Galaxy S21 Review: Would You Notice?
21 is 200 cheaper than last year, that’s a big deal we’re so used to the prices of phones going up and up and up year after year that when you do see a big jump down in price it’s, because there was a conscious decision made here to Offer more value, so basically, every smartphone that’s, not the highest end thing they can make, is fundamentally a balancing act to try to check just the right set of boxes and combine just the right set of features to appeal to the most buyers and that’s, especially if You’Re samsung because they’ve got this goal to be the default smartphone to keep their top spot top of mind, but the customer is more educated than ever and so no pressure or anything. But you got to check the right side of boxes or they’ll switch on you. So the galaxy s21 they’ve dropped this year. I think, checks all the most important boxes. Most people care about performance battery camera and the smart sacrifices they’ve made to get to drop the price by 200 bucks. Almost no one will notice. Will you so? First of all, let’s just start with the big one. The design i’ve said, i think, is nice it’s actually grown on me. I started with like i don’t really hate it, and then it went somewhere up to i kind of like it, and now i think it’s, one of the best honestly, if you’re going to have a camera bump own it.
This phone looks good in gray, looks even better in this purple and gold teddy fresh contrast, combo and looks even better in an icon, skin linked below, of course, but generally, like. I said in my s21 ultra review this purposeful design, bringing the metal camera bump straight to the sides where it wraps around the rails. That’S, nice that’s, nice that’s, a good call, but this camera little plate here is the only piece of metal on the back of the phone. The rest is plastic and you’d, barely notice, it’s still coated in the same way. With this, like super fine, smoothish texture still has the same sheen to it. It is lighter when you’re holding it than the glass phones, the s21 plus and the s21 ultra, but, to be honest, i’m way more focused on the smaller footprint than the weight. This goes all the way down to a 6.2 inch display, so you’d expect it to be decently light anyway and 6.2 inches by the way. Still plenty of screen it’s a little bit smaller, but it is a pretty big screen. So the plastic, definitely not something. You immediately feel and go: oh, they did a bad job, you’ll barely notice. So let’s talk about that screen. So there’s a couple things going on here: it’s still a really great samsung display it’s, very bright and readable outdoors has great color and hdr cert it’s perfectly flat, even flatter at the edges than the slightly curved s21 ultra.
So i like this flatness a lot on this colorway. You do get a little bit of the gold rails kind of peeking around the sides which can make it look a little bit cheaper, ideally it’s, just like thin black bezels and then nothing that would look sleek. But overall great display same great, larger ultrasonic, fingerprint reader as the ultra same size, tiny selfie, camera cut out, even though it’s a different selfie camera and there’s no way you notice from watching this youtube video, but they dropped the resolution from 1440p to 1080p. But the reason most people won’t notice – is one it’s still a pretty sharp display 1080p on 6.2 inches is up over 400 pixels per inch it’s, not like a bad pixel density, but two last year in order to switch to 120 hertz, you had to use the Screen at 1080p, and so you couldn’t use 1440p and 120hz at the same time, and that was kind of a bummer but samsung, i guess, ran the numbers. Did the research understood that most people liked the 120 hertz and would take 1080p for that every time? So now we do is 1080p every time and it’s 120 hertz now would it have been better if we could use both like we can on the ultra yeah, but will most people even notice? I don’t think so. There’S also a couple of even smaller things missing. No s pen support on the regular s21, like the ultra gat and the variable refresh rate goes from 48 hertz to 120 hertz instead of 10 to 120 hertz, so very small differences that samsung has weighed against how much money they can save and whether people will Notice or not, i absolutely did not notice any difference in responsiveness or performance.
This phone has been a great performer and speaking of performance. Honestly, this is the one area where they still did go super high end. This phone has the same chip, the snapdragon triple eight. In this region and it’s every bit as much of a performer as it is on the ultra, it does have eight gigs of ram instead of 12 or 16, but i never found, i noticed any hesitation or performance or worse multitasking, where i was wishing. I had all that ram back now they could have. They could have gone with a lower end chip. This the 7 series. They could have put a snapdragon 765 g in this phone, like a lot of others have in their phones at this price, and it would have been yet another savings. They could have made that we probably wouldn’t, have really noticed actively as a difference in performance, but they didn’t. This is still the fastest chip in a phone. So i really do appreciate that all the same capabilities from the ultra as far as software enabled by the chip they’re all still here and i didn’t notice a difference in ram. I used it just like i used the ultra and i had no problems with lag or choppiness at all, so throughout all of samsung’s absolutely packed software. You know the dozens of embedded, one ui features and maximum customization it’s, definitely nice to have a smaller phone that still performs almost exactly like the bigger phone.
