Samsung Galaxy S21 (Exynos) Review
After years of incremental upgrades and price hikes, Samsung has decided to take a slightly different approach with the Galaxy S21.. We still get the latest chipset as well as a few minor upgrades, but the rest of the phone is either very similar or has been toned down a little to keep it at a lower price. Point.. So lets take a closer look at the phone and see if its any good. Design is probably one of the biggest upgrades on the S21 and its mostly just down to this camera bump.. It is now a lot better integrated into the design of the phone rather than looking like an afterthought.. It also has pretty nice colour options. It still has an IP68 rating, and the size feels great in my hand.. That said its a bit of a bummer that the back is now plastic, because it does feel cheaper and will scratch a lot easier. Anyway, its not a big deal. If you use a skin or case with it., Which reminds me, we no longer get a case in the box., In fact, we dont really get anything in the box anymore.. The resolution of the screen has been downgraded to just FHD, unlike the QHD screen on the S20, but at this screen size I dont think theres a huge difference.. It still has a 120Hz refresh rate and looks great in basically every aspect.. Most importantly, the display is now completely flat, which I personally prefer.
Combine that gorgeous display with a competent set of stereo speakers, its a really nice device to use for media consumption.. I do have to mention as well that it no longer has a microSD card slot., But since were getting the 256GB version here in Singapore and the performance for built in storage is typically better than microSD cards. I dont think its a big deal.. The ultrasonic fingerprint sensor on the S21 is supposed to be bigger and better and Im happy to report that it really is.. It seems a lot less finicky compared to its predecessor. Anyway. The thing that Im most curious about here is the new Exynos 2100 chipset.. As most of you already know, recent Exynos chipsets have been a little underwhelming. After spending some time with the S21. It does seem decent.. I wouldnt say its a night and day difference since it still warms up fairly quickly during heavy use., But it never gets too warm to touch and performance seems decent.. The only exception is perhaps Genshin Impact at higher framerates, but thats the same with every other phone Ive tested so far. In terms of battery life. I can get a full day of regular use out of the phone pretty easily, but with heavier usage, Ill need to top up the battery a little to make sure it will. Last till the end of the day. Battery consumption on mobile data seems pretty reasonable too.. I recorded the amount of battery drain while using the phone, so you can pause the video if you want to take a closer look.
Overall for such a compact phone. I think battery life is pretty decent.. The S21 is running OneUI 3.1 based on Android 11 and for the most part, its very similar to what we got on the Note20 Ultra., So its still a pretty enjoyable software experience with useful features built in nice, customisation options and decent looking UI design.. We are now able to use Google Discover instead of Samsungs own service on the home screen, and there is actually a double tap to sleep feature now.. I dont really have an issue with bloatware as well, since the small handful of preloaded apps can be uninstalled or disabled and during setup were given the choice to select what Samsung apps we want. Anyway. In terms of camera hardware, it seems identical to what we got on the S20. Im, not sure if it performs the same as well since Ive not tried the S20, but I do think that the camera performance on the S21 is pretty good.. Even though I can tell that the main camera hardware isnt as good as the Note20 Ultra, I think the image processing actually looks pretty decent and it is able to take nice looking shots in most lighting conditions.. The telephoto camera isnt. Really that useful to me, since the range is so limited, but the ultra wide angle, camera looks really good, even at night.. Anyway, I wont spend too much time talking about camera performance, since it can be a little subjective.
. So if you want to see whether the camera is good enough for your needs feel free to check out the link in the video description, below. Ive uploaded everything I took with the phone at original resolution. As a whole. I actually think that the S21 is a pretty nice phone., Its really well rounded. It does everything I need, and I really like the size of the phone.. I think its the right move for Samsung to make as well toning down a few features and reducing the cost of the phone.. I know that here in Singapore we didnt get the same amount of price reduction compared to other regions., But knowing the market here in Singapore well see better deals for it soon, enough. And once the price drops to a more reasonable level. The S21 will be a great option for anyone looking for a great compact, Android device.