Samsung Galaxy S21 Review – Not A Major Upgrade


Samsung is back in 2021 with the Samsung Galaxy S21, Samsung has a reputation for making some of the best phones on the market. In this Samsung Galaxy S21 review I will tell you everything you need to know about this phone.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Review

Pros Cons
  • Very powerful phone
  • Excellent cameras
  • More economical than the Galaxy S20
  • No charger in the box
  • No MicroSD card slot
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Samsung Galaxy S21 Introduction:


The Galaxy S21 has fewer specs than that of the Galaxy S20 from last year. I think it’s a bit odd that Samsung would do this.


However, Samsung had to find a way to drop the price of this phone and this was their way of doing it.


Nevertheless, the Galaxy S21 comes with a big 4,000mAh battery that provides decent battery life and better camera software than that its predecessors.


This phone also comes equipped with wireless charging and fast charging capabilities, of course, let’s not forget its user manual.


The Galaxy S21 comes with a Full HD+ 6.2-inch display screen that offers a 120Hz refresh rate which provides an extremely smooth scrolling experience.


The display screen is bright and the colors are rich and vivid. The Galaxy S21 has its pros and cons in regards to its predecessor.


Samsung Galaxy S21 Design:


Samsung Galaxy S21 Review

The Galaxy S21 is the smallest phone in the Galaxy S21 series, this phone will appeal to people who are not interested in getting a massive phone.


With the arrival of the Galaxy S20 last year Samsung changed the phone’s back panel from all glass to “Glasstic”.


The back panel of the phone featured a new camera block design and a matte finish. Samsung refers to this material as glasstic, which means that it’s a combination of glass and plastic.


However, it lacks the look and feel of a premium glass panel, the matte finish feels similar to the cheap plastic that’s currently used in some of the mid-range phones.


I really like the metal edges on the phone, they definitely enhance the look of the phone. The Galaxy S21 has four color variants: Phantom Pink, Phantom White, Phantom, Grey, and Phantom Violet.


The camera array on this phone has a unique look, it’s unlike anything else that’s currently on the market.


Samsung refers to this as its Contour Cut Camera, some people like it while others don’t.


There is a camera bump at the back of the phone which houses the camera array, I think the camera bump is too big, I think it would have been better if it was less noticeable.


Located on the right edge of the phone you will find the power button along with the volume rocker.


At the bottom edge of the phone is the speaker grille, the USB-C port, and the SIM tray. The dedicated Bixby button that’s found on the left edge of the other Samsung phones is not present on Galaxy S21.


However, the Bixby feature is still there for people who enjoy using it, you can access it by pressing the power button.


The Galaxy S21 has a flat display screen, I’m not sure why Samsung did this. I really liked the curved display screen on the older Samsung phones because I felt as though that gave the phone a unique look and feel and it made it look a bit more premium.


If that’s a dealbreaker for you, then you will be glad to know that Samsung has retained the curved display screen on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.


The Galaxy S21 does not look like a cheap phone by any means, however, I think the Galaxy S20 from last year has a more premium look to it.


Display Screen:


The display screen on the Galaxy S21 has been downgraded from that of its predecessor. The Galaxy S21 has a low-resolution Full HD+ display screen in comparison to the Quad HD display screen that’s present on the Galaxy S20.


It was necessary for Samsung to do this to keep the cost of the phone down. If you haven’t been using a phone with Quad HD resolution it may be difficult for you to notice the difference.


Despite the lower resolution, the video quality on the Galaxy S21 is decent. Nevertheless, if you’re looking for the best display screen on a Samsung phone, then you should consider the Galaxy S21 Ultra, this phone has a Quad HD display screen.


The display screen on the Galaxy S21 has a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz which is turned on by default but the display screen will adapt to whatever you’re doing.


For example, if you’re playing a video game, the refresh rate will be 120Hz, but if you’re surfing the net, the refresh rate will be reduced in an effort to conserve battery life.


The fingerprint scanner on the Galaxy S21 has been improved from that of its predecessor. The Galaxy S21 features an Ultrasonic fingerprint scanner.


The sensor is faster and it’s 70% bigger which makes it easier to use, however, it’s not as fast as a physical fingerprint scanner that you will find on some of the other phones that are currently on the market. Nevertheless, this is a great scanner that works very well.




Samsung Galaxy S21 Review Cameras

The cameras on the Galaxy S21 are the same cameras that are present on the Galaxy S20 from last year. This is due to the fact that there was a big sensor upgrade from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20.


Nevertheless, the camera software on the Galaxy S21 has been improved from that of its predecessor.


