The Samsung Galaxy S21 is part of Samsung’s flagship S series and represents the company’s early 2021 offering. Here’s an in-depth review of the Samsung Galaxy S21:
Launched in early 2021, the Samsung Galaxy S21 was introduced alongside its bigger siblings, the S21+ and the S21 Ultra. The S21 aimed to offer flagship features at a slightly more accessible price point compared to the Ultra variant.
- Operating System: Shipped with Android 11, overlaid with Samsung’s One UI 3.1.
- Display: 6.2-inch Dynamic AMOLED 2X with a resolution of 1080 x 2400 pixels, supporting a 120Hz refresh rate.
- Processor: International models used the Exynos 2100, while the USA versions featured the Qualcomm Snapdragon 888.
- Memory: 8 GB RAM with options of 128 GB or 256 GB internal storage.
- Camera: Triple rear camera setup – 12 MP primary sensor, 64 MP telephoto lens, and 12 MP ultrawide sensor. A 10 MP front camera.
- Battery: 4000 mAh non-removable battery with fast charging, wireless charging, and reverse wireless charging support.
- Other Features: In-display fingerprint scanner, IP68 water and dust resistance, 5G connectivity, and stereo speakers.
- Compact Design: For users looking for a more manageable phone size without compromising on flagship features, the S21 fit the bill.
- Display: The 120Hz Dynamic AMOLED display offered vibrant colors, deep blacks, and smooth animations.
- Performance: Both the Exynos 2100 and Snapdragon 888 provided top-tier performance, handling everything from daily tasks to intensive gaming.
- Camera Capabilities: The versatile camera setup allowed for a range of photography options, from ultrawide shots to 3x hybrid optical zoom.
- Software: One UI 3.1 offered a plethora of features, customization options, and a more streamlined Android experience.
- Plastic Back: Unlike its predecessors and its more expensive siblings, the S21 featured a plastic (or “glasstic”) back, which felt less premium.
- No Expandable Storage: The S21 did away with the microSD card slot, a feature that had long been a staple of Samsung flagships.
- Lower Resolution: The S21’s display resolution was reduced to Full HD+ from the Quad HD+ found in the S20, though this was less noticeable given the screen size.
Comparisons to Other Technologies:
In 2021, the Galaxy S21 faced competition from various flagship devices:
- iPhone 12: Apple’s offering with its A14 Bionic chip, OLED display, and iOS ecosystem.
- OnePlus 9: Known for its performance, OxygenOS, and partnership with Hasselblad for camera improvements.
- Google Pixel 5: Google’s more modest 2020 flagship known for its clean software and camera capabilities.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 was announced in January 2021 and released later that month.
- Exynos vs. Snapdragon: As with previous Samsung flagships, there was debate and comparison between the performance and efficiency of the Exynos and Snapdragon variants. Some users felt the Exynos model lagged slightly behind in terms of battery life and heat management.
- Battery Life: While the battery life was generally decent, the combination of 5G and the 120Hz display could lead to faster drain under heavy use.
- Camera Software: Some users noted that, in certain conditions, the post-processing on photos could be aggressive, leading to over-sharpened images.
The Samsung Galaxy S21 represented a slight shift in Samsung’s strategy, offering a more affordable flagship without some of the ultra-premium materials and features of its bigger siblings. For many users, the S21 struck a good balance between price, features, and performance. While it had its compromises, it remained a compelling option for those in the market for a high-end smartphone experience without the highest-end price.