Samsung Galaxy S21+ Review – Worth the Trade-Offs?
You deserve a fresh start this year reset your rest with supremely comfortable mattresses, bedding and more from casper, go to casper.com twit1 and use code twit1 for 100 off select mattresses, hello, welcome to hands on tech, i’m, jason, howell 2020. Was it a hell of a year? It knocked us all, a town, just a peg or two even samsung. Last year you may remember: samsung released its s20 it’s galaxy s20 series of phones uh. They started at a thousand dollars right. One step up was the s 20 plus that got you that cost. You around twelve hundred dollars, then you had the ultra running at fourteen hundred dollars. To start those higher cost devices kind of came at a time when people were really watching what they were. Spending with a global pandemic happening all that kind of stuff people were really cautious about how they were spending their money. So this time samsung has made some corrections and it really shows. As a result, each device in the s21 series costs 200 less than last year’s model and it’s important to note that, with those price drops, uh they’re coming from somewhere right, there’s, some sacrifices that you’ll find in the s21 series. As a result of those price drops and i’m going to dive into that here, i’ve got the galaxy s21 plus, which sits in the middle of the s21 family it’s, not the cheapest at 800 it’s, not the most expensive, the ultra at 1200 and up it’s right There in the middle starting at a thousand dollars so uh did they make the right sacrifices for the galaxy s 21, plus let’s find out with samsung devices.
You have to start with the design they made. Some adjustments to what i would say was a pretty predictable design approach. Thankfully, the s21 looks a little bit different on the front: a flat glass panel, no curving on the sides, that’s actually an ultra feature, if you must have it. But personally, i really prefer the flat approach that’s seen here. It’S really nice on the back of the device is where design notes have really changed. Primarily, the camera bump it’s now a panel of textured metal that really kind of intersects and combines with the shiny metal of the frame it’s almost like the cameras, are wearing a metal mask of sorts. I think it looks pretty cool personally, but beyond its strikingly cool. Look is the sheer fact that those delicate cameras, three to be exact, are protected by the metal foundation instead of a glass protrusion that you found in last year’s model it’s, undoubtedly more protection for those lenses. If you set it down hard or drop it aside from that metal plate, the rest of the rear of the phone is glass it’s, a step up from the baseline s21, which has a polycarbonate design on the back. I haven’t seen that one myself but i’ve heard it’s nice. Certainly it feels more premium this way, but it’s definitely a trade off because it’s also more fragile. But thankfully, all the glass is protected by gorilla glass, victus that’s, the latest gorilla glass it’s, an eye catching design, which is little surprise.
Samsung has nailed its design aesthetic for quite a few years now. This just shows that they aren’t against messing with the formula a little bit now for the display samsung decided to go with a 6.7 inch amoled display on the plus the s21 is 6.2 inches, so this is an upgrade. This tells me that the plus is really for someone who desires a larger footprint on their device. As for resolution, this has a full hd plus panel it’s, actually a step down from the ultra’s quad hd plus panel, but not only that a step down from the s20 pluses display, which had a quad, hd plus display as well. To be perfectly honest, though, my eyes really have a hard time seeing what i’m supposedly missing this panel is sharp it’s, colorful it’s, incredibly bright, even in my snowy days last weekend in tahoe, while i was snowboarding, i never had a problem in the bright sunlight, really Samsung’S displays are usually showstoppers, and so is this one. It also has hertz refresh samsung calls it adaptive motion, smoothness it’s here as well, honestly, more than makes up for any loss in clarity that my eyes aren’t, seeing anyways so consider this a trade off that, to my eyes, totally works as for security. Once again, the s21 plus has an ultrasonic in display fingerprint sensor. This time, though, it’s using an updated sensor, that’s meant to improve speed and accuracy. It also sees the details and the ridges of your finger, even better i’ll, give it speed for sure it’s.
