We did a first look and also a full review of the s21 ultra, so this time it’s the full review of the s21, which is the smallest of the three flagship line – phones that samsung released in january of 2021.. This is a 6.2 inch phone here and the s21 plus is still around, of course, that line and it’s 6.7 inches, but otherwise has the same specs, varying only in the battery capacity between the two same resolution display same snapdragon, 88 cpu with 5g or, if you’re Overseas we’re in the united states overseas, you might get the exynos 2100 and in the united states it’s both low mid and millimeter wave band 5g. In some countries where there is no millimeter wave, it might not have that so it’s. Certainly, a nice looking redesign of the phone, i think it’ll even age well and they’ve done well to kind of hide and integrate the camera cluster here with the triple cameras. So what else is going on we’re going to look at it now so the s21 starts at 799. The s21 plus starts at 999 dollars, so how did they get it cheaper while still making it flagshipping and all that sort of thing? Well, the back is actually not matte. Glass, like the ultra is this is a glass sticky material, but it looks more convincingly premium and like matte, glass and say the samsung s20 fe fan edition does it’s available in several colors and there’s a couple more exclusive colors that are available on samsung’s website.
If you buy direct from them and if you’re thinking of the fe i’ll talk a little bit more about it afterwards, but in terms of price right now, because samsung always has aggressive initial pricing and for those of you who are trading in say like an s10 Or something like that – well it’ll actually be like 50 bucks cheaper than you would get the fe from them on their website right now and you get like 200 worth of accessories thrown in and all that sort of thing the nice thing about the glastic back is Basically, it’s a polycarbonate is it’s not going to shatter as easily as glass. We have gorilla glass invictus on the front, but probably still most of you are going to be wearing a case and speaking of protection for these phones a shout out to our sponsor esr. They make cases and screen protectors and stuff too, and particularly, i like their clear cases, because it shows off the beauty of the phone and they’re very reasonably priced. They started like 9.99 on amazon, first off there’s, their clear case, which is a crystal clear, polymer and again very reasonably priced too it’s shock resistant against drops bumps and all the usual day to day kind of things raised edges too to protect the phone screen and The camera on the back as well for scratches and drops got micro dots on there, and that is so. You don’t see that funny barn door effect on clear cases and also for those of you who want a kickstand now samsung offers this kind of thing too.
But they charge a lot more money. You can get the clear case or the colored case like we have with the kickstand built in 60 degrees of adjustability works in portrait and in landscape modes and it’s. Pretty sturdy i’ve been testing it out otherwise, it’s very similar to the clear case. Polymer you get the idea. Lastly, they also make their liquid screen protectors. Those are polymer. These are not glass screen protectors. You get a pack of three, so they’re, very affordable works with the ultrasonic fingerprint scanner as well, and it’s self, healing and small bubbles will go away and now back to our review in terms of performance. Yes, it’s the snapdragon 888 hours and it is a bit faster but, more importantly, it’s, a five nanometer cpu it’s the same one you’ll get in the ultra as a matter of fact, too and it’s more power, efficient, that’s noticeable. Does the phone get warm? It is a pretty thin phone you’ll feel it getting warm if you’re playing a game or something like that, not burning hot, so there’s, a couple of other caveats. Besides the fact that well it’s, not a glass back anymore, there’s, no more micro, sd card slot, which i know a lot of you – are going to be said about especially power users, so that is what it is. Is that a cost saving measure a smallification measure? I really couldn’t tell you, but it’s gone this time around phone runs android 11 1ui 3.
1, and for those of you who are still bitter about touchwiz from samsung from years ago, this is not touchwiz anymore it’s, a pretty nice overlay on android that i mostly find Useful you still get some overlap and duplication of apps suppose they have google apps versus the samsung equivalent on the phone, which some of you find crazy, making and others of you don’t care about. You just pick the one that you prefer using there. It is the display is a bit lower resolution than last year too, but still i mean it’s full hd, plus it’s 2400 by 1080 resolution is a pretty high resolution screen and it’s a very good looking screen. Samsung’S displays do get better every year in terms of their call reproduction and their contrast, and all that sort of thing and yay flat screen on both the s21 and the s21 plus only the ultra has a curved display now it’s, also a variable refresh 120 hertz Display and everybody likes that now, because scrolling doesn’t look blurry and all that sort of thing and it’s variable refresh, so it can be as low as 48 hertz, because, if you’re looking at a web page, you don’t need the screen to be refreshing fast and killing. Your battery do you, but if you’re playing a game or something you want a higher refresh. Another improvement is the fingerprint scanner which is 1.7 times larger, it’s. Still, the more secure ultrasonic kind that samsung has been using, but it’s a much quicker now and more reliable and given coven and wearing masks and all that sort of thing.
It’S really handy to have a fingerprint scanner. Instead of just relying on the facial recognition, which, by the way, is still the same 2d kind, not super secure, but very quick experientially in terms of performance like i with the ultra that i reviewed it, feels really fast. There’S no lag there’s, no stutter there’s. None of that stuff i don’t, expect to see it get sloggishly, slow or something in six months, either it’s good, optimization of one ui and also the new snapdragon processor on board. It might not be twice as fast or something as the snapdragon 865, but you can see the fluidity and the improvements here. So those of you who push your phone hardy you play games all that sort of thing you multitask a lot you’ll appreciate it. It’S also used for the ai and computational photography, which is the thing in phones now isn’t it. You can only fit so much sensor inside of a phone and so much bigger lens in there. So the rest of it’s handled the way that pixels became famous for having good photography by using software it’s like having a little photoshop guru built into the phone, so more powerful cpu gets used for that sort of stuff too. In case you’re wondering why do i keep needing faster cpus as years go on when i’m still playing the same asphalt racing game that i’ve been playing for years? Speaking of those cameras, you have two 12 megapixel cameras for the ultra white and the main and a megapixel tele lens, which is like what we saw in the s20 plus last year and it’s an upgrade over the s20 smallest edition last year.
