The Samsung Galaxy S21 is not your typical Galaxy S series device. It marks a significant departure from its predecessors, bringing a fresh perspective to the lineup that many longtime Samsung enthusiasts will find intriguing.
Though it was one of the best phones launched in 2021, If you’ve always been a fan of the Galaxy series, you may not be moved that much after checking this Galaxy S21’s review and specification. But wait till the very end to see if you really need to upgrade or not.
KINDLY NOTE: You can no longer get a brand new Galaxy S21 as Samsung has stopped producing it after the launch of S22 and S23. But you can still get clean refurbished or used ones from reliable stores like Amazon Renewed.
Spec Sheet of Samsung Galaxy S21
- Main camera: 12MP (wide), 12MP (ultrawide), 64MP (telephoto)
- Front camera: 10MP (wide angle)
- Display: 6.2″ Dynamic AMOLED 2X, 1080×2340 pixels, 20:9 aspect ratio, HDR10+
- Network: LTE / 5G, Dual SIM
- Memory: 8GB RAM
- Storage: 128GB/256GB ROM, No card slot
- Software: Android 11, One UI 3.1
- CPU/GPU: Exynos 2100 (International) or Snapdragon 888 (USA) with Mali-G78 MP14 or Adreno 660 GPU
- Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC, GPS, WiFi 6E, USB-C, OTG
- Battery: 4000mAh (25W fast charging), 15W wireless charging, 4.5W reverse wireless charging
- Sensors: Fingerprint (under display, ultrasonic), accelerometer, gyroscope, proximity, compass, barometer
- Colors: Phantom Gray, Phantom White, Phantom Violet, Phantom Pink
SAMSUNG Galaxy S21 Ultra Cell Phone
Samsung Galaxy S21 Review
The Galaxy S21 inherits its design cues from previous models but takes things up a notch. It’s slightly more substantial, both in size and aesthetics. Weighing 169 grams, it feels solid in your hand, partly due to the increased battery capacity and form factor. Encased within the Gorilla Glass Victus on the front and back lies a plastic with an aluminum frame, exuding a premium aura.
However, one notable quirk is the camera bump on the back, which can cause the phone to wobble on a flat surface. A protective pouch might address this issue, though it won’t safeguard the front from potential damage.
On the display front, the Galaxy S21 excels. It boasts a 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X panel with a resolution of 1080×2340 pixels and supports HDR10+. However, to enjoy the high 120Hz refresh rate, you’ll have to settle for FHD resolution; switching to QHD reduces the refresh rate to 60Hz. Samsung’s reasons for this choice remain unclear, but it could be a battery-saving measure.
While brands like OnePlus and Xiaomi offer the freedom to max out all parameters, the Galaxy S21’s display is impressive nonetheless. With a 20:9 aspect ratio, it’s a visual delight, though the curved edges can lead to occasional accidental touches.
The camera system on the Galaxy S21 doesn’t disappoint. It features a substantial 12MP wide lens, a 12MP ultrawide lens, and an impressive 64MP telephoto lens. The camera bump may have caused some concerns in design, but it’s there for good reason. The telephoto lens, in particular, allows for versatile photography and zoom capabilities.
The camera system excels in capturing a wide range of shots, from low-light conditions to well-lit scenes, indoors, and outdoor landscapes. Portrait, wide-angle, and close-up shots all showcase the Galaxy S21’s photography prowess. The same level of quality extends to video recording.
However, the selfie camera doesn’t generate the same excitement. It employs a 10MP wide-angle camera, which, while capable, doesn’t quite match the rear camera setup.
In the past, Galaxy S series phones were known for their impressive battery life. However, the Galaxy S21 shifts away from that reputation. It sports a 4000mAh battery, which, given its large, high-resolution display, might leave some users wishing for more. The battery provides around a day of use under typical conditions.
Switching to FHD at 120Hz does increase battery drain, but not dramatically. The included 25W charger can refill the battery in just over an hour. However, some may wonder if a faster charger, as seen with brands like OnePlus, Xiaomi, and Oppo, would be preferable.
It’s worth noting that faster charging speeds can generate more heat, potentially impacting overall battery longevity. Share your thoughts on this trade-off in the comments below.
While the Samsung Galaxy S21 isn’t perfect, its software experience is better than previous iterations. OneUI 3.1, based on Android 11, offers a host of features, including Wireless DEX, Air Controls, and a significantly improved Bixby assistant. Thanks to the Exynos 2100 (International) or Snapdragon 888 (USA) SoC, performance is top-notch, ensuring a seamless user experience.
The Galaxy S21 offers an array of storage options, ranging from 128GB to 256GB, coupled with a generous 8GB of RAM. While the absence of a microSD card slot may disappoint some, these specifications translate to exceptional performance.
What is the price of the Samsung Galaxy S21?
Currently, Galaxy S21 costs about $320 on average from various stores that sell pre-owned and refurbished phones. You can get it from Amazon, Swappa, Samsung stores, and many other places.
Will you be buying the Samsung Galaxy S21?
The Samsung Galaxy S21 brings a refreshing twist to the Galaxy S series. With its improved camera system, stunning display, and robust performance, it’s a notable contender in the Android smartphone market.
Whether you’re a photography enthusiast, a creative professional, or simply in need of a high-quality smartphone, the Galaxy S21 offers a compelling package with all the features you could desire and more.
If you think this is not the Galaxy you’re expecting, you can check out the Ultra version here and some upgrades Samsung added to it.