Located on the back panel of the phone you will find a triple camera setup which consists of a 12MP ultra-wide camera, a 64MP telephoto camera with a 3x hybrid optical zoom, and a 12MP primary camera.


If you compare photos taken with the Galaxy S20 to that of the Galaxy S21 you will not notice any significant improvements in the photo quality.


Single Take is a camera mode that provides a unique way to capture a variety of photos and videos, this camera mode uses all three cameras.


To use this mode you must press the shutter button once then move around to capture photos from different angles.


Single Take has been improved on the Galaxy S21 due to the implementation of a new slow-mo feature. This is a great camera mode that sets Samsung phones apart from the competition.


This camera mode comes in handy when shooting photos of a moving subject because it improves your chances of getting some good photos or videos.


The telephoto camera performs well, this camera has 3x optical zoom and it offers up to 30x digital zoom.


Even though the photo quality with the telephoto camera is good, it’s not as impressive as the photos that are shot with the two telephoto cameras on the Galaxy S21 Ultra.


When shooting photos with 10x digital zoom and under, the photo quality is decent. However, the photo quality of photos that are shot above 10x digital zoom is noisy.


Located at the front of the Galaxy S21 is a 10MP selfie camera, the photo quality of the photos that are taken with this camera is decent. Whether you plan on using the camera for shooting photos, videos, or video chatting, it will get the job done.


Another great camera mode on the Galaxy S21 is the new Director’s View mode. This mode gives you the ability to shoot video footage from the cameras at the front and back of the phone simultaneously.


This was implemented in an effort to give content creators the ability to capture their reactions in real-time while shooting videos.


This gives the content creator the ability to add the reaction shots to the main footage while editing at a later time.


This is a great new feature but I’m not sure how popular it will be among avid smartphone users who are not vloggers.


When shooting video on the Galaxy S21 there are several options that you can choose from. You can shoot Full HD videos at 30, 60, or 240fps, 4K videos at 30 or 60fps, and 8K videos at 24 fps, the 8K video quality is excellent.


Hardware And Software:


The phones in the Galaxy S21 line are the first smartphones to feature the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 888 (US) processor or the Exynos 2100 processor (Non-US).


These processors are great, they have improved the overall performance of the Galaxy S21 in comparison to that of their predecessors.


Along with the latest processor the Galaxy S21 comes with 8GB of RAM with 128GB or 256GB of storage.


The Galaxy S21 has not retained the microSD card slot so the internal storage is not expandable. However, 256GB of storage is more than enough for the avid smartphone user.


The Galaxy S21 runs on the Android 11 operating system with Samsung’s One UI 3.0 skin on top, I really like the look and feel of this user interface.


Android 12 operating system was released in February of this year. You should be aware that it may take up to one year before Samsung updates the Galaxy S21 to this version due to the fact that Samsung is a bit slow when updating from one version of Android to another.


The software on the Galaxy S21 works very well and it gives access to more Samsung services in addition to the typical Android apps that are present on a modern smartphone.


All the Galaxy S21 phones have 5G capabilities so you can take advantage of 5G whenever you’re in a 5G neighborhood.


Battery Life:


The Galaxy S21 comes equipped with a 4,000mAh battery that lasts for a full day of moderate use. However, the battery life will be a bit shorter if you use the 120Hz refresh rate on the display screen.


This phone does not come with a charger in the box, it must be purchased separately. I think Samsung may have gotten this idea from Apple.


Samsung did this to keep the cost of the phone down, however, this is extremely inconvenient.


The Galaxy S21 can be charged with Samsung’s 25W fast-charging technology. Or with the Qi wireless pad for wireless charging. Reverse wireless charging is supported on this phone for people who enjoy using this feature.


Reverse wireless charging gives you the ability to use your phone as a power bank to wirelessly top up other devices. I’m not a fan of reverse wireless charging because this method of charging is extremely slow.


The Galaxy S21 is not compatible with Samsung’s 45W chargers, but these chargers worked well with the phones in the Galaxy S20 series.


My Final Thought:


The Galaxy S21 is a decent smartphone that has some great things going for it. This phone has great battery life and it’s fast, powerful, and responsive, and it has lots of great features.


Even though this phone features a 6.2-inch display screen, it’s noticeably smaller than many of the other Android phones that are currently on the market.


I think many avid smartphone users would be happy with this phone. However, I would not recommend it to anyone who currently has the Galaxy S20 because the Galaxy S21 does not provide significant improvements over the Galaxy S20.


If you found this Samsung Galaxy S21 review helpful and you’re thinking about getting this phone, you can take a look at it on eBay.


If you have any comments or questions about any of this information or if you would like to share your experience with the Galaxy S21, please feel free to do so in the comment section below.


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