On the contrary, Apple’s iPhone 12 takes just around 12-seconds.

During the Geekbench test, the phone scored 1,056 on the single-core test and 3,297 on the multicore test. iPhone on the other side scored 1,432 on the single-core test and 3,887 on a multicore test.

Camera

The Samsung Galaxy S21 uses a triple-camera setup at the back which comprises a 12MP Ultrawide sensor with f/2.2 aperture, a 12MP Ultra-Wide sensor with f/1.8 aperture, and a 64MP Telephoto sensor at f/2.0 aperture and 3x zooms.

Over the years company put lots of effort to improve the camera quality. As a result, today we can see lots of quality camera phones from companies including Apple, Google, Huawei, and Samsung. The S21 is one of the best camera phones available in the market right now. Since the iPhone 12-series and Pixel 5 lacks telephoto sensor, that means Samsung can offer superior quality zoom.

Galaxy S21-1

The photo shots taken with standard mode look more saturated and offer a warmer tone. The photos hold good details and look realistic. Still, the standard is a little less than iPhone 12 Pro. In the dark or low-light conditions, the shots look a bit stretch. The camera is unable to identify the edges in the scene.

The Samsung Galaxy S21 produces excellent telephoto shots. Since it has a dedicated telephoto sensor, most shots are better than iPhone 12 and Pixel 5.

In the video department, Samsung also does a decent job. It can shoot 8K videos at 24fps, 4k videos at 60fpk, and HDR10+. Samsung’s Super Steady Mode helps to stabilize the camera during recording. Users’ can also shoot both from the front and rear camera at the same time.

The front camera is a 10MP with an aperture of f/2.2. It does a decent job and managed to capture shots on par with Google’s Pixel 5.

Galaxy S21-5

Battery and OS

The Samsung Galaxy S21 packs with a 4,000 mAh battery. During our test, the battery died in 11 hours and 2 minutes. In our test we continuously web surfed and streamed videos over 5G network. That seems pretty good as no-one is not gonna continuously web surfed and streamed videos over 5G networks throughout a day. We performed a similar test with Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro and it lasted only for 8 hours and 32 minutes.

Samsung uses AI to optimize the battery life. The phone supports fast charging that can charge up to 50% battery in just under 30 minutes.

The phone runs Android 11 with Samsung’s own One UI 3.1 on top. Samsung offers much more customization for the home screen as well as the lock screen. But all those customizations make the One UI a lot cluttered. I don’t know why Samsung’s own apps have ads on top. Those ads are so annoying and as soon as you opened the app, the first thing you noticed is the ad. I am sure those things are not liked by most of the users.

Price

Samsung Galaxy S21 is available on Flipkart and Samsung. It is available at Rs. 69,999 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage from Flipkart and Amazon.

Review: What’s good and bad in Samsung Galaxy S21
Verdict
Samsung Galaxy S21 is a great phone with under Rs. 70,000. It offers a great camera, solid performance, and excellent battery life. The only downside of the phone is its OS. Samsung's own One UI OS is not that great in the past. And with the latest phone, the company made it worse instead of improving it.
Design
7.8
Display
8.4
Performance & Processor
8.5
Camera
8.8
Battery & OS
7.7
Reader Rating2 Votes
8.6
Pros
Fast performance
Superb battery life
Dynamic display with 120Hz
Cons
Doesn't feel premium in hand
No charger inside the box
No microSD card support
8.2
Final Score
Buy It Now