Samsung Galaxy S21 5G review | The Best budget smartphone | Everything you need to know
We have here today the galaxy s21, the vanilla model from samsung’s 2021 flagship lineup. What has changed here and is the s21 worth getting over the more expensive models or last year’s, s20 let’s find out in our full review Music. The galaxy s21 is a flagship phone with flagship features, though samsung is doing something a bit different this year with the s21 series, the gap between the vanilla model and the ultra one is wider than ever before. You’D expect a difference in the size in the cameras sure, but the regular s21 comes with a lower res screen than the ultra without a curved edge. You don’t get fancy stylus support here and instead of a gorilla glass back, you get one made of plastic. Yes is true: the s21 is a substantial downgrade from the s21 ultra, but at the same time, it’s not nearly as expensive. The plastic back isn’t that big of a deal either. While it is kind of a bummer to have on a premium phone, it doesn’t feel cheap and we rather enjoy the phantom violet, color and matte finish, plus the s21 small size and lightweight make it a nice choice for someone. Looking for a compact high end phone, the way the camera bump curves into the aluminum frame is a nice touch too it’s. The s21 series signature look and is especially striking in this color and you get full ip68 waterproofing on the s21, as you should expect from a samsung flagship phone.
The s21’s dynamic amoled display is 6.2 inches, with a small punch hole for the selfie cam and is protected by gorilla glass, victus it’s the same size as last year’s, but with a lower 1080p resolution, it’s not so different from the s20, though, both devices feature a 120Hz refresh rate, but on the s20, if you enabled that its qhd resolution would dial down to 1080p as well this year, the refresh rate is adaptive, so it will adjust depending on what’s on screen. So this way you get that smooth effect, while touching the phone and scrolling, but the phone will save energy when it can going down to as low as 48 hertz. Of course, content looks excellent here, though it isn’t qhd, the resolutions still seems plenty sharp and you get deep blacks and vibrant colors, which are adjustable in settings to be extremely accurate. Brightness is excellent too. We measured a maximum of 415 nits with the slider and to boost up to 850 nits in bright conditions, regardless of whether adaptive brightness is toggled on or not. The s21 makes use of an upgraded ultrasonic under display fingerprint reader for biometrics and unlocking the phone it’s. A bit more responsive than last year and the scanning area is larger too. The galaxy s21 also has a pair of stereo speakers for your audio. You get sound from the earpiece under the top frame, as well as from a bottom facing speaker, we’re, hearing very clean and pleasing vocals and nice highs, but not that much in the way of these.
If you want to plug in headphones, you won’t find a 3.5 millimeter jack here. You’Ll need to connect, wirelessly or use a usbc dongle, and another thing you won’t, find on any of the s21 phones is a micro sd slot, though you can get 128 or 256 gigs on board the s21. The final major piece missing from the package is the charging adapter. The s21 supports up to 25 watt charging, but you’d have to buy that separately. If you don’t have one with a 25 watt adapter, though we were able to charge the s21 from zero to 55 charge in half an hour, not crazy fast, but decent. An 18 watt adapter got us to 40 in the same amount of time. In case you have one of these around. Instead, the phone also supports 10 watt wireless charging, as well as reverse wireless charging. If you want to charge up another device with your phone as far as battery life goes, we were happy with what we were able to get on the s21. The phone has a 4 000 milliamp hour battery the same capacity as last year, but has scored much better in our tests. Earning an endurance rating of 93 hours now onto the s21s interface is samsung’s one ui 3.1, based on android 11.. One ui 3 integrates plenty of features from the new version of android. You get notification history, which you can access in settings. There are also revamped media controls where you can easily swap between playback on different apps.
Now you can pin apps to the top of the sheet that appears when you want to share something. So sharing things to your favorite apps is easier with one ui 3.1. You no longer get a samsung daily home screen panel, but the more useful google feed one ui 3.1 also brings some changes to the camera interface over one ui 3., for example. Live focus mode is now called portrait mode, and you have pro mode for the ultrawide camera under the hood of the galaxy s21 is a cutting edge flagship chipset either an exynos 2100 like we have on our unit or a snapdragon 888 depending on the market. Both are built on a five nanometer process and are supposed to be quite close performance wise. However, we were only able to test the exynos and we weren’t exactly blown away by the results. Cpu benchmark scores were in the same ballpark as last year’s top android chip. The snapdragon, 865 plus and in graphics tests performance wasn’t exactly chart topping either. Regardless, though, in real world tasks, we had no problems using the s21 and gaming is a breeze, especially with games that support a high frame rate. Plus you get support for 5g network connectivity, too. Let’S move on to the galaxy s: 21’s triple camera setup on paper, it’s, pretty much identical to last: year’s: s20 there’s, a 12 megapixel main camera, a 12 megapixel ultra wide angle, cam with fixed focus and a 64 megapixel telephoto camera that provides three times: lossless digital Zoom in good light, 12 megapixel shots from the main cam are quite appealing.
