1 Month Review: Samsung Galaxy S21
This is march 5th. When i’m, putting it out so i’ve had it for a little bit now – and this is the full review um that i have here so a lot of other reviewers and mkbhd does a great job in his most recent video about actually what he thinks about the Iphone uh he kind of removes the time limits and does a really good job of explaining what the tech review scene is. Usually, like. You have the device you don’t have it for very long. You want to release your video to coincide with the end of the embargo, so you’re testing the phone for a week or so, and then you got to put out all your thoughts somehow and you got to edit. You got to color correct your footage and you got to do all this stuff in addition to just evaluating the phone. So sometimes you don’t get the most. You know the the most accurate evaluation, but i’ve had the phone since release day, and these are my thoughts on the samsung galaxy s21. So look, i think we’ve got ta start with the outside of this device. I have the uh. Well, look at the boot up times. I have the gold and purple version i’m, not a big purple person, but it was the most absurd color you could get so that’s what i went for. I usually try to go for the one that sticks out. So look.
I actually really like this design. There’S been much made of the plastic back here with the lower end s21 devices, but i actually prefer this plastic back to glass. I have the glass iphone se. My last. Several phones have been glass, that’s, fine, it feels premium ish, but i actually prefer, i think, or at least it’s at least parody with glass. With this plastic, i think what matters more, at least to me, is the quality of the edge, because, when the phone’s in your hand, you’re touching the edges a lot, you might not be touching the back or maybe you’re like this and you’re touching the back. A little to me, the feeling of this, these edges really brings together the phone, because i’ve actually had a phone or two where the screen doesn’t totally meet the edge or the back doesn’t totally meet the edge, and that causes way more issues. To me, at least in terms of build quality versus something like a plastic back, this plastic back is on good uh on my unit, of course, could vary, but you know i i wouldn’t don’t have any reason to suspect, but look it’s a great it’s, a great Fit here, this fits right in right there, the screen fits right in over the edge it’s flat the whole way, except for a little bit at the edge. It fits great. The build quality here is fantastic, and i, like the design change around the back.
I like the way, the camera placement and all that stuff, so let’s get in to the camera performance a little bit while we’re at it. I haven’t been out as much due to the things happening in the world, but i did get a couple photos for you guys and my thoughts really are that i think that the lead that the pixel had built so dominantly over android devices in the camera department. Those are over and i think that this device definitely competes uh with higher level. Android phones, if not exceeds them, and i think that it competes with the lower level iphones. This isn’t going to be as good as your s21 ultra and it’s not going to be. As good as your iphone 12 pro pro max, etc, but i think it holds a candle and it’s really uh. You know comparable, i would say in almost every way to devices like the pixel and the lower like just the iphone 12. For instance, the only spot that i noticed a little bit of issue is with night mode and look my experience with night mode is extremely anecdotal. This is like a full review, but this is my full usage. I haven’t used it in night mode very much because things happen in the world. The weather’s not good, it’s winter time i’m, not outside at night, and i did grab a couple photos. But i don’t think that the night mode on these phones is that great – and i remember better performance out of pixel devices that i’ve used um and iphones and those such things.
But night mode is still good. It’S still passable, and i think the stills are – are great, fantastic and, like i said, compete or exceed pixel and uh iphone. You know it’s at least comparable with the iphone for the video haven’t taken a lot of video uh let’s get into that app right now. I’Ll show you, through the app because there’s a couple changes uh for the s21 line, so really it’s, just within the modes let’s get into the modes of the camera. So if we open we’ve got our normal photo mode, we’ve got single take which, if we use single, take it’s kind of like if you’re capturing like a party or something going on, you can capture there’s. My hat. You can kind of capture things that are happening and so, whether it’s a still whether it’s a video it’s gon na try and put together this scene, so it’s going to say. Okay, do you want to play this video, so that’s, a video that it took um there’s, one of my photos of my low light, so single take it’s going to say: okay we’ve got some videos in here. It looks like you were taking video it doesn’t. Look like you were that still so it’s going to try and capture a couple different things in that and you can set it. So if we want to set single, take it’ll, say hey what kind of shots do you want us to grab? Do you want us to grab portraits so, depending on the scene, depending on what it detects, facially and and scene wise, and if you’re moving the phone? A lot like i just was it’ll, take videos or photos or whatever um photos.
We’Ve got a good bit of options. We’Ve got one to one ratio. You can take the 64 megapixel full res shot, timers, all the normal hdr, all the normal things that you would expect are here, and then you can also uh. Get that wide angle lens or you know the 1x get the 2x you get. You know the zoom and so tap the preview to stabilize so it’s got some good features and that does actually look pretty stable, i’m zoomed in really good on my countertop here and then you can staple so look. I think the camera features are pretty good and i think the point and shoot is pretty good. I really enjoy this wide angle, to be quite frank with you, so without further ado, let’s get into some photos and video that i took with the s21. So if we look at this first photo here, this is just with an overhead light on me, taking a photo in a room if we take a look at this photo here that lights off and i’m using night mode i’m, not that impressed by this night mode. This photo is of a sandwich that i ate the sandwich. Number one was fantastic, but the photo looks great at the zoom in there look at that detail i mean you can see the little edges of the crust of the bread, it’s fantastic good detail in this selfie here, and this is a great detail in my car That was fantastic and then photo the dog, of course, and i think that looks pretty good too best one here to show night mode results.