Now these cameras on the back they’re another area, where you of course see a difference between this and the ultra. The ultra we already knew was all about giving you the big numbers, the ultra camera experience that’s the focus of this phone on this phone. I think they’ve done a great job balancing taking the features out of the ultra that most people, probably won’t, need or even notice and there’s. Actually, one thing one thing that this phone does on cameras better than the ultra might not have known that see. If you can guess that, go ahead and pause, this video go ahead and write down what you think this camera might do better than the ultra and then hit play we’ll see if you were right so there’s triple cameras on the back of the s21 and they Are essentially the same cameras from the s20, the main camera there’s an ultra wide and a 3x telephoto, so no crazy, 100x space zoom just a reasonable maximum of 30x. But at the end of the day, if you don’t do a ton of huge zooms and you still have the same sort of zoom lock where you can zoom all the way into the end of the camera and it’ll stabilize the software that’s, probably about as good As most people will need it’s, not quite as sharp at that range as the ultra, but will you notice there’s no laser autofocus here either? Although i found with the smaller sensor, it still has no focus issues and then there’s the same snapdragon triple 8.
So all the same capabilities like single take mode 8k, video, the director’s mode. All that stuff is still here. So what does it do better than the ultra? Well, the one thing with the word ultra in it is the ultra wide camera here on the s21 it’s. Actually, a little bit wider than the ultra wide on the ultra, you can see it labels it 0.5 x versus 0.6 x, but it’s a little noticeably wider, actually didn’t notice it before checking the numbers it’s great. Also. I just want to shout out samsung’s portrait mode for getting consistently better and better over time. This will be my hot take for this video, but i think samsung’s portrait mode is now the best portrait mode in any smartphone put it over the iphone put it over. The pixel seriously impressive stuff so don’t, let the lack of holes in the back of the camera fool you. This is still a very capable camera system. The lack of laser autofocus, the lack of zoom past 30x, the lack of a macro mode built in i noticed them because i’m, a camera nerd, but most people won’t, actually miss that stuff, it’s, a great camera and there’s a couple other small things here: there’s a 4 000 milliamp hour battery, which is of course a bit smaller than the 5 000 milliamp hours on the bigger one. Yes, but it’s still a big battery and it lasted all day getting five plus hours of screen on time.
No problem, i i could kill it in a day if i’m, hammering it all day with a lot of gps and a lot of screen on time. But aside from that, it’s fine it’s, a no worry battery and there’s no expandable storage, but that’s also gone from the entire lineup and so is mst, which was this cool trick that let samsung phones use magnetic pulses to replicate credit card functionality. So they could pay with stuff at terminals that don’t support nfc. Some people are going to hate that this is gone but that’s. Another bet samsung had to make that most people weren’t using it. Those are like the two most sorely missed features for me and a lot of enthusiasts expandable, storage and mst was super useful, but the whole line dropped by 200, so there’s gon na be stuff that they cut out and that’s. The calculus they made is okay, that’s not getting a whole ton of use, we’ll get those, but at the end of the day i think samsung checked the right set of boxes with the s21 and it’s, also only 50 bucks to upgrade and double the storage to 256 gigs, which is pretty important since you no longer have expandable storage and if you’re taking lots of photos and 8k videos, you might want that so that’s another great calculus to make. But overall, this is no doubt the best bang for the buck in the lineup. I think it’s going to be super common early to compare the s21 to the ultra, which is a lot of what i did in this video.
But this phone costs four hundred dollars more. So when you compare this phone up against this competition, which is a bunch of other phones sitting around six seven, eight hundred bucks it’s gon na compare pretty favorably it’s gon na have the highest end. Chip it’s gon na have one of the nicest screens, great fingerprint reader, great camera system and the stuff that’s missing, which is the stuff that samsung is hoping. You probably won’t care too much about or even notice. I think they made the right calculations on so this is it. This is the standard package. I have no problem recommending this phone but i’m also very curious to see how the rest of the competition will be attacking s21 all year for the rest of 2021.. It’Ll be fun either way, that’s been. It definitely watch the s21 ultra video right by that like button, if you haven’t seen it already uh and that’s that’s, pretty much it i’ll catch.