They have nicely saturated, colors, wide dynamic range, well controlled noise and an adequate level of detail. Comparing the output to last year’s, s20 plus you’ll notice, the difference in processing the s20 models had warmer more saturated colors, a trend not only for the main camera, but pretty much across the board. You can take 64 megapixel shots with the s21’s telephoto camera at a little more than one time zoom. These are very detailed, and dynamic range is as good as from the main cam contrast is a bit lower, though, to achieve its advertised lossless zoom, the phone crops from the center of that 64 megapixels at two times zoom. The results are generally good, but a little soft for some reason. Three times zoom adds some upscaling to the mix which results in less sharpness and contrast, and noise is a bit more visible. These photos are still very usable. According to samsung, improvements in ai stabilization make taking long zoom shots like at 30 times easier and with better results. Maybe it is a bit easier, but don’t expect great quality from this level of zoom the galaxy s21’s portrait shots are taken with the telephoto camera by default. The zoom allows for a nice distance between the camera and the subject, and the results are great, with excellent detail and superb edge detection. You can also take a wide portrait with the main camera. This requires getting much closer to the subject, though. The results are generally very good.
We did notice a few mistakes with stray hair, though we weren’t too impressed by the 12 megapixel shots from the ultra wide angle cam. While the dynamic range is commendable, the photos often came out rather soft for some reason. It’S more apparent, if you compare it to the sharper photos that last year’s models could come up with. Hopefully, samsung addresses this through a software update in low light. The s21’s main camera performs well the exposure isn’t too dark and you have a wide dynamic range and good color saturation. The level of detail is pretty good, too. Turning on night mode results in better contained, highlights and lifted, detail and shadows. The colors look different, though, and lights lose some of their warmth, low, light zooming with the telephoto camera doesn’t produce nice results, the photos come out, mushy and noisy night mode does improve things a lot, though you get better detail for both straight edges and textures, and The noise gets cleaned up without night mode. The ultra wide camera’s performance at night is nothing impressive. These photos have a dark exposure and are soft and noisy with night mode. On the image. Quality has improved a lot and shadows are brightened considerably. Galaxy s21 has a 10 megapixel front facing camera just like last year, but the processing is different. Now facial details are sharper than what we saw on the s20 or s20 plus where they were more smoothed out plus. Now you have a new toggle and settings to choose a natural or bright mode for your selfie.
The differences between the two are pretty subtle, though. As far as video recording goes little has changed from last year. We prefer the 4k footage at 30fps from the main camera rather than 60fps. This is detailed with pleasing colors and excellent dynamic range here’s 4k at 60fps for a comparison, there’s, less detail, excessive, sharpening and more visible. Noise 4k footage at 30fps from the ultra wide angle. Cam is really nice with respectable dynamic range, lifelike, colors and good detail for an ultrawide 4k zoomed. Videos from the telephoto cam are good too. At three times. Zoom you’ll get a decent level of detail and while some noise is visible, it’s subtle, the 64 megapixel telephoto cam can also be used to shoot video in 8k at 24fps we’re, not big fans of it. The footage isn’t all that sharp or detailed – and there are some visible compression artifacts as well. Electronic stabilization is available in all modes, including 8k and 4k at 60fps. The eis generally does a good job in smoothing out your footage, but it achieves the best results on the ultrawide cam. So there you have it guys. The samsung galaxy s21 is a nice compact smartphone that offers a durable and waterproof build an excellent amoled screen with a high refresh rate stereo speakers, a high performance, chipset and a solid. If not so innovative camera experience, you even get great battery life, which is a bit of a surprise from the vanilla model.
But, like i mentioned earlier, the s21 is missing a lot of things that you would get with the more expensive, s21 ultra plus it’s made of plastic, and you don’t get a curved screen. It doesn’t feel like a next gen samsung. In fact, the s21 seems a lot more like last year’s s20fe, which wasn’t a top tier device, but more like a flagship killer, if only the s21 had a lower price to earn that same sort of label.