Samsung Galaxy S21 and S21 Ultra Review | Too many trade-offs?
The s21 series is 200 less than before and that’s why anybody is going to be looking at these phones, but are they worth it? I have a full review of the galaxy s21 and s21 Music ultra i’m andrew martinick, with digital trends and before we get into it, i want to remind you to like and subscribe to the channel, so we can keep doing these amazing videos for you in my First, galaxy s21: videos: i heard it loud and clear: you want to know about the plastic back on the s21, the lack of the sd card slot, the differences between the models and what you’re getting in all of the new camera systems. We’Re going to get to all that and more in this complete review, i have the galaxy s21 and the s21 ultra and i’ve been using them for a week. The main thing that’s going to differentiate the s21 series from the s20 series is in the design. It’S really easy to see just from a glance you have this new frame, this new camera pod and on the s21. The back is plastic. Just like the note 20 and the galaxy s20 fe samsung is cutting costs. Passing on that savings to you and going with a polycarbonate back at a glance, it looks the same as the s21 plus and the s21 ultra. It has the same matte finish, but lay one finger on it and you’re gon na know that it’s plastic i’ve heard from all of you guys in the comments that this is a bad move and yeah.
I agree with you if you’re not going to put a case on your phone you’re, probably not going to be happy with having a plastic back on your 800 phone. But if you do use a case you’re not going to notice and that plastic back is going to hold up to drops and scratches much better than any glass backed phone. But, okay, you can only focus on the plastic for so long get around to the front and you’re gon na see a great samsung display. Yes, people have made a big deal about the fact that it’s only fhd instead of quad hd you’re not going to be able to notice the difference, especially on the smaller s21. But the thing you will notice is the variable. High refresh rate goes from 48 hertz. All the way up to 120 hertz smooths out everything on the screen, and it looks fantastic and for all you haters of curved screens, the s21 and s21 plus have flat displays from side to side. I actually prefer that myself, just as important as anything is the battery life. The s21 didn’t improve the battery size from the s20 4000 milliamp hours just average for the segment and as you’d guess it. Battery life is about average as well, no problem getting through a day. The problem is how much you have left over we’re all spending a lot more time inside and on wi fi, so you’re probably not going to have an issue getting to the evening, but i was ending most days with about 15 battery.
That means, when things open back up and i’m starting to spend more time outside i’m, going to need a little quick charge after dinner. Unfortunately, what i can’t tell you about is how the larger s21 plus is gon na fare. We just don’t have that phone yet, but it’s pretty easy to figure out. It’S gon na have a 20 larger battery, but everything else about the phone is identical, so you can expect about 20, better battery life that’s a nice cushion to have, and, of course you just get the larger display alongside it. The one major shortcoming of the s21 and s21 plus from the nerd perspective and frankly from my perspective, is that the camera system hasn’t improved from the s20 series it’s your standard, regular, ultra, wide and zoom camera, but nothing about the fundamentals of the sensors or the Lenses have changed and that’s kind of a problem. For me, the main camera is capable. It can take nice, clear photos, but samsung’s key problems of processing still remain even with the new processing tech of the snapdragon 888 hdr images are overdone too colorful at times, and every scene is just a little brighter than it probably should be. It looks unnatural and even though samsung said that it’s improved the processing of people’s skin, it still goes overboard and removes details and kind of smooths everything out in an unnatural way that i just don’t, like samsung’s zoom camera, also continues to be a pain point it’s About a 1.
7 x zoom which can’t be considered telephoto and because the sensor is not as good as the main camera it’s, not really usable at night, it drops back to the main sensor with a digital crop that’s, just not that useful and it really isn’t a Flagship level camera experience because of that most people coming from a two year old camera sure they’re, going to think that it’s great. But if you’ve been following every single generational improvement, you won’t be blown away by the s21’s cameras. Continuing all the comparisons to the s20 series, you’re, really not going to notice much difference in the day to day use compared to last generation’s phone sure you get a faster processor, the snapdragon 888 or the exynos 2100 elsewhere in the world. But you wouldn’t really notice it considering that samsung software was already super fast, smooth, consistent, one ui 3 is really good, but it was also really good when the s20 series got updated to it last month and no, you really don’t need to worry about. Having only eight gigabytes of ram and the s21 and s21 plus you’re, just not going to notice that i didn’t have any hiccups in any apps switching multitasking playing games there’s nothing that you’re going to notice that the galaxy s21 can’t handle and as you’d expect. The rest of the experience just rounds out like a samsung phone. You get fast charging that’s the same speed as the s20. You get fast wireless charging same speed as the s20 and you get reverse wireless charging same speed as the s20.