Definitely a little bit faster accuracy is about i’d say what i’ve come to expect out of samsung’s in display scanners, let’s just say: i’m, not the hugest fan of them compared to optical fingerprint scanners. Now, as for what’s inside the s21 plus is powered by the new snapdragon 888 processor here in the us, it does support 5g. Once again, so you support all. You can support all flavors of 5g with this device. Now, one step down from last year’s model is the inclusion of 8 gigs of ram, not the 12 gigs of ram that last year’s model had, which is a little bit of a bummer here, is definitely where a bit more of the cost was shaved off. In order to get down a couple hundred dollars, it’s something that might jump out on a spec sheet, but in use isn’t nearly as bad as i might have feared in the beginning in daily use. This device can handle nearly everything i throw at it and i’m. Not spotting any real performance dips related to that missing ram upgrade you know. Switching apps multitasking screen split all os level tasks that might otherwise tax. The system perform gracefully on the s21 plus, especially with 120 hertz mode, just kind of smoothing out the experience so nicely and by the way gameplay played a lot of games on here and uh had a good time did not really notice anything save for a little Bit of device heat, uh kind of building up the device heating up in my hands, while i’m playing those games but that’s to be expected with a glass back device like this.
As for internal storage, baseline is 128 gigs, but you can jump up to 256 gigs for around 50 dollars more if you choose it’s ufs 3.1 storage faster than last year, and you really feel it but don’t think you can just throw a micro sd card in There to expand on your storage options even further. This is a bummer this time around. There is none one more way, of course, of bringing that final price down and finally, the battery has been pretty spectacular. Not only is it larger than last year’s model by a considerable margin: it’s 4 800 milliamp hours up from 4 000, but that 1080p display means the phone isn’t quite as hungry for battery either. I navigated to tahoe totally unplugged had the phone on the slopes morning. Tonight i never worried – and there was always plenty to spare now to the cameras, and this is where some notable sacrifices were made to separate the s21 plus from the ultra. Primarily, if you enjoy optical telephoto flexibility, you’re going to want to opt for the ultra, the s21 plus has a hybrid 3x zoom on a 64 megapixel lens. In other words, most of the zoom magic on the plus is, by way of some sort of software trick. Having said that, short zoom shots actually look pretty good to my eyes, just not where you’re going to be able to get with the 3x or 10x optical zoom that you get on the s21 ultra unzoomed shots on the 12 megapixel main lens.
Look pretty solid. Actually plenty of detail and clarity. I had a lot of light in these shots. I felt very comfortable snapping all of my shots on the weekend trip to tahoe uh. With that main lens it performed beautifully. I even pulled back to try out the 12 megapixel ultra wide, which was a good option for some of the sweeping vistas from the top of the mountain. Overall, my shots, as you can see, had plenty of light. Most of my shots turn out beautifully, but i really do love a solid telephoto lens and having a hybrid solution on the s21 plus compared to the optical solution on the s21. Ultra is a bit of a bummer. As for software, what you get here is android 11 at launch with samsung’s interface uh, that is the samsung one ui 3.0 and honestly, one ui has never looked better now: i’m, not going to dive into all of the customization options and the special features here, because There are just too many, and so many of them are from version diversion. We’Ve talked about a lot of them before you find tons of useful stuff in the camera, just as one example, but samsung continues to lead the field when it comes to packing value into its software design, and i love to see how it’s developing it used to Be a weak point in my opinion and now they’re, one of the best, also updates, by the way three years of android os updates four years of security updates.
It might take samsung a little bit of time to roll those out, but no matter how you slice it that’s, pretty commendable and finally, a few other emissions. I haven’t even mentioned that the box includes no charger and no headphones, which is yet another cost saving measure. Whether you like that or not you’re saving a couple hundred dollars for it and samsung even left out mst payments, which was a major selling point when it launched back in 2015, but mobile payment technology has changed a lot in five years. So it’s a little bit less of a nagging omission, so no doubt samsung has made some concessions in order to bring the price down on the galaxy s21 plus. Honestly, if you plan on throwing a case on your device, then you might as well save a couple hundred dollars. You’Re gon na get most of what i just talked about here. If you get the s21 with a plastic back, throw a case on there, you’ll never be really the wiser for the most part. But if you want the larger display – and you want that larger battery is the extra 200 worth it for you and i think that’s the big question – these are fantastic devices. Samsung always does a knockout job. On its galaxy s. Series year after year, samsung struck a solid balance here, in my opinion, and i absolutely recommend the s21 plus if you’re in the market definitely take a look i’m jason howell and you can catch my reviews on twit.
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