In terms of resolution yeah, the cameras are better it’s not night and day, though a night mode is good, it’s, not nearly as good as the s21. Ultra no surprise there right in terms of sensor, size and price and lens quality, and all that sort of thing. So i yeah, certainly if you’re coming from an s10 you’ll, see some improvements if you’re coming from an s20 it’s, pretty incremental there, but they’re still very competent cameras and samsung has done things like realize. Not everybody wants beauty mode. Those of us who are over 40 well, we might to hide the wrinkles, but you can have all those gritty wrinkles now, if you want for the selfie camera and for the rear camera, when you’re taking portraits, you do have a portrait mode as always, and you Can adjust the bokeh and other effects on it and you know, as camera phones get more advanced and we start to see more depth of field and all that sort of thing. Naturally, from the lenses i rely on it less and the natural bokeh on this is actually pretty nice. You can see the flowers in the foreground in this photograph and the pleasing blur that happens in the background, just naturally, without having to worry about using a portrait mode and all that sort of thing the camera can shoot. 8K. Video at 24 frames per second i’m. Not sure a lot of you need that, but you can do 4k at up to 60 frames per second now, which is nice if you’re doing sports or kids running around crazy cats and by the way kudos always the samsung for having a cat mode.
They recognize cats, not just people’s faces. You know the scene detect and all that sort of stuff, there’s a director’s view mode, which just shows you the scene with little insets for each of the lenses. So you can pick between them. I don’t find that the most useful thing you might single take keeps getting better at first. I thought that was a gimmick last year, but i’ve come to like it. It takes a variety of photos and puts different effects on them. A little video snippets of anything. So you might find some interesting shots that you hadn’t thought of actually setting up yourself when you’re hitting the shutter button. So for the telephoto lens, the optical zoom is 3x there. If you’re doing anything up to 10x, you might get something usable, it does have space zoomed to 30x, but just like the 100 space zoom on the ultra line, it’s, not something you’re going to be putting on instagram for sure, but it’s kind of useful, like i Used it, i was trying to figure out if the vent, whirly gig thing on our roof was stuck or something like that. You know so i actually used it as handy instead of having a pair of little binoculars battery life on the s21 has been quite good, and i would expect for the s21 plus as well. So you’ve got a 4000 milliamp battery in the s21 and a 4500 milliamp battery in the s21 plus.
If you go with ultra, you get a 5000 milliamp battery and 25 watt wired fast charging is supported, no more 45 watt and also qi wireless charging at 15 watt and there’s reverse power. Wireless power share, so you can charge galaxy buds or whatever. On the back of the phone anyway, i’ve been seeing like six hours of screen on time on our little friend here, easily and that’s running at max resolution, with 120 hertz variable refresh rate on all that sort of thing and doing more demanding things probably than i Would normally, in an average day, because i’ve been testing the phone for the past more than a week now you know i do a lot of things taking a lot of pictures and videos and playing games more and all that sort of thing. So the battery life here certainly is a good thing. The fact the charger is no longer in the box, not such a good thing like what apple started. So what about competitors? You know, sadly, in android land there are fewer and fewer competitors, there’s even rumors. That lg may now leave the phone market, at least in the united states. We have some limited selections here so for flagshippy phones, it’s, pretty much samsung all day long now, uh, but the fe, the galaxy s20 fan edition would be probably the closest competitor and it’s list price of 6.99 so and it’s the tweeter size. So if you kind of wanted something in between the s21 and the s21 plus in terms of screen size of 6.
5 inches going from 6.2 to 6.7 in the 21 line, while you have it there, the back looks more like well plastic. You do get more color choices there with the fan edition, but it doesn’t look as premium it’s, also heavier and thicker than even the s21 plus, which is the bigger screen phone, because you pay more for thinnification and lighter materials and all that sort of thing. The cameras will be a little bit better on the s21 no kidding fingerprint scanner is noticeably better thanks to the new sensor that they put in there. So those are some things to keep in mind. Yes, it’s an older generation cpu on the fan edition, but i don’t think that’s going to matter as much to folks versus the s21 ultra. I think it’s pretty obvious much bigger and heavier phone. That would be the caveat there with the s21 ultra also more expensive. That one’s 11.99, but clearly you get way better cameras. If photography is super important to you, you can afford it and you don’t mind a huge phone. The ultra would be the one. It also has a larger and more high resolution display too and lastly, there’s the s pen for those who have used for that it’s not included, but it’s compatible with the s pen, which is wacom emr, which means a variety of pens will work with it and Samsung will be selling the pen separately and even a case that holds the separate pen if you like.
So i know some of you are disappointed because you’re hoping for big leaps forward in phones – and this is a nice evolution and certainly for those of you who, like samsung phones, are looking for a flagship, android phone and you’re ready for an upgrade it’s. A solid pick, but yes, nothing, really stands out as being a big change or improvement other than dropping the price for a chain instead of raising the price. So there’s that – and you know, it’s easy to say: oh my god, why aren’t they doing brilliant things. You say that about the iphone and all that stuff. Well, when you sit down and think about it, it’s not easy to come up with brilliant new things every year in phones either. So i can only complain so much about that, but it definitely is a solid upgrade for those who are using a couple generation old phone. I, like the lower price and there it is i’m lisa from mobile tech review, be sure to subscribe to our youtube channel.