These speakers, everything else – is the exact same as the galaxy s20. We know that it’s missing one thing: the sd card slot you can’t, expand the storage here and you get the same 128 gigabytes of base storage. I don’t have a problem with that. Personally, you can upgrade to 256 gigabytes for just 50 at the time of purchase that’s, not that big of a deal when you just save 200 on the purchase price. But yes, you can’t cheap out up front and then get a card later on, but most people with cloud services and 256 can get away with it and be happy for about two or three years without much management, so i’m sure you’re sensing, a theme here. The galaxy s21 is very similar to the galaxy s20. Aside from a couple of small points, you really aren’t going to notice a difference, and you know that might be a downside for someone that’s looking to have the latest and greatest phone every single year. And if you got the galaxy s20 series, you’re just not going to be blown away by the s21 or the s21 plus the s21 and s21 plus may be a little ho hum in year over year upgrades. But you know what is impressive: is the elephant in the room, the galaxy s21 ultra Music? The s21 ultra is based on the same platform as the lower models and carries the same brand, but the devil is in the details.
All of the extras that you get in the ultra turn it into a completely different experience and it’s. The only phone of the three that feels like a real year over year upgrade and a proper flagship phone for samsung, whereas the s21 cameras just didn’t, really impress the s21 ultra actually made big improvements from the s20 ultra and even from the note 20 ultra. Just a few months ago, the arrangement is basically the same. You have a 108 megapixel main sensor, but it’s improved from the last generation and it’s supported by an ultra wide camera, which is also about the same as the last generation. But where things get really cool is in the zoom system, you have a new 3x zoom and also a dedicated 10x zoom, both 10 megapixel sensors with ois, and that makes a huge difference to the zooming capabilities it. Finally, fulfills samsung’s promises last year on space zoom. The quality of the photos from the 3x camera have blown me away and i’ve also been surprised by just how good the 10x camera can be, because you have dedicated lenses for both. You don’t actually get into digital zoom until after 10x, which most people just aren’t going to do anyway. Samsung’S new stabilization system, starting with the ois on the 10x camera lets you take 30x 50x and yes, even 100x, zoom shots with handshake handheld and they still come out relatively clear. I’Ve been able to take some really good 20x and 30x zoom shots, which was the outer limit of what the s20 ultra was capable of now to get that camera and the s21 ultra, you pay a price literally it’s, twelve hundred dollars, that’s more expensive.
For the same core functions outside of the camera, and you pay a price figuratively, the phone weighs over half a pound, which is just a barrier that i didn’t think that we were gon na get to in phones that bigger size obviously gets you a bigger display. It’S, just a little bit bigger than the 6.7 inch display on the s21 plus but it’s a better display, it’s more colorful. It has 1500 nits of brightness, which is just insane, and it has a wider variable, refresh rate from 11 hertz. All the way up to 120 hertz and for the first time you can use that variable refresh rate with the quad hd resolution, enabled it has curved edges just like the note 20 ultra, but that may be worth it in order to get this next level display. Although i haven’t found it to be a two day capable phone, like the note 20 ultra was for me, i guess it’s, just the next level screen and all the new capabilities add up to a bit more drain. So now the big question: should you buy the galaxy s21? I think that the s21 is a really good phone, but whether or not it’s an upgrade for you, of course, just depends. What you’re coming from samsung’s problem is that it makes the galaxy s20 fe. That came out late last year, but it’s 200 less than even the s21, and it frankly offers a very similar experience, it’s about the same size.
It too has a plastic back, and the camera and screen, and software are all basically the same, even though samsung wants to make you seem like the s21 is a higher end phone. If the 200 doesn’t make a big difference to you, and you want the best hardware experience and you want that bigger display, you should just get the s21 plus. I think a thousand dollars is a very reasonable price, especially considering that samsung was charging 1200. For that experience last year, the 1200 galaxy s21 ultra is the proper flagship for samsung this year. The s21 and s21 plus are theoretically part of the same line, but if you’re talking about an apples to apples comparison with the iphone 12 pro or the upcoming slate of android flagships in 2021, they’re all gon na have to be compared to the s21 ultra. And you get a higher end experience. The camera is actually a flagship quality camera. All the hardware from top to bottom is flagship quality. You get all of the little extras that make the s21 ultra feel like it’s worth the 1200. This is the samsung phone to get for the year, thanks for watching my full review of the galaxy s21 series, we love that you’re here with us, keep dropping your comments and your questions below and we can address them on future videos.