I think that the night mode actually shows up good. Here i mean the bronco looks much more true to color and much better in this view under night view, so you saw for yourself take a judgment for yourself on those kinds of things so with the photos and the videos so getting further into the device here. This is a a great device. I think – and i have to give a lot of credit to samsung for what they’ve done with the software yes, i’m, using the microsoft launcher here, but the samsung launcher is much less intrusive than it used to be. This is this: doesn’t have a ton of crap bloatware on it, and i think this the software is good well thought through, and there are a couple things that android stock doesn’t have the samsung ads like extended screenshots. So if you take a screenshot and you want to scroll down, grab a bigger one, i use that all the time the the gallery app is good of theirs for editing and i actually really enjoy samsung health i’ve been tracking my health, my calories with samsung health I’Ve actually lost weight, since i last recorded it tracks my sleep and stuff, and so look. I very much enjoy the samsung health app, so i’m actually liking bits and pieces of the samsung ecosystem. I don’t use things like samsung pass or anything like that, but i think the software here is well done.
The shortcomings in the software are just shortcomings of android in general, and you’ve got to be okay with those if you’re going to get a phone like this. For instance, i use the mint app for my personal finance, the iphone app i just came from the iphone se just got a full redesign and that app is actually really. I mean it’s much better on the iphone. No love here on android. The same continues across most most other software. Now the s21 in particular, is actually the only android phone that doesn’t suck at snapchat and i’ll. Explain why most android phones when you’ve got an app that’s, not the camera, app taking a photo. So if i take a photo right here, this is directly from camera into phone, but if i’m taking a photo or a video through another messaging, app like a whatsapp or an instagram, typically snapchat, not in this case but typically snapchat on android phones, uh there, those Apps are actually hooked into the camera. They’Re like taking almost like a screen grab of the viewfinder, so it’s almost like. If you took a photo of a screen, you know it’s, just not it’s, not going to be as good as if you just took a screenshot on the original screen. So that’s still the case here with some android apps and on something like the iphone all iphone. Apps they have to go through the iphone camera directly, so those apps are all great, so between mint between some of these other things, it’s a problem that i’ve noticed since coming back over from iphone, but it’s not it’s, actually better on the s21, especially in snapchat And i’m, hoping that more apps can kind of tie in here, but you know i just don’t know because there’s less standardization across uh android versus iphone, so most the software issues have been related to that.
There was one weird issue, though, that i wanted to point out so i’m using the microsoft launcher, and i prefer gestures to the bottom buttons, but sometimes seemingly randomly. I would do the swipe up gesture to go home and it would exit me to the samsung launcher. Not the microsoft launcher, and i looked up, it seems like the only fix was you have to enable these buttons? You know that the traditional navigation buttons and i haven’t had a problem since then, but just weird issues, um i’m, not going to say i didn’t have weird issues on the iphone of different sorts. I did, but these are just weird issues here. So how do we do on the samsung with video calling? I think this camera is fantastic. I think i look pretty good through there i mean, of course i look good through every camera, but the resolution here is pretty good. Things turn out really good with that camera, and i like it. However, i did notice a couple times in video calls. I forget if i was charging or not, but the phone was like hot: it was like hey, the phone was hot, actually, one time it shut down. A video call which i thought was so strange for a phone in 2021 it’s. A video call i don’t know like we should be able to do those and look my girlfriend has an iphone 10. I think the original 10 and it gets hot.
Sometimes i mean it happens to other phones, but i don’t know it’s 20 21. Like can we can we be able to conduct the long video chat? Is that possible so that’s it too uh but look i’m? I, like the experience here. I’Ve been pleasantly surprised. I think this is samsung’s best effort at a phone in terms of the software hardware. Marriage, the ecosystem, yet they do have these smart tags that they came out with. I haven’t activated mine just because i have existing tiles, but you would find this through the smart things app and the smartthings app works, pretty good the tag. I wish it had a removable battery i’m, knocking it for that, because not eco friendly as as its alternatives, but look it works and it’s good and i got the galaxy buds pro. Those are coming up in a review and samsung’s had some insane deals lately on uh watches and stuff too so it’s actually a pretty inexpensive time to get into the samsung ecosystem, which is good, uh, it’s, just not as good as the apple ecosystem. But in any case, it’s it’s still a good effort, software wise from samsung. The best effort that i have seen yet um and also i like the design choices that they made with the phone, because the samsung s series phones are were less the s21s and such were less than their s20 counterparts at launch. You can already get great deals on these phones, just fantastic deals from samsung themselves, a little bit, but mostly through carriers or third party retailers, and i like what they’ve done with the phone.
The the killer feature, i think, is the high refresh rate. So i can scroll back and forth and it’s fantastic. I can go to youtube and go to eddie’s tech talk and i can look at this and look at look as i scroll. I mean text leaving the screen coming on the screen, it’s just so fluid. I can go up and down back and forth, i can open up an article here so android versus iphone. Seven things. Apple fans wish their phones could do high refresh rates up on the list, and this phone got criticized the lower end, one because it’s only a 1080p display at a high refresh rate versus the s20 had high refresh rate and a higher resolution display. However, the s20 had only high refresh rate at 1080p and look. I don’t notice the difference between this in 1440 myself and this, this refresh rate is killer. I mean going back to the iphone se, which has a normal 60 hertz display after having this one that iphone, which is plenty fast and capable um. You know i mean plenty fast and capable felt, slow, sluggish and like it was bloated or something i mean just it felt slow and it’s, not it’s, not a slow phone. This high refresh rate is the killer feature uh and it’s done so well here on the s21 it’s just fantastic, so you won’t miss that higher resolution, because you get this high refresh rate uh, you know because the s20 you had to lower the resolution to get The refresh rate anyway um so look samsung, did a fantastic job here with the galaxy s21 uh at